Rainbow Tomato Caprese Salad

I’ve been waiting all summer for all three varieties of cherry tomatoes to ripen, and it finally happened:) I’m super excited to use them in salads because they have a high ornamental factor and because garden tomatoes taste so much better than store bought!

Now that its been a few months since our vacation to Italy, I’ve been craving Caprese Salad in particular.   Its one of my favorite types of salad (which maybe has something to do with the quantity of cheese and lack of lettuce) and it’s excellent when it’s made with fresh, good quality ingredients. I have been trying to track down some some good quality buffalo mozzarella since usually I am stuck using bocconcini (I don’t find it as flavorful).  I finally found some at Costco last weekend and with a rainbow of ripe tomatoes,  it was time to make Caprese Salad!

Like the bruschetta from my earlier post, there’s no recipe with specific amounts. All you need is three main ingredients, tomatoes, basil and fresh buffalo mozzarella, in whatever quantity you choose. If you’d like, you can drizzle with good quality olive oil or balsamic reduction to serve.  The challenge with the cherry tomatoes is assembling everything on the plate in an organized artful manner.  Luckily I had Brian to help with that:)

Here are a couple links to previous posts with info on the variety of tomato plants I grew:

https://howsitgrowing.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/seed-starting-time/

https://howsitgrowing.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/update-on-seedlings/

Veggie Update – May 22

So the veggie gardens are planted!!!

Last weekend we planted out the tomato, ground cherry and yellow zuchini plants we started from seed, and this weekend we planted the Black Beauty Eggplants. We also planted the last few seeds (cucumber, Purple Peacock Beans and green zucchini).  Here’s some photos of the three garden beds.

My garden

I planted my tomatoes pretty low in the ground, so they look pretty scrawny right now.  The two rows down the middle are turnips (‘early snowball’ variety, a white turnip) and there’s a Savoy King cabbage at one end and a Mamoth Red Rock cabbage at the other end.  By the fence, there’s the two Black Beauty Eggplants.  I”m still waiting for the cucumbers to come up in the centre, and purple peacock beans to come up at the two corners nearest the fence.

 

Brian’s garden

Brian’s garden is looking great, in particular his tomatoes and ground cherries. I buried my tomatoes deep, and I’m regretting not planting them higher like Brian did.  The ground cherries also look super healthy.  He also has cabbages at one end of the garden, and peas in the centre.  I think he also planted tomatoes.

 

Back garden

The back garden was seeded back in April, and is filling in quite nicely, in particular the Astro Arugula and Buttercrunch Lettuce.  The sugar snap peas are also growing well, and are almost tall enough to start training up the fence.

Here’s a picture of all three gardens, and a link to a previous post that has the layout for each of the gardens.

 

It may have been a bit premature to plant the tomatoes, because we had a couple nights that went down to 4 or 5 degrees, and then then the temperature soared above 30 this past weekend. The tomatoes that look a little worse for wear are the yellow cherry tomatoes, which because they were started a few weeks later, weren’t quite hardened off yet but we were so eager we planted them anyways (we wanted to plant all the tomatoes into the gardens at the same time). They got a bit sunburned, as per the pics below.

 

Here’s what’s left in terms of seedlings we started.  A couple yellow cherry tomatoes, a black cherry tomato, and a ground cherry. The peppers (super chilis and yellow mini bells) are also still in the process of being hardened off.

 

 

Most of the left over tomato seedlings have already been planted into pots.  I decided that to save money, I would grow tomatoes in the planters instead of pricey annuals (this is also how I justified buying a whole bunch of perennials for my new garden – more on that in an upcoming post!).  Plus tomatoes are one of the most satisfying things to grow 🙂 Not giving up completely on the ornamental aspect, I planted some marigolds in the planters as well (I got a big flat for $10 at Costco). Marigolds are also supposed to be great for deterring pests, and apparently like the same soil conditions as tomatoes.  And because that didn’t seem like enough, I also sprinkled some basil seeds 😛 I sprinkled sweet basil in the three smaller pots, and Genovese basil in the larger wooden looking pots.  The sweet basil grew super well in the garden, so I’m hoping it also turns out well in the pots.  And Genovese basil is supposed to be the best for making pesto, so I’m also excited to see how it turns out. In the three smaller pots, there’s a red F1 tumbler tomato. In the larger wooden looking pots, there’s one tomato of each variety: black cherry, yellow cherry, and red F1 tumbler tomato.  I think it will be fascinating to see how much everything grows over the summer.  I’m worried some of the tomatoes might get quite large, so I put bricks in the bottoms of the pots! I also need to buy more cages or start training the tomatoes up stakes! Photos below:)

Soon I will probably be planting the peppers and what’s left of the tomatoes into free plastic containers I got at Loblaws, (unless I give them away first!).