Tag Archives: basil

A summery twist on caprese salad: Peach, Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Fresh Mozzarella

A summery twist on caprese salad: Peach, Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Fresh Mozzarella

Peach Watermelon Salad 2

If the sweltering summer heat has you cringing at the thought of slaving over a hot stove or dreading turning on your oven, then I’ve got the perfect, no-cook side dish recipe for you.

This summery take on a caprese salad is a light, refreshing side dish that showcases some of the best flavors of this season: savory tomatoes, sweet watermelon, juicy peaches and bright, verdant herbs. The best part: no pots, pans or hot ovens needed to throw this together. All you need is a cutting board, knife, whisk and a couple of bowls.

Perfect for picnics, dinner parties or a quick, weeknight side dish, this salad with white wine vinaigrette and herbs can be whipped up in a jiffy, a day ahead or à la minute. It can also be changed to your tastes — ditch the basil and add add tarragon or thyme, swap out the mozzarella for goat cheese or feta (or leave out the cheese altogether).

Keep your cool when cooking this summer and try out this sweet, savory, tangy and herbaceous side dish that I guarantee you’ll be making a staple in your kitchen.
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You say tomato, I say soup: Creamy Sherried Tomato Soup with Herbs

You say tomato, I say soup: Creamy Sherried Tomato Soup with Herbs

This easy-to-prepare tomato soup is comforting goodness in a bowl.

No matter the weather or season, any time is a great time for tomato soup. There’s something comforting and restorative about a warm bowl of tomato soup — homemade tomato soup, that is. For me, it’s one of life’s simple pleasures. This version in particular is so easy to prepare that you’ll be on your way to culinary bliss in no time.

When I first found this recipe and saw some of the main ingredients — tomato juice and chicken base — I worried that it would turn out tasting like something grandma would made or simply like I’d opened a can of Campbell’s (which is decent, but like I said, homemade simply tastes better). Turns out the ingredients totally work — the juice gives it added tomatoey oomph and the chicken base is a shortcut to using broth, which one would have to simmer for ages to achieve the same flavor.

The result is a pinkish-hued bowl of comfort to be served warm or piping hot (depending on your mood and the weather outside). I like to stir in chopped herbs like parsley and basil just before serving for a pop of color and flavor. As for the sherry, Ree used cooking sherry, whereas I prefer to use real sherry wine.

Sherry is a fortified wine that originates in Jerez (“Sherish”), Spain, and is typically served as an an aperitif used to “finish” and add flavor to dishes. I go by the old adage on cooking with booze: “If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.” Cooking sherry is a version of sherry which has been treated with salts and other additives so that it can be stored in the cupboard at room temperature. While this is all well and good, I’m not a fan of its flavor and prefer using standard dry (not sweet) sherry wine in its place. Don’t have sherry on hand? Not a problem. Try substituting a cup of dry red or white wine for the sherry — just add it before you throw in the tomatoes to let the flavors meld while they’re simmering together — or leave it out altogether.

Feel free to get a little creative with this recipe and personalize it as well. For added flavor, try throwing in a teaspoon or two of fresh, chopped rosemary or thyme when sweating the onions. Don’t want to use the cream and/or sherry? Not a problem. Try substituting a cup of dry red or white wine for the sherry; just add it before you throw in the tomatoes to let their flavors meld while they’re simmering together.

Not only is this tomato soup approachable for any cooking skill level, it’s perfect for a weeknight meal, as it only takes minutes to throw together and you can get it on the table in a flash. Serve it alongside a gooey grilled cheese sandwich and call it dinner.
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