Taking Food (food on the go)

Book club, party, tailgate, impromptu gathering or picnic, I’m talking about the food that’s easy to prep, cook and travel with. It’s also fuss-free to set up and eat.

Mini Caprese Salad

1 pint of grape tomatoes (red or mixed colors) washed and cut in half

1 (8 oz) packet of mini mozzarella balls or pearls cut in half

high-quality balsamic vinegar to drizzle

extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle

fresh basil (see instructions)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (depending on your taste)

freshly cracked black pepper

Combine the cheese and tomatoes.

Just before packing or serving, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil and toss well.

Remove basil leaves from stem and pack them into a measuring cup. When you have half a cup, chop the basil leaves roughly and set on top of the salad so that the basil will not bruise and discolor from too much tossing. Cover and transport. Just before serving, toss again.

Note: Don’t refrigerate the tomatoes and don’t salt them ahead of time. If you do, they will be mushy and flavorless.

Manly Meatballs With Mustard Dip

1 packet of bratwurst (five links to a pack)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons rubbed sage or poultry seasoning

Preheat oven to 400F. Heat a heavy pan over medium-high heat.

Pour olive oil into the pan and swirl to coat the bottom evenly.

Grab one bratwurst sausage link and, using your thumb and index finger, pinch and pull off about one-tenth of the meat mixture. Repeat this until you have about 50 meatballs. You may end up with fewer depending on the size that you pinch off. Don’t shape them. Don’t fuss. This is supposed to be rustic and easy.

Shake the pan to brown the meatballs evenly on the bottom.

Sprinkle with the sage and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Serve hot or room temperature with the dip or just with mustard.

Sturdy wooden picks make it easy to grab, dip and eat.

Dip:

4 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons fig syrup* or maple syrup (honey is also good, but will change flavor and texture)

Combine everything well, cover and refrigerate.

*The syrup from preserved figs

Balsamic Eggs

6 eggs, boiled, peeled and cut in half

salt

freshly cracked black pepper

about two teaspoons of high-quality balsamic vinegar 

extra-virgin olive oil–just enough to drizzle

fresh basil seed heads (if you have them) Just use a small handful bruised and rubbed between your palms. Takes this to another level, but the eggs are surprisingly delicious even without this ingredient.

Basil seed heads elevate this dish. Use if you have them.

Add mixed nuts, and an assortment of cheeses, crackers or bread and you’ve got a fuss-free party. The good thing is, you only have to bring one of these cooked or assembled items. Everyone else is bringing something too.

Other fuss-free favorites:

Greek-Style Raw Zucchini Salad

Pickled Shrimp Salad

Sweet Tomato Preserves  Follow the recipe and serve with cream cheese or a spicy pimiento cheese on crackers.

I like it over ricotta on toasted bread

Frittata This recipe used everything you’ve got in your fridge. You know, the stuff that you need to use up–a bit of this and a bit of that. Frittata can be turned into a sandwich, it can be cut into squares and served as an appetizer or cut into wedges. Versatile (any way you slice it) and you can eat it hot, cold or at room temperature.

The Easiest Shrimp Salad and the Next Easiest Shrimp Salad. What a foodie fan following you will have with this one!

Grilled or boiled, shrimp are combined with your favorite mayo and a few herbs.

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