Looking back over the last few months, we realized that basil has been a real superstar and frequently mentioned herb in our Spicy Tuesday blog. But, why not? The basil in home gardens is reaching its peak right now, and the aroma can capture the kitchen – whether or not you even turn on the stove.

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the easiest basil and tomato salad. You may remember that we highlighted basil as an herb thta can protect cells as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage – it also has a substance that can help block inflammation in the body. Using foods that can help decrease the chronic, low grade inflammation in our bodies is a goal that we strive for in every recipe!

And now this week, we take it up “a notch”. Simply assembling the salad on skewers and adding a lovely little artichoke heart makes it worthy of a party. In the picture above, you’ll see we have done just that – making it one of the most popular appetizers we served for an evening with Dr. Will Clower, an enthusiastic speaker about the Mediterranean diet.

Funny enough, we had not met Dr. Clower before, but as soon as we read some info on him – we knew that we had lots in common! Our eating, living and cooking philosophy jived almost exactly with his – so we were thrilled to be able to meet, talk and share with him. Our evening was grand, Shayna introduced him and Nancy fed the crowd! Read more about why we like what he says here: Dr. Will Clower

Better than Caprese Salad Skewers

Roma Tomatoes in Quarters

Bocconcini or Mozzarella Pearls, marinated in *Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette for at least an hour

Whole Basil Leaves

Artichoke Hearts, Small or Quartered

Bamboo Skewers

Slide the tomatoes on the skewers followed by the mozzarella pearls, basil leaves and artichoke hearts.

*Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Garlic Clove, Grated

2 TB Dry Red Wine

2 TB Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

1⁄2 Cup Basil Leaves, (Packed)

1⁄4 – 1⁄2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste Place the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender and process well. Drizzle in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

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