Food Geek Friday: Caprese Time!

Confession time: I'm not a huge fan of summer. It's such a lovely idea...the holdover of school days when summers were off and carefree. 

But the truth is I live in Texas, and August means that a branch office of hell has opened up next door which means I'm staying inside. 

BUT...if there's one summery thing I'm quite fond of it's Caprese. Caprese offers up a double bonus in that it doesn't take much effort, and the ingredients are in season so the flavors are fantastic. 

This week I'm offering up a couple of recipes in the theme of Caprese so you can mix and match the ingredients as you please.

Pro tip: get the best quality ingredients you can afford. Since the recipes are so simple it's imperative to have great ingredients so that it tastes good.

Cannellini Caprese Salad

Ingredients: 

  • Cannellini beans
  • Cherry tomatoes. I prefer them cut in halves.
  • Mozzarella, cut into bite sized pieces.  
  • Basil, torn or cut into strips. 
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Balsamic glaze (recipe below)

Directions

  1. Mix all of the ingredients except for the balsamic glaze in a bowl. 
  2. Drizzle balsamic glaze over top.
  3. Enjoy!
 

Balsamic glaze

My first time to make this ever and it's so easy. 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 oz balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. In a sauce pan, mix sugar and vinegar. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil. 
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Approx 20 minutes. It's done when liquid becomes syrup consistency and coats the back of a spoon. When you taste it, it will be delicious rather than biting. 

Pro tip: it thickens when it cools so don't overcook it or it will become a solid. Not the worst thing to happen, but not what you want. (AKA, I made this mistake.)

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Caprese Egg Cups

Ingredients

  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Mozzarella, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Basil, cut into strips
  • 4 eggs, beaten with a splash of milk 
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a muffin tin. 
  2. Add caprese ingredients into each well of tin. (I only used half the tin, making 6.)
  3. Pour egg over the caprese ingredients, being careful to not fill the wells to the top. 
  4. Bake until cooked, approx 20-25 minutes. (Don't overcook as the eggs will continue to cook when you take the pan out of the oven.) 
  5. Let cool for a little bit before taking out of tin. 
  6. Enjoy!

P.S. - This is delicious with the balsamic glaze on top.

Bonus: Strawberry Balsamic Sundae

Before you think the heat has affected my brain, hear me out. Once upon a time as an event planner, I worked for a place that had this dessert I thought was insane: balsamic marinated strawberries with white chocolate mousse. Then I tasted it and realized it wasn't insane; it was insanely good. This is a tribute to that fab dessert.  

Ingredients: 

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Strawberries, chopped
  • Balsamic glaze

Directions

  1. Scoop ice cream into a bowl.
  2. Top with strawberries
  3. Drizzle balsamic glaze 
  4. Enjoy! 
 

Caprese is such a flavorful and versatile combo. What is your favorite way to make it?