Summer is almost here. Something we haven’t shared with you yet is that I (Melissa) am growing a backyard garden for the first time this year. My dad, for as long as I can remember, has grown tomatoes in the backyard. He grows other things too but something he’s known for, and his dad was known for, is his tomatoes. Here’s where I put in a funny aside about childhood. My dad swears he doesn’t remember this but I was traumatized so let me tell you, this is true. Like, for sure.
I had seen my dad slave away at this garden in the tiny little front yard we used to have in Charlotte. Now imagine my excitement when I saw the very first, tiny, green tomato pop up onto that vine. I was thrilled! I just knew my dad would be so happy about it too! So what did I do? Can you guess? Apparently I wasn’t familiar with the color of tomatoes. I didn’t realize it needed to grow for many, many more days (weeks?) in order to be ripe enough to pick. So yep, I picked it. I picked it and I ran inside with it, just certain that my dad would be as excited as me! You can guess that his reaction wasn’t as great as I had imagined. If it was, the story would be more heartwarming than funny. Hehe. He was pretty upset about it and I don’t remember my exact reaction I’m sure it involved tears. He didn’t punish me, he was just upset and rightly so. Pilot and Bailey (affectionately referred to as the big kids) will be taught that we wait until the tomatoes are red to pick them so as not to crush their sweet little dreams.
Now that I’ve villianized my dad enough, I’ll get back to his tomatoes. They’re so juicy and sweet and delicious and it absolutely, positively defines summer for me.
Last year he grew grape tomatoes too and every time I went there, I would come home with an abundance of those sweet little gems. I figured it’s only right that I grow some of those this year too so get ready for all the tomato recipes to start pouring in because I definitely have a passion for tomatoes! Oh, and basil. And I’m growing that too. And all things caprese, really. If I could grow mozzarella cheese too, I would. I’ll just buy it at Sam’s instead and call it a day. So let this be the first of many tomato and basil recipes to come. This dish would be perfect to serve as part of a Mother’s Day meal next weekend!
Strawberry Caprese Salad
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/4 tsp kosher salt
pinch of sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 cup hulled and quartered strawberries
1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella cheese
4-5 basil leaves
- Toss the tomatoes with the salt and sugar in a colander and let drain for 10-15 minutes to remove excess water.
- While the tomatoes are draining, bring the vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook until it is thick and syrupy, and has reduced to just a few tablespoons, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl to cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt. Toss with the tomatoes, strawberries, mozzarella, and basil. Before serving, drizzle each bowl with a small amount of the balsamic reduction. Be careful because a little of the reduction goes a long way. Enjoy!
Source: Pink Parsley