It’s harvest time. In Georgia, that means peanuts, apples, muscadines and – soon, very soon – pecans.
As much as I love the thought of making nut brittle and apple butter for holiday gift giving, we’re not there yet. And don’t get me started (as it were) on Halloween candy.
Still, a fellow’s got to snack, right?
If you find yourself craving a little nosh, savor the idea of a fall picnic, or find yourself in need of quick cocktail nibbles for company, here are three delicious spicy spreads to have around. You can find them on beautiful fall mornings at Atlanta farmers markets. But why wait until you get home to enjoy the bounty? Pick up a baguette, an apple, a hunk of cheese, and spread the goodness around.
Roasted Garlic, Basil & Parsley Banner Butter
The Grey Poupon of the creamery klatch, Atlanta-made Banner Butter is served in the city’s finest restaurants (from Atlas to Watershed) and on some Delta flights. Besides plain, lightly salted and sea-salted butter, the small-batch cultured butter company also has a line of compound butters, sold in 5-ounce rounds: There’s Cinnamon, Cardamom & Ginger (think: waffles!); Balsamic Fig & Caramelized Onion (scones, steaks, burgers!) and Roasted Garlic, Basil & Parsley (potatoes and popcorn!). The morning I stocked up on the Roasted Garlic, Basil & Parsley at my neighborhood market, I happened to have a TGM Bread salted pretzel in my shopping bag. Bingo! The minute I got home, I twisted and schmeared. Another day, I scrambled eggs with this blend and spooned it on toast: breakfast. Now I see that the Banner Butter website has a recipe for White Corn & Crab Chowder, finished with this selfsame Roasted Garlic, Basil & Parsley. This got me thinking about shrimp and grits, or just plain grits. Or how about a radish? $6. Available at numerous at Atlanta farmers markets and shops (including Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Star Provisions), bannerbutter.com.
Martha McMillin of Preserving Place found inspiration for her 9-ounce jars of muscadine/scuppernong preserve from the recipe files of Southern grandmothers. One thing to make clear, though: These are not, as the name might imply to some, whole grapes. Somewhere between a jam and a chutney, made with seasonal Southern muscadines and/or scuppernongs, Preserving Place’s Spiced Grapes are redolent of red-wine vinegar, cinnamon, cloves and mace, for a flavor profile that that is cozy and autumnal. Paired with cheese, or cheese straws; served on a hot buttered biscuit; or even mixed into a cocktail, this preserve will get you in the mood for sweater weather, blazing fireside moments, and, before you know it, Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” God bless us, everyone. $15. Available at Preserving Place, 1170 Howell Mill Road N.W., Atlanta. 404-815-5267, preservingplace.com, and the Peachtree Road Farmers Market.
Nuts for Paté
These Lithonia makers know the nutritional, good-fat power of walnuts and pecans, and they’ve come up with the genius idea of grinding them into spreadable vegan pâtés. The original walnut formula is perked up with cumin, lemon and olive oil. Another version blends walnuts with sun-dried tomatoes and basil. My favorite is the Pecan Curry Cilantro, which has an assertive bite from curry, cayenne, garlic and onion—plus a cooling whiff of cilantro. Any of these raw pâtés will perk up fresh crudités, make an excellent sandwich or pita-pocket condiment, and, yes, can be packed into a ramekin or sliced and plated with cornichons, grainy mustard and a baguette, for a healthy riff on the French classic. $6. Available at many Atlanta farmers markets, including Ponce City Market, Decatur, East Atlanta Village, Piedmont Park, Brookhaven and Grant Park. Facebook: Nuts for Pate’.