Chances are good when Thanksgiving arrives, there’ll be more entertaining going on at your house. You want to have a few tricks up your sleeve for easy ways to entertain your guests. These will work as pre-dinner nibbles, snacks for watching the latest football game or a treat for the cooks in the kitchen.
Thyme to Garnish Herb and Spice Mixes
Becky Battle will tell you the story of her life on the culinary road from cooking her first recipe out of McCall’s magazine in the 1960s to today with Thyme to Garnish, her homegrown dried veggie, herb and spice blend business. In this iteration she’s selling seven easy ways to improve what comes out of your kitchen. We tried her Dilly My Chips (yes, you can dress up potato chips, just warm a 10.5-ounce bag of low sodium potato chips and sprinkle with the mix) and Sorta Spicy Very Veggie (an updated version of that spinach dip you know so well - thawed frozen spinach, sour cream and mayonnaise) and our guests eagerly devoured them both. Because they’re stirred up right here in Atlanta, everything is fresh and because Battle has done the experimenting for you, the mixtures have just the right combination of tang, heat and yes, umami. All those years Battle has been experimenting in her kitchen will pay off for you and your guests. Now her Le Cordon Bleu-trained daughter is joining the business and there’ll be even more to look forward to in the coming year.
$6 per 1-ounce and 2-ounce bags. thymetogarnish.com
Atlanta Flats Crackers
The Grateful Bread Company is an artisan bakery producing breads and pastries for metro Atlanta hotels, restaurants and caterers. A while back, Laurie Moore of farm share membership group Moore Farms and Friends asked the baker, Alex McDaniel, if he could produce a flatbread cracker for her members. The answer was “yes” and the result was Atlanta Flats crackers available in everything, black pepper and rosemary sesame flavors. The crackers are paper thin and crisp but thick enough that they don’t shatter. You can feel confident spreading a piece with your favorite chevre or some delicious fresh cultured butter. Moore swears the crackers will keep crisp for a month, but the bag barely lasted a day at our house so we can’t comment on that. Moore Farms and Friends sells the crackers at the Saturday morning Freedom Farmers Market, or those who are members of the farm’s online market can order from them there. Or you can buy direct from the bakery.
$8 per 6-ounce package. jar. Retail store open Thursdays and Fridays. The Grateful Bread Company, 1600 Roswell Street, Smyrna. 770-436-7173. thegratefulbreadcompany.com
Pizootz Infused Peanuts
Yes, you could put out a bowl of just any old nuts, or you could wow your guests with these new infused-flavor Virginia peanuts from Pizootz. These are not peanuts rolled around in some random spice mix. These are premium Virginia peanuts boiled in a marinade of spices, then slow roasted for 24 hours. The result is peanuts where the flavor is deep inside the peanuts, not just sprinkled on the outside where some run-of-the-mill and overly salty spice mix makes its way to your fingers and clothes. And the flavors are ingenious. We sampled them all: Sea Salt, Baja Taco, Bay Spice, Habanero, Blazing Buffalo, Sea Salt and Vinegar, Sea Salt and pepper and our new favorite, New York Dill Pickle. Everyone commented on how at first you think you’re just eating a plain peanut and then the flavors hit you as you chew. Your guests will love them.
$3 per 1.45-ounce bag, $19.95 per 16-ounce bag. Available at all GNC stores. pizootz.com
Check out the AJC Fall Dining Guide 2017: Burning Questions for answers to some of the biggest questions about the metro Atlanta restaurant and drink scene