Fresh Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Salad Recipe

In May I had the opportunity to attend the BlogHer Food conference in Atlanta. There were many informative sessions run by some very well known and much admired bloggers.  Hopefully you have noticed some improvements to my blog and these are a direct result of that conference.  Thank you BlogHer Food!

One of the events at the conference was going to the Sweet Auburn Market.  It was invigorating to get out of the hotel and into the Georgia sunshine.  I enjoyed meandering this historic market and seeing all of the wonderful and different array of food and comparing it to the markets in the Midwest. While waiting for the bus to go back to the conference, I met a wonderful fellow blogger from Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Her name is Cara, and her blog is, The Boys Made Me Do It.

I told her about this blog and how I’m trying to inspire families and friends to eat a “real” meal that is made with care and cooked with love at least once a week.  She loved the idea of the blog, and I asked if she would like to give me a family recipe and a story to post on Return to Sunday Supper.  She gladly agreed and a bit later sent this recipe to me from her mother’s recipe box from the 1970’s.

We didn’t know it at the time, but Cara and I have something in common because both of our mothers worked outside the home.  Her mother didn’t have time to grow her own herbs or run to the farmer’s market, so when her mother prepared this recipe she used ingredients that any grocery store would have.  So, if you can’t find fresh mozzarella, use packaged.  If you can’t find cherry tomatoes, use whatever fresh tomatoes that are at your store.  Most grocery stores that I’ve been into lately has fresh basil, but if you’re really in a pinch, use dried.

When I adapted Cara’s mother’s recipe I was able to get gorgeous, just picked tomatoes from the market and fresh mozzarella and basil so that is what you see here.  I also made a few adjustments because I was using fresh mozzarella and I have noted these changes below.

Cara explained that this salad was one of her summer favorites.  Her mother made it often and the flavors take her back to summers in West Virginia.  Isn’t it wonderful how when we smell and taste something our mother’s made it instantly transports us to another time and place?

Do you have a special summer supper memory and recipe?  I’d love if you could find the time to share them with me.  Please send your story and a recipe to me,

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!


Fresh Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Total Time: 15 minutes

I used slightly larger tomatoes, and all fresh ingredients. I also made the vinaigrette separately and added it right before serving. If you use fresh mozzarella, I would suggest that you serve this salad right away. I found that the fresh mozzarella got a bit tough the second day.


1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (about 3 cups)
6 oz. mozzarella, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped

2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste


In a medium bowl mix together the vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Then slowly pour in olive oil till blended.

Add tomatoes, mozzarella, onion and basil. Toss to mix. Salad is best served cold and can be kept in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

Please tune in tomorrow to the CBS Early Show!

For all of you that have been following my blog for some time, I want you to know the post that I published April 17th about my friend Jeff, who wanted to raise $$$ for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society had a great response…thank you!  Jeff raised over $300.000 and won Man of the Year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in our area.

His story will be featured tomorrow on the CBS Early Show, they will be following him from the  marathon thorough his stem cell transplant to the recent Man of the Yearcampaign! It will be on tomorrow morning nationally between 7:00 and 9:00,it will most likely will be on around 8:15 Eastern on your CBS channel.  Check it out!Thanks again to all of you who helped make this happen!  You’re the best!  You should feel very proud…you helped an awesome cause!

Red, White, and Blueberry Tarts – Vanilla Cream Recipe – Happy 4th of July!

I love the 4th of July!  I love it when I’m home and I love it when I’m away.  Sometimes when you are not too familiar with the tradition of the area, it makes the holiday a bit of a surprise and all the more special.  That’s what happened when we spent the holiday in Nantucket.  Familiar, yet different….in a good way!

For this post, I’d like to take you there with us…I hope that you enjoy the journey!

No matter where you are in the country for the 4th, there are some things that are constants.  Flags, of course, parades, picnics, and if you’re lucky…fireworks.

But Nantucket has it’s own special charm…the grey shingled cottages enclosed by pickets fences heavy with fragrant roses.  Sea mist creeping over the dunes and sails disappearing in fog.

We arrived in town and were greeted by flags, children, and a patriotic kitty!

Oh yes….and FOOD!

That day we had great picnic fare, but for dessert we had these wonderful little tarts!

I have tried to reproduce their buttery, creamy, juiciness here using a tart recipe I’m in love with that I found on this post from David Lebovitz’s tres wonderful blog.  He adapted this recipe from Paule Caillat of Promanades Gourmandes.  This recipe is not for the faint of heart (transporting a scorching hot bowl of hissing butter from oven to counter is a bit daunting) but the results and ease were worth it!  As you can see, I made 4 tarts instead of 1 larger one, but, of course, you could make a larger one, if you prefer.

I added this filling and topped it with fresh fruit (you could add whipped cream if you really want to be decadent).

We have to wait a few years till the 4th of July is on a Sunday again,  but I just couldn’t resist posting this today because I know some of you will be celebrating the holiday with your family and friends this Sunday and perhaps traveling back home tomorrow.


Red, White, and Blueberry Tarts

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

If you like, add whipped cream for a richer treat.


2 cups of whole milk
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup of cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, then let soften to room temperature


Be very careful when you separate the eggs making sure that you really do use just the yolk and not the whites. Keep the whites and perhaps use them for a nice egg white omelet the next day.

Place the yolks in a medium saucepan, add the sugar and cornstarch and whisk them together until the mixture has thickened.

In a separate medium saucepan over low heat, add the milk and warm till it is steaming and almost boiling then remove from heat. Start whisking the egg mixture and slowly drizzling about 1/2 cup of the milk into it, you want to warm the eggs very slowly so that they don't start to cook. Then, continue to whisk egg/milk mixture while you slowly add the rest of the milk.

Now put the combined mixture back on the stove over medium heat while whisking constantly, slowly bringing it to a boil. When the mixture reaches a boil, continue stirring for about another minute till it is nice and thick and remove from heat. Please note: If it starts to lump up, remove from heat and whisk frantically...this will remove the lumps.

Let mixture rest for about 5 minutes or so and whisk the butter into it. Transfer this into a bowl, place plastic wrap on the surface of the cream (so that it does not produce a "skin") and refrigerate until you want to assemble the tarts. It is just fine if you would like to make this a day ahead.

When you assemble the tarts, remove the cream from the refrigerator and give it a few whisks. Place your cooled tarts on plates, spoon in vanilla cream and top with fresh berries of your choice. I used blueberries and raspberries, but other fruit would be delicious too.


Cold Curried Carrot Soup Recipe

This week has been up and down….a bit cold and then way hot!  It’s hard to figure out exactly what season we’re in.  This weekend, one of our farmer’s market is having “Strawberry Fest”.  Most of you have had your tributes to the strawberry weeks ago.

I’m betting that this weekend is going to be hot (“cause that what the meteorologist says”) but my husband says, “If you want to know the weather, look out the window”.  He’s such a spoiled sport.

When it’s hot, I get a bit lazy. I want something easy, but I still want my family and friends to have a treat, so this Sunday, this is what we’re having.

It’s easy to make something ahead of time and that is what makes this soup perfect.  In fact, you the longer it sits, the better it gets.  So, please make it a day ahead.  Then on Sunday, toast or grill some bread, top with a bit of cheese, make a salad, and you’re all set.

I also like to serve soup in cups instead of bowls….you can sip, not spoon.  This also lets you walk around, talk and still eat…perfect!

This Sunday, I’ll slather fresh goat cheese from Prairie Fruits Farm on our toasted bread.  I will visit the farm in a few weeks and I can’t wait!  I’ll let you know what I discover…I’m sure that it will be a treat for me and you!


Cold Curried Carrot Soup

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

I find that you can make this a day ahead of time and the flavors are even better!


1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 1/4 teaspoons curry powder
1 pound carrots ( about 1 bunch) peeled and sliced
1 cup plain yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
1 1/2 cups homemade or packaged chicken or veggie broth
Cilantro or parsley for garnish


Wash, trim, peel and slice carrots (my slices are about a 1/2 inch).

In a large stock pot over low heat, melt butter, then add onion and cook until soft. Then stir in the curry powder and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the broth and carrots, cook until the carrots are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork (15 - 20 minutes). Remove from heat and let the mixture cool.

Put mixture into blender or food processor and blend until it is pureed (I did this in 2 batches). Blend in yogurt. Chill.

Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve.


Old Fashioned Classic Lemonade Recipe – True Southern Hospitality

We have always loved the bluegrass area of Kentucky.  So, on this hot, sunny June day we decided to re-visit its rolling hills with miles of white fences that enclose some of the fastest, most beautiful horses on earth.

As we rambled along Highway 68 toward Harrodsburg, we spied signs advertising “400 miles of garage sales.”  I’d heard of a garage sale that practically extended the length of the whole state.  We did not drive down for this, but…since we were here…we had to stop for at least just one!

We pulled up to a large, shaded, front yard dotted with large tables groaning with treasures.  We picked up a plate here; three glasses there.

We met all of the vendors whose front yards were now retail establishments.  One joked with us insisting that we should trade in our car to buy his shiny Model T Ford.

After sharing a few local stories and laughs,  we put our purchases in the trunk and discovered that we had car trouble.  We called for roadside assistance and were told that a tow truck could maybe get there in an hour or so and tow us back to Lexington and the next day they could take a look at our car.  The next DAY…oh no…we had reservations at an inn and dinner was 6:30!

The neighbors gathered round and offered suggestions to help us.  We got back on the phone with the service department.  Oh, did I mention it was about 95 degrees?  These wonderful folks insisted that we pull into their shaded drive. Then they came out with two tall, frosty glasses of lemonade, which we thankfully accepted….then….OK, this is the unbelievable part….they offered us their CAR!  Yes, they said that we should just go ahead and take their car and bring it back in the morning!

Folks it’s 2011, and these wonderful, hospitable folks just offered us their car!  I have to tell you we were overwhelmed by their gracious spirit and hospitality. Isn’t it wonderful to know that there are still people who will lend a helping hand to total strangers?  Isn’t this really what is important…community and caring for one another?

We may have gone for a ride in the country but what we got was so much more.  We came away (yes, the car finally started) with a renewed belief in the kindness of strangers.

Why did this experience resonate within me to such a great degree?  One reason might be that this epitomizes what I am trying to share on my blog…which is to get us all to connect with each other again.  Sharing and caring…family…community…they are all so very important for our future and our children’s future.

This Sunday, inspired by this experience, I’d like to share with you my classic recipe for an old fashioned summer treat….lemonade.  Every time I have a sip I will think of this story and smile….I hope that you will too!


Old Fashioned Classic Lemonade

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

I like to chill this in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before serving. This recipe is a bit more complicated than just adding lemon juice, water and sugar but the taste is much richer, and I believe, well worth the effort.


6 lemons - 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 cups water
1 cup sugar


Pressing down with your hand, roll the lemons back and forth on a hard surface to release their juices. Cut lemons in two and squeeze out juice reserving the lemon rinds and place the rinds in a large bowl. You can strain the juice if you like to remove the pulp, or leave the pulp if you prefer.

Boil 4 cups of water.

Place the sugar in a bowl and cover with 1 cup water and stir to dissolve.

Cover the lemon rinds with the other 3 cups of boiling water and let this sit for about an hour and you will have lemon infused water. Discard the rinds.

In a large pitcher, combine the lemon juice, the dissolved sugar water, the 3 cups of lemon infused water and the remaining 2 cups of water.

Garnish with mint and lemon slices if you like.