Summer bounty…fresh flavors and vibrant colors of the season, a literal feast for the senses. Culinarians and those of us who enjoy a great dining experience relish in theses months of fruits, vegetables and herbs that are bursting with flavor and are packed with nutritional benefits. Ahh, aromas of summer…for me it is the sight and aroma of fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, a little olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon. I dream of that flavor palate throughout the year and when the summer months deliver those fresh tomatoes and basil, I can’t get enough!
We encourage all culinary teams to take a moment and assess the summer bounty that can be delivered to your community every week. Are you taking advantage of the local produce purveyor, farmer or co-op that offers the freshness and seasonal varieties that change with the local harvest? What better way to get the best yield and cost effective products? Keep in mind price vs cost when ordering produce and fruit; the local farmer may charge a little more for that case of lettuce, but if it lasts longer and has less waste, it can be a lower overall cost!
Show off what nature provides…keep the cooking simple and focus on showing off the natural qualities of the products your working with. Grilled fresh asparagus needs only a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of fresh lemon juice to steal the scene.
Roasted summer squash and zucchini with sweet onions and herb oil can make a simple chicken breast pop off the plate!
The dining teams that work on a four or five week cycle have a little more natural flexibility built into their menus. The trick is to challenge yourself and your culinary team to think outside the vegetable cart, try new items as they become available, get suggestions from residents, do some research for a new recipe and have fun with the residents…we know they say they don’t want to try anything new, but when you prepare it well, present it well and celebrate it with them, they will appreciate the effort and diversion from the everyday!