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Polenta Caprese Stack



Polenta Caprese Stack

ahhhh…we consumed the first local tomatoes of the season yesterday.

I know that our friends to the south have been enjoying tomatoes for several weeks, but the Maryland harvest has been delayed due to the mild summer we’ve been experiencing.  I had just started to hear reports from friends that their backyard tomatoes were beginning to ripen , so I was hopeful that this would be the first week we would have them at the farm where I work as a packer.

Next to eating them straight up sliced on a plate with a bit of sea salt, this is the purest way I can think of to experience a homegrown tomato.  The addition of store bought polenta (feel free to make your own if you’re feeling ambitious) makes it a heartier salad.

Polenta Caprese Stack


  • one 18 ounce tube of polenta, sliced
  • one medium ripe tomato, sliced
  • 6-8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • basil leaves
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of crushed red pepper

Cook the polenta:

You can do this a number of ways.

Saute (my preferred way if I'm not grilling it. It gives the polenta a slightly crispy golden crust, while the inside stays creamy): Heat a large skillet and add approximately 1 Tbsp olive or grape seed oil. Add slices of polenta to the skillet and cook about 7-8 minutes. Turn polenta over carefully and continue to cook on the other side another 5-7 minutes or until slightly golden.

Bake it: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lay the polenta slices on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake approximately 10 minutes.

Grill it: Preheat a grill on low. Grill polenta slices on a grate oiled with olive oil approximately 10-12 minutes or until golden, flipping halfway through.

Meanwhile, make the balsamic reduction:

Add the vinegar, honey, and crushed red pepper to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium low heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick and syrupy, about 10-12 minutes.

Stack your layers:

Polenta - tomato - mozzarella - basil - polenta - tomato - mozzarella - basil - polenta

Top with balsamic sauce and more basil (if desired)


Polenta Caprese Stack



Bite-size Caprese skewers (also, it’s been quiet over here)

IMG_3692-EditFrom time to time, I think about the fact that technology is evolving almost at the speed of light.  As soon as something new comes out and is purchased, a newer, faster, and prettier one is right behind it.

Even more often than that, I think about how so many people, as they age, have given up on technology.  They don’t bother to learn or invest in it anymore.  They’ve thrown their hands up in the air and declared “I’m done”.  Technology has, for the most part, passed them by.  Many of my own peers, who own iPhones and iPads, don’t really have a handle on how they work or interact within a network or system (cue my husband’s eyes rolling at the mention of Apple’s Cloud).

Recently, I was at a work seminar sitting next to a coworker who is about 10 years my senior.  Her phone rang-a brand new Samsung Galaxy.  She became flustered and said she didn’t know how it worked or how to answer it.  She accidentally cut the call off.  She said she had told her husband she wanted a phone that would take pictures, but that it was too “newfangled” for her to figure it out. I simultaneously felt amused, and then…dare I say it?  yeah…Pity.

Then I wondered, when is this going to happen to me?  When am I going to become so frustrated and overwhelmed at the speed of development that I simply don’t want to learn anymore?  When will I decide I can’t be bothered to keep on keeping up?

It’s been quiet here at Fiercely Fresh because I’ve moved from WordPress to self-hosting and it’s been frustrating, to say the least.  I want to do more creatively with the style of the blog, but can’t do it within the constrains of WordPress.com. I’m pretty proud that I have managed to set up hosting, install WordPress and (this was a biggie) migrate all of my blog content to my new server.  It took me a day and a half of emailing tech support and watching tutorials, but I did it (and saved myself $129 that WordPress wanted to charge me to do it!).  I like to think that in this case of Me vs. technology, I kicked some megabutt.

So while I’ve crossed this hurdle of getting the site moved, I’m still trying to figure out the design without knowing a lick of computer code. So be patient…better things are coming.

We’ve been in the midst of a heatwave this past week, so sitting in front of the computer screen figuring things out has been an acceptable way to pass time.  These days when the temperature peaks at 100 degrees don’t lend themselves to turning on the stove to cook.  A little cold finger food feels just right.  I made a snack-as-a-meal described to me by a friend…an appetizer served to her at a party.  I’ve been crazy about Sungold cherry tomatoes this year and they were perfect in these bite-sized Caprese salads.  Each toothpick or appetizer skewer =one cherry tomato + a small piece of fresh mozzarella + a basil leaf.  Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar or olive oil over the skewers.  Bite-sized perfection!





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