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Light summer meals

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Turkey, Spinach, Blue Cheese and Cranberry Wraps

REFRESHING RECIPES Find a reprieve from the summer heat with lighter recipes, such as these Turkey, Spinach, Blue Cheese and Cranberry Wraps from Peace Meals(Photo courtesy of the Junior League of Houston)

With the pandemic, many families have found – or rediscovered – the pleasure of being outdoors: long walks, a bike ride in the neighborhood, or just sitting out on the front porch. With summer, we can add outdoor eating, whether it’s from the grill, some socially distant dining al fresco or a picnic at the park.

For a refreshing start, consider the Nutty Cucumber Soup al Fresca, from Stop and Smell the Rosemary. It’s a quick no-cook soup that requires only a blender and a refrigerator. Slivered almonds give a crunch while fresh parsley, green onions and light sour cream add to the cool flavors.

Another go-to favorite for summer is anything with mango. Its tropical sweetness seems to take me away on vacation. Stop and Smell the Rosemary offers Mangospacho, an update to the classic gazpacho summer soup. It trades tomatoes for mangos, adds in cucumbers, strawberries and ginger for some extra sweetness and zing and is topped off with cilantro and creme fraiche. The soup is so indulgent, you almost feel it is dessert.

For the main course, consider breezy ways to give classic sandwiches a new flavor. The Olive “Po” Boy from Stop and Smell the Rosemary dresses up ham, salami and cheese sandwiches with a tangy olive spread that has cauliflower as a secret ingredient. Lots of olives and caper juice and olive oil give a Mediterranean flavor to a Louisianan mainstay. Another option to jazz up summer sandwiches: the Smoked Turkey and Apple Sandwich with Lone Star Mayonnaise, also from Stop and Smell the Rosemary. The dressing includes mustard, liquid smoke, chipotle peppers and lime. You can serve either with Upside Down Pickles, from the same cookbook. The pickles are marinated with sugar, apple cider vinegar and horseradish and are good enough as a snack on their own.

Another light and lovely summer dish is the Turkey, Spinach, Blue Cheese and Cranberry Wrap(s) from Peace Meals. The wraps have a nice crunch with pecans and apples, and the blue cheese and cranberries give that perfect salty/sweet satisfaction.

Turkey, Spinach, Blue Cheese and Cranberry Wraps

From Peace Meals

8 ounces cream cheese softened
1½ Tablespoons buttermilk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon minced onion
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
¾ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
8 slices roasted turkey breast
½ cup prepared roasted raspberry chipotle sauce
½ medium Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
3 cups fresh baby spinach

Combine the cream cheese, buttermilk, garlic and onion in a medium bowl. Add the blue cheese, pecans and cranberries and stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly over each tortilla; layer with the turkey, chipotle sauce, apple slices, shredded carrots and spinach. Roll each tortilla tightly and use toothpicks to secure. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 4 hours. Slice on the diagonal to serve. Makes 8 wraps.

Nutty Cucumber Soup al Fresca

From Stop and Smell the Rosemary

3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1½ cups plus 1½ cups chicken broth
3 cups light sour cream
3 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic powder, or 3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
¼ cup slivered almonds
½ cup minced green onions
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Blend cucumbers and 1½ cups chicken broth in a blender. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in remaining 1½ cups chicken broth, sour cream, vinegar and garlic powder. Chill several hours. Just before serving, add tomatoes, almonds, green onions, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6 to 8.

Mangospacho

From Stop and Smell the Rosemary

2 large mangoes plus 2 large mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced
2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
½ cup rice vinegar
½ cup olive oil
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 medium red onion, diced
1 cup strawberries, hulled and diced
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup chopped fresh chives
Chopped fresh cilantro
Crème fraîche

Blend 2 diced mangoes, ginger, vinegar, olive oil, water, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add remaining 2 mangoes, onion, strawberries, cucumber, cilantro and chives. Adjust seasonings. Chill several hours to let flavors blend. Let rest at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro and crème fraîche. Serves 8. Mangospacho is especially pretty served in clear bowls.

Olive “Po” Boy

From Stop and Smell the Rosemary

Olive Mixture:
1 head cauliflower, florets only, or 1 jar (16 ounces) pickled cauliflower
1 jar (5 ounces) green olives with pimentos, drained
1 can (8 ounces) pitted black olives, drained
1 jar (3½ ounces) small capers
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Dash cayenne pepper
Olive oil

Sandwiches:
6 French rolls or pita bread rounds
6 slices baked ham
6 slices salami
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices American cheese
1 tomato thinly sliced
Red leaf lettuce

Olive Mixture: Chop cauliflower in a food processor until finely textured. Transfer to a bowl. Place green and black olives in food processor and chop until finely textured. Combine olives with cauliflower. Add capers and juice, pepper, oregano, garlic and cayenne. Blend well. Fill a 32-ounce jar three-fourths full with mixture. Top with olive oil to the neck of the jar. Cover and refrigerate. This will keep several weeks in the refrigerator. Stir before using. Yields 4½ cups.

Spread Olive Mixture on bread and assemble sandwiches using ham, salami, Swiss and American cheeses, tomato and lettuce. Serves 6.

Smoked Turkey and Apple Sandwich with Lone Star Mayonnaise

From Stop and Smell the Rosemary

Lone Star Mayonnaise:
1 cup nonfat mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 drops liquid smoke
Juice, pulp and zest of 1 lime
1 Tablespoon chipotle chile peppers, canned in adobo sauce, plus 1 Tablespoon sauce

Sandwiches:
12 slices whole wheat farm bread
2 green apples, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
6 to 8 slices smoked turkey breast
6 to 8 slices Muenster cheese

Lone Star Mayonnaise: Blend mayonnaise, mustard, liquid smoke, lime and chipotles in a food processor. Cover and refrigerate. Yields 1½ cups.

Spread Lone Star Mayonnaise on bread and assemble sandwiches using apples, turkey and cheese. Serves 4 to 6.

Upside Down Pickles

From Stop and Smell the Rosemary

1 jar (46 ounces) whole dill pickles, drained
2½ cups sugar
6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 small onion, chopped

Slice pickles. Put them back in jar and set aside. Combine sugar, vinegar, celery seeds, horseradis, and onion. Pour mixture over pickles. Turn jar upside down and refrigerate 24 hours. Serve chilled. Yields 46 ounces.

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