Seems like Summer came early to the Lehigh Valley this year, temps in the upper 70’s and low 80’s in April, trees and plants started blooming quickly! With the early summery weather, people were out and about getting their yards & gardens ready for the upcoming Summer Season. I too, was thinking of what to plant this year and all the great foods filled my mind about dining al fresco. I have been leaning towards the idea of farm to table more and more as of late. Buy Fresh – Buy Local, do right by yourself, live a healthier lifestyle, clean eating.
During the warmer days that we recently experienced, I got the itch for Sun Teas & Caprese Salad. Although, the ingredients aren’t from my garden as of yet, most soon will be and yours as well and plenty of Farmers Markets opening this weekend!
Here a few recipes you can enjoy as the warmer weather will be returning soon…
Sun Teas can be made with various ingredients. Purchased tea bags, fresh & dried herbs, fruits, veggies, mints, etc. I picked up a bag of Sunburst Tea from Crooked Row Farms over the Winter at the Trexlertown Farmers Market @ the Velodrome. Recently, I purchased this acrylic pitcher from Bed, Bath & Beyond with a larger diffuser basket inside. I’m looking forward to all sorts of blends this year!
Pack diffuser (any type) with Sunburst Tea. Submerge in jug filled with water and set in sun for at least 2 hours. Any type of vessel will work. If a diffuser isn’t readily available, wrap dried herbs in cheese cloth and place in jar. I’ve been drinking sun teas unsweetened, however if you like to sweeten it, use local honey versus sugar. Dissolve 2 T. honey in 1 C. of warm water and add to the jar.
The next recipe I could eat several times a week and I usually do once Tomatoes & Basil are in season. Tomatoes and several type of basil take over half of my garden. More recipe and pictures to come once the season is underway.
(serves as 3 appetizers or 2 light lunches/dinners)
2 – hand sized tomatoes, cored & sliced
Bunch of Fresh Basil, leaves removed
8 ozs Fresh Mozzarella, sliced (1/4 inch)
Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
Himalayan Pink Salt
Fresh ground pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Basil Chiffonade (recipe below)
Layer tomato, basil, cheese (as shown) to fill plate. If you have a round plate, start from the outside and make a circle towards the center.
Zigzag balsamic reduction across the plate, grind salt & pepper over top, drizzle with EVOO.
Garnish plate with basil chiffonade. Serve
~ Bon Appetite
Lay 4 to 5 basil leaves as shown in picture, roll up tightly from stem end. Press seam side down, take French/chefs knife and cut across the roll. Fluff the threads with your fingers and garnish the plate, by sprinkling from above. Present for your guests!
The oils released from slicing the basil, are intoxicating and bring to mind other recipes like: Baked Pesto Chicken, Pesto Chicken Pate, Basil/Mozzarella-Tomato Grillers, Pesto Ricotta Crostini…….I know I’m making everyone hungry. Enjoy!
This tasty article was contributed by: Joe Scrizzi – The Valley Ledger Contributor