Like Mom showed yesterday, we had a great time on our visit to Tennessee! The drive down reminded me of my days living in southwest Virginia— it is such beautiful country! Chad and I packed up the car, including Ollie, and hit the road on Thursday early morning to reach Mom & Dad’s house by early evening.
Ollie rides pretty comfortably in the back of the Mazda wagon and is generally an expert traveler. The difficulty on this trip was the 100 degree heat! We could only head into stops to get food and use the restroom one at a time while someone walked the dog or waited in the running car with the AC on.
However, it it’s going to be 100+ degrees, you might as well get to enjoy a spot like this. I hope our retirement can involve a view like this. We spent most of the daytime on Tellico Lake over our holiday weekend with a view of the Smoky Mountains.
It was so breezy and felt 20 degrees cooler on the water. I was cracking up at Ollie’s ears catching the wind while she overlooked the lake from the front of the boat! Note to self— retire near water with boat.
Mom had a ton of tomatoes from the farm so we were sent home with a bundle. The little yellow guys are heirloom tomatoes. I’m not a major plain tomato eater, but I am told by Mom and Chad that they are as sweet as grapes. I will probably just saute up the yellow squash at dinner one night this week, but I decided to use the tomatoes in a tomato and mozzarella salad.
I got the idea after we had some friends over for dinner a couple weekends ago and they brought this amazing tomato-mozzarella salad with herbs and pine nuts. So I was inspired to recreate it! DISCLAIMER- I am not a Food Network star, a foodie or even a very good cook (to be perfectly honest).
But I try hard to make healthy whole foods for us! Like home design, it’s a work in progress…
I started with all the smaller tomatoes, including the little yellow guys, and picked up cilantro, basil and fresh mozzarella cheeeeez (yum!). Other than those ingredients, all you need is olive oil, salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. We always have those latter helpers around.
I chopped the red tomatoes into chunks and just halved the little yellows. I salted the tomatoes pretty well while they were still on the board because it covers them more evenly than waiting until all the ingredients are already together in a bowl.
I used my super handy herb snips (from Crate and Barrel) to effortlessly shop up a little bundle of cilantro right off the bunch along with a few basil leaves.
cutting the cheese slicing the cheese into bite size chunks, I mixed it all with a hefty drizzle of olive oil, a splash of the balsamic vinegar and more salt and pepper.
How easy peasy is that?! It’s a no-cooking, simple healthy summer dish. No measuring, no fuss. It was ready within 15 minutes of getting home from the grocery store to have for dinner and I’ll take the rest to work with a few extra goodies for my lunch. Voila!
Always the sign of a good dish… empty! Our friends that brought this over also had pine nuts in it, which I really loved. Next time I will add that as well. Otherwise, just the simple mixture of salt and fresh pepper with an olive oil and vinegar dressing is perfection.
Anyone else have a good use for a pile of garden tomatoes? I know Mom would love the ideas because they have tomatoes up to their ears right now coming out of their garden. Cheers to home grown food!