Of all the things we did in Italy I think I enjoyed the many hours we spent in outdoor cafes the best. Far away from day-to-day stresses and responsibilities we whiled away many an afternoon sipping wine and nibbling on tasty treats. In Italy they make it easy - if you can grab a table it's yours for as long as you like. We never felt rushed and, in fact, were encouraged to take our time and enjoy. So we did.
It was during those long afternoons that I felt the most relaxed during our trip. It was time to unwind and absorb everything we were seeing, doing, and tasting during our eight days in Florence. Don't get me wrong, all of our time spent site-seeing and walking around the city was amazing. I'm just the sort of person who needs some downtime in order to fully appreciate everything I'm experiencing. I've never been good at going a hundred miles an hour while on vacation.
Learning from our experiences in Italy we've been carving out time every so often to just sit and relax, preferably outside with a glass of wine in hand. On Sunday we were lucky enough to pick up some fresh tomatoes at a roadside farm stand. Those tomatoes, some fresh mozzarella and a little balsamic dressing made for a wonderful late Sunday afternoon snack along with cold glasses of Pinot Grigio. We sipped our wine, enjoyed the tomatoes and spent time just... well, just being. No doing.
Just like those afternoons in Italy.
Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
Serves 4 as a starter
There's nothing better than farm fresh tomatoes in the summer. I think they're best served with a simple dressing, although adding some fresh basil leaves, which would make it a proper caprese salad, is always nice, too.
2 large fresh picked tomatoes, sliced thick
5-6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
Arrange the tomato and cheese slices on a large plate or platter. Place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to chill. In a small bowl whisk the oil and balsamic together. Drizzle dressing over the chilled salad, season with kosher salt & fresh ground pepper.