Caprese Salad

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Caprese Salad

Audrey and I spent 5 weeks in China where we worked on a Chinese comedy about the art of traditional Chinese cooking. I played a character by the name of Tom, which in Chinese sounds like Mother of Soup汤母, and Audrey played the young version of my character in the flashback.  We stayed in a hot spring resort in the boondocks of Xing Yang by the Yellow River.  Everyday, the production brought us two three-tiered lunch boxes with staples such as stir fried tomato with eggs, bell pepper with shredded pork, braised eggplant or mutton radish soup. After two weeks, Audrey groaned whenever those shiny tin boxes were delivered to us and she craved for caprese salad and pizza. When I had a day off, we drove for an hour to the nearest large city of Zheng Zhou in search of them.  We found pizza in a shopping mall, but no one there had heard of caprese salad.

Naturally that was the first thing we ate when we came home. And we have been enjoying it almost every other day. A little deprivation does wonders to renew your appreciation of something you took for granted. I have been jet lagged and there is so much to catch up around the house after a long absence. This caprese salad is not only delicious, it is also the easiest meal to make.  The trick is to buy the best quality tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Drizzle with the best quality balsamic cream or glaze and olive oil.

P1050648

Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

Cherry tomatoes (halved)

Fresh baby mozzarella balls (halved)

Fresh basil leaves

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic Glaze or balsamic cream

Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Half the cherry tomatoes and the mozzarella balls. sprinkle with fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and extra virgin olive oil.

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P1050644

Refreshing Dishes for a Hot Day

P1110468

Mediterranean Wraps

P1110460

Caprese Salad

P1110233

Chilled Tomato Soup

I came home on an exceedingly warm day for San Francisco.  Audrey’s class is on a camping trip, but she is at home because we have a wedding rehearsal to attend on Friday.  She made us a delicious vegetarian lunch, which was exactly what I needed after two weeks of potstickers, pork buns and crepes. 

Audrey is a true and natural cook who does everything by feel.  A dash of this and a dash of that; a handful of this and a handful of that.  I enjoyed watching her making the dishes as much as I did eating them.  She has great instinct and a keen sense of adventure when it comes to creating food.  The home cooked lunch was the best welcome home gift I could imagine, but I am now struggling to re-create the dishes in the blog and share her recipes.  It was a good thing that she kept things very simple and here are the recipes to the best of my recollection.

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Mediterranean Wraps

Ingredients:

8 oz. French green beans, trimmed (blanched or steamed until crisp tender)

1 tomato seeded and thinly sliced

3 oz. garlic-and-herb goat cheese

3 whole-grain tortillas

21 Pitted Kalamata olives

6 canned artichoke hearts, drained and sliced

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Preparation:

Spread a thin layer of goat cheese evenly on each tortilla and line 1/3 of the other ingredients in the center of each.  Roll tortilla tightly, folding in sides.

Chilled Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups diced ripe beefsteak, heirloom or cherry tomatoes, divided

1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 red jalapeno, seeded

1/4 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced, for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

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Preparation:

Blend 3 cups of tomatoes with oil, lime juice, honey paprika, seeded red jalapeño and salt with 1 cup of water until smooth.

Pour soup into four bowls.  Top with the 1 remaining cup of the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of basil.

Serve at room temperature or chilled. 

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Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Fresh Mozzarella balls, sliced in half

English cucumber

Basil leaves, sliced

Micro sprouts

Balsamic Glaze

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and pepper

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Preparation:

Toss everything in the salad bowl with vigor!