(Family Features) If the crew is coming over to root for your favorite team, it may be time to spice up the menu. Whether you’re hosting the weekend get-together or watching the game after work, switch up your typical spread and serve something new to leave your guests cheering for more.
When it comes to choosing an ingredient that can lend a winning assist to nearly any dish and score you some major points, look no further than California Ripe Olives.
Variety is key when mapping out food for a crowd, regardless of the event. Plan on serving one main course and two sides, and consider no-fuss options like chips and dips. If there are kids in attendance, make sure there is something neutral for even the pickiest eaters to snack on. However, try your best to avoid anything that needs a knife and fork to eat – finger foods typically work best when the game is on and conversation is flowing.
The mild and unique taste of California Ripe Olives lends itself well to many different flavor pairings, such as these recipes for Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Peach-Olive Jam, Easy Olive Bread and Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Tapenade. Whether your guests are fans of spicy, mild, sweet or savory, the only limit is your imagination when you pull a can of olives from the pantry.
Family farms across California grow 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. Each can is a labor of love. Multi-generational family farms work with family-owned canneries in California to produce each can and ensure only the highest quality olives make it from the farm to your game-day table. For more creative ways to use olives, including family recipes from growers across California, visit CalOlive.org .
Simple Entertaining Tips to Take Your Table to the Next Level
- A colorful platter is an easy way to spice up a spread.
- Pair something salty with something sweet for a juxtaposition of flavors.
- If you’re serving food on neutral plates, add some colorful linens.
- Plan the menu around a central theme or ingredient.
- Guests love choices – making more options available can make for better spreads.
- Use versatile ingredients, like California Ripe Olives, to keep picky eaters happy.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Peach-Olive Jam
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 pounds pork shoulder roast
- kosher salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, quartered
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 8 ounces dried peaches
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 cup California Black Ripe Olives, wedged
- 2 teaspoons country mustard
- 1 ounce arugula
- 8 onion rolls, split and toasted
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- In large, high-sided saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Season pork with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook in pan 3-4 minutes on each side until browned.
- Stir in garlic and continue cooking 3-5 minutes.
- Pour in chicken broth, peaches and chili powder; bring to boil.
- Cover loosely with foil and bake in oven 2 hours.
- With slotted spoon, carefully remove peaches and transfer to small mixing bowl. Mix olives and mustard with peaches; set aside.
- Continue to cook pork in oven 30-60 minutes until fork tender.
- Allow to cool slightly then shred by pulling apart with fork.
- Assemble sandwiches by spooning pork onto toasted rolls.
- Top with arugula and peach-olive mixture.
Easy Olive Bread
Recipe courtesy of The Wicked Noodle
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 10 ounces California Green Ripe Olives, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 loaf French bread, sliced in half lengthwise
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In bowl, mix cream cheese, butter and mayonnaise until thoroughly combined. Add garlic; stir well to distribute. Add cheddar cheese, green olives and green onions; stir to combine.
- Spread mixture on cut sides of bread. Bake 20-30 minutes, until cheese is hot, bubbly and starting to brown.
Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Tapenade
- 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped smoked sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (6 ounces) California Green Ripe Olives, drained
- 1 can (6 ounces) California Black Ripe Olives, drained
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil
- sea salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- crackers or toasted baguette slices
- In food processor, pulse shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and garlic until finely chopped. Add olives, basil, salt and pepper; pulse again until chopped.
- Cover and chill 1 hour.
- Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices.
Note: Recipe can be prepared one day in advance.
California Olive Committee