Now that we have space at the "new" house, Saturday was our first time ever hosting our weekly family dinner with my parents, aunt & uncle and my sister's little family. Unfortunately, my sis's family was absent. Sad for them - dinner rocked.
Dinner was BBQ chicken pizza, meat lovers pizza, and cheese pizza on homemade dough. The pizza was great (patting myself of the back), but for the me, the highlight of the meal were the sides - caprese salad and grilled summer veggies. I could eat these things any and every day.
Even Jack's Star Wars machine got in on the veggie action
I used to hate raw tomatoes. I'd pick them off of anything they came on, and just turned my nose up at the idea of a raw 'mater. That all changed for me when we lived in Los Angeles, and my company had a dinner at a little Italian restaurant in Venice called Via Veneto. A plate of caprese salad came out on the table, and I of course was planning to abstain. Everything was served family style, and a coworker placed one on my plate. I said that I didn't like tomatoes, and the very very very Italian waiter explained to me that this was a dish not to be missed. Everyone at the table told me to stop being a wimp and to just eat it. Peer pressure won. I caved. Thank god.
The tomato was fresh, the basil was wonderful, and the mozzarella. Dear god, the mozzarella. It was unlike anything I had every experienced before. I asked the waiter where I could get some for myself, and he (in a very hushed voice) told me I could find something similar at Costco. COSTCO?!
Despite the fact that going to Costco in Southern California is like being in downtown Beruit in the 80's, I chanced it. The brand that I've now found at LA and Washington Costco(s) that tastes delicious is Fattori Garfalo. They keep it by the speciality cheeses; if you're near the rotisserie chickens, you're probably pretty close! It comes in a tub of milky water (whey?), and you get four large balls of buffalo mozzarella for about $8. Worth.every.penny!
I serve it on sliced tomatoes with basil from my garden. Drizzle with a good organic olive oil (we actually love Costco's own Kirkland signature organic kind), sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. YUM!
For the veggies, I sliced Walla Walla sweet onions, zucchini, and eggplant and marinated with mixture of olive oil and McCormick's Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning (also from Costco). Special thanks to my dear friend Elaina for turning me on to this magically seasoning. I let the veggies marinate for about 4 hours. Now I know that the steak seasoning probably isn't so great for you - I'm sure it's full of MSG or something, but it's SO good and perfect on chicken or veggies.
Troy grilled the veggies in a grill basket, and we served everything with pizza hot from the oven.
A stupid crow keeps pulling my zucchini seedlings from the garden, but I pray that he leaves the most recently planted one alone. That way, I can be guaranteed a steady supply of free zukes so that we can have this every day until fall.