Sunday, August 12, 2012

Welcome Guest Rochelle Staab: Peach Melba Salad

A Cool Summer Salad for Hot August Days

Liz Cooper, my clever amateur sleuth but reluctant cook, prepares the main course for an elderly couple’s dinner party in the opening chapter of BRUJA BROUHAHA. The evening ends in disaster (not because of Liz’s cooking, she would be quick to add.) When she’s not dodging hexes and killers, Southern Californian Liz can be found whipping up easy summer salads with fresh fruits and veggies from produce aisles or the Farmers’ Markets.

Like Liz, the hotter the outside temp the less time I want to stand in front of the burners or grill. Though my stove is suffering separation anxiety, I’m having a great time playing with variations of lunch and dinner salad combos. Today two of my favorite summer fruits, raspberries and peaches, inspire a Peach Melba Salad—an appetizer stepchild of a classic dessert. It’s a sweet intro to a spicy main course, or add a grilled chicken breast for a healthy summer lunch.

I imagine the 19th century soprano Nellie Melba—French chef Escoffier’s inspiration for the dessert with raspberry sauce, peaches, and ice cream—might enjoy the salad version. I use Feta cheese to provide the creamy texture and flavor; healthier, and kinder on Nellie’s vocal chords than freezing cold ice cream.

Serves 4-5

1 bag spinach leaves (I like spinach as a salad bed for added nutrients. You can also use a head of butter or bibb lettuce.)
2 large ripe peaches, skinned, then sliced or diced
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
¾ c. slivered almonds

Raspberry Vinaigrette (yields @ 1 cup):
1 to 1-1/2 cups frozen raspberries (thawed to provide @ 3/4c. raspberries)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey (you can add more to taste for a sweeter dressing) 


Place thawed raspberries, olive oil, lemon juice, and honey in a blender. Blend on low until smooth then refrigerate.

At serving time arrange spinach or lettuce on a platter, topping with peach slices and Feta. Add ½ cup of the vinaigrette (or more as desired), sprinkle with slivered almonds, and toss.
I don’t season but if you must, salt and pepper to taste.

I also make this salad with sliced red grapes instead of peaches, and swap candied walnuts for the almonds. Delish!

*Happy summer dining, everyone*

About BRUJA BROUHAHA and Rochelle:

A mid-city clinic assignment near historic MacArthur Park sends psychologist Liz Cooper into the midst of local mayhem, a puzzling disappearance, and a vindictive Santeria hex. Liz and her new love, Religious Philosophy Professor Nick Garfield, help an elderly Santera through a heart-breaking tragedy with repercussions that test their relationship and Liz’s professional ethics.

Rochelle Staab, a former award-winning radio programmer and music industry marketing executive, blends her fascination with the supernatural and her love for mystery in the bestselling Mind for Murder Mystery series featuring Los Angeles psychologist Liz Cooper. BRUJA BROUHAHA, the second novel in the series, follows WHO DO, VOODOO? an Anthony, Agatha, Eureka! and Golden Heart® nominee.

You can find Rochelle on the web at; on FacebookTwitter; and Goodreads

You can also pick up your copy of BRUJA BROUHAHA at your favorite bookseller:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or Books-a-Million.


  1. this sounds delicious Rochelle--and I have a refrigerator shelf full of ripe peaches! congrats on the new book...

  2. Thank you again for joining us in the kitchen . . . this really does sound like a great recipe!

  3. Rochelle, what a delicious sounding salad, and I adore Liz. She's a winning protagonist! Good success with this new book. The title is hilarious.

    ~Daryl aka Avery

  4. Peaches and spinach sound fabulous together. But raspberry vinaigrette on top? Ohhhhhh! Delicious.

    Your book sounds fascinating. Hexes are so sinister!

    Thanks for blogging with us today, Rochelle!

    ~ Krista

  5. Lucy, Wendy, Daryl, and Krista—thank you for the warm (or should I say 'cool') welcome! I love hanging out in the MLKitchen.

  6. Fun post, Rochelle. This salad looks like a sweet refresher for this endless summer. (No air cond. in our little NYC kitchen, so we've got the fan on full blast and are making salads and sandwiches aplenty. This is perfect.)

    Big congrats on your new Mind For Murder mystery. Your first (Who Do, Voodoo?) was terrific, and I'm looking forward to reading Bruja. Cheers to you and thanks for joining us today in the Kitchen!

    ~ Cleo

  7. I'm cooling in front of my fan too, Cleo. The summer heat wave hit Los Angeles three days ago so the US is sweltering from coast to coast. It's too hot to eat anything but salads and popsicles. I'm even turning my nose up at French fries, my favorite food.

    Thank you for your kind words on Bruja Brouhaha, the past week has been a lot of fun for me.

    Huge congratulations on your stellar first week on A Brew To A Kill! Can't wait to read it. (fangirl)

  8. Love spinach and raspberries, this sounds as scrumptious as Brouha Bruhaha does! Just bought it can't wait to read!!!

  9. I love using spinach as my salad base, Donnell. It works in almost every combo. And, well, raspberries & peaches? Yum.

    I hope you enjoy Bruja Brouhaha! So happy you stopped by.