Buy This: Three things to keep on hand for holiday entertaining

Yes, you could roast and spice your own nuts and cure your own fish, but why would you when these Atlanta area folks are doing such a great job?

High Cotton Cashews 

In Sandy Springs, Lisa Kirkpatrick of High Cotton Co. is busy stirring up batches of her seasoned cashews. At first she was just making her flavored cashews for friends. Then when the home nest emptied, she turned her love of cooking into a business and she named it “High Cotton” for the Southern expression for living in the best of times. Now her cashews are available for the rest of us. Kirkpatrick still makes each batch by hand, carefully seasoning roasted cashews and using her special process to make sure the seasonings stick to the nuts and not your fingers. We sampled Herb N’ Nuts with its hint of rosemary and Sugar & Spice the carries just the tiniest bit of heat. There’s a chocolate version, too, flavored with Caribbean spices. Tuck the glass jar or plastic bag on your shelf and you’re ready for unexpected guests. They’ll keep up to six months. But we’re betting you’ll be dipping into the container long before then.

$12.99 per 6-ounce jar, $18.50 per resealable 12-ounce bag. Available at the Brookhaven and Sandy Springs farmers markets, at the St. Pius X Holiday Marketplace at St. Pius Catholic High School on November 17 and online at

Smoked Trout and Smoked Salmon from Diana’s Specialties

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Smoked Trout and Smoked Salmon from Diana’s Specialties 

Diana Fitzgerald took a midlife turn leaving the financial industry and then life as a stay-at-home mom to pursue her passion to make the best smoked salmon and trout around. It was friends who persuaded her to turn her passion into Diana’s Specialties and now her apple wood smoked fish and herb aioli are available at local farmers markets and several retail locations. What’s most impressive about the fish is that it’s so moist, and that the choice of apple wood for the smoking means the smoke doesn’t overwhelm the fish. Producing smoked fish that’s both moist and flavorful can be difficult with something as delicate as salmon and trout. She’s got it down perfectly. Her website offers recipes for using the fish in salads, on corn pancakes (we tried this and they were great) and as a canape on a round of cucumber. All great ideas for holiday entertaining.

$30-38 per pound of smoked salmon or trout, $3 for 4-ounce container of herb aioli. Available at Lucy's Market in Buckhead, Simply Fresh Market in East Cobb, Nuts 'n Berries in Brookhaven and the Marietta, Brookhaven, Roswell and Tucker farmers markets as well as online at

Purposeful Pecans from Meals On Wheels Atlanta

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Purposeful Pecans to Benefit Meals On Wheels Atlanta 

It’s so great when you can purchase something delicious and make a difference for others. Earlier this year, chef Robert Gerstenecker created two gourmet candied pecan recipes for Meals On Wheels Atlanta. The pecans are cooked in the Meals On Wheels Kitchen and proceeds from the sales go to support its programs. One flavor is “Sweet & Hot” spiced with star anise, chili pepper, cloves and salt. It’s a really brilliant combination with just the tiniest bit of heat. The second flavor is “Cinnamon Star Anise” which also include cloves and a bit of salt. I have to confess, I’ve never been a fan of star anise, but these nuts are making me rethink my position. Delicious. Did we mention that the Cinnamon Star Anise pecans come packed with a cinnamon stick to add to the flavor?

$18 for an 8-ounce package, $28 for a 1-pound bag. Available at Lucy's Market in Buckhead, Pine Street Market in Avondale Estates, the Meals On Wheels office at 1705 Commerce Drive in Atlanta, select weekends at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market and online at


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