WARM WEATHER IS HERE!

WARM WEATHER IS FINALLY HERE!

I’m sorry, but it’s impossible to contain my excitement.  Crawling out of the pit of our long, gray and cold winter here in Pennsylvania feels amazing…and immediately makes me crave warm weather food.  For me, caprese salad represents the fresh and easy style of warm weather eating.  And it’s so darn easy.  (Today I’m even cheating a little with some help from Trader Joe’s.)

My Caprese Salad for Little Mouths is ideal for those of us who don’t feel like spending half of our meal cutting our kids’ food into tiny pieces.  Just throw some of this salad on their plates and they can manage noshing on it without any assistance.  Sounds ideal to me.

Start with a pint of some gorgeous cherry tomatoes.  Mine are organic.  Along with apples, cherry tomatoes are one of those foods that I always buy organic.  Here is why.  (According to Environmental Working Group, samples of cherry tomatoes showed thirteen different pesticides.)

Rinse those pretty little tomatoes, and slice them in half.  (Because as all of you cautious unbored housewives know, cherry tomatoes are a choking hazard.)

sliced cherry tomatoes

Now arrange them nicely in a shallow dish or plate.

Next grab some mozzarella pearls.  These are just tiny balls of mozzarella cheese.  Perfection for little mouths.

mozz pearls

See…they’re even called “Little Ones.”

Arrange them amongst your sliced cherry tomatoes.

tomato mozz

Locate your fresh basil.

basil

Pull off about five or six large leaves and slice them into strips.  (The technical term for slicing a delicate herb in this way is “chiffonade” – but I’m not nearly that fancy.)  Just stack your basil leaves on top of each other, loosely roll them into a cigar shape,

basil cigar

and slice into strips.  Use a sharp knife because basil bruises easily.

Now evenly distribute your basil slices on top of the tomatoes and mozzarella.

basil on top

Grab some course sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and season the salad to taste.

seasoned salad

Now I’m going to get a little help from Trader Joe’s (or Trader Giotto’s, if you’re Italian.)

balsamic glaze

Sure, you can easily make your own balsamic reduction (and I’ll show you how to do that another day), but sometimes I like to take it easy on myself.

This glaze is slightly sweet and just all around yummy and convenient.

Drizzle it on top of your salad.

final caprese salad

Now isn’t that pretty?  Not to mention delicious.  Tastes like warm weather to me!

INGREDIENTS

1 pint cherry tomatoes

8 oz. mozzarella cheese pearls

5-6 leaves fresh basil

course sea salt, to taste

fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze