Friday, July 25, 2008

Caprese salad, Grilled herbed squash, grilled corn on the cob

When your veggies are very fresh, sometimes the less you do with them the better. These three dishes aren't really recipes aside from methods of cooking or presenting the food.
As I mentioned in an earlier post we usually grow a basil plant on our porch to have fresh leaves on hand. It's not enough to do batches of pesto but it's good for adding to sauces or for this traditional Italian salad.
Two large fresh tomatoes
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella
fresh basil leaves
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
Obviously, the higher quality all of these are, the better this will be. I got the tomatoes from the Friday Harvard square farmer's market. The mozzarella wasn't great, it was from costco. We've been making our own cheese and mozzarella is one of the easier ones, but I didn't have time to make a batch for this. (The other cylinder in the picture is our first attempt at cheddar, check back in 6 months to see how it turned out.)

The preparation is just to slice up everything evenly and layer it together, then drizzle some oil and vinegar over it. I always try to get equal numbers of things (although certain people around the house don't mind when there's extra slices of cheese.) Slice up the limiting reagent, in this case the tomatoes, then calculate how many times you'll need to cut the other ingredient. Cut the tomatoes vertically in half, then cut each half into slices. In this case I had 28 slices of tomato so I quartered the cheese then cut it into 7 slices. I actually used a whole pound instead of a half so the slices are think. Put alternating layers of tomato, cheese, and basil on a plate- if you really want to get anal about presentation you can pay attention to things like alternating which direction the half moons of tomato are facing on each layer, or using whole basil leaves if you have a lot.
In our continuing efforts to use up zucchini from the garden, I grilled some of them along with the summer squash from the Kendall market. Cut them fairly think or they'll fall apart on the grill- each squash into three or four slices the length of the fruit. Layer them in a container and sprinkle with oil, vinegar, and herbs (in this case rosemary, basil, and oregano from the porch.) Here's the batch marinating, along with the finished salad:

People have different opinions about grilling corn. I cut off the tops with the husks still on, cut off most of the stem, remove the tougher outer leaves, then soak in water to avoid charring on the grill. This corn was also from Kendall- corn from local farms tends to have ear worms, another good reason to cut off the tops. Soak for about an hour, then wrap each in foil. Everything then went on the grill:

For cooking the squash, flip when the edges appear cooked, then take it off when the juices start to bubble from the middle of the slice- that means it's cooked through. Rotate the corn every five minutes or so. The whole cooking took about 15 or 20 minutes. Unwrap the corn and husk- again, for presentation, you can leave the open husk on as a handle if you want. Here's the final result:


What A Card said...

Looks good! How did you learn to make cheese? I've been thinking of signing up for a class, but the only one I found is about an hour and a half away!

Katie said...

Josh (who is my husband) learned to make cheese from me, and I learned to make cheese from the class that you probably found far away at New England Cheesemaking. I did it as a day trip with a couple friends, including Lee who also blogs here. I thought we'd make simple cheese, but Josh has recently attempted cheddar and Monterey Jack, though we won't know how they are for a while since they have to age for months.

What A Card said...

Yes, that was the class I was considering (and even talked to fellow contributor Snickollet about it as well). Maybe I'll finally get around to registering for one!

Did you enjoy the class? I'm guessing so if you're still making cheese!

Katie said...

It was a good class, but you could probably handle the soft cheeses (mozzarella, ricotta) on your own pretty easily without it if you buy a kit. Maybe Josh and I could do a little demo sometime. The mozzarella is really fast.

What A Card said...

That would be really fun! My book group read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I was tempted to try making mozzarella via an online recipe, but chickened out :)