Junior League of Tampa cookbook committee member, Erin, volunteered to share some of her favorite recipes from The Life of the Party for a Florida beach picnic!
Summer has officially ended, and what better way to celebrate than with a sunset beach picnic. For most of the country, end of summer means closing up pools, putting away boats and wistfully preparing for winter. Here in Florida however, it is quite the opposite. Fall is welcomed, as afternoon showers and resulting humidity have finally begun to subside. Outdoor activities are no longer an unbearable thought, as we welcome a break in the weather.
Florida beaches are at their best around this time. The Gulf that was once a warm bath in the summer months has returned to its former refreshing self. A beach picnic is the perfect way to get friends together for an easy stress-free dinner to enjoy sunset and the best Florida has to offer.
I chose two recipes from the Junior League of Tampa’s Life of the Party cookbook – the Black Bean Vegetable wraps and Citrus slush. Hand-held foods are great for the beach and you’ll be surprised at how much you don’t miss the meat in this feel-good Black Bean Veg wrap. The Citrus slush is light and refreshing, the perfect cocktail for a sunset beach picnic.
Black Bean Vegetable Wraps
Pg. 94 Life of the Party
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon onion salt
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed, drained
¼ cup salsa
12 (8-inch) flour tortillas (regular, spinach or red pepper)
10 ounces fresh spinach
2 (7-ounce) jars roasted sweet peppers, drained, chopped
2 carrots, shredded optional
Combine the cream cheese, Pepper Jack cheese, sour cream and onion salt in a mixing bowl; beat until well blended. Process the black beans and salsa in a food processor until smooth. Spread the bean mixture in a light layer over each tortilla. Top evenly with the cheese mixture, spinach, red pepper and carrots. Roll up the tortillas tightly. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill before serving. Serve with a side of salsa and sour cream for dipping. You may add grilled chicken or steak if desired.
Pg. 48 Life of the Party
1 (6-ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
6 ounces gin (substituted white rum)
1 quart citrus soft drink (substituted regular club soda)
2 drops green food coloring (optional)
Combine the limeade concentrate, gin, soft drink and food coloring in a large container. Freeze until serving time. Thaw until slushy and serve in a punch bowl.
The optional addition of carrot gave the wraps a nice crunch. Instead of shredded carrots, I peeled whole carrots with a potato peeler which created gorgeous, thick curls.
The Citrus Slush transported very well in a large plastic Rubbermaid beverage container. Serve over lots of ice to keep that nice slushy texture.