With the impending arrival of Little Tot, I took a brief hiatus from writing. My nesting phase consisted of cooking anything and everything I could think of that would freeze well. My thinking was I would be so drained from all those midnight feedings and sleepless nights that I wouldn’t have the coherence or the stamina to cook. The husband and I bought a used deep freezer off Craiglist. I felt like I was preparing for the Apocalypse as I prepared five pots of soup in one weekend and stockpiled various cuts of poultry that were on sale at the grocery store.
Little Tot arrived at two-thirty in the afternoon on August 10 weighing in at a very healthy 9 pounds 3 ounces! My biggest fear is that he will grow up to be a picky eater. However, given that he arrived weighing as much as a small toddler, he appears to enjoy eating and will hopefully keep an open mind when his Mommy asks him to try something new.
While the bulk of my cooking has consisted of reheating a previously frozen entrée, I did find time to make this delicious salad. I realize this past weekend was the last official weekend of summer, but you may be able to squeeze in this flavorful fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad. The husband and I tried growing our own tomatoes this year. I had visions of making fresh bruschettas, salsas, and sauces with all the bounty we were going to harvest. However, between the unrelenting heat, record amounts of rain, and the neglect our little garden suffered after Little Tot arrived, our harvest was a tad underwhelming to say the least. There is such variety textures and flavors going on here. If you are a tomato lover, this is definitely worth a try.
- 2 cups day old bread, cubed
- ½ cup plus two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound ciliegine (small fresh mozzarella balls)
- 1 ½ cups basil leaves, torn
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread cubes out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of salt and the Italian seasoning. Toss to coat. Bake for 5-10 minutes until croutons are slightly golden and crispy.
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining olive oil, salt, vinegar, and black pepper. In a separate bowl, combine tomatoes, ciliegine, and basil. Pour dressing over salad. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with toasted croutons.