Pony Rides and Caprese Salad

We had such a great weekend, hope yours was fantastic as well!!  There’s nothing better than quality time with the ones I love 🙂  Yesterday, we took our daughter for a pony ride at Bonnie Springs Ranch.  The ranch was originally built in 1943 as a stopover for wagon trains going to California down the Old Spanish Trail.  They’ve since converted it into an old Nevada Western Town with stables, a small zoo, and train rides!  This is Blueberry and a very happy little girl 🙂

My basil is growing well in the backyard and so I decided to make one of my favorite side dishes, caprese salad!  This dish would be perfect for a BBQ or potluck picnic…fresh basil and sweet ripe tomatoes paired with creamy mozzarella and a sweet balsamic glaze.  Is there anything better?  I love all the different tomatoes you can get in the summertime.  This is a mixture of cute heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe’s…yellow, red, purple, and green zebras!

The first thing is to make your balsamic glaze.  It’s so easy, and when you reduce down the balsamic vinegar, it takes on a sweeter flavor and makes it thicker and more syrupy.  All you do is pour two cups of balsamic vinegar into a pot, bring it to a boil over medium-low heat and then let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until it has reduced to a slightly thicker consistency.  Then just add some salt and pepper, and red chili flakes if you want a little kick!  Allow this mixture to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.  You can keep this in the fridge for later use as well, or mix it with some olive oil to make an easy vinaigrette.

I grabbed some fresh basil leaves from my garden and did a chiffonade (pile them on top of each other, roll like a cigar, and then slice into thin ribbons).  The cute little mozzarella balls are called cilegine and are available in most supermarkets.   You could also use fresh buffalo mozzarella and cut it into a dice.  Or buy bigger tomatoes and slice both the mozzarella and tomatoes into rounds and layer them in between the basil leaves for a pretty presentation!

Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the ingredients and top with fresh basil.  Enjoy!

Caprese Salad

2 cups balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

red chili flakes (optional)

fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

one pound cherry or heirloom tomatoes, or sliced vine-ripened tomatoes

cilegine mozzarella balls or other fresh mozzarella

Make balsamic glaze by bringing balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-low heat, and then allowing to simmer for another 15-20 minutes until reduced and thicker in consistency.  Add in salt and pepper to taste, and red chili flakes if you want a little spice.  Drizzle mixture over tomatoes and mozzarella, mix to combine.  Top with fresh basil leaves.

How was your Memorial Day weekend?  Any favorite summer dishes?

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9 thoughts on “Pony Rides and Caprese Salad

  1. Seth went on a pony ride once last fall and loved it. But since then he refuses to get back on one. I think he would if I got on with him but that would be animal abuse – we don’t want to break the pony’s back!
    PS: I LOVE LOVE LOVE caprese salad!!!

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