“To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist – the problem is entirely the same in both cases. To know how much oil one must mix with one’s vinegar.”–Oscar Wilde

I love food. What’s more, I love to share good food with good people. Beverly and I will usually switch off and treat each other to lunch when we have photo shoots. Instead of our usual, makes-us-feel-better-about-ourselves carrots and hummus, I wanted to surprise my favorite boss ever with a fresh, summery salad.

Tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad is one of my favorite things. So I sliced up some Campari tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and some basil from my little herb garden. To beef it up a little and make a heartier lunch, I added some leaf lettuce, roasted red peppers, and black olives. To make the croutons, I cubed some crusty, whole wheat bread and tossed it with olive oil, sea salt, ground pepper, rosemary, and garlic powder on a cookie sheet. Popped it in a 350 degree oven and baked until they were all delicious and crouton-like (I never time this–I just keep checking until they seem crunchy enough, probably about 15 minutes).

Here, as promised, is the honey balsamic vinaigrette recipe (this made a lot; a little vinaigrette goes a long way):

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 C good quality balsamic vinegar

1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 garlic clove, minced

1-1/2 TB honey

1/2 TB sugar

I poured everything into a leftover jelly jar and shook it vigorously (seriously, you need Popeye arms for this; otherwise, the oil won’t emulsify). Add a little salt and pepper if you want. I prefer this vinaigrette sweet, but if you don’t, cut back on the sugar and honey a bit. To change it up, I sometimes add a touch of Dijon mustard. Yum, yum, and yum. Mangia!

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