Friday, August 2, 2013

Mini Caprese Kabobs with a Balsamic Reduction

Oh my goodness! This Summer has been busy, but we've had some great time traveling and spending time as a family. I'm sorry that I haven't posted in forever. I've got a quick, easy, delicious and fresh recipe for you.

I love Summer because of all the fresh product readily available. My parents have grown a huge garden every year since the time I was little. I loved going out and picking fresh veggies, especially tomatoes. I'm not sure what else is better than a perfectly red, delicious vine-ripened tomato from your own garden. We started our own garden this year and we planted several varieties of tomatoes. We also planted basil, so I've been in heaven.

I love Caprese Salad and this is a little twist that makes a perfect appetizer or light lunch. You only need 4 ingredients: tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar. You need to use fresh mozzarella---not the hard, brick kind that you would grate for pizza. Fresh mozzarella is usually sold in a ball and the texture is really soft. The fresh stuff is a more expensive so I usually buy it at Costco in their specialty cheese section. I also love the Kirkland brand Balsamic vinegar too. I like using a balsamic reduction rather than just straight balsamic vinegar because it sticks to the tomatoes better, it doesn't absorb into the cheese, it tastes a little sweeter and that acidic "bite" is mellowed. And it makes for a gorgeous presentation. You can make the balsamic reduction while you assemble the skewers, so it really doesn't take extra time. You can make the kabobs a day or 2 ahead of time, but the tomatoes taste better if not refrigerated so I like to make mine the day I want to serve them.

Here's what you need: This made about 30 mini skewers.
-1.5 lbs. of cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes)
-1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into cubes
-12 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
-1 small pkg toothpicks (I like to use the ones with the wispy stuff on the tip)
-1/2 C balsamic vinegar

1. Put balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer about 10 minutes, OR until the mixture starts to thicken to a honey-like consistency. If you accidentally simmer it too long (molasses-like consistency), you can add a little extra balsamic vinegar and then simmer it again to the desired consistency. Remove pan from heat and set to the side.

2. Use 2 cherry tomatoes and 2 cubes of cheese for each toothpick kabob. I alternated every other one on the toothpick. Continue doing this until you have made the desired amounts of kabobs. Place them on a plate or serving platter.

3. Right before serving, drizzle the balsamic reduction over the kabobs and sprinkle a little coarse sea salt over them. You will not use all of the reduction, so you can save leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week. Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking!

Here's the printable recipe.


  1. looks yummy! ps. i'm going to post the special k treat on my blog this week. you'll love it!

    1. I'm so excited! They sounded so yummy! I'll get thatthat recipe for the pancake mix on here this week also. It's my favorite! :)