This, my friends, was a coup d'etat... we have our discussion group out at La Vista Ecological Center on a Thursday night. Sometimes we have a potluck, sometimes someone brings snacks...it starts at 7 PM, and most of the members are scrambling home from work to hurry and clean up and get out there. I usually fix something for the Irishman to eat in the car as I drive us, because he doesn't get home until 6 and we have to leave by 6:30 at the latest in order to be on time.
I was looking around my kitchen this Thursday past, and saw that I had a lot of really ripe beautiful red tomatoes on the counter that needed using. So I thought I would make a quick salad to throw together and take for everyone. The Irishman is not a big fan of raw tomatoes, so I fixed him up a dish of leftover spring rolls and Thai rice noodles.
The first thing I did, was go to the garden and hunt down a cucumber or two. I picked some red and green bell peppers too. I had a nice chunk of fresh mozzarella in the fridge. I had edamame in the freezer.
I assembled the ingredients (or most of them)
Red RIPE tomatoes
Cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
Thinly sliced white onion
Red and green bell peppers, cut into thin rings
Edamame beans, rinsed
Edamame beans, rinsed
Fresh basil leaves, chopped (I have a pot of herbs on my deck--I also used a couple of center sprigs for garnish)
Soft fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
Red wine vinegar
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil--organic if you have it)
Then I just layered the ingredients, starting with tomatoes until the bowl was full. Just before the cheese layer, I liberally sprinkled the salad with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Then I put on the vinegar and oil. Then the cheese. The layered again the same way. I topped it off with a grind of pepper and the cheese and the pretty basil. VOILA!
It all turned out really yummy. I had a couple of french baguettes, so I thought and thought..and came up with the idea of crostini for a partner to the salad. I sliced the bread about 1 inch thick. Then I took my big cast iron skillet and put some olive oil in it. I minced garlic, heated the oil, threw the garlic in and then took the slices of bread and put them in. I turned them over, salt and peppered them, and let the olive oil/garlic soak in, then added a little more olive oil and cooked them until they were a golden brown. It took a couple of skilletfulls to get them all done, and I had to keep adding olive oil and garlic, and spooning out the garlic that got too done, because it gets really bitter, and NOBODY wants to eat that. lol
Here's what it looked liked when it was finished:
And I'm here to tell you..it was goooooooooooood. lol I brought home a little salad and NO bread when all was said and done. The crostini was toasty on the outsides and soft in the middle.
This makes a great lunch or hot summer night supper. The next morning, I had leftover salad with my scrambled eggs. Mmmmmm.... I love stuff like this, don't you?? I like it even more, knowing that I grew, organically, almost all the ingredients in it. If I had had the time and air conditioning to have made the baguettes myself, it would have been even better. Do you have a favorite dish that you make?? Tell me !!!