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Tomato and Basil Forever

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It’s been a whirlwind week for me! Between packing up my apartment in San Francisco, moving into my new apartment in Napa, unpacking, furniture shopping, more unpacking, and exploring my new neighborhood, I barely had time to go grocery shopping until yesterday. Though, I did have a chance on Saturday to pick up some beautiful produce at the Napa Farmer’s Market: heirloom tomatoes, lemon cucumber, basil, and lemons. These simple ingredients were the perfect inspiration for my first two home cooked meals in my new apartment!

Heirloom Tomato, Burrata, Basil Salad

  • 2-3 ripe heirloom tomatoes in various colors, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon cucumber, sliced
  • 3 oz fresh Burrata (I recommend Di Stefano)
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper


Arrange the tomato and cucumber slices on a platter, alternating between colors. Top with Burrata and basil, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Seared Scallops with Tomato Water, Lemon and Basil

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • 6 sea scallops
  • 1 TB safflower oil, or vegetable oil
  • 3 basil leaves, torn
  • squeeze of half a lemon


Start by making the tomato water. Place tomatoes in a small colander or mesh sieve over a bowl and salt generously. Let sit for 45 minutes, stirring and mashing occasionally. Then heat a nonstick pan over a medium-high flame. Once hot, add oil and heat for about a minute. Carefully add scallops and cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another minute and a half. Transfer to a plate with a paper towel to get rid of excess oil, then place into a shallow bowl. Pour tomato water into the bowl, and top with basil and a squeeze of lemon. This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit, based on the ingredients I had on hand. I also didn’t have a sieve so I used a colander, which allowed more tomato seeds to seep through to the bowl – I didn’t mind, but some people may not like the texture.

Yellow and Red Tomatoes with Burrata and Farro

  • 1/3 cup cooked farro
  • 3-4 small yellow and red tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 oz Burrata
  • 4 basil leaves, julienned
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Prepare farro as directed. Place farro on a plate, then top with tomatoes, Burrata, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.


Grilled Lemon Basil Chicken

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB Gewürztraminer vinegar, or any good white wine vinegar
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • olive oil spray

In a small bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients. Pour marinade over chicken and seal in an air-tight bag or container, then refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, remove chicken from container and drip off excess marinade. Heat a gas grill or grill pan over a medium-high flame and spray generously with olive oil. Cook chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side, then check for doneness by slicing into the thickest part. If still pink, continue to cook for a few more minutes. Serve alongside tomatoes with Burrata and farro.

All of these dishes are fresh and light, and use many of the same ingredients. So as long as you don’t get sick of tomato, basil and Burrata (who would??), these easy meals are delicious, relatively inexpensive options when cooking for one. I suggest pairing with a dry Rose, Chenin Blanc, or my favorite summer cocktail: Campari and soda!


About Kelsey

Kelsey is a food and wine lover residing in Napa, California, where she does marketing for a boutique wine collective. She previously lived in San Francisco for over six years, where her blogging journey began. She loves to cook seasonal meals and experiment with new wine pairings. She has been drinking and learning about wine with her father since she was 14, and cooking in the kitchen with her mother since she was 6. Both of her parents taught her well about seasoning and flavors, and she continues to learn more with every meal that is made.

2 responses »

  1. What a delicious meal! Where is the Napa farmer’s market? Good to know for future visits. Cheers!


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