Take your tailgate up a notch with these three products.
Stuffed Olives from Divina
We are totally obsessed with the products of New York-based Divina. Olives with just the right amount of salt, stuffed with blue cheese or feta. Fig spread in regular and chili versions perfect for pairing with cheeses. Roasted wedges of bright red tomatoes marinated with extra virgin olive oil and herbs. Vegetarian stuffed grape leaves filled with rice, onions, mint and dill. Everything delicious right out of the jar or can. Everything perfect for serving with pleasure at your tailgate or setting out in a spread in front of the TV at home. Divina makes over 80 products so there’s got to be something there for everyone you are entertaining.
$3.99 to $6.99 per item. Dolmas, Buffalo Blue stuffed olives and Roasted Tomatoes are available at Whole Foods Market. Fig spread available at Kroger. Some products available on Amazon. foodmatch.com.
Water Buffalo Jalapeno-Cheese Sausages from Carrell Farms
Yes, water buffalo. Water buffalo raised on grass (that means a range of grasses and some things you’d consider weeds if they were growing in your lawn like crabgrass and plantain) right in Monroe. David and Shalley Carrell started Carrell Farms in order to offer their family (and the rest of us) unique meats from animals that live a pretty good life. They raise alpaca, sheep and two species of water buffalo. And they offer the meat as whole cuts, ground meats or seasoned and turned into sausage. We tried the ground water buffalo and the jalapeno-cheese sausage. Yes, it tastes a lot like beef, so much so that our guests had a hard time believing it wasn’t beef. But water buffalo is leaner than beef so it feels healthier. And no, this isn’t bison. That’s a different animal altogether. Serving water buffalo will make for great conversation at your next tailgate.
$14.50 per pound of sausage. Available through Fresh Harvest or online at carrellfarms.com/.
Cedar Wraps from Fire and Flavor
Athens-based Fire & Flavor from Gena and Davis Knox offers a range of grilling products including lump charcoal, wood chips for smoking and the cedar planks and wraps we just tried. Having heard about cedar wraps, we were curious to try them. Happy to report, they work just as advertised. These are very thin slices of cedar about 6-inches wide and 8-inches long. Soak them for at least 5 minutes before using, then place your seasoned fish or poultry (we tried both) on the wraps, add some vegetables if you like, roll them up and then use the cotton string that comes in the package to tie them into neat bundles. They make really attractive packages for grilling. You could make them up ahead of time and keep moist until you travel to your tailgate location. Then they’re so easy to put on the grill. And when we tried them with skin-on salmon fillets, we loved that the salmon skin stuck to the wrap when we served the fish. Made for one tidy dinner as well as a really attractive presentation.
$9.99 per pack of 8 cedar wraps. Available at Bed Bath & Beyond, Kroger, Lowe’s, Target, Publix and Cook’s Warehouse and online at fireandflavor.com/.
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