There’s something refreshing about a light summer soup. It’s especially appetizing when it involves asparagus.

One of the best soup recipes I’ve tried is one I found in Stephanie O’Dea’s “Make it Fast, Cook it Slow” cookbook. She lists half-and-half as an optional ingredient at the end of cook time, and notes that she likes the soup both with and without.

I like the taste and texture of the half-and-half, but it’s an option for each cook.

Follow the rules for dairy products in the slow cooker and watch when in the cooking process, they are added to the dish. In this case, the half-and-half is added at the end and then heated with the rest of the cooked and blended ingredients. This is a great recipe for a soup-and-salad or soup-and-sandwich combination luncheon, especially in the dog days of summer. Note that this one calls for a 6-quart slow cooker.