Make Everyday Dinners Special with Easy Gourmet Touches

Jul 25, 2011

The ritual of family dinner has been credited with everything from relieving stress to improving a child’s vocabulary. But in these busy times, it’s tempting to rush through the meal rather than savouring the experience. Keep your family bonding across the table a bit longer with quick, easy gourmet touches that make your everyday dinners special.

Warm Up for Dinner

Nothing signals the family (and their stomachs) that dinner is nearly ready quite like the smell of baking bread. And you don’t have to spend the afternoon elbow-deep in dough to create the effect. Here are a couple of easier options:

Bake it. Ready-to-bake dinner rolls from your local store’s freezer or dairy section add homey warmth to a meal without much effort. And with a Samsung twin-cooking oven, you can bake the rolls while you roast a chicken or cook a casserole. The dual temperature controls mean you can prepare each item to perfection at the same time.

Fake it. A low oven or, better yet, an EZ Warming Drawer (available on some Samsung ovens) set on medium can quickly heat up rolls or a loaf of bread from your supermarket or local bakery.

Restaurant Ambience Without Reservations

The smallest details can make a meal special. Try these restaurant-style touches at home:

Switch up the daily grind. There’s a world of difference between ready-to-shake pepper and the freshly ground kick a peppermill provides. Let the kids play waiter and take turns being the official grinder.

Warm up your plates. Keep your food hotter longer with a warmed-up plate. That’s easy to do if your oven has a warming drawer—just set it to low. If you don’t have a warming drawer, rinse the plates in scalding water and wipe dry just before you set them out on the table.

Oil change. If you usually use butter or a spread for your bread, set out small plates of extra-virgin olive oil for dipping.

Garnish Your Plates from the Refrigerator or Pantry

Add a jolt of colour or a bit more flavour to your dinner plates with fast, easy garnishes. Use what you have on hand, and encourage the kids or your spouse to indulge their inner chefs and imaginations to help. Here are three ideas to get started:

Expand your palette. Parsley is a classic garnish, of course, but don’t be afraid to use the other items in your crisper for eye-catching, edible decorations. Accent the plate with thin rings of green, red, or yellow pepper, carrot sticks, orange slices, or even fresh celery tops.

Paint the plate. Drizzle lines or dots of mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, or any other suitable condiment on the plate before placing the food portions on it. Or sprinkle the plate with paprika and run your (clean) finger through it to make a striped design.

Crunch time. Use pieces of leftover bread and that last bit of cheese for a quick, delicious toast to float in soup or perch on a bowl of chilli or stew. Grate the cheese over the bread and pop it into your oven’s broiler until the cheese has melted.

Serve It Hot, Whenever the Family Is Ready

Juggling family schedules isn’t easy. Whether your meal is home-cooked or brought in, you can serve it piping hot. Set your warming drawer to high and the food will still be the perfect temperature when the last member of the family arrives home from work, sports practice, or school activities.

Spicing up your evening meal with a few special flourishes—and with the help of your oven—will have your family savouring their time spent with each other around the dinner table just as much as they enjoy the food.