Give me an excuse to cook a meal and I’ll happily jump at the opportunity. There are few things as rewarding to me as cooking a good meal and enjoying it with friends and family–it’s about sharing, and time together, and I think President’s Choice is really on to something with today’s Eat Together Day.
Across Canada, PC is inviting everyone to sit down at the table and share time together over a meal for June 29th, “celebrating the social power of food,” and for Canada’s 150th anniversary. It’s more than just about bringing friends and family together too–it’s about bringing people together, because food and conversation can transform people into neighbours and even family.
When PC invited me to plan a meal to celebrate Eat Together Day with my family, I was also excited because my father has been in Toronto this week with me, and we don’t often get enough opportunities to have a nice meal together.
Good food is powerful too–I think it’s medicine for the soul as much as the body, and it can make you feel great after even the roughest day. We also don’t sit down together for enough meals, unless it’s a special occasion. For my meal, I wanted to make it the kind of warm, heartening food I remember my mother making for my father and I back in the day, with a few special touches for food I love to make.
The plan: PC’s Eat Together Day
To start off, and because I am addicted to cheddar, I served 2-year-old PC Canadian Smoked Cheddar with Black Label Apricot & Rosemary Artisan Crisps. I know my family loves cheese too, so it seemed like a good place to start, but it’s also a simple snack that leaves room for conversation.
Next, I served a strawberry salad with sliced almonds, PC Goat’s Milk Feta Cheese, Organic Spring Mix, and home made vinaigrette dressing. At the same time I was prepping the main course: home made chicken tornadoes wrapped with PC Smoky Bonfire Double-Smoked Bacon, or Angus Beef Tenderloin steaks.
For the chicken and the steaks, there’s an easy option if you’re a little unsure. For the chicken, which is a bit thicker and needed more cooking time, I recommend searing them on both sides for about 2 to 3 minutes a side, until the sides turn golden, and then finishing them up in the oven at 425 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes to ensure doneness. It’s wise to check with a knife or a thermometer to ensure the middle is cooked and juices are running clear.
The steaks follow a similar rule, but they take a little less time in the oven. I recommend searing them in a good, solid frying pan for 3 minutes on each side, and then placing them in the oven for 6 minutes to reach medium-rare. Check with a meat thermometer, or cook for approximately 8 minutes for medium at 425 degree Celsius.
Seasoning is simple but oh so important for the meats. Pat down the steaks and chicken with a paper towel, and then mix equal parts salt and pepper with a little garlic powder or fresh garlic with a dash of summer savory. After cooking the meat, place the frying pan back on the stove top and add about 1 tablespoon of butter for each average-sized steak, mixed with about a teaspoon of the spice mix. After the butter melts, spoon the mixture over the steaks for a minute or two before serving.
While the steak and chicken were cooking, I was finishing up cooking garlic green beans and potatoes. The beans were just steamed and lightly cooked with garlic flakes, and for the potatoes, I cubed and boiled them with the skins on, and then mashed them with butter, milk, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. (If you want the mashed potatoes even bolder, I recommend them with sour cream too, and topped with bacon crumble.)
When it came to dessert, I debated a lot of options, including making lava cake, which is easier than you might imagine, but I opted for pastries from the Loblaws dessert counter since they have such incredible cakes, treats, and cupcakes. (The new PC S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches are also fantastic, and taste just like camping with honey graham wafers, creamy roasted marshmallow-flavoured ice cream, and dipped in chocolatey coating. Or there are dozens of pre-made PC desserts in the frozen aisle.)
Planning Your Meal
Thanks to President’s Choice for the chance to create this delicious meal, and to bring my family together for a chance to talk and share together. My family loved the meal, and we had a good time together over really delicious food. I would also like to think that we’ll do this again some time just to keep up a tradition of eating together more often.
If you want a few simpler, pre-made options for your own special meal, try the PC Loads of Canadiana Beef Burgers, which are made with Canadian beef, cheese curds, bacon and a classic Montreal-style steak spice in one thick patty; or PC Bacon & Maple Barbecue Sauce with bold, smoky heat and real maple syrup; and finish the meal with PC Cold Brew Single Origin Black Coffee, made from dark roast 100% Arabica beans.
Follow #EatTogether and join in on the Eat Together Day conversation by snapping a picture of your favorite dish you would share with friends, family, or anyone else. You can find PC products at Loblaws, Loblaws CityMarket, Your Independent Grocer, Zehrs, Provigo, Dominion and Atlantic Superstore.
Watch the Eat Together Day short film:
My meal gallery:
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