Chef Tom to the rescue with summer menu ideas
Chef Tom Filippou, executive chef for President’s Choice Cooking Schools thinks busy home cooks often need a little inspiration for putting together menus for summertime suppers with friends and family. So he and his team have come up with some easy–to-assemble suggestions using, naturally, the President’s Choice product line, which seems to be growing ever bigger, and ever better.
One zesty suggestion - pair Jalapeno cheese burgers with Corn Relish on Round Pretzel Buns, with a side salad dressed with Avocado Dressing, Lime and Jalapeno. Or top a chicken burger with the Zucchini Relish and Monterey Jack with Jalapeno Pepper mini cheese slices. I also like the Sofrito, which is, typically a mix of flavour-rich ingredients indigenous to various regions. PC’s entry is tomato-based with onions, green, red and jalapeño peppers with notes of cilantro, garlic and lemon. It makes for a great burger dressing, but also works with cheese on crusty bread for a vegetarian option, or as a zingy compliment to perfectly scrambled eggs.
They also have a few dozen suggestions on the website for topping their mini burgers and sausages.
I think sandwiches make great summer fare, and Chef Tom agrees. That’s why he suggests putting a little bit extra on the grill to be used for sandwiches the next day. Think about pulled pork, or hot Italian sausages, made with the new PC baguettes. Add roasted pepper or eggplant, portebello mushrooms, sliced raw red onion or caramelized onions.
I happen to like the red pepper rounds buns with almost anything, but especially with fresh LOCAL tomatoes and crisp lettuce, and Formaggio di Bufala Fresh Soft Cheese. For a fun side to a bun-less burger, try roasted beets, sliced very thin and served with toasted walnuts, goat cheese and a drizzle of flavoured olive oil. The magnificent Lucy Waverman turned me on to serving these with chive oil (combine ½ cup chives with ½ cup chives and 2 tablespoons chopped green onion. Bring to a simmer and then sit for 2 hours. Strain).
An easy way to serve an elegant dessert is to pile ice cream — say, the Loads of White Chocolately Raspberry Treats — into a waffle bowl and heap it high with fresh LOCAL raspberries. Peanut butter and jam ice cream, is pretty delish with fresh cherries, imho - I keep a bag of mixed frozen berries in the freezer for the times I run out of fresh, LOCAL (I think I've made my point, no?) seasonal fruit. You could also dress a Dulce de Leche cheesecake with fruit and/or toasted nuts which you would serve, of course, in very skinny slices.