Too hot too cook, couldn’t bear the thought of standing over a stove even to boil water. Instead, used the toaster oven to toast up some ciabatta (a whole loaf, between 2 people — oops! Guess I’ll try the carb-cutting some other week).

There was a time when I didn’t like fresh tomatoes. I can’t remember what it was about them that I didn’t like but it’s not surprising if you’re eating those mealy, dull red things that pass as tomatoes. Lifeless, they’re totally lifeless. But then there are those times when you get a great tomato. And they change your life. Couple that with some basil, a little salt… and it’s magic.

I chopped my gorgeous green, yellow and speckled tomatoes that I picked up on the way home from the farmer’s market. I drizzled them with extra-virgin olive oil, some basil that I plucked from the plant on the back patio and a sprinkle of sea salt. I sliced 2 balls of fresh mozzarella and put out the domestic prosciutto hubby got at Whole Paycheck. I was pleasantly surprised by the prosciutto. I admit I buy the domestic because it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than prosciutto di parma but I gotta say, this American version was no cheap substitute. Nice flavor, sweet, not too salty.

I tore the pieces of toasted bread into manageable pieces, rubbed a garlic clove over them and drizzled some olive oil over them. I spent the next 20 minutes or so alternating between dipping my bread into the tomato juices (the Italian version of “chips and salsa”!) and topping pieces with tapenade, tomatoes, mozzarella and prosciutto (ham and cheese sammy, anyone?) – or some combination therein. Honestly, one of the most soul- and appetite-satisfying meals ever. The stove remained off, no pots to clean and no sweat to mop from my brow.

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