I had a get together, and most were repeat recipes, but the one new one was a big hit. I took little pieces of fresh mozzarella and grape tomatoes and put them on a skewer to make a caprese of sorts. I personally don't like all the leafy bits of basil in the traditional caprese, so I made a garlic and basil infused oil to drizzle over the top. Now WARNING!!!! Garlic infused oils have an affinity for Botulism!!! For a bit more on it, click here. I will still sum up. Make sure that all water is evaporated from the oil, refrigerate and use within a week. (I would half that just because I'm a little crazy about germs:) I made the oil while I was prepping the rest of the menu and put it in the fridge to chill it a bit before using. I also made a balsamic reduction. The original recipe I used it for is my Steak Salad, and it is an all time family favorite! However I use this reduction in any recipe that calls for balsamic. I think it of faux real balsamic;). I didn't not feel the need to season it at all. If you really need to, very lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Mini Caprese On a Stick
8 oz Fresh Mozzarella
1 pint Grape Tomatoes
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 large sprigs of Basil, stems included
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bottle of inexpensive Balsamic Vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 package of 6" wooden skewers
2 squeeze bottles (optional, but they make for a nice presentation and they are cheap to buy)
Put the oil in a small pan over low heat. (if your stove's low setting is really low, maybe crank it up a bit) Add the garlic and basil. Stir occasionally and cook until the oil is green and fragrant and the garlic starts to brown. (for me this took about 20 minutes, mostly unattended) Meanwhile, empty the balsamic into a medium pan and add the sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until reduced to 1/3 it's original volume. You can speed it up a bit by raising the heat, but then you must stand with it constantly. When the oil and vinegar are done, put them in to squeeze bottles and put in the refrigerator to cool.
While the oil and vinegar are cooling, cut the cheese in to cubes that approximate the size of the tomatoes. Place a cube of cheese on the stick, followed by a tomato and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle the oil liberally over the top to the cheese and tomato, then drizzle the vinegar.