Berry Caprese Salad

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Ah, what a whirlwind of a week so far.  The positive feedback so far on the new look of the website has been so overwhelmingly wonderful.  I am so glad that you all are finding it much more user-friendly and easy to use.

Here’s a random story for you.

So, I took my animals to an “animal communicator” the other day.  Ok, ok, before you go nuts on me, I have to say that I was a little hesitant myself.  I had heard about her from the good people who look after Scout during the day, and they had said that the reviews of her sessions were amazing.  Given that my brother (who has an interest in anything having to do with the supernatural) was in town visiting, we thought we would check it out.  (Maybe have a beer beforehand, but still…check it out.  Besides it was a block away.)  So we went, with one very excited but confused dog and two pretty pissed off cats in their cat carriers.

I didn’t know what to expect, but since I am such an animal lover (and by animal lover, I mean I have probably bestowed upon my animals personalities that are probably not entirely all true…does anyone else do this?), I wanted to see if she would be able to pick up on their personalities somehow in the 30 minutes we would spend together…all six of us….in a very small room.

The first sentence that came out of her month made my jaw drop.  She picked up on the Girl’s hip pain/limp without even taking her out of the carrier.  Which is really funny to me because the Girl has been walking with a little skippy limp for a while now but a vet checked it last year and said she was fine.  She immediately picked up on the dynamics between the two cats. Cosmo, my obese red-headed cat, who doesn’t have the best personal hygiene in the world, apparently was wondering why Jinx doesn’t play with him (ummm…probably because of the personal hygiene thing…coupled with the fact that he eats all her food.)  Oh, and he thinks about treats a lot, which I guess wouldn’t be too much of a stretch considering his excessive body weight.  There was some deep conversation there, too, about some personal stuff that brought a few tears to my eyes.  What the heck?  How does she know this stuff?  And then she started with Scout, and it just got comical.  Scout was complaining that she hadn’t been riding in the front seat of the car (because my brother had been that week), which is usually her spot.  She was “telling” the lady how she chews her bones…in graphic detail, which the lady described back to me. She was telling the lady how much she loved sleeping in my bed and how much she does NOT want another human in the bed, sleeping with us.  She told the lady that I had been making popcorn recently (which I really have been-old school-style, on the stove, and Scout loves to watch.)  She told the lady how much she loves the people who take care of her during the day and how she feels like she is the “most popular” dog there because she feels like everyone loves her so much.  I have to say, based on Scout’s behaviors, that all this is pretty true.

Ok.  Some of the stuff wouldn’t be too hard to come up with, I’ll admit.  But some of the more personal details is what got me.  It was pretty uncanny, and both my brother and I left, feeling a little embarrassed and shocked…and after having experienced that, definitely ready for another beer.

But I love random stuff like that. It was fun, no matter what.  And it makes for a great story.  (Probably not material for a first date, though.)

On to the food.

I made this salad a couple of weeks ago on a complete whim.  We were having a cook-out, so I wanted something a bit lighter that I could eat as a main course instead of buying a pack of veggie dogs and only eating one out of the pack.  I had originally only intended to make it with strawberries, as sort of a twist on a classic caprese salad, but I saw some amazingly beautiful blueberries at the store and couldn’t resist.  The nice thing here is that you could add in pretty much whatever you want.  I added in the toasted slivered almonds for a bit of a crunch, and I thought this was a nice touch.  I mean, how can you go wrong with mozzarella and a good balsamic reduction?

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Berry Caprese Salad

Servings: about 4-6

 

Ingredients

For the balsamic reduction:

1/2 cup high-quality balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

For the salad:

About 5 ounces fresh spinach leaves (or more, depending on how much salad you want)

16 ounces fresh strawberries, thinly sliced

4 ounces fresh blueberries

1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

8 ounces ciliegine mozzarella, drained and chopped into pieces (cherry-sized bits of mozzarella, or whatever kind of mozzarella you like)

Handful fresh basil, torn (depending on how much basil you like)

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Instructions

1. For the balsamic reduction:  In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and salt, stirring to combine.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low, letting the mixture cook until thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes or so.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. For the salad:  Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to combine.

4.  Lightly drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad, toss to coat evenly, and serve immediately (alternatively, just serve out your salads and then drizzle the balsamic reduction over each one individually.)

 

Source:  A Curvy Carrot original.

 

May 22, 2013 - 8:05 am

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Baaahahaha!! Omg, best story ever!! I’ve been thinking about taking my cat Molly to one of those animal communicator ppl more just to see what it’s like. I LOVE that you went! Oh, and this salad is awesome!

May 22, 2013 - 10:31 am

Maria Tadic - The salad looks really good. I never thought of adding fruit to a caprese, but it kinda makes sense. Tomatoes are slightly sweet and acidic and so are those berries!

And you’re definitely NOT the only one who assigns personalities to your animals. We have a fat little English bulldog and he has an incredibly distinct personality. To the point where my husband and I can recognize his facial expressions and what he wants or what he’s about to destroy! It’s crazy.

May 22, 2013 - 12:31 pm

srlacy - Hahaha, Maria! I know! It’s so funny!

May 22, 2013 - 12:31 pm

srlacy - Thanks, Katrina!

May 22, 2013 - 7:46 pm

Virginia - This salad looks amazing- and exactly like what I wish I had had for lunch today. I can make it a trifecta that you are definitely not the only one who does this to their animals. My mom, sister and I send each other’s pets emails, texts and cards from our respective pets. My friends think it’s hilarious!

May 23, 2013 - 4:25 pm

Sherri @The Well Floured Kitchen - This looks beautiful and delicious. I too have never thought of adding fresh fruit to a caprese salad, but the balsamic and berries makes so much sense! Pinning to try later :)

May 27, 2013 - 3:49 pm

Courtney @ The Fig Tree - Love the new look for the blog! It looks fantastic! Love the logo :)

And this salad looks amazing! What a great idea! I love berries in salad. Cannot wait to make this.

May 27, 2013 - 4:30 pm

srlacy - Thanks Courtney!

May 28, 2013 - 7:42 pm

laurasmess - Your blog is BEAUTIFUL Shanon! I found you through Annie’s Eats (love that you both have similar passions and equally gorgeous and inspiring blogs) and I’ve already spent close to 20 minutes reading your recipes and stories (whilst admiring your beautiful photography!). Glad that you manage to balance both your day job as a physician and this creative outlet. Talented woman is an understatement!
Anyway, this recipe looks lovely, nourishing and light. The ‘animal communicator’ story is fascinating! Hm. I don’t know what to think of such things… hilarious, when retold by you though! I love boxers. They’re my favourite dogs but unfortunately my husband and I live in a tiny apartment. Not large enough for a dog at present. Scout is so gorgeous!!

May 28, 2013 - 7:47 pm

srlacy - Aww, thank you! That means a lot, especially after a day like today! :) Scout is my baby girl…she’s curled up in a sleepy ball right now!

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