Summer is definitely my favorite time of year, and the season I most look forward to enjoying with my family and friends. July, especially, is a time for gathering—two family reunions, several birthdays, and, of course, Independence Day!
My family does a lot of outdoor celebrating, so we're always making cold salads, baking fresh fruit pies, and grilling vegetables straight from the farms around the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, where my new novel, Stardust Summer, is set.
I have fond memories of picking blueberries, peaches, and apples at local orchards and am fortunate that my boys have the same opportunity today. There's nothing like delicious fruit straight off the vine!
Many years ago, my father gave me The Silver Palate Cookbook, which is a wonderful compilation of New York-style recipes. It's a treasured reference and contains fabulous dishes for just about any occasion.
My favorite recipe of the many I've tried from Silver Palate is Tarragon Chicken Salad. I often make it for get-togethers, and it usually draws rave reviews from anyone who tastes it. It's fairly simple to make, uses only a few ingredients, and keeps well in the refrigerator for several days. Enjoy!
Tarragon Chicken Salad (4-6 portions)
The Silver Palate Cookbook
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of heavy cream
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup of Hellman's Mayonnaise (feel free to use the light version, but do not substitute for another brand)
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts or more to taste
2 tbsp dried tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Arrange chicken in a single layer in a cooking pan. Spread evenly with heavy cream and let bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a bowl. Whisk sour cream and mayo together in a small bowl and pour over chicken. Add remaining ingredients and toss well.
Refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours. Taste and correct seasoning before serving. Serve on a bed of lettuce with grapes or other fresh fruit on the side for a light lunch or dinner.
LAUREN CLARK is the author of Dancing Naked in Dixie, Stay Tuned, and Stardust Summer. She writes contemporary novels sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.
Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association, the Mobile Writers Guild, and a regular contributor to Parents & Kids Magazine's Mississippi Gulf Coast Edition. Check out her website.
Where to Buy Stardust Summer:
Where to Buy Stardust Summer:
Barnes & Noble - Nook
In celebration of In Need of Therapy's one-year anniversary and the book's Cuban heroine, enter to win a copy of the cookbook Celebrate Cuban - 100 Great Recipes for Cuban Entertaining by Three Guys From Miami. You can enter up to 6 times using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will end at midnight on Wednesday, July 31st, and a winner will be announced on Thursday, August 1st. This contest is open to residents of the USA only.