“Tomato and Basil Salad” from “Happy Salads”

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Do I really need a recipe for Tomato and Basil Salad (also known as Carprese salad)? No. I do not.

What I always *do* need, though, is the recipe for salad dressing. No matter how many times I’ve made it, I seem to have some sort of mental block when it comes to the ratio of oil to vinegar. I can never remember it. (Note to self: it’s a 3-to-1 ratio).

I’m cautiously optimistic, however, that after a month of eating salad (and making its dressing) out of “Happy Salads”, that I will remember the ratio in the future. We’ll see.

Needless to say, when I brought this out to the table, Tim asked, “Do you really need a recipe for this salad?” To be fair, it’s one of three recipes on a page called, “3 Ways With Mozzarella,” an effort I can definitely get behind.

For the record, the dressing for this Caprese Salad was 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 1 small shallot finely diced, and a 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed to a paste. It was good and would work on a number of salads, not just this one.

So you could argue that a recipe for tomato-mozzeralla-basil salad with dressing is a bit superfluous. But if this book is going to cover all the bases for Happy Salads, surely this would be one of them. It’s always a hit.

Would eat again.

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“Tomato and Basil Salad” from “Happy Salads”

“Baked Orzo with Mozzarella and Oregano” from “Plenty More”

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We are big fans of orzo. We are big fans of pasta bake. I figured putting them together would mean I’d have an automatic hit on my hands. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out that way.

To be fair, the family was divided: the adults liked it, the boys were ambivalent about it.

While it wasn’t at all like the baked ziti we love– there wasn’t enough tomato sauce– I still thought the unusual addition of aubergine, carrots and celery made it interesting.

The boys on the other hand, we’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. The verdict from both of them was “Meh.”

Would I make it again? Unlikely, given the mixed reception.

If you would like to make this yourself, click through this link to find the recipe in The Guardian, where it originally appeared.

 

“Baked Orzo with Mozzarella and Oregano” from “Plenty More”

“Cheese and Aubergine Oven Bake” from “Food”

If you would like to make this yourself, the recipe is posted on Food24 here. Enjoy.

Andrew (12): So this is from the new cookbook?

Maureen (enthusiastically): Yes! A month of vegetarianism. This should be interesting.

Andrew: Hmmm. Is all I can say. Then I want you to write, “Andrew pulls an unamused face.” [Andrew pulls an unamused face.]

Nicholas (9): I think it’s false advertising to call the cookbook “Food” but for it to be only vegetarian recipes.

Maureen: I don’t think it’s a bad thing that we eat more vegetables. It’s probably not a bad thing to try. Now what do you think of this?

Tim: I think it’s great.

Maureen: I think it’s lovely.

Continue reading ““Cheese and Aubergine Oven Bake” from “Food””

“Cheese and Aubergine Oven Bake” from “Food”

“Tomatoes marinated in lime juice and honey with salted mozzarella” from “Virgin to Veteran”

A rare day off. A lunch for one.

I marinated the tomatoes in a lime, coriander and honey dressing. The tomatoes were so very tasty and the mozzarella, a perfect foil. I will be making this salad all summer, mark my words!

“Tomatoes marinated in lime juice and honey with salted mozzarella” from “Virgin to Veteran”

“Farfalle with savoy cabbage, pancetta, thyme and mozzarella” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Peter: This smells like the broccoli pasta.

Anna: That will be the pine nuts. He puts pine nuts in almost every recipe in this book.

Peter: Are pine nuts very turn of the century then? What’s in now, during these recessionary times? Quinoa?

Anna: Dried things. And things you grow yourself. You can’t grow pine nuts. But, you can grow cabbage if you’re so inclined. I don’t think we’ve done this recipe before. And it’s rather nice.

Peter: You’re right, I can’t remember having it. But it’s a proper meal. And this is an easy way to sneak cabbage into someone’s diet.

Anna: Yes, hide it behind the saturated fat and salt of the mozzarella and pancetta. I think we’ll be having this again. It’s good for restoring your energy after your swimming lesson with Louis.

Peter: All that splish-splashing around in a circle and up in the air certainly takes it out of you.

Anna: I should mention that there’s no photos as the camera ran out of battery just as I was serving. This isn’t the sort of dish that can sit around while searching for an replacement.  Next time…..

“Farfalle with savoy cabbage, pancetta, thyme and mozzarella” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Rustic Summer Crumb Pasta” from “Fresh, Fast, Simple”

Maureen: First of all, there’s a problem. The name of this is “Rustic Summer Crumb Pasta.” Can anyone tell me what the problem is?

Andrew (12): It’s not summer.

Maureen: Bingo! But I’m not sure what makes it a summer dish. It’s not as if there’s anything really fresh in there other than the basil, but you can get that year round. What did you think?

Andrew: I think it’s really nice.

Nicholas (8, therefore not prone to liking much of anything that’s new): It’s good!

Maureen: Praise be! Nicholas likes it!

Continue reading ““Rustic Summer Crumb Pasta” from “Fresh, Fast, Simple””

“Rustic Summer Crumb Pasta” from “Fresh, Fast, Simple”

“Peach, prosciutto and mozzarella salad” from “Good Things to Eat”

Tom: Well, this salad is an old friend.

Kirstin: Or is it?

Tom: How is this version different from the usual Jamie one we’ve had for years?

Kirstin: It doesn’t have salad leaves — it just has mint, along with the usual peaches, prosciutto and mozzarella.

Tom: I like this salad because it’s an excuse to eat three things I like: peaches, prosciutto and mozzarella.

Continue reading ““Peach, prosciutto and mozzarella salad” from “Good Things to Eat””

“Peach, prosciutto and mozzarella salad” from “Good Things to Eat”