Wife was making fun of me the other day, she suggested I should change the name of my blog into something like SOUPS & SALADS, that’s code for “boring and nobody likes to eat that dish”, but somebody has to do some real cooking in this household, might as well be me. In fact there might be some truth in what she says, for some reason I fiercely like soups and salads and every now and then I get stuck on a certain recipe and keep making variations of it.
Take Caprese salad for example, this is one of my all time favorite, present to every meal that requires a salad as a side dish or sometimes just by itself. I guess next step was pretty easy to make, testing different combination with Caprese as a point of departure was obvious (even for me), however not everything went according to plan and after myriad of tries I only chose to post two of them that made the whole experience worth sharing.
If you read up to this point and you are still a salad lover then keep on, you are in for a treat. As I was sayin’ in a previous post, sometime this year, early spring to be exact, I started planting my own herbs. I went to every store and bought all sorts of pots and seeds and went on planting. The whole idea was to try to grow them indoors because I live in Calgary and weather pretty much sucks for any kind of plant, unless you are into dandelions, those really go wild. Anyway, wife told me I should wait a month or so and get those little plants already grown and whatnot but I was a man on a mission, leave no seed unturned… and I didn’t. After long weeks of waiting I finally got some pathetic signs of life in pretty much all my pots then… summer came and I moved everything outside. While doing this indoor experiment I also bought some big wood planters and I threw in some parsley, thyme, oregano and a couple of different varieties of mint. The result? Whatever grows in my pots is clinging to life, so to speak, while the planter guys are humongous. No more store bought parsley, oregano, thyme, mint and basil, including Thai basil that I really love and I thought it will never work. On a pessimistic note though, winter (or at least cold..er weather) are one month away and my planter goes inside the garage but I am looking forward to those two months of summer next year.
As you can see parsley is going nuts, I could probably grow the thing in a pot in the garage. It already covered the sprigs of thyme that you cannot see in the picture and rosemary that’s a pain to grow too. The other planter is full of lemon basil, Thai basil, oregano, mint and something else that I can’t remember and cannot identify (probably some weeds lol). Everything looks nice and the flavor is nothing that I could find in a store. Anyway, until my next story, I will let you all enjoy my Olive Caprese Salad and though you cannot see the olives, I guarantee, they are there.
Have fun and forget about the sausages!
- ½ cup plus 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- pinch of ground star anise
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1-2 lbs Campari tomatoes
- ½ cup green olives
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- ½ tbsp basil, tarragon, mint and cilantro, minced
- 1-2 serrano peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 oz virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup vinegar, sugar and ground star anise. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Let cool for a bit and then stir in red onion. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, cheese, herbs and Serrano pepper. Drain onion and add to tomato mixture; save some of the marinade that you used for onions (you can use it as dressing).
- In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lime juice and 2 tbsp red wine vinegar; pour over tomatoes. Drizzle with saved marinade, about 1-2 tablespoons.