Caprese salads are the bee’s knees!

Caprese salads are the bee’s knees!

A few months ago I injured my knee while walking to the bus stop. What I thought was a simple sprain turned out to be so much more and extremely painful–namely, a torn meniscus, a partial tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (also known as the ACL) and incipient osteoarthritis in my left knee. Yes, I’ve got it all at the moment. My orthopaedic surgeon is taking a wait-and-see approach and I’m doing physiotherapy (which is helping a lot, actually). I have to do special exercises just for my knee every day…and now they tell me to… lose a little weight.

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Yes, Kevin Hart, I wore that same expression on my face when they said it!

The foodie in me is not happy about this, but I do have some extra pounds that I’d love to see magically vanish…so I am trying to take a reasonable approach that involves cutting back on certain things, namely carbs, and not completely cutting out all the things I love.

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Did someone say bread….? Yum!

I freely admit it: I am a carb junkie. I love potatoes. I absolutely adore pasta. Got waffles? Yes! Sourdough bread? I am in ecstasy. But…these are, of course, the very things I need to cut back on if I am going to lose the first 5 kilos my physiotherapist says will help my knee feel better.

At least it’s summer. And usually during the summer–as long as it’s hot (which there is no guarantee of here in Sweden) I tend to crave other thing than…bread, pasta, comfort food. Lately, I’ve been craving roasted veggies–tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, red onions, carrots, you name it. I’ve also been longing for a good Caprese salad since my June trip to Matera, Italy.

Oh my stars! I love a good Caprese salad! Photo credit: www.pioneerwoman.com

Oh my stars! I love a good Caprese salad! Photo credit: www.pioneerwoman.com

Caprese salads are the bee’s knees and super simple: the only ingredients you need are

  • ripe tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • good quality mozzarella
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

That’s it. It doesn’t need to be more complicated. Pull out a shallow bowl or serving dish. Slice the tomatoes–not too thinly, you’ll want thicker slices to really enjoy this–and set them aside. Drain and slice the mozzarella. Again, not too flimsy slices. You want to savour the texture and the flavour. Pick a goodly amount of basil leaves–no point in stinting since–again–this is all about flavour.

Now don't you want to try a bit of that loveliness? Photo credit: www.recipeshubs.com

Now don’t you want to try a bit of that loveliness? Photo credit: www.recipeshubs.com

Now start placing the ingredients on your plate–tomato slice, mozzarella, basil–repeat–until you’ve got this lovely vision of red, white and green that makes you dream of Italy. Sprinkle a little sea salt and black pepper over this beauty. Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

And you’re done!

Told you it was easy. 🙂

Now if you want to jazz it up, you could roast the tomatoes or use dollops of burrata (a fresh cheese made from mozzarella and cream) or add some fresh baby spinach or toss in some strawberries or use crema di balsamico (a thicker, slightly sweeter version of balsamic vinegar that’s good on just about everything) instead. Go wild with it. 🙂 I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to Caprese salad so I stick with the basics.

The great thing with a Caprese is that you can have it as a side salad or as your main dish–and it’s so pretty that people think you slaved over it when it took no time at all. Simply pretend it was so much more difficult than it really was to pick the perfect basil or slice that tomato just so.

So next week when I am in Philadelphia (where it’s always hot during the summer) instead of Stockholm (where you never know what sort of summer weather you’ll get), I have the feeling I will be eating a lot of Caprese salads.

Are you a Caprese salad lover? Or does some other bit of salad loveliness speak to you?

My Signature for the Blog

Love’s Kitchen- a review by Gemma Brocato

Love’s Kitchen- a review by Gemma Brocato

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I tried something new recently. I have an Amazon Prime membership and I actually downloaded three videos that I’d added to my watch list. I did this because I was traveling and figured if I didn’t feel like editing or writing on the plane, I’d watch a movie. One of the movies was Love’s Kitchen, staring Dougray Scott (as Rob Haley) and Clair Forlani (as Kate Templeton). As main characters, they were awesome. Of course, I like anything with Scott in it. That burr tickles my eardrums like like silk on my skin.

Rob’s wife dies in an unfortunate car accident while returning from checking out a restaurant for the couple to buy. Her untimely death puts Scott into a spiral that only an extremely bad review of his cooking at a London restaurant can pull him out of. He chases the opportunity to finally buy the restaurant in a small English village.

His attention is caught by Kate, a lovely American food critic. The restaurant opens, but customers forget to come until she publishes a rave review. Then the phone will not quit ringing and every table is booked for months. This increases traffic and commotion in the bucolic village, which irritates Kate’s father a prominent resident of the town. The man goes to monumental and illegal efforts to get Rob to close the restaurant. The conflict pushes Kate and Rob together and they find their own recipe for love.

I’m a sucker for any type of foodie entertainment. I loved The Hundred Foot Journey, Julie and Julia, No Reservations (ah, Aaron Eckhart) and Chef. Top Chef is one of my favorite cooking shows and when I lived in the UK, Ready, Steady, Cook! was a daily staple for my day. I’d rate Love’s Kitchen as one of my favorites of all the cooking movies/shows I’ve seen. I’d give it five Wooden Spoons!

Here’s a link if you want to check it out on Amazon Prime.

Blurb:

Rob Haley, an up-and-coming chef and restaurateur in London, is grief-stricken when he loses his wife. Rob decides to spice up his life by turning a run-down country pub into a gourmet restaurant. His food catches the eye – and tastebuds – of beautiful American food critic Kate Templeton, and they soon both write a recipe for love that that leaves both their hearts–and their stomachs–full.

Starring:  Dougray Scott, Claire Forlani
Runtime: 1 hour, 29 minutes