A chilly Monday morning started the work week with my office colleagues and I assembling offsite for a planning exercise. One by one, we climbed four flights of wooden stairs and took seats in a boardroom atop a converted 19th century home that was lovingly renovated and meticulously maintained since the 1950s. A little over a month into the new fiscal year, we took the opportunity to inventory our accomplishments and strategize our approach for the coming months.
Why the corporate narrative?
The ice breaker was a round table question, how did you fete your mother on Mother’s Day the Sunday past? While brunch is the usual suspect, many of us celebrated the women in our lives who loved us unconditionally, cared for us selflessly, and nourished us both body and mind with outdoor “barbecues.” Not quite partaking of the tradition that is one of America’s originating cuisines (smoker-based “barbecue”), we gathered around mostly propane-powered grills with family and friends for first of the season flame-broiled treats.
Being able to pull out our grills in the warm sunshine is a sign of spring. Some of us may have tunneled their way to their natural gas grills and partook of warmer weather food all winter. Me, I put away my charcoal chimney starter, kettle grill, and apple wood pellets and chips after first snow.
Last year, we got our grill on a little late into the season. The following ended up being the last of our grilled excursions for the fall.
[w/cauliflower cream, wilted baby chard, roasted corn, and chicken demi-glace cream gravy]
This year, we are marking the start of the grill season by co-hosting our first Twitter Party with Vaugan, Ontario’s Summer Fresh, #freshBBQ. Christine McNaughton (@chancesmommy), community and project manager of Life on Manitoulin, is hosting. Julie (@SoberJulie) of SoberJulie.com is also co-hosting.
Summer Fresh is a family-run prepared foods operation that manufactures packaged salads (slaws, pastas, and bean), dips (baba ganouj, hummus, artichoke, spinach, yogurt-based tzatziki, and roasted red pepper), and sauces (various ethnic-inspired flavours from Indian butter chicken to Thai-curry). Odds are you’ve seen their often vegetarian-friendly products in the refrigerated displays at the supermarket. Some products are also kosher and organic.
Normally, we advocate draining our own Greek yogurt with cheese cloth for tzatziki and soaking dried chick peas for hummus. Over the winter, we even baked our own breads. The thing is, time pressures on weekday evenings after long work days often make completely-from-scratch prep and execution an impossible challenge.
Summer Fresh’s brand is based on the standard “fresh, healthy, and delicious” descriptors. An large company that employs over 100 people, the ingredient lists on the products we have purchased and tried (only the dips and salads) are refreshingly short. There are some stabilizers and emulsifiers but little to no preservatives. Hence, the products are sold chilled.
Essentially, you can purchase the quantities you need from the refrigerated case and concentrate on other dish components for your meal, which is what we did this past week.
[w/Frenched pork chop Sous Vide to 130F and pan seared; dressed with apple ice syrup; and served on spring greens (dressed in apple cider vinegar); and served on Summer Fresh hummus and pickled apple slices]
For the Twitter Party, there will be prizes, so we encourage you to make yourselves eligible by RSVPing here (“BBQ Twitter Party“). We, our host, and co-host start tweeting this Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 9 pm EST. Prizes, from 7 $25 coupon prize packs to a $200 grand prize (including a $100 prepaid Visa gift card, $50 in summer Fresh products, and a cooler bag) will be awarded before 10 pm EST.
To our readers who would prefer not to follow the Twitter Party, you can mute the conversation either natively via the Twitter app or website by muting our account for the hour. Alternatively, if you are using a third-party app (e.g. Plume), you can mute tweets with the #FreshBBQ hash tag. For instance, now Twitter-owned TweetDeck has included filtering functionality for years.
Cheers and happy grilling and smoking!
Tags: barbecue, featured, giveaway, grilled, Slipacoff's Premium Meats, sponsored, spring, Summer Fresh