Tomato Caprese with Balsamic Vinaigrette

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This dish was the appetizer of an international dinner I made for the parents. Juicy roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and a bite of basil is as Italian as you can get. And the balsamic vinaigrette is the perfect pairing to step it up a notch. This is so simple that it really doesn’t even need a recipe.

Roma tomato
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Basil leaves

1. Cut tomatoes into medium-thick slices. Cut cheese into slices and place on top tomato. Place a basil leaf onto the cheese, and there you have it. A little tower of pure, fresh food.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Ground pepper

1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper.

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Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quiona Salad

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//I apologize for this semi-blurry and completely awful iPhone photo.//

A light, quick, easy, and delicious lunch. I love using quinoa seeds because they’re tiny little puffs of healthiness.

From Mel’s Kitchen Café (go there to see a much more pleasing photo)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (*I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen sweet white corn
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1.In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When shimmering and hot, add the onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.
2.Add the quinoa and cover with broth. Stir in cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes (or until all the liquid is absorbed).
3.Stir in the frozen corn and black beans. Cover and let the pot sit off the heat until the corn and beans are heated through, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve warm or chilled.

Flour Tortillas

We’re starting with the basics here, people. Flour tortillas can be the foundation for so many different meals. Or, they can simply be eaten with melted cheese. I know this because I am pretty sure I ate my weight in quesadillas back in the good old days of middle school (actually Anna and I would split them, so it was half my weight).

Unfortunately nearly all tortillas sold at the grocery store are laden with hydrogenated oils and mysterious ingredients with too many letters. Fortunately, these homemade tortillas are easier to make than those ingredients are to say.

These make perfect pizza crusts for individual sized pizzas. Make a lot and save the extras in the freezer! Kayla, these are perfect for you!


//Why yes, this is a very bad iPhone photo I tried to secretly take so my roommates and their boyfriends couldn’t tell that I was taking pictures of my food. But of course the sound went off.//

Homemade Flour Tortillas (3)
//Original website’s picture//

Homemade Flour Tortillas
from thecafesucrefarine.com

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 cup warm water

1. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the dough hook attached, mix dry ingredients until well combined. Add oil and water with mixer running at a medium speed. Mix for 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl. After about 1 minute, or when mixture comes together and begins to form a ball, decrease mixing speed to low. Continue to mix for 1 minute or until dough is smooth.

2.Transfer from mixing bowl to a well-floured work surface. Divide dough in half, then in half again. Continue until you have 16 fairly equal portions. Form each piece into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand as much as possible. If dough is sticky, use a bit more flour. Cover flattened balls of dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes before proceeding.

3. After rest period, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Roll each dough piece into a rough circle, about 6-7 inches in diameter, keep work surface and rolling pin lightly floured. Don’t stack uncooked tortillas on top of each other or they will get soggy.

4. When pan is very hot, place one dough circle into pan and allow to cook about 1 minute or until bottom surface is lightly browned in places and starting to bubble a bit. If tortilla is browning too fast, reduced heat a bit. If it’s taking longer than a minute to see golden brown spots on underside of tortillas, increase heat a bit. Flip to other side and cook for about 30 seconds. You want the tortilla to be soft but have small golden brown spots on surface. Remove from pan with tongs and stack on a plate till all tortillas are cooked. Allow to cool completely if not using right away, When cool, tortillas can be placed in a large zippered bag or plastic container. They will keep well at room temperature for 24 hours or can be frozen indefinitely.