Burgers with cheese and mushroom sauce. And homemade potato chips.

casaveneracion.com Burgers with cheese and mushroom sauce. And homemade potato chips.

When entertaining, it is usual for the host or hostess to choose dishes that impress. And “impressive” is commonly associated with expensive ingredients or dishes that are complicated to cook, or both. I don’t subscribe to any of those beliefs. Entertaining is about the company primarily and the food is simply an accessory to make the company even more enjoyable. And when it comes to choosing the food, sometimes, less is more. Take burgers, for instance. Serving burgers for a sit down lunch may not sound like a sophisticated plan but, with the right accessories, burgers on a platter can be an impressive dish especially for an al fresco meal.

casaveneracion.com Burgers with cheese and mushroom sauce. And homemade potato chips.

It all starts with good burgers, of course. None of those ready-made patties that you can pick up from the frozen section of the supermarket. I’m talking about homemade burgers that you seasoned with your personal formula (click here for lots of burger ideas), prepared the smart way and grilled to perfection. And then, the burgers are served with accessories that transform them into a much less predictable dish.

casaveneracion.com Burgers with cheese and mushroom sauce. And homemade potato chips.

What accessories? Slices of onions, tomatoes, cucumber or pickles make burgers too much of a fast food fare. So, instead of all that, a good sauce to top the patties with. Nothing that comes out of a bottle or jar, mind you, but something that doesn’t taste anything like it came out of a jar or bottle. Like Salisbury steak? Well, yes, the idea is in the right direction but the brown sauce is more “everyday” than party-like. Party burgers deserve a party sauce. Party sauce? Yep, something like the cheese dip with roasted capsicum, garlic and scallions that could also be a sandwich spread and which I later discovered was also perfect for smothering burgers with. Just saute mushrooms in butter, add cream, the cheese sauce, heat gently then pour over the burgers.

And then the little extras that add color and texture. Greens, naturally, lots of greens. Make a generous bed of crisp lettuce to nestle the burgers before smothering them with the creamy sauce. And, on the side, homemade potato chips. Sprinkle everything with chopped fresh greens, serve with a platter of bread — home baked pan de sal is a good choice — and tall glasses of cold drinks. Not powdered iced tea, please, but something more unusual like agua fresca. Then, enjoy the food, the drinks and the compliments which you’re bound to get lots of.

Connie Veneracion

Hello, my name is Connie Veneracion. I cook, I shoot, I write. But I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... (more about me)

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2 Responses

  1. A says:

    “Not powdered iced tea, please, but something more unusual like agua fresca. ” – Hear, hear! A decent mixed drink (virgin or otherwise) always gets my thumbs up.

    Reminds me of how restaurants rip off people by offering bottomless iced tea. A pouch of powdered ice tea costs around 5 to 20 pesos; plus water and ice, a liter of iced tea costs maximum 30-35 pesos. Now, a normal person can only drink a liter of liquids before getting full; if you charge 70 pesos for bottomless iced tea, you can earn more than double the capital! Sleazy.

    Since you’re into breadmaking now, perhaps you could try to make your own sesame buns? But I prefer homemade pita, which I actually like more then loaf-y bread. Pita is an easy choice, and would go well with your garlicky cheese spread :)

  2. We’re planning on doing it all — buns and flatbreads included. Alex so loves paratha so we’ll learn to make that too. It’s so exciting!

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