Cool Summer Eats For Your Eco-Style Picnic

Why not try some new additions to the standard holiday BBQ fare? Of if the summer heat has got you beat, then refresh with these cooling recipes! Easy to make without heating up the kitchen, they're as eco-friendly as they are tasty, especially if you use all organically grown ingredients. I have had these recipes for years and love them. The cuke-melon salad is one I tore out of a magazine years ago and have been enjoying every summer since. And the Sangria is my own approximation of the red wine version from one of my favorite NYC 'Italian' restaurants, that, surprisingly, also had the most fantastic Spanish dishes, and absolutely the best Sangria I have ever tasted.  This, due to the fact the charmingly enthusiastic & well-traveled owner was trained in the kitchens of Italy & Spain.  (Casa di Isacco)
Hope you'll give these refreshing Summer recipes a try. (for those of you at the end of winter, a great way to welcome Spring!) Please let me know if you do!

Cucumber-Melon Melange
1/2 t ground cumin
pinch of ground cinnamon
1 t honey
1 C Greek yogurt
2 T fresh mint leaves, minced
1/2 medium size fresh cantaloupe melon, cut crosswise into (1/8")slices, then cut to 2" pieces.
1 lb. (approx.) fresh cucumbers (or 1 large English hothouse), sliced into very thin medallions
5-6 fresh scallions, sliced thinly on diagonal, with white part & about 1 " of the green.
Method: In a small bowl, mix spices, honey and stir in 2 T of yogurt to dissolve honey, then add remaining yogurt and mint. Spread yogurt mix on a large flat serving plate, coating the entire bottom plate.  Starting around the perimeter, lay slices of cucumber and melon, alternating each, arranging concentrically until a flower-like assembly is formed at the center. Sprinkle the scallions over the top and serve immediately with fresh mint sprigs and/or scallion greens as a garnish.
Spanish Sangria
1 bottle of Spanish red wine, such as Rioja, Tempranillo or Garnacha
1 lemon, sliced into thin disks (1/8"- 1/4")
1 orange, sliced into thin disks (1/8"- 1/4")1/2 cup brandy
2-4 fresh peaches, stoned, sliced into wedges
No sugar!
1/2 C brandy
1/2 C Cointreau
1/2 C (or to taste) orange juice (fresh-squeezed, otherwise, 'not from concentrate' juice)
Method: Slice citrus into 1/4" round slices. Cut peaches in half to remove pit, then cut into 3/4" wedges. In a large pitcher or jug, combine all ingredients. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled. (Serve with plain seltzer water or Cava (Spanish 'champagne') on the side, for those that like their Sangria sparkling.)  Enjoy!

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