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I love gardening, and grew up with a huge yard with plenty of space for flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Moving to Ottawa presented a challenge: how can I have a garden in a very limited urban space? The answer: a small container garden on the balcony of our 4th floor, downtown apartment. Of course, I did have to scale the garden down, so we picked out some flower planters for colour, a few of our favourite herbs (parsley, chives, basil, + parsley), and one cherry tomato plant that has turned into a giant, 4-foot, tomato-producing monster.

So, the tiny urban garden has been a success! I love having our own little green space in the middle of the city, where we can relax with a glass of wine (or two) after a long day of work. And, now that we're well into July, we get to enjoy the fruits of our labour! The herbs make a great fresh addition to meals, and the cherry tomatoes? Well, that's what I'm writing about today.

Caprese salad is a classic Italian dish, based around fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Since we have 2 of these ingredients already growing in our garden, it's a perfect side dish or yummy snack for these hot summer days. Traditionally, it's made with Roma tomatoes, but since we have a bounty of tiny, bit-size cherry tomatoes, I decided to put my own fun twist on this classic. So, without further ado: Caprese Salad Skewers with Balsamic Drizzle!


- Cherry Tomatoes
- Mozzarella pearls
- Basil leaves
- Salt + freshly cracked black pepper
- Balsamic reduction* 

Take a toothpick, and stack mozzarella pearl, basil leaf, and cherry tomato (in any order you like!). Sprinkle with salt + pepper, then drizzle with just a little balsamic reduction to bring some tang and sweetness.

*Balsamic Reduction:
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar (don't worry about splurging on anything too expensive here!)
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup for sweetness + my Canadian twist
- 1 garlic clove, crushed

Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it come up to a simmer. A lot of the vinegar will cook off as it simmers, so if you can open a window or turn on a fan, that's a good idea! Let the balsamic mixture cook down for 20-30 minutes or until it's reduced by at least half. The reduction will thicken as it cools to a nice syrupy consistency, so let it cool down to room temperature, then drizzle away!

Caprese Salad

You can use other sweeteners, like honey or sugar, as well as other flavourings, like rosemary instead of garlic. If you have leftovers after making these Caprese Skewers, save it for Tomato Bruschetta (recipe coming soon!), or drizzle it on a salad, grilled chicken, or even just on some nice Italian bread.

August 22, 2016 by Emily Pauley
Tags: Recipe

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