Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Basil and Feta

Happy 2014! Many of us probably have eating healthier, or some variation, on our New Year’s resolutions list. We are very committed to the cause the first month or two, but things start to change a little towards the third month. Perhaps we just can’t quite make that spinning class, or we simply can’t bare the thought of eating another cold, boring salad. The reasons are endless. Let’s face it – eating healthy is much easier said than done. The trick, however, is to have a variety of easy, healthy and tasty recipes at hand.

That’s why this dish is one of my favorites! I first came across this recipe in a Living magazine. It’s such a nice mix of flavors that are light enough to serve as an app or side dish, but satisfying enough to serve as a main. Imagine Greek salad meets Caprese salad, all on top of a nice grilled slice of eggplant. It’s great to make on the outdoor grill in the summer, or on your stove top grill pan throughout the year. No grill pan? No problem. You can always use the good old frying pan!  Continue reading

Burrata and Tomato Salad

burrata tomato
Ladies and Gents, this is NOT your typical Caprese salad. Sure, who doesn’t love fresh mozzarella cheese sandwiched between sweet tomatoes and basil? But once you replace the mozzarella with fresh burrata cheese, you will never want to have Caprese salad any other way! Trust me.

Burrata is cheese made from mozzarella and cream. As you bite into burrata cheese, your initial reaction will be “oh, mozzarella.” But as you continue eating, your taste buds will get an unexpected burst of creamy goodness oozing out! This creamy goodness takes the Caprese salad to a whole new level.

Flavoring each layer of the salad is also very important, so that you get intense flavors with every bite. I like to sprinkle sea salt on the tomatoes because it’s not as salty as regular table salt, and it adds a nice crunchy texture to the dish. Freshly ground black pepper and good extra virgin olive oil are also a must.

My Burrata and Tomato Salad is the perfect dish to serve on a hot summer day. It takes no time to prepare and you and your guests will LOVE it!   Continue reading

Tomato and Basil Salad

I don’t think I need to mention again how much I LOVE tomatoes. I made this salad last night to serve with steak because I needed to use my Italian basil. We were away for vacation and the basil grew out of control! I whipped this salad together with just a few ingredients I already had in my kitchen. When tomatoes are this sweet in the summer, you don’t really need to add much to them. I used pearl tomatoes on the vine, but you could use any sweet tomato that is available in your store. Grape or heirloom tomatoes would be delicious as well. This salad could be served as an appetizer or side dish. It is so fresh and light – perfect for any summer meal! Continue reading

Fettuccine with Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil and Pecorino

I absolutely LOVE tomatoes, especially when they are cooked with pasta. So when I saw this dish on the menu at Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark, I knew it was a must try. Boy, was I in for a treat! The fettuccine tasted homemade and was cooked perfectly al dente. The heirloom tomatoes were so sweet and still had a bite to them. The most interesting part, however, was the use of lemon verbena. I’ve only had lemon verbena in tea, but never in an actual dish. Just a few of these leaves added a wonderful citrusy, bright, and refreshing taste to the Pecorino’s sharpness. It was truly the perfect combination. Continue reading

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Michael LOVES plum tomatoes when they’re in season. Not only are they sweet and juicy, they also have less seeds than other kinds of tomatoes. We were at the market one afternoon and saw the freshest plum tomatoes ever – bright red, perfectly ripe, but still firm to the touch! I wasn’t really in the mood to have a hot meal for dinner because of this everlasting heat wave, but I didn’t want just a salad either. As a compromise, we decided to make bruschetta. Plus, we had plenty of fresh Italian basil in our herb garden!

I kept the ingredients in this recipe very simple to ensure that nothing overpowers the sweet tomatoes. You could, of course, use any kind of tomato if plum tomatoes aren’t available or to your liking. Pair these little bites with a bottle of cool, crisp white wine and you’re set! Continue reading