Our Favorite Summer Salad

Summer.  At its best, it is easy, leisurely and relaxed.  And, it seems that everyone is on an endless vacation.  At least the pictures make it look that way.  In reality, it’s just another season in this thing called life and all that comes along with it.  The good news is that even when life is hectic, it seems that summer offers occasional moments of reprieve, when we really can just dial it back a notch.  And, while summer seems to be the season of entertaining, I like the fact that it’s a simpler type of entertaining. It’s all about patios, barbecues and buckets of beer.  Pretenses and formality are left at the front door.  I’m a fan of any dinner party where flip flops are the appropriate attire.

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’ve heard us say more than once that summer food ranks right up there on the list of our favorite things.  Fresh, local food prepared seasonally.  For me, it just doesn’t get much better than this.

Corn on the Cob

Selecting CornThis salad is the perfect side dish for any summer meal.  It takes advantage of fresh produce, and (most importantly) it’s a breeze to make, so it fits right into the dialed-back, relaxed type of entertaining that summer is all about.  And, as I’ve discovered this summer, it’s easy to take along to a picnic or potluck.  Recently, I did all the prep in the morning, brought it along in the cooler and just added the avocado and vinaigrette right before serving it for dinner.  The recipe can easily be doubled to feed a larger group.  And, it’s pretty.  It’s like a bowl full of summer food confetti.

Corn Tomatoes and Avocado

Shaving Corn

Our Favorite Summer Salad

But, perhaps, the best part is this is a crowd favorite.  People really, really like this salad.

I originally found this summer salad recipe on this great blog (With Style and Grace), which is a wonderful source for gluten-free recipes if you’re looking for one.  My version is just slightly altered. I think on her blog, Lisa credits Martha Stewart for the recipe.  And, I’ve seen similar versions of it on Pinterest, Facebook and Foodgawker.  Whatever the source, it’s a keeper.  File it under “The Salad To Make When I Need a Simple, Delicious Solution, Oh, and When Corn and Tomatoes are in Season.”

To everyone who has asked for this recipe over the past few weeks, here it is!  Happy Entertaining!

Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

Click here to get recipe

Mom’s Simple (and Simply Delicious) Potato Salad

Growing up, our family was not what you would call foodies.  My mom didn’t spend her time in the kitchen preparing anything that remotely resembled fussy foods.  That is such an understatement, I really don’t even know how to correct it.  I think one of the fussiest things Mom ever made was some salad she must have seen in a magazine.  She took a half of a pear (canned, no less), placed it on a leaf of iceberg lettuce and topped it with a dollop of Miracle Whip, some grated cheese, and a maraschino cherry.  And, long before the concept of “plating” was in our vernacular, this was actually one thing that Mom would assemble on each of our plates and then serve to us, all seated around the table.  Invariably, as she passed the plates, the pear half would go sliding around the plate like an Olympian on ice skates.  All my young mind could come up with, when served this, was “Whaaaattttt?”  Maybe because it was so long before I had learned what an appropriate response “WTF!” can be in a situation like that.

Mom on boat

But what we did eat were good, basic meals.  Well, usually good.  The not-so-good really wasn’t my Mom’s fault.  We were kids and just didn’t like all foods.  Period.  That, and you might say that my dad was a little particular about what he ate (my second understatement of the day).  I can’t imagine a situation where he would’ve eaten anything fancy with a seasoning like curry, or that had him eating something exotic like asparagus.  Heck, this is a man who wouldn’t eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken because he didn’t think they cut the chicken pieces correctly.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know many of my recipes are my mom’s.  And, most are described as simple and good.  No fuss or additional make-it-fancy ingredients at all.  Not that things like radishes would necessarily be categorized as fancy.  It’s just that I don’t see them as necessary in some recipes.  And that’s true of her potato salad.  Like so many of Mom’s recipes, this simple potato salad is still how I prefer things.  When Mom made it, she would meticulously blend her mayonnaise with the mustard before adding it to the potato and eggs.  I have found that mixing it all together, in one big bowl, works just fine.  Hard to imagine being less fussy than my mom, but there it is.

Potato Salad Ingredients

Red Potatoes

Hardboiled Eggs

This is a summer staple around our house.  It has made an appearance at more barbecues and summer dinners than I can count.  And I think of Mom every single time I make it.

Happy Entertaining!

Red Potato Salad

Click here to get recipe

Summer Spinach Salad

Summer is here, and the proof is in the eating.  It’s strawberry season, which means it’s salad season in this house.  Honestly, I look forward to strawberry season every year because it means we’ll start eating this salad — a lot.  To say that we love this spinach salad is an understatement.  And, whenever we have served it to guests, it’s been a big hit every time.  I figure any time you can eat/serve spinach to rave reviews, it’s a win/win situation.

Spinach Salad Nuts and DressingThis is a versatile salad.  You can serve it as a starter or side salad, or it can be a main dish spinach salad by simply adding diced roasted chicken.  It will work with any mixture of fresh berries, which means you can make it with whatever berries are in season.  Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are all wonderful options in this salad. For the dressing, we use a raspberry vinaigrette, but I’ve seen similar recipes that use a poppy seed dressing, which would probably be delicious as well.  And, while we use a nut mix (Sahale Snacks  – almonds with cranberries, honey and sea salt), I think you’d get the same good taste by using almonds and some dried cranberries. See, versatility in a salad bowl!

I use the spinach in the bag, the stuff that’s already washed.  Makes this salad super easy to make, which is one of my favorite things when I’m trying to get dinner on the table for 2 or 10.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a salad I had a few years ago at the Nordstrom Cafe.  It was so tasty and fresh, I wanted to make something similar at home for us and guests.  Because the ingredients were so simple and basic, it was easy to replicate.  I think you’ll find it’s an easy, and delicious salad.  And, did I mention that it’s healthy, too?

Happy Entertaining!

Summer Spinach Salad

Click here to get recipe

Lazy Days of Summer?

We know that we have been woefully absent from this blog the last few weeks.  Thank you to our followers that have reached out to us and inquired about our whereabouts.  Nice to think we’ve been missed.  We’ve been right here but we’ve just been busy doing this thing called summer.

Patio Happy HourUnlike previous summers, we’ve had a lot of visitors here.  Our not-so-big house has experienced visiting pooches and blow-up mattresses in the living room and kids sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags and an endless sliding of the screen door.  And, in the Pacific Northwest, where it can be gray and damp for so many months, when summer hits people come out of their houses and the place sort of comes alive.  It reminds me of when the Good Witch tells the Munchkins to “come out, come out” and and everyone starts dancing around with flower pots on their heads.  The sunshine is our Good Witch.  So, we’ve also been experiencing people on their patios and in their yards and on their boats, all welcoming us and others with food and drink.  I’ve sort of lost count of how many times we’ve been to a neighbor’s or have had friends here over the last few weeks.  Everyone here knows the good weather won’t last forever and is taking full advantage of it.

So, while it may seem like we’ve been neglecting our blog duties, I prefer to think of it more like we’ve been off getting field practice.  We’ve used many of our recipes that we’ve shared on the blog (some over and over again).  And we’ve re-learned some critical entertaining philosophies along the way.  Maybe it’s that I’m experiencing my own form of the lazy Mason Jar Candlesdays of summer.  I mean, I know there are obvious weeds in my garden, that my furniture is showing a fine layer of dust and that there is laundry piled on top of the washer, but I want to focus on what’s really important:  All of our friends and neighbors that have “come out” to enjoy the summer and chosen to spend to time with us.  The key is for us, as hosts, to enjoy the evening and everyone else seems to follow our example.  Summer is a good time to let go of some of those nagging details and just relax a little.  I felt the teensiest bit guilty when I let the local Berry Barn provide the peach pie for dessert or a week later when our guests arrived before I got home from the grocery store, but then I reminded myself that there is more to life than pretending to be Martha Stewart.

I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you for weeks.  It’s a great way to take advantage of the good, local corn and those fabulous small tomatoes that are available right now.  I originally got the recipe from a great blog (With Style and Grace), where, contrary to my earlier comment about Martha, I believe they credit her for the original recipe.  So, I’m not exactly sure where this one started, but I’ve made just a few tweaks to it.  It’s been a big hit with everyone we’ve shared it with, so I think your guests will like it too.

Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

Happy entertaining!

Get recipe

Visit Entertaining Couple's profile on Pinterest