Fresh, Easy, No-Cook Appetizer: Cara's Caprese Bites!

Summer is already here and hitting hard down in Texas, so naturally I want to make a recipe that keeps my guests cool, and my kitchen too!  For my readers who are quite nervous when it comes to cooking, fear not!  This one requires ZERO cooking, merely a bit of assembly and some really fresh ingredients.  I took the concept of Caprese Salad and morphed into a bite sized appetizer that can be served at a casual shindig, or even a fancy wine party.  So simple, yet so much flavor that will leave your guests astounded. I call them, Cara's Caprese Bites:

Cara's Caprese Bites:

- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
- Fresh Mozzarella Pearls
- Toothpicks

Simply slice a tomato in half, and skewer one half on a toothpick. Take a basil leaf (about 2 inches long), and fold (into 1/4ths or 1/6ths depending on the size of the leaf) and skewer the folded leaf next to the tomato.  Take a mozzarella pearl (make sure it's patted dry if it came in water) and skewer next to the basil.  Repeat process and make as many as you like!

Tips:  Most grocers have the fresh mozzarella in the deli section, don't use the block kind, as it takes away from the truly fresh taste this recipe should have.  You might find the pearls packaged in water, which might be the best way to have them for this appetizer.  If you come across a giant basil leaf, just trim it with your knife and fold as you normally would.  If you have smaller leaves, stack a few together and skewer.  These tasty morsels make an excellent accompaniment with wine.  I tried them with Layer Cake Primitvo wine and it was delicious!  You can also set up a dipping sauce with these Caprese Bites, but exercise caution when doing so.  I used a store bought balsamic vinaigrette, but it wasn't the best choice.  I would recommend perhaps a balsamic reduction or maybe even a light marinara style sauce for that Margarita pizza flavor.  Regardless, if you go with a dipping sauce, make sure it's really fresh tasting in order to live up to the appetizers themselves.  Honestly, I think they taste fantastic without it.

So go on and enjoy!  Maybe this recipe will convince you that the kitchen is nothing to fear, and maybe even tackle some of your own super easy dishes :)

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