This is summer time all the way. Fresh garden tomatoes and basil, you can’t go wrong. Plus mozzarella and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar?! Yes please! It is 6 AM right now and I am craving one, that is saying something lol. I could eat this all summer long and not get tired of it. I swear. But, I won’t, because then I wouldn’t have anything new to post! But, don’t be fooled, this is on repeat in the kitchen all summer long at our house once tomatoes start ripening.
Normally I try to plant basil in window boxes on the deck and I will be honest with you, it never seems to do too well. I don’t know if it is the dirt mixture or maybe the window box holds too much water. As with most herbs, basil does NOT like to be wet, keep it on the dry side. Flavor is also improved by allowing it to “stress” by letting it dry out between waterings. I mean, my basil grows, but the leaves never get that substantial. Luckily for me, I apparently can’t read my seed pouches. I thought I planted spinach in my raised bed garden, until I went to pick some for a salad and instantly smelled the distinct scent of basil. Turns out, my entire spinach square is actually basil, and it is doing awesome! Like actual big leaves, perfectly green, happy as can be. Obviously, I was ecstatic, until I realized this meant I didn’t have any spinach for my lunch salad. Oh well, I have 3 other types of lettuce and kale in the garden, I think I will survive.
Another tip for basil is to continue to pinch it back (take the top section off), even if you aren’t going to necessarily eat it all. Maybe throw it in the freezer. If you don’t pick basil often, it will start to go to seed (called bolt). That is when you see the white flower stalks coming on the tops. When it bolts, the flavor of the leaves change and even if you pinch it back after it bolts, it will immediately bolt again. So, save yourself the sadness, and make these yummy sammies for lunch!!
- 1 loaf whole wheat bread (I like buying a nice fresh loaf of bread from the bakery that I can slice to my own thickness, you want the slices a little thicker.)
- Coconut oil or butter to spread on the bread
- 1 tomato, sliced
- Handful of basil leaves
- Fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced
- Balsamic vinegar to drizzle
- Preheat a George Foreman, a panini press, or a frying pan on the stove to medium heat.
- Spread one side of each bread slice with either coconut oil or butter.
- Place a slice of bread, butter side down, on the cooking surface. Add mozzarella cheese, followed by 2 tomato slices, drizzle the balsamic on the tomato slices (the tomato soaks it up so your bread doesn't get all soggy), then top with a few basil leaves. Put the other slice of bread on top.
- Cook until bread is nice and toasty on both sides and cheese is melty.