Guess what y’all? It’s harvest time, AGAIN!
Just a couple of days ago, I was out tending to my garden and noticed some of my vegetables were ready for the pickin’. My husband Chris and I first made our raised garden bed and planted our first vegetables in May. It is now October. We have been so lucky and blessed to have harvested so many fruits and vegetables in 5 short months.
This is the raised garden in June 2013. One month later, there are some growth.
It’s October 2013 and look at the raised garden now! Please ignore the tall grass and weeds.
I know… IMPRESSIVE, but please hold your applause till the end!
Dallas has experienced strange weather since May. We’ve gone through some droughts, lots of 100+ degree days, and even weeks of non-stop rain. With all that, I still manage to grow some fruits and vegetables in 5 months.
This past weekend, I was able to harvest more tomatoes, basil, thyme, rosemary, and my first batch of potatoes. I will post a blog on how to grow sweet potatoes later.
Look at this! Aren’t they gorgeous?
All my fruits, vegetables, and herbs are organic. No pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Growing organic was challenging, but worth it! The taste is much stronger, cleaner, and of course…. better for you.
With all these fresh herbs and tomatoes, I can only think of one dish to make.
CAPRESE SALAD. I don’t think there is a salad or antipasta dish more fresh or full of natural flavors than a Caprese Salad.
The wait is over! Let’s make Caprese Salad!
Steps: Caprese Salad
Caprese Salad is a very simple Italian (Anti-Pasta) salad made with thick slices of tomatoes, thick slices of mozzarella cheese, and whole basil leaves. Then drizzled with olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar.
It’s great as a side dish, the main dish, or served before a meal. It’s healthy, fresh, and packed with flavor!
All the herbs and tomatoes are grown in my garden. You can’t get any fresher than that!
In this dish, I also decided to use Ciliegine. That’s fancy talk for “cherry size” fresh mozzarella cheese.
Ciliegine can be found at your local grocery store in the deli and specialty cheese area. And no… it’s not the aisle where you get packaged sliced deli meats or shredded cheese. I purchased this container at Krogers.
I like to enhance the flavor by adding sun-dried tomatoes and herb infused olive oil. Believe me, the flavor is intensely good.
I make herb infused olive oil all the time. It’s great for making salad dressing, dipping for bread, drizzle over steak… the options are endless.
First, mince the garlic clove and finely chop the herbs (basil, rosemary, and thyme). Place the chopped herbs and garlic in a small sauce bowl and mix in the olive oil. Set it aside, at least 15 minutes. The longer the herbs and oil is infused, the stronger the taste.
Onto the Salad.
Slice the cherry tomatoes and Ciliegine in half. Then, chop the basil leaves and sun-dried tomatoes the same size. Approximately 1/4″ thick.
If you have small basil leaves, you can keep those leaves whole.
Place the cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, Ciliegine, and basil in a bowl.
Season with salt and pepper. If you like spicy, add a pinch of chilli pepper flakes.
Now the good stuff. Drizzle the herb infused olive oil all over the salad.
Toss the salad and taste. Add more salt, pepper, and infused oil as needed. I don’t like the smell or taste of balsamic vinegar. So this was good enough for me.
If you’re like my husband, go balsamic vinegar happy and drizzle away.
There you have it! The taste of summer, on your plate all year long.