Check out three local spice mixes you need to try this season:
3 Porch Farm’s Smoked Sea Salt & Shiitake Seasoning
Mandy and Steve O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm grow fruit, flowers and mushrooms on their Certified Naturally Grown farm in the small community of Comer, just northwest of Athens. Their booths at the Saturday morning Marietta Square, Freedom and Athens farmers markets are always filled with an amazing bounty of beautiful flower bouquets and in season they offer Honeypops, frozen treats made from their own fruit and local honey. They also produce Smoked Sea Salt and Shiitake Seasoning, a blend of alderwood smoked sea salt and dried shiitake mushrooms. They grow the mushrooms in their forest on sweet gum logs and grind them into powder. The seasoning is great on any protein but we enjoyed it most in our post-Easter deviled eggs.
$8 per 3.4-ounce bottle. Available at the Marietta Square, Freedom and Athens farmers markets or online at http://3porchfarm.com.
A Good Gut Feeling’s Za’atar Infusion
Trevor Miller of Marietta’s A Good Gut Feeling prepares handcrafted condiments that reflect his Moroccan heritage. One is Za’atar Infusion combining olive oil with thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, oregano and salt. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix often used to flavor flatbreads or to spice meatballs and kebabs. It’s deeply herbal with a little tang from the sumac and is a favorite of ours. Miller’s Za’atar Infusion is just the right consistency for spreading on toasted pita or to make a marinade for whatever you’re putting on the grill. We spread it on a boneless leg of lamb and let the lamb sit refrigerated for a few hours before grilling. Delicious. We’ll use the rest of the jar to make pita toasts to accompany a spring salad.
$10 per 8-ounce jar. Available at the Morningside, Marietta, Alpharetta and Colony Square farmers markets. http://agoodgutfeeling.com
Infusion Blends Cajun Delight Spice Infused Butter
Compound butters are an easy way to flavor a dish. They’re traditionally used as finishing butters and a little bit adds richness and flavor to whatever you’re cooking. You can make your own, or you can buy a jar of butter from Infusion Blends and let Deborah Clemons do all the work for you. Her butters are made in Tyrone and come in four varieties using locally sourced butter made from grassfed milk. There are two sweet flavors: blueberry and peach. And two savory flavors: rosemary and the one we tried, Cajun Delight. It’s a very spicy mix with cayenne, garlic and onion and Clemons’ “secret” spice mix. Use it the next time you make Low Country Boil or to want to spice up a mess of boiled shrimp.
$6.99 per 2.5-ounce jar. Available in the “Live Naturally” section of Kroger stores on Caroline Street and on Piedmont Road, Buford Highway Farmers Market, and Blume Organics Market in Peachtree City, or in larger sizes and gift boxes online at http://infusionblends.com.