Good Ole Signs It’s Summer

Although not official by the calendar, good ole signs it’s summer have arrived in full glory at Places In The Home.

strawberries-blackberries-blueberries-trio

Louisiana is heating up, fresh fruit and vegetable stands are open for farm to table business, and outdoor living fun in the sun and moonlight activities are on tap.

corn-fresh-cob

Signs it’s summer cover anything and everything garden fresh, easy, fun, cool, colorful, aromatic, sweet, savory, relaxing, leisurely, kick your shoes off and stay awhile comfy.

homegrown-tomatoes

In other words, delightfully perfect.

rooster-summer

This is the time of year when I give myself permission to go with the flow.

farm-eggs

Entertaining is super casual in nature, meals focus on fresh seasonal ingredients, music is a must, shoes are optional, and time is nothing more than a word.

flour-dusted-baked-buttermilk-biscuits

Visits to the farmers market result in an every so often summer breakfast feast treat of fresh farm eggs fried with crisp edges, homemade biscuits, and pear and lemon preserves made from my great-grandmother’s recipe.

pear-preserves-compote

Zinnias capture the essence of summer; a simple yet elegant choice of color your world beauty perfect in gathered bouquet or tabletop arrangement form.

Roberson-farm-zinnias

Roberson Farm – USDA Photo by Preston Keres

Grandmother Willie’s pound cake is delicious any season of the year, but there’s something about a slice (or two) of this cake baked from the “Tennessee side of the family” recipe on a summer day that brings the flavor and the memories to plate and mind.

pound-cake-batter

Willie’s pound cake paired with fresh Louisiana strawberries is summer on a plate.

pound-cake-fresh-whole-strawberries

Following antiques and vintage shops on Facebook opens up the treasure hunt world, and gives me the perfect excuse to hit the road in pursuit of antiques and vintage picnic treasures.

vintage-picnic-supplies-Tattered-tiques

Tattered Tiques

Speaking of day trips, outdoor sales and festivals go with hot fun and cool finds in the summertime.

Summer find spotted at a recent Antique Shoppes at 1100 Barksdale outdoor sale.

Love this beverage dispenser!

pottery-crock-beverage-dispenser

Antique Shoppes At 1100 Barksdale

Antique pieces love taking center stage on the summer porch, patio, deck, terrace, balcony, veranda- you get the point.

Seize the summer of it all with fabulous-vintage-patriotic-seasonal decor accents that bring a unique and inviting spin to summer porchin’ style.

vintage-dresser-porch-bar

Cottages & Bungalows Magazine

Spending Sunday afternoon pulling a few things from here and there to put together a summer themed vignette proved super successful.

baseball players

I discovered these old photos of my Dad in the good old summertime down Miami way circa 1951.

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet instantly comes to mind.

Daddy-Miami

Beach scenes and pink umbrellas top the signs it’s summer list.

https://www.domino.com/content/kitchen-cabinet-colors/

Business & Pleasure

Grilled goodies and chilled salads attest to the easy to throw together and easy to enjoy summer salad season.

pimento-grilled-corn-recipe-BHG-photo-Annie-Schlechter (1)

Grilled Corn with Pimiento-Cheese Butter Recipe – Photo by Annie Schlechter

Give me a box of pasta shells, a jar of Duke’s mayonnaise, fresh corn and tomatoes, diced bell peppers, green and red onions, and fine black pepper and I’ll give you a no fuss-all flavor summer salad.

cold-macaroni-summer-salad

Remember the rule of kiss– keep it summer simple!

signs it's summer

Patio times go with warm days and sipping evenings, and signal the senses the good kind of hurricane season has arrived.

Hurricane-cocktail-Pat-O'Briens-New-Orleans-Patio

Hurricane at Pat O’Briens New Orleans

June 1st signals the not so good hurricane season has arrived.

Fingers crossed this season will be uneventful.

HURRICANE-SEASON

Into every summer day a little rain usually will fall, however, we get used to the summer downpours bookended by humid sunbursts.

rainy-day-in-the-neighborhood

June through August is made for hitting the summer holiday road.

tn-road

Visit Gatlinburg

For most of my life the quintessential sign it’s summer has been packing up the Places In The Home gang and heading 700+ miles due east.

Our vacation travel destination GPS is set to family, friends, and the beauty and splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains.

grist-mill-Cades-Cove-great-smoky-Mountains-Tennessee

Over the years, I’ve clocked what seems to be thousand of hours sitting outside at twilight in the Smoky Mountain air.

Fireflies provide nature’s light show – a summer spectacle that dazzles the eye and delights the heart.

fireflies

It’s 84 degrees today, rainy, and humid beyond belief.

My summer playlist is cranked up, and a glass of cold mint infused sweet iced tea is the drink du jour.

Good ole signs it’s summer.

love signature

Seasoned Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes Recipe

This seasoned cheesy broiled tomatoes recipe is a taste of summer on a plate.

homegrown-tomatoes

One the many things we love about summer is the fresh vegetables and flowers the season brings to the table.

vegetable-stand

When word gets out our favorite fresh vegetable vendor has homegrown tomatoes in stock, it’s time to place a call to my brother who lives closer to the stand located about 10 miles from our house.

fresh-tomatoes-squash-1

As long as I’m making and sharing with him a dish, sandwich, or burgers with fresh tomato slices or dices in the mix he’s happy to oblige.

sunflowers-in-the-morning

Fresh sunflowers, squash, and eggplant accompanied this latest tomato haul- a bit of Louisiana lagniappe.

fresh sunflower 1

Crazy is the word of the week here at Places In The Home.

I’ve been crazy busy tying up loose ends before Dave the Builder’s upcoming heart procedures.

In all the planning, packing, and pre-admit madness remains the fact you still gotta eat, and homegrown tomatoes at room temperature, which is the way we like our tomatoes, will ruin if left unrefrigerated for too long.

As delicious as a homemade hamburger and a tomato sandwich is, I was looking for a something on plate.

Something on a plate is a Places In The Home family term.

Credit goes to Dave the builder for taking a commonly used phrase into colloquial territory.

Here’s how it came to be:

My mother-in-law took a day off from work to finish sewing junior prom dresses for Dave’s fifteen-year-old identical twin sisters.

That’s two times the daughters, two times the junior prom dress fun.  To say she had a lot on her plate is an understatement.

Dave is eight years younger than his sisters, the baby of the family, and on this particular day was underfoot more than normal.

Parents in Covid quarantine know exactly what I’m talking about.

Dave set in asking his mother to fix him something for lunch.  Her promise of just one more minute and I’ll fix you a sandwich was met with Dave’s verbal protest.

“I don’t want a sandwich.  I want something on a plate.”

Dave wasn’t having any part of the simple sandwich solution to lunch.  What he wanted was a salad-meat-vegetables-bread something on a plate lunch.

Joe's-broiled-tomato

A quick inventory of cupboard and crisper coupled with the memory of the fabulously delicious broiled tomato served at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab brought about recipe inspiration.

Easy is the key ingredient of this seasoned cheesy broiled tomatoes recipe.

Seasoned Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes Recipe

Ingredients

3 fresh tomatoes, halved

3 cups shredded mild cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese

salt & pepper taste

1½ teaspoons garlic powder

olive oil

3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

6 Tablespoons bread crumbs; optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Rinse tomatoes and pat dry.  Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side up in baking dish.

Salt and pepper each tomato to preference.  Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon garlic powder over top of each tomato.

seasoned-tomato

Top each half with ½ cup shredded cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the cheddar & Monterey Jack.

bread-crumbs-topped-tomato-1

An optional choice is to top each tomato half with bread crumbs.

Give each cheese-bread crumbs topped tomato half a lightly drizzle of olive oil.

olive-oil-drizzled-over-top-of-tomato

Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake cheese topped tomatoes for 8 to 10 minutes.

Turn oven to broil.

Broil tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese-bread crumbs is toasty brown.

broiled-tomato

The above image is of the seasoned cheesy broiled tomato, and the image below is of a seasoned cheesy broiled tomato topped with bread crumbs.

Toasty brown puts just the right amount of crisp on top.

seasoned-cheesy-broiled-tomatoes-recipe

This seasoned cheesy broiled tomatoes recipe makes for a great side dish to grilled steaks, appetizers at the cocktail hour, or dinner entrée.

enjoy

A Fetching Friday: The Good Old Summertime

Today’s Fetching Friday features wonderful memories of childhood summers and how we whiled away the hours in the good old summertime.

fetching-definiton

 

white mountain freezer

White Mountain Freezer

Homemade ice cream was the summertime treat we had to work for.

Who remembers being put on cranking detail?

Southern Living – Photo by Paul Costello

My grandmother had a PhD in food presentation. 

She always served homemade ice cream in an etched sherbet dish like the ones above garnished with either a sprig of fresh mint, peach slice, fresh strawberry, or chocolate Kiss. 

To me, there is nothing better on a hot summer afternoon than a dish of cold, creamy homemade ice cream garnished with a generous amount of memories. 

good old summertime

I first saw this in the good old summertime image on Pinterest.

Social media trends from one platform to another, and I noticed it on Facebook captioned with the words “this is what old folks call snap chat.”

summer-fresh-peas

Guide to Summer-Fresh Field Peas- Southern Living

If I had a nickel for every time my grandmother handed us a glass of homemade lemonade and a bowl full of peas prime for the snapping, I’d have enough money to run by Raising Cane’s for a lemonade to enjoy on the drive out to the farmer’s market stand on the bayou to pick up a bushel or a peck of peas.

Revered summer rituals of the past shape the summer activities of the present.

good old summertime

Flickr

We never met a pond, creek, or fresh water spring our feet or fishing poles didn’t like. 

Serenity Photograph by Li Newton1

Serenity Photograph by Li Newton

It was nothing for my Dad and uncles to suggest the entire family load up and caravan to the drive-in.

My Mother and my aunts gathered up the aluminum lawn chairs, filled an industrial size ice chest with canned Cokes (it’s the South- we call any flavor soda or pop Coke), and popped several pans of Jiffy Pop.

Ironically, the only trip to the concession stand was for mosquito coils.

Pure summertime fun gold. 

drive-in-theatre

I hope you all have a most fetching Friday and a great weekend enjoying some good old summertime fun.

love your style

Homemade Potato Soup

The flu is raging with a vengeance, meaning homemade potato soup is on the stove.

Dave the Builder has informed me seven of his coworkers are currently out with the flu, and the office air is thick with the scent of  Lysol.

We believe in doing everything you can to prevent catching the flu.

My one and only time to have the flu was an ugly, ugly experience.

I was out of commission for 6+ weeks with flu that turned to pneumonia quicker than I could say I don’t feel good.

Remembering that experience like it was yesterday, the Places In The Home household is in take charge mode to ward off the flu, including, but not limited to, brimming bowls of homemade potato soup.

Dave the Builder’s mom spoke of the healing powers of homemade potato soup, and who am I to argue with the wisdom of my mother-in-law?

potato-soup-in-bowl

I developed this rather uncomplicated to prepare and quite tasty recipe for homemade potato soup years ago when our son was in elementary school.

Sports, scouts and study schedules tend to dominate after school time, and the dinnertime hour gets pushed later and later more nights than not.

The kid, husband and mother-in-law loved it, instantly making it a classic family recipe.

Both cream of chicken soup and chicken broth hit the flavor notes with a little help from seasoning friends salt, pepper, onion powder and fresh parsley.

I have been known on occasion to add a heaping tablespoon of heavy cream to each bowl, and the crowd goes yum.




 

Homemade Potato Soup

Ingredients

6 medium to large russet potatoes

1 family size can cream of chicken soup

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup chicken broth

5 cups 2% milk

Fresh parsley, chopped

Heavy cream (optional)

potatoes

Directions

Bake the potatoes at 400°F  for 1 hour OR microwave potatoes on full power  until tender.  Microwave cooking times will vary according to size and heating variance.  Let baked potatoes stand until cool.

Using a fork, press each potato in center, splitting potato in half.  Mash out the pulp and discard potato skins.

mashed-potato

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stir together the cream of chicken soup, potato pulp, salt, pepper, and onion powder.

potatoes-soup-pepper

Stir in the chicken broth and milk, stirring to incorporate flavors.  Bring to a gentle boil.

fresh-parsley-potato-soup

Lower heat to simmer, add chopped parsley, and simmer uncovered until soup is creamy thick, about 10-15 minutes.

pot-of-soupThis Dutch oven is 65 years old – a wedding gift from my aunt to my parents.  

If the soup becomes too thick,  simply add more milk until desired consistency is reached.

homemade potato soup

Enjoy and stay well.

enjoy

Pin to Table Favorites: Main Dish Recipes from Pinterest

Sharing is a big part of Places In The Home, and I’m thrilled to share these main dish recipes from Pinterest with you all today.

The concept of sharing useful tidbits of interior decorating information and striking images of all things house that make a home interest to social media platforms is genius.

The knowledge gained, friends made, inspiration gleaned makes the experience so worthwhile.

During a recent ringing the dinner bell pinning session, it occurred to me a blog post of select recipes from Pinterest as featured on my A Taste Odyssey Pinterest board may pique your Pinterest interest, and make for an inspiring and appetizing show and tell.


recipes from Pinterest

Rather you call the evening meal dinner or supper, you’ll call these pin to table main dish recipes from Pinterest favorites.

I’m including the original link to each recipe so you can check it out.

Melt in Your Mouth Caesar Chicken

Caesar-chicken-recipe

Melt in Your Mouth Caesar Chicken from The Cookie Rookie is made with only 3 ingredients. Recipe link:

Melt In Your Mouth Caesar Chicken

Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes 

Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes Recipe

Southern Living recipes hold a delicious spot near and dear to my heart. This Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes Recipe ranks high on the mighty tasty, y’all list.

Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes Recipe

Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

This recipe for Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce from Julia’s Album is a favorite.

Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

Salisbury Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes

Salisbury-Meatballs-and-Mashed-Potatoes

The newlywed couple called home last night from IKEA to share their latest wedding gift purchase.

The subject of IKEA, meatballs and the concept of a furniture store-restaurant pairing got me to thinking and craving meatballs.

This recipe for Salisbury Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes from Maya Kitchenette is comfort food fantastic.

Salisbury Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes

Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

easy crock pot french dip sandwiches

The first three words in this recipe for Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches from Fox Valley Foodie qualify it as a must try.

Factor in the ooh la la licious tastes brought forth by combining French onion soup, beef consomme and Guinness beer together with beef roast rump roast and you’ve got a crowd pleasing easy dinner option.

Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches 

julia-child-cooking-well-doesnt-mean-cooking-fancyTown & Country

What Julia said.

Bon Appetit.

enjoy

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.

tuna-avocado-salad

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.

tuna-tomato-salad

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 Bertrand 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.

cracker-fix

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

strawberries-peaches-tomatoes-cucumbers-3

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!

tuna-ranch-basil-salad-focus

Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

enjoy

Cream of Shrimp Soup

This Cream of Shrimp Soup recipe is an easy to prepare crowd pleaser.

Seafood is the star of the Lenten season and a year round favorite for the Southern coastal crowd.

Gulf coast shrimp

Seafood based soups, gumbos and chowders serve up delicious one pot dinners.

Cream soups make an impressive menu addition to a special occasion luncheon, brunch or holiday dinner.

The Places In The Home gang has submitted their request for this Cream of Shrimp soup for our Easter Eve dinner.

Blue-cast-iron-dutch-oven

 

Dave the Builder is my official would you please hand me the recipe card for _______  sous chef and taste tester extraordinaire.

He has mastered the art of recipe card retrieval without so much as a single paper cut, and is well deserving of the coveted Places In The Home 5 forks out of 5 forks for expert culinary talent.

His “this Cream of Shrimp soup stuff is fantastic” review is spoon worthy.

peeled shrimp

Cream of Shrimp Soup

Ingredients

1  stick of butter

8  ounces cream cheese

2  cans cream of potato soup

1  quart half & half

1  Tablespoon liquid crab boil

red pepper to individual taste preference

salt to individual taste preference

½ lb.  prepared cooked shrimp; thawed and drained

Directions 

In a Dutch oven or large sauce pan, heat butter over medium heat, stirring to melt butter.  Add cream cheese to melted butter and allow to melt.  Stir in potato soup; blend well to remove chunks. Stir in the half & half in small amounts; stirring well until mixed.

Cook for 30 minutes over medium low heat; stirring often to prevent scorching.  Stir in shrimp.  Continue to cook on medium low heat until shrimp is cooked through, 2-3 minutes.

Add the liquid crab boil and preferred seasonings to taste.  Serve immediately.

Zatarains shrimp crab boil

 

This dish makes a great addition to a holiday dinner menu as an appetizer or first course.

I serve the soup in individual soup tureens topped with a generous pinch of parsley and chives.

woven-Easter-basket

quick-ranch-bread-sliced

Ranch Quick Bread

An woven basket filled with selected artisan breads rounds out the plated presentation and brings home the wow factor.
cest-si-bon

 

From Coast to Coast: Seafood Cuisine of Summer

From sea to shining sea, crustaceans and seasonal fish are the seafood cuisine of summer and the palatable pride of both the East and West coasts.

Lobster, crab, gulf shrimp, clams, sea scallops, mussels cod, haddock are in East coast season.

New-England-Clambake

New England Clambake

Is anyone else thinking about the song, “Clambake” from the Elvis Presley movie of the same name?

Clambake, gonna have a clambake!

Good tunes frame a good time.

Seafood Cuisine of Summer

In keeping with the keep it summer simple rule of summer entertaining, I like the versatility a casual with an elegant twist style brings to the table or beach blanket.

Keep the look simple and keep the guests guessing what decorating and entertaining surprise you’ll pull out of your beach bag of tricks.

Building on a theme takes a lot of the guesswork out of decorating and tablescaping.

The summer season comes ready to go with a ski boat load of ideas for themed parties and get-togethers with a catch of the day menu.

A cool beverage and a hot night can be all the theme you need, but if you’re looking for other theme ideas here’s a list of suggestions:

Reelin’, Chillin’ & Grillin’ Summer Nights

Seafood Bake-n-Boil

Nautical and Nice

Tropical Tails

Shrimp on the Barbie Under the Stars

Driftwood-PlatterDriftwood Platter

Portuguese Palissy Majolica Wall Plate Lobster ~ Nicole Maleine Antiques, Inc

Crustacean Bib design by Sir/Madam

Crustacean Bib design by Sir/Madam

lobster-coastal living magazineCoastal Living

Ever wonder why lemon is the seafood plate accessory of choice?

Lemon wakes up the natural flavors in seafood and fish.

The bright bite of fresh meets citrus sweet and flavor balance is born.

Lemon wraps make a pretty plate presentation and keep the lemons seeds contained.

lemon-wraps

King crab, salmon, halibut, Pacific bay shrimp, sea scallops, swordfish, flounder, clams, oysters, calamari squid – Pacific perfection!

West-coast-cookout

Seasoned to taste and region.

Old-Bay-seasoning

Zatarains shrimp crab boil

Put a southern spin on the seafood spread with a pan of buttermilk cornbread.

From coast to coast and sea to shining sea, seafood lovers know the world is their oyster.

Love your style!