This regular feature showcases the many steps it takes to put together popular dishes at our store and restaurant properties.
Between cottage weekends, road trips, warm weather and patios, there’s no shortage of reasons to love summer in the city. But at the top of the list for many food-loving folk is the arrival of summer fruit. At the peak of sweet-season, August at McEwan means juicy stone fruits like plums, apricots and peaches, antioxidant-rich berries like blueberries, gooseberries and raspberries, and a refreshing selection of hydration-rich melons. Fruit is always a healthy choice when you need something sweet, and whether it’s in dessert for a family cookout, a salad for a lazy brunch, or snacks for the kids at camp, the selection at McEwan’s is worth the year long wait.
For the chefs across the McEwan Group, the arrival of summertime fruit opens up a world of tasty and nutritious possibilities that they’re eager to transform into tasty dishes and snacks for their families. Curious about what fruity delights these culinary masterminds most look forward to each year, I sat them down to get the sweet scoop on fruit.
Chef Shen Ousmand of McEwan
Seasonal fruit is the ultimate expression of perfection in the culinary world. It allows me to be cost effective because I can use seasonal fruits at its peak to make jams, chutneys, and all kind of preserves to store for the winter. This process gives me great joy.
Chef Sash Simpson of North 44
The only thing that can improve the perfect summer fruit, the peach, is the peach cobbler. Baked with oatmeal, brown sugar and served warm with vanilla ice cream, makes this the easiest and tastiest summer fruit treat.
Chef Rob Leclair of Fabbrica
I love fresh stone fruits. Fresh cherries and plums are a favourite snack, or toss them in a salad and their flavours are well complimented by vinaigrettes. Grilling fresh peaches or roasting apricots also intensifies their sweetness.
Chef Matt Beasley of One
I truly believe that the summer fruit that comes out of Ontario is some of the best you can find anywhere. My favorite fruit from Ontario has to be peaches, and when I think of peaches, my next thought goes right to pork. A BBQ pork chop with roasted peaches would be my first pick for a summer dish. When it comes to all the great fruit from Ontario, I prefer to prepare them simply to allow the true taste of the product shine through.
Chef Brooke McDougall of Bymark
I make a raw juice in the morning to start my day with apple, kale, celery, ginger and lemon. On weekends, it’s a pineapple and tequila Mojito.
Chef Drew Ellerby of One, McEwan and Fabbrica (Executive Chef)
I love spring and summer in Ontario- there’s so much product to work with. My favourites by far are fresh Niagara peaches. I like to roast them with a touch of butter and brown sugar and serve them with seared foie gras. Or grill them with a sweet balsamic glaze, some stewed cipolinni onions and a big fat bacon chop. Warm stewed peaches on ice cream is a pretty amazing thing as well.
Making a great seasonal fruit juice every morning gets me ready for the day. I always look forward to using fresh, Ontario strawberries.
Feeling hungry for something succulent, seasonal and sweet? Check out McEwan this month to pick up some of your family’s favourite fruits, and give some of these chef-inspired tips a try in your house before summer is gone.
Don’t we all love to fantasize about having a rich aromatic sauce simmering on a stovetop for hours, and having 5 different dishes on the go when the kids come home from school. Let’s be honest her, folks. After the 12 hour work days, the kids’ soccer practice, your mandatory spin class, and the mountains of inevitable laundry, the thought of busting out a single pan is often enough to throw a grown adult into a stress-induced fit. Thankfully, you don’t have to quit your day job to deliver deep flavours and good nutrition to your family’s plates. Just pop your head into McEwan’s Shops at Don Mills, breath in the exotic curry aromas, and a great family dinner is just a quick trip through the checkout.
As Toronto Star restaurant critic Amy Pataki pointed out, grocery stores have come a long way in offering ready-made meals on site. And while McEwan’s store touts an impressive line up of restaurant-quality hot items to be enjoyed in store, on the go, or at home around the dining room table, nothing is more satisfying than getting to decide exactly what you want and how much you want by dishing it up yourself. Unlike typical self-serve salad or yogurt bars, however, McEwan’s Curry Bar is a heck of a lot exciting, enticing and seductive.
Choose from popular items like Butter Chicken, Lamb Saag, Biryani Fried Rice and Executive Chef Shen Ousmand’s favourite, McEwan’s Own Beef Curry. All of recipes for the curry bar have been inspired by the food Shen’s mother used to cook back home in Srilanka, but have been adapted using classic French technique and North American friendly levels of heat. And if you’re still apprehensive about diving into the world of Indian curry, McEwan’s by-weight pricing means you can sample without committing to an entire meal.
These Indian delicacies are not only a huge culinary upgrade from your family’s pizza, paninis or pastas staples, but offer incredible unique health benefits from anti-inflammatory to antioxidant, to anti-bacterial properties as well! Shen even told me that growing up, his mother used to wash chicken with curry spices like turmeric for this exact reason!
So next time you’re rushing home in a dinner panic, add a little spice to your family’s pale, boring and bland meal routine. Let McEwan do the slow-cooked hard work, pick out your family’s faves, and reap the nutritious and delicious benefits of a slow cooked Indian meal.