(Family Features) Flavorful foods and cold drinks are the focal points of just about any summer gathering. Create a party atmosphere that can stand out by adding a bit of island infusion to both bites and beverages so your warm-weather soiree can soar to new heights.
To help add that island spark, an ingredient like bitters provides a potent flavor made from botanicals like aromatic herbs, bark, roots and fruit. While known for their ability to balance countless cocktails, it may come as a surprise that bitters are regarded by some chefs as a pantry staple, adding real depth of flavor to a variety of dishes. Bitters can be added to classic and contemporary cocktails and a range of cuisines to create taste-tempting creations.
Much like vanilla extract, when cooked, the alcohol in bitters evaporates, so bitters-infused recipes can be enjoyed by the whole family at your next backyard barbecue or patio party.
Center your spread around a summer favorite like Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters, a tangy Caribbean twist on a classic dish featuring a spicy chili rub. Coupled with a vinegar-based sauce dashed with Angostura aromatic bitters, an unmistakable culinary and cocktail essential made with the same secret recipe since 1824, the flavorful sliders make for a crowd-pleasing main course.
Add to the island vibe with a unique take on a tried-and-true sweet treat like cake. Orange Butter Sponge Cake enhances every party's dessert course with the sweet and tangy combination of citrus and bitters.
These tasty foods paired with hot temperatures call for cooling off with inventive bitters-forward drink recipes like the Queen's Park Swizzle, Angostura's signature Trinidadian cocktail, and a summertime go-to, the Traditional Mojito. These drinks balance the art of the swizzle with the tastes of tiki to provide guests with refreshing beverage options.
Whether you're an aspiring home chef, an amateur bartender or anything in between, you can elevate summer entertaining with bitters to complement an array of ingredients for exceptional entertaining all summer long.
Find more summertime food and drink recipes to savor at AngosturaBitters.com.
Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters
Servings: approximately 14 small sandwiches
- 3-3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 can (15 ounces) unseasoned tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Nature's Intent apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Angostura aromatic bitters
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
- 14 small slider buns
- To make Chili Rub: Stir together aromatic bitters, chili powder and salt; let stand 10 minutes.
- Cut pork shoulder across grain into 1 1/2-2-inch thick slices; trim excess fat. If needed, cut into chunks to remove some fat.
- Rub meat with chili mixture. In 8-quart pot or 9-10-inch wide, high-sided saute pan with lid, heat oil. Add meat and brown on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Remove meat and place on plate; keep warm.
- To make Bitters Sauce: Combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, aromatic bitters, chili powder and garlic cloves; stir well. Pour into hot, empty pan. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of pan.
- Return meat to pan; spoon sauce over meat. Cover and cook 1 hour and 15 minutes on low, rearranging meat halfway through cooking. Transfer meat to plate; cover with foil to keep warm.
- To thicken sauce, if desired: Let sauce cool in pan 5 minutes then whisk in cornstarch. Bring to boil; continue to cook and whisk until slightly thickened.
- To serve: Pull meat apart with two forks or fingers. Serve warm on buns, drizzled with sauce.
Queen's Park Swizzle
Makes: 1 cocktail
- 12-14 mint leaves
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce Demerara simple syrup
- crushed ice
- 2 ounces Caribbean rum
- 6-8 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
- 1 mint sprig, for garnish
- In highball glass, muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup, then fill glass with dry, crushed ice.
- Pour rum over crushed ice and swizzle well until glass is ice cold and frosted.
- Pack glass with more crushed ice and top with aromatic bitters. Garnish with mint sprig.
Makes: 1 cocktail
- 1 cube brown sugar
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 12-15 mint leaves
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- 2 ounces white rum
- 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
- crushed ice
- 1 bottle club soda
- 1 mint sprig, for garnish
- In Collins glass, muddle brown sugar cube and simple syrup, then add mint and lightly press to extract flavor. Add lime juice, rum and aromatic bitters.
- Fill glass with crushed ice and swizzle.
- Repack with crushed ice and top with club soda. Garnish with mint sprig.
Orange Butter Sponge Cake
- 8 ounces butter, plus additional for buttering pan
- 2 cups cake flour, plus additional for flouring pan
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon Angostura orange bitters
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- powdered or extra-fine sugar, for dusting
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Sift flour three times and add baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- With electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 10 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add vanilla and orange bitters.
- Divide flour mixture into four portions. Set electric mixer on medium low and add flour alternately with orange juice, starting and ending with flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition.
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake 35-40 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pans. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes in cake pans before turning out.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters, Orange Butter Sponge Cake)
(Family Features) Easter is all about festive family gatherings and good food. Whether you’re celebrating with your closest or hosting a larger crowd in your home, try these simple tips to keep everyone happy and full without blowing your budget.
Plan ahead: Don’t let the pressure of hosting the holidays stress you. A well-constructed game plan can help you stay on track with your spending goals. Before heading to the grocery store, take inventory of what you already have and create a list of the items you need. These simple steps can save you time and money in the long run.
Find affordable ingredients and supplies: Grocery shopping can be a daunting task, especially with seemingly endless options. Shopping at a grocery store like ALDI helps you find everything you need in one quick and easy shopping trip, including high-quality, fresh, affordable foods for your Easter spread. While there, you can also pick up other Easter essentials like baskets, toys, bakeware, decor and more.
Keep leftovers in mind: Food (and money) can go to waste when leftovers go uneaten. Instead of tossing out your forgotten leftovers, incorporate them into a whole new dish. Try these Holiday Ham Sliders using leftovers from main dishes such as Slow-Cooked Maple Ham.
Find more tips and recipes for an appetizing Easter at ALDI.us.
Slow-Cooked Maple Ham
Recipe courtesy of Chef Alyssa, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 hours, 15 minutes
- 20 ounces Sweet Harvest Pineapple Chunks
- 8 pounds Appleton Farms Smoked Ham Butt
- 1 cup Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup
- 1 cup Baker’s Corner Brown Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Stonemill Cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Burman’s Dijon Mustard
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Ground Black Pepper
- Pour pineapple into large slow cooker. Place ham on top of pineapple, flat-side down.
- In small bowl, combine syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, Dijon mustard and pepper. Pour over ham.
- Set slow cooker to low. Cook 4-5 hours.
- Remove ham; keep warm. Skim fat off top of remaining liquid in slow cooker.
- Pour liquid into small saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cook until reduced to desired consistency.
- Serve sauce on side or heat oven to broil and glaze ham. Broil 3-4 minutes for caramelized crust.
Holiday Ham Sliders
Recipe courtesy of Chef Linsey, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- Carlini Canola Cooking Spray
- 3 ounces Happy Farms Preferred Cranberry White Cheddar, shredded
- 3 ounces Happy Farms Preferred Plain Havarti Cheese, shredded
- 12 ounces L'oven Fresh Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
- 2 tablespoons Burman's Spicy Mustard
- 1/4 cup sliced red onion
- 12 ounces Appleton Farms Spiral Sliced Half Ham
- 1/4 cup sliced green apple
- 4 tablespoons Countryside Creamery butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon Stonemill Garlic Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Stonemill Sea Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Stonemill Parsley Flakes
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Line 9-by-13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
- In small bowl, combine cranberry white cheddar and havarti cheeses. Reserve.
- Remove entire package of rolls and, keeping rolls connected, slice in half horizontally.
- Place bottom half of rolls in baking pan. Spread with spicy mustard.
- Top with red onion, ham, apple, cheese mixture and bun tops.
- In small bowl, combine butter, garlic powder, salt and parsley flakes. Pour over sandwiches.
- Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes.
- Remove foil. Bake 10 minutes more.
- Remove from pan and separate sandwiches; serve immediately.
(Family Features) Kick off your holiday parties in style with flavorful appetizers every guest will enjoy.
Whether you’re a seasoned holiday host or a first-timer, throwing a holiday party can be a bit overwhelming. But with the proper tools, such as a great sampling of easy-to-make appetizers and delicious beverage pairings, you and your guests will get in the festive mood in no time.
When planning your appetizer fare, go with casual selections that require little to no clean-up. Finger foods, like this recipe for Sweet Slice® Ham Sliders, require just a few savory, mouth-watering ingredients and minimal time in the kitchen. Or, take some inspiration from the menus of Italian restaurants and wine bars and create an old world-inspired charcuterie board composed of Boar’s Head Brand® artisan meats and cheeses. Here are a few tips to create your own:
- Delight and prime guests’ palates: Use one to two ounces of cheese and three slices of meat per person. This will give your guests a mix of salty and savory items to delight their palates but not overwhelm them before the main course.
- Arm independent snackers: Don’t fully pre-cut your cheese choices. To give guests the most interaction with the delicacies, slice a few pieces and then pair a knife with each selection.
- Choose the cheese: The cheese selection should also be diverse and include a minimum of a fresh, semi-soft, firm and hard cheese. Try Boar’s Head Asiago Vecchio Cheese, Picante Sharp Provolone Cheese and Aged Gouda. For more tasty ideas, visit www.boarshead.com.
- Match your meat: You’ll want to display a variety of charcuterie including cured, smoked and preserved meats. Boar’s Head Bianco D’Oro® Italian Dry Salame,
Italian Dry Sausage and Prosciutto Di Parma® are robust and delicious.
- Add the finishing touches: Recreate the artisan culinary experience by placing meats and cheeses on a wood platter or cutting board. Accessorize by adding fruits, nuts, olives, grapes and honey for dipping. Be sure to offer textural contrasts with dippers, such as whole grain crackers, crusted breads, breadsticks and crostini.
- Cheers to your success: Pair a great wine or beer with your choice of meat and cheese. For example, a Cabernet Sauvignon goes great with a dry salami, while dark beers pair perfectly with aged Gouda.
So, get your party started right with a delicious assortment of appetizers and just relax. As long as the drinks and delicious foods are flowing, the good times will as well.
Sweet Slice® Ham Sliders
Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 8 appetizer size rolls
- 1/2 cup apple butter
- 4 slices Sweet Slice Boneless Smoked Ham, sliced thick
- 4 slices Whole Milk Low Moisture Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thick
- Slice rolls and spread with apple butter. Cut ham and cheese slices in half to fit on roll. Add one slice each of ham and cheese to roll. Arrange on dish and serve.
Apps and starters perfect for game day
(Family Features) Rules may vary from one event to the next, but whether your favorite team kicks it, runs it or dunks it, sports fans and food always provide a winning combo. Gather your friends for the next big game with a menu that gets everyone revved up for a win.
A lineup filled with starters is just the ticket for a game day watch party or tailgate. Offering a series of finger foods and lighter fare lets your fellow fans grab a quick bite before the game or during a commercial break and continue snacking through the game.
Make no mistake, serving up a lighter menu doesn’t mean you need to skimp on quality – just the opposite, in fact. Make every bite count by using exceptional ingredients and introducing unexpected flavors such as the distinctive taste of Jarlsberg Brand Cheese, which has a rich, 60-year Norwegian heritage. Best known as a classic wedge, this mild, mellow and nutty cheese can also be served sliced, shredded and cubed.
Quesadillas are always a hit, and this version combines the best of gooey, melted cheese with bacon and a deliciously tangy salsa for a lively burst of fresh flavor. Then keep the mouthwatering cheese and bacon combos coming with a whole new take on grilled kebabs.
No game day is complete without pizza, and this one scores big with its unexpected blend of flavors for a pie that is smoky and tangy, sweet and savory, and briny and creamy all at once. Then round out your menu with these easy sliders that are big on flavor and small on prep time.
Find more ideas to liven up your game day menu at jarlsberg.com.
Hawaiian Sliders with Cheese, Ham and Pork
- 3 Hawaiian bread slider buns
- 1 cup pulled pork
- 3 slices ham
- 3 slices Jarlsberg cheese
- sliced pickles
- Dijon mustard, to taste
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Separate buns and layer pulled pork, sliced ham and cheese. Place sliders on oven-safe tray and bake about 10 minutes, or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and gently remove top bun. Add pickles and mustard before serving.
Cheese and Bacon Kebabs
- 18 slices bacon
- 2 1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, cubed
- 18 pearl onions
- 12 long skewers
- 1/4 cup roasted bell peppers
- 1 1/3 tablespoons capers
- 2 2/3 tablespoons olives
- 1/4 cup cucumber
- 3 1/3 ounces olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice and grated zest
- Cut bacon slices in half and wrap around cheese cubes. Place cheese cubes and pearl onions on each skewer, alternating ingredients. Roast in pan or on grill 2-3 minutes on each side.
- To make relish, chop peppers, capers, olives and cucumber, and mix with olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Grilled Pizza with Cheese, Prosciutto and Figs
- 2 cups pizza or tomato sauce
- 4 1/2 cups pizza dough
- flour, for rolling
- 3 1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, coarsely grated
- 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced prosciutto
- 8 dried figs, each cut into six wedges
- dried red pepper flakes
- black pepper
- Heat grill and warm pizza sauce.
- Divide dough into desired number of pizzas. On floured surface, roll dough into long, thin ovals and spread with sauce. Sprinkle light layer of cheese over sauce. Add layer of prosciutto and a second layer of cheese. Dot with fig pieces then season with red pepper flakes and pepper.
- Reduce grill heat, slide pizzas onto grill and close lid. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until crust is lightly charred and cheese is melted.
- 4 slices thick slab bacon
- 1 small chili pepper
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 small shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon coriander or cumin
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 small lime (juice and zest)
- 6 slices Jarlsberg Original or Hickory Smoked cheese
- 2 large tortillas
- Fry bacon, drain and chop.
- To make salsa, remove seeds from chili pepper and finely dice. Chop tomatoes then dice shallot and garlic clove. Combine pepper, tomatoes, shallot and garlic with lime juice, coriander, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide cheese slices and bacon on one half of each tortilla, top with 1/4 cup salsa and fold tortilla over, pressing down to close. In medium-hot, lightly oiled pan, toast tortillas about 1 minute on each side.
- Cut each tortilla in half and serve with remaining salsa on the side, or combine salsa with black beans and fresh chopped cilantro to make a side salad.
Source: Jarlsberg Cheese