What should we talk about today? Should it be the weather, specifically the derecho that hailed over NYC on Thursday? (Don’t worry, I was prepared — I wore pants.) But nothing really happened and I didn’t end up baking anything, so not much to say there.
Or we could talk about the Olympics, aka the only thing I will be paying attention to for the next two weeks. My new favorite sport: racewalking. Finally something I could possibly compete at in the Olympics! But I really need to work on my hip action and the event hasn’t started yet, so let’s wait a few days on that.
So … let’s talk about Mexico, specifically a personal challenge I made on the flight over: to eat anything and everything that was put on my plate. The trip really tested my mettle: I tried everything from octopus ceviche (surprisingly not that bad — proof that fresh seafood really does make a difference) to tacos de cabeza (beef cheek tacos, a bite of which was delicious, but a whole one would be a little much) to a host of fresh tomatoes, part a Mexican caprese salad that was one of the best things I ate during my weekend.
Topped with balsamic, fresh basil, rock salt and cubes of salty queso panela, the salad was salty, a little sweet, slightly acidic, with the firm cheese, tender tomatoes and crunch from the salt — perfect on so many counts. Turns out, when tomatoes are
masked by paired with delicious things, tomatoes are not all that bad.
It’s a lesson I took to heart, creating a version of that caprese bulked out with cubes of crusty bread, briny olives and sweet, crunchy bell peppers. Added to colorful heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market, pearl-sized rounds of fresh mozzarella (called perlini, from Whole Foods), plenty of fresh basil and a heavy pour of balsamic, this caprese panzanella, or Italian bread salad, becomes a hearty summertime meal that tastes even better the next day. AND it got me to eat tomatoes. Definitely something to talk about. Continue reading