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Warm Heirloom Caprese Salad

August 30th, 2011

My version of a Caprese Salad.  Done bruschetta style I top super toasty bread with warm heirloom tomatoes, rich smooth mozzarella, and a drizzle of cool, creamy basil dressing

Warm Heirloom Caprese Salad grown with help from the Humble Seed:

Ingredients for dressing: (Makes extra. I store it a glass jar for later.  I use this dressing for everything from salads, pizzas, pastas, and as a marinade for chicken breast)
2 heaping handfuls of fresh (washed and dried) Superbo Basil
1/4 tablespoons of organic mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of organic sour cream or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons organic buttermilk
1 clove smashed garlic
A good quality olive oil (I usually add between an eighth and a fourth of a cup depending on the batch and how thick I want the consistency.  The more oil, the thinner the dressing)
salt & pepper to taste
food processor

Other ingredients:
3 Heirloom Tomatoes
6 fat slices of ciabatta or a crusty french bread (you want a type of bread that will get super crunchy)
1/4 pound or 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella cheese cut into six slices

Directions:
Turn your oven onto broil.

Take your basil, mayo, sour cream or yogurt, buttermilk, and garlic and place them all into the food processor. Using the “pulse”setting on your food processor slowly begin to combine all of the ingredients by starting and stopping every 10-15 seconds. Repeat this process until the mix starts to come together and all of the basil is chopped. Next you want to add the olive oil. Turn the “pulse” setting off and use the food processor on normal for this step.  While the lid is on and the blade is turning slowly begin to incorporate the oil in a steady stream until the basil dressing becomes a smooth vivid bright green.  Adding the olive oil should give the dressing a creamy consistency.  Once its completely come together you can store it in a glass jar in your fridge.

Next step is to toast the bread while the dressing is chilling.  Either brush or drizzle your 6 thick slices of bread with olive oil.  This will help the bread to get super crispy.  The toast needs to be crunchy enough to hold up the warm tomatoes and cheese with out getting soggy. Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet and put under the broiler.  Dont walk away during this step.  It is important to watch food constantly when in the broiler, because it can burn so quickly.  Keep the bread under the broiler until it has started to brown on the edges, and is very crunchy in the middle. About four minutes. You may want to turn the bread over onto its other side after two minutes just to ensure its crispy-nes.   When the toast is done place two slices on each plate and let it cool.

Now take your three washed and dried heirloom tomatoes and slice them in to fourths. Brush the slices of tomato with olive oil on each side and salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet on med heat.  When the pan is hot, add enough oil to the pan just to coat the bottom, then add your slices of tomato.  Sear the tomatos for only about 30 seconds on each side, you want them to get a slight brown crust on the outside with out over cooking them until they turn into mush.  When the tomatoes are done place them onto the toast, then add a slice of mozzarella to each bruschetta, and drizzle with the creamy basil dressing!

The crunchy bread topped with all of these flavors is the most amazing combination of creamy, crunchy, warm, and cool all on one little bruschetta!

About Katheryne:

 

Sustainability is very important to me because I believe that we should take care of the planet that gives us so much. Love the earth and it will love you back. Know where your food comes from; be informed about what you are consuming. By choosing to eat organically grown produce the impact that you are making on the environment and your own health is a positive one.  Living sustainably to me, is not about  what you are giving up, it’s about all that you get! You can check out my website and please be sure to “like” my Facebook page!

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Companion Planting: Best Friends in the Garden

February 22nd, 2011

 

Companion planting is more than planting your favorite vegetables together; it’s beneficial! When you plant flowers, herbs, and vegetables together it attracts garden hero birds and insects into your garden; birds and insects which are natural predators to those garden villains that like to eat plants. Companion planting—to attract beneficial birds and insects—is one of Mother Nature’s organic gardening methods. Aromatic flowers and herbs planted alongside vegetables also help confuse and deter garden villains that seek out specific plants.

Another benefit to companion planting is the ability to shade lower-growing, shade-tolerant plants by planting tall-growing plants near them. By shielding lower-growing, shade-tolerant plants with tall-growing plants, this will result in higher yields. One example is planting corn next to squash.

Here are some Humble Seed plants, perfect for companion planting for a harmonious garden:

Bull’s Blood Beet pairs well with White Spear Bunching Onion.

Rose Tomato pairs well with Scarlet Nantes Carrot, Purly Chives, White Spear Bunching Onion, and Titan Parsley.

Scarlet Nantes Carrot pairs well with Purly Chives, Black Seeded Simpson Leaf Lettuce, Common Sage, and Rose Tomato.

Tuffy Acorn Squash and Yellow Crookneck Squash pair well with Double Standard Corn and Nasturtium (an annual flower).

Companion planting increases the biodiversity of your garden, and certain plants most definitely benefit when other plant species are planted near them. This spring give companion planting a whirl!

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