Easy Caprese

This summer has been a busy one! I've been juggling multiple cases heading to trial at the same time on a shortened schedule. Sadly, this means far fewer opportunities to cook, and during meals out with the trial team, sometimes I end up bringing home leftovers that I'm not even home long enough to consume. I'm ashamed to say that I've had to throw out some leftovers. The good thing about living with other people is that they can at least benefit to some extent from the leftovers and eliminate waste.

While time for cooking was lacking, my body's demands for a homemade meal increased. When I eat out too often, my body just doesn't feel quite right. I needed something fresh and cleansing. That's where my basil plants, in conjunction with Trader Joe's and the local farmer's market, come to the rescue.

The basil plants have grown quite well in the planter boxes in the back yard and yield an abundance of nice big leaves for me, even in the face of bugs that love them too. After spending 5-6 bucks for the mozzerella cheese log and tomatoes (either heirlooms from the farmers' market or the awesome brown kumato tomatoes from TJ's), I can make enough caprese to feed me for a couple of meals, or feed myself and the roommies. Prep time takes 10 minutes, at most.

Instructions are simple--slice tomatoes and put them on a plate, then slice up the cheese and lay them on top. Roughly chop up the basil leaves and cover up the cheese and tomatoes. Crack some black pepper over that, drizzle some olive oil and balsalmic vinegar, and you're done.

Caprese was especially refreshing on the many hot nights we had this summer. I also played around with a different variant, since I had some cucumbers and cut-up bread left over from a Hollywood Bowl jaunt. I layered the pieces so that they resemble more of an appetizer. Instead of cutting up the basil leaves, I left them whole and stacked them between slices of cucumbers. It was good, though a bit difficult to eat because the bread was so thick. Next time, I'll slice the bread thinner and toast them.

OK, back to the grind...