Monday, February 01, 2010

Best No-cook Meal: Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes

The key ingrediant to this quick, no-cook meal is a loaf of fresh Mozzarella cheeze. This is NOT the same as the stuff you might get in a block or shredded in a bag to put on pizza; it's softer, looking perhaps like pure white bread dough. I'll admit, when I first heard of this stuff, I was sceptical but one taste turned me around.

I get loaves of this at Costco, because their quality is fine and the price unbeatable, but a lot of stores carry it now. Last year, the Cheese Festival at Pike Place Market feature a guy making it from scratch and, reportedly, 5-minute-old fresh Mozzarella is an entire quantum level jump into transcendant realms of tastiness!

But for us mere mortals: cut up the cheese into one- or two-bite sizes. Cut some tomatoes to about the same size; use tomatoes that emphasize flavor rather than shippability for this (it's only half-a-pound of them, so splurge on a nice heirloom tomatoe if you can!) Sprinkle a little green herbs on top, preferably whatever you have fresh from the garden or, in the winter, your windowsill: chives, cilantro, whatever.

This is key: arrange nicely on a dish! It costs nothng and adds so much to the fun.

You're done!

Some people like to sprink a little sea salt or kosher salt on top. This definitely makes the taste more intense, at the cost of higher sodium. Check your body's needs and proceed accordingly.

Your wife will be pleased and happy that you've made her a quick dinner that didn't heat up the kitchen. For extra credit, add a side of sliced hard boiled eggs (you always keep a half-dozen boiled eggs in the fridge, right? right!) and some artichoke hearts (from that handy large Costco jar.) You are well on your way to cooking studery, with a minimum of effort!

Today's report was inspired by this week's Change the World Wednesday challenge:
"This week, plan an oven- and stove-free day, and no cheating and going out to eat! Have sandwiches, cut up fruit, veggies with dip, leftovers from a previous dinner .... Plan ahead and make a pasta salad you can eat cold for a few days. Have hummus, feta cheese, and spinach on a pita or wrap. There are tons of healthy, delicious meals you can have without having to turn on the stove! As an added plus, many of the meals are quick and easy to prepare!"
Due to the "leftovers" option, this was not a terribly difficult challenge as written; we typically cook a large meal on Sunday and then enjoy leftovers for a couple of days before freeing the rest (our freezer has three kinds of soups from as many weeks. If there's every a power outage, we'll we eating a lot of soup!)  However the challenge did help me realize that some of our favorite meals involve no cooking, or more precisely, no more cooking than went into preparing the goods before we got it. (I must ponder the energy impact of enjoying fresh tomatoes in the winter; they had to be shipped from somewhere other than my garden but somehow canned tomatoes would just not be the same!)

Anyway, even without the energy savings aspect of no-cook cuisine, this fresh mozzarella-and-tomato combination is so darn tasty that I really wanted to share it. Enjoy!

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