Sunday, June 3, 2012

Caprese Salad with Basil and Mint - A Recipe Swap

 It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.
--Eleanor Roosevelt 

Not blogging is as much of a challenge for me as blogging. These past few months, outside of work, sleep and gym have been options. I've only just started to feel the vibe of my new neighborhood, Venice, where I've lived for six months. ("The vibe" is Southern Californian for "settling in".) This cycle of lesser and greater roles comes and goes, and as the work comes, I become more vigilant about my time. This summer, between projects, I'm planning to learn how to ride a motorcycle, backpack a few times, visit my beloved library in the Great Plains, and (gulp) go back to school. In a couple of years, I might just be a kick-ass multi-media designer and editor.

A couple of weeks ago, my internal marine layer came in, and stayed, overhead. Every day, I'm posting a picture of it on, which I've linked to my Tumblr. It clouds everything but change and loneliness; two things that visit when I'm about to enter "my reading period". It came early this year. I am hoping to see through my own window, which is why I'm taking pictures of it, keeping this month of introspection close as I move forward into I-don't-know-what. It may not be just a month. It may only take a week.

So, the mint pie. For the first time in recipe swap history, I didn't want anything to do with this recipe. I wasn't inspired by it, didn't want to make anything heavy or pastry or chocolate. So, I made the proverbial lemonade out of the recipe, took the anchor ingredient, and turned it into what I wanted it to be. Isn't that what all of our role models do? Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, our Mothers? It is time to let the clouds come in, narrow the view to the elements that make life or an idea coalesce, and dig. Deep.

It's hard to write anything other than a personal post, since I've been absent so long. I thank you, as always for reading and for all of the words of the Recipe Swappers who tirelessly challenge themselves every month with this crazy idea of a vintage recipe, released to the masses, for reinvention.  Please enjoy all of our takes on Mint Pie below!

Caprese Salad with Basil and Mint
Burwell General Store, and an entire history of Italian cuisine
Serves Six

four ripe heirloom tomatoes
a handful of basil, about a cup, chiffonade
a small handful of mint, about 1/4 cup, chiffonade
Eight ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped into 1/2" cubes
2 T really good olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
balsamic vinegar to taste, about 2tsp

Chop tomatoes and mozza into cubes. Finely chop basil and mint, and toss all together, gently, sprinkling with salt (to taste) olive oil and balsamic, just before serving.


  1. Your salad sounds delicious. I'm feeling desperate for garden fresh tomatoes here! We've had a couple of romas and a handful of cherries from the garden so far. I'm ready for overflowing baskets!

  2. This was a particularly difficult recipe for me too, although unlike you I was initially inspired by it. But then when things did not turn out as planned I just got frustrated with it! :)
    I love caprese salad and those vegetable look so fresh and nice. I have never used mint in it but I bet it would be a refreshing addition.

  3. Seems many of us struggled with this mint pie; I love that you weren't afraid to be creative with your take. While working on my chocolate popsicles I happened to create a caprese cocktail, tomatoes are the essence of summer. Good swap and good luck on your new adventures too!

  4. I like that you chose a recipe that you wanted nothing to do with! I, too, wasn't inspired by the recipe. And, I just went with the mint element as well. I do miss your blogging (but love your photos/tumblr). Seems like you've been a busy lady! This recipe is perfect for such a time as this. It's summery, healthy, simple, and works for the swap. Love it.

  5. Love the simple addition of mint to totally change up something so basic. And good luck with school - sounds like you are starting a bunch of fun adventures!

  6. Hi CM - change and loneliness are dangerous things. I blogged about them today to, as well as the absence of blogging in my life in general. I miss it. I'm reminding myself to find comfort and expression in food, which is obviously what you've done here. Let food be your medicine, in some small way. And kick ass on that motorcycle. I can see you on it already.

  7. Yes, dig deep. This recipe definitely caused me to dig deep. I was not feeling it one. bit. But it's amazing what that leads to! I'm also with you on not being able to write as much. It's tough. I love food and cooking. It's tough to be separated from it. Here's to hopefully more writing. If it feels right.

  8. I was inspired initially by this one and had huge plans for it revolving around mint. Then we all got sick and that was that. I scrambled at the last minute to make something which is very unlike me. I love that you did a caprese salad with mint. Nice to see a non sweet recipe with mint.

  9. What a great spin on the original recipe! I am so glad that you are learning and stretching and growing, and I totally can relate to that amazing loneliness that comes with those periods of change. It seems all so overwhelming at times, but I must keep reminding myself that staying stagnant isn't an option. Looks like you feel the same way.

    Oh, hey-- is our group going to do a swap this month? I do miss them...


Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Stay positive!