Tomato and Kalamata Olive Salad

I love all kinds of food.  The art, craft, smell, taste…  My favorite meals are ones that look and taste good without taking a ton of time.  I like landscaped food too (by this I mean fussy food that takes a long time and has lots of garnish) – it’s just better when someone else is making it.  If the recipe looks too long and the ingredients require a dictionary or the computer for more information (yes, even chef’s don’t know every ingredient in a recipe), it’s not usually happening at our house.  And I’ve been cooking professionally for over 20 years.  So that’s what this column is about:  food that real people can make for their families.  Food that gets us trying new things, gets us buying local ingredients and food that gets us sitting at the table with our families.  I believe in food cooked with the freshest ingredients; using my hands to shape bread; taking time and care when I’m cooking; and sitting at the table with friends and family and sharing the soul-filled food we’ve created.  The smell, shape, feel and look of pure ingredients are all part of the process.  It’s important to teach my daughters by example that the most precious and sacred time of the day is dinnertime, when we come together at the close of our days with loved ones to share, discuss, argue and agree.  To me, this is true nourishment.  While “fast food” may be convenient, fully nourishing ourselves is more than simply removing the empty feeling in our bellies.  Food is a way that we can connect – to our families and to nature.

Tomato and Kalamata Olive Salad

4 medium tomatoes, sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons basil, julienned
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Fan the tomato slices neatly onto a platter.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and scatter the olives and basil.  Sprinkle all with salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6