What’s On Hand Chilled Summer Salad

Hey summer, what’s for dinner?

The Places In The Home gang knows the answer to that question.

Most evenings our summer appetites lean toward lighter fare, and a what’s on hand chilled summer salad is what’s on the menu.


The temps of those hot summer mornings, afternoons and nights have a way of slowing down the pace as well as the need for heavy dishes.


Who needs or wants to be in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove when there’s a lot of patio sitting, summer sippin’ and outdoor living to do.

I defer to Bertand Russell and his brilliant words that fit so well with summer.

 “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”  

My sentiments exactly, Mr. Russell.


To the cupboard and fridge we go for ingredients to make a what’s on hand chilled summer salad.


Baby field greens topped with tuna serve as the flavor foundation.

Left over crispy fried bacon from breakfast makes the cut.  I spotted a cucumber in the crisper to go with the garden tomatoes and red onion slices.

A slice, chop, salt and pepper later it was time to whip up a generous portion of avocado spread.

Take a nice avocado, peel, scoop out the meat into a bowl and mash it with a fork.

Add a heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon.

avocado-spread-salad (2)

The lemon wakes up the flavors with a c’est si bon all its own.

Feta cheese crumbles bring more flavor into the mix.

Fresh sliced strawberries and fresh chopped Louisiana peaches drizzled with honey round out the melange.

I purposely positioned the Feta, fruit and red onion slices on the sides of the salad plates so the diners can incorporate the flavors as desired.

Now for what I consider the ultimate dressing discovery of the summer  salad season.

There is buttermilk ranch dressing and then there is basil buttermilk ranch dressing. This dressed up take on Hidden Valley buttermilk ranch dressing is the new house dressing at Places In The Home.

The the fresh basil and lemon juice produce a bright flavor pairing- a combination perfect for summer.

Tangy (that’s buttermilk!) meets fresh meets zing meets damn, that’s good!


Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing


¾ cup mayonnaise (I used Duke’s in this recipe)

½ cup buttermilk

1 packet Original Hidden Valley Ranch Buttermilk Recipe

¼ teaspoon fine black pepper

2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped

1 teaspoon lemon juice


Combine all ingredients together.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before using, allowing flavors to marry.

Hey summer, what’s for dinner?  Think summer salads.


Peaches on Parade: Recipes Featuring Fresh Peaches

Recipes featuring fresh peaches shine in the summer fruit spotlight this time of year.

PeachesEat This Lafayette

The peach is the summer star of the recipes featuring fresh peaches right from the farm show.

My mother and grandmother used to haul our peach picking fannies to a local peach orchard to pick basket after basket of Louisiana peaches. Peaches found on the ground were free for the picking up, and we came peach eating prepared with small plastic margarine containers full of Louisiana pure cane sugar.

Good and tasty times!

The peach is so well loved we celebrate it in Louisiana festival glory.  The Louisiana Peach Festival celebrates the summer crop, growers and deliciousness that is Ruston peaches.

2011-poster-smallLouisiana Peach Festival

Long days and warm afternoons can zap the desire to prepare lunch or dinner right out of you.

When my summer got up and go would rather be my summer got up and went anywhere but the kitchen, I refer to a tried and true formula for summer culinary burnout.

KISS- keep it summer simple!

Serving summer cold salads, small side sandwiches, and fresh seasonal fruits is the way to go.

biscuit bacon lettuce tomato sandwich

Last week I hit the fresh fruit jackpot with cantaloupes and two Louisiana grown favorites,  Sugartown watermelon and fresh Ruston peaches.

The peach is the star of these keep it summer simple recipes that deliver big flavor.

Melon and Peach Salad with Bacon and Peach Mayonnaise



1 cantaloupe

2 peaches, peeled and sliced

½ teaspoon coarse Kosher salt

¼ teaspoon fine black pepper

2 Tablespoons honey

½ cup peach puree (recipe below)

6 slices of cooked bacon; crumbled

peach mayonnaise (recipe below)

Peach Puree

2 peaches,  peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon  honey

Peach Mayonnaise

½ cup peach puree

1  cup mayonnaise

1 ½ Tablespoon deli mustard

1 ½ Tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon sugar


Cut watermelon and cantaloupe  in half removing seeds. Using a melon baller, scoop out melon balls and place in medium serving bowl.  Peel and slice peaches and add to melon balls. Refrigerate  fruit until chilled, approximately 30 minutes.


Add honey, salt, pepper, and peach puree to melon and peach mixture, gently tossing to coat.

Dish onto chilled salad plate or bowl, top with crumbled bacon and peach mayonnaise.  Serves 4.


Peach Puree

Peel and slice peaches and place in food processor. Drizzle honey over peaches. Process until smooth.

recipes featuring fresh peaches

Peach Mayonnaise

In medium mixing bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sugar, honey, deli mustard, and peach puree.


Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

peach puree

Biscuit BLTs with Peach Mayonnaise


1 lb. bacon, cooked and drained

2 large tomatoes, sliced

1 package butter lettuce

peach mayonnaise

1 package frozen biscuits


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil turning up edges. Lay the bacon strips out flat on the baking sheet. Bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until done to your liking.

oven fried bacon

Prepare biscuits according to package instructions.


Split each biscuit.

Layer with bacon, butter lettuce, sliced tomato, and peach mayonnaise.

bacon lettuce tomato on a biscuit