Summertime: Salads & Book Stacks

Summertime means salad time.

To me, salads are to summer like soups are to winter. I could eat salad every day of these hot months. This week we just pulled out everything we could find to make a salad bar for dinner. Dressings are the element that can take things up a level.

My family loves a creamy dressing- Ranch, Caesar, etc. I typically choose a vinaigrette. Some of my favorites are this Greek Dressing, this Classic Vinaigrette & Sweet Vinaigrette.

But I have come to love 2 dressings that are creamy and special: This Creamy Lemon Dressing from Two Peas and Their Pod and a Ranch Dressing that is delightful.

  1. Creamy Lemon Dressing: This dressing tastes like melted Jeni’s Lemon Buttermilk Yogurt. It is so very tasty. The entire salad recipe is on point- with the candied pecans and sliced apples, white cheddar and green onions!

Creamy Lemon Dressing

¾ cup crème fraiche or plain Greek yogurt

3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

2 Tbsp. honey

½ tsp. kosher salt

To make the dressing, combine the crème fraiche or Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk until smooth. Set aside. The dressing can be made up to 2 days in advance.

2. Fresh Ranch Dressing: This dressing is fresh, herby and tangy! We love it drizzled on our Rice/Quinoa Bowls, on salads, in wraps, and anything else we can find to dip in it.

Ranch Dressing

Dairy:

1/2 cup mayonaise (our favorite is Duke’s)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup buttermilk

Fresh:

1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1/2 of juicy lemon

Dried seasonings

1/2 tsp. dried parsley

1/2 tsp. dried chives

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. cracked pepper

Place all ingredients in a pint sized glass jar. stir together with spoon or whisk, or put lid on and shake vigorously.

Keeps for 2 weeks in a tightly sealed container.

Summertime also means book lists/stacks.

2021 Summer Book Stack

I usually make a book stack each May of books I have gathered to read- or at least pull from during the summer and beyond. I never get through the stack, but it is my hope to put a dent in it.

I have had a challenging year of trying to read and stay focused.( I have found comfort in hearing that I’m not the only one who has had a pandemic-inflicted inability to focus on books.)

Reading articles and listening to podcasts have been my go-to. As I have settled into summer, I have been trying to read books. It’s still a struggle. I’m restless, overwhelmed and either distracted (by my list of to-dos, or the people in my home) so audio books are helping me to do the laundry, do the dishes, water the plants, etc. while I listen.

I started my reading with the audio of the book 24/6 by Tiffany Shalin. It has been echoing around in my mind as we consider how we can realign the relationship that our family has with our screens. She provides a wise and inspiring invitation. I highly recommend it and would love to brainstorm together how we might take action on her ideas.

P.S. I would love any help you can offer on the recipe for Newk’s Sherry Vinaigrette Dressing. I am still trying to crack the code. I have tried 2 recipes I found online and have tried and tweaked but nothing is coming close. This dressing is on the Newk’s Favorite Salad (at my house we call it Julie’s Favorite Salad). If anyone knows the recipe, could you please share? It is so flavorful and I crave it!

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