Stock Up: Three Ideas for Easy Summer Entertaining

Summer time means impromptu parties and light and easy summer meals. We’ve got three delicious products we think you’ll want to keep on hand to simplify your meals.

Local Smoked Salmon

We tend to think of smoked salmon as coming to us from far, far away. Scotland maybe or somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Are you surprised to know that Woodsmoke Provisions in Atlanta’s Westside is smoking salmon and trout in their facility off Huff Road? We sampled their Premium Sliced Smoked Salmon and fell in love. It comes pre-sliced so there’s no tricky trying to cut even slices. The buttery texture comes from the cold smoking and the rich flavor comes from its salt and spice cure. Our new favorite easy, easy appetizer is to top kettle potato chips with a square of smoked salmon and a dollop of sour cream. Goes together in seconds, and gets devoured in seconds, too. Or go traditional and toast some mini-bagels, spread them with cream cheese and add smoked salmon and a caper or dill sprig as in our photo. $7.99 to $9.99 per 4-ounce package. Available in the refrigerated rack in the seafood departments of Publix, Whole Foods Market, Earth Fare and Food Lion and at Kathleen’s Catch.

Cashew-based cheese

If a cheese plate is your go-to for a quick pre-dinner party nibble, it’s time you went vegan. Yes, there is yummy vegan cheese available and our favorite is made right here in Atlanta in a licensed kitchen in the Old Fourth Ward. Pure Abundance Artisan Vegan Cheese is cultured and aged, just like your favorite dairy cheeses. It has the same “creamy” mouth feel and delicious tang. It just happens that it’s made with cashews instead of dairy milk. Luna is a spreadable natural rind cheese you can serve on a cracker or pair with fruit. Pan, pictured here, is a little firmer and is covered in flecks of organic parsley, basil and thyme. Yummy spread on flatbread with a little drizzle of olive oil. Don’t tell your guests it’s vegan and they’ll never guess. But your vegan friends and those wanting to cut back on dairy will be delighted. $12 per 5-ounce cheese. Available at pureabundancefood.com or at Whole Foods Market; Nature’s Garden Express, Krog Street Market, 99 Krog Street, Atlanta; Morningside Farmers Market at Ancient Awakenings booth; Sevananda Natural Foods Market, 467 Moreland Avenue, Atlanta.

Greek-inspired spreads

Chances are good olives are part of your plan for summer entertaining. If not in the form of whole or sliced olives themselves, then surely you keep a bottle of olive oil at hand for drizzling, dressing and roasting. GAEA is a Greek company that grows olives and sells marinated green, Kalamata and Halkidiki olives as well as a variety of olive oils. We tried their line of vegetable spreads and thought they’d be perfect with flatbread or crostini, or dolloped on top of slices of ripe summer tomatoes. Our favorite was the Smoked Eggplant Spread with its rich smoky flavor. Right out of the small jars these make great toppings for crackers or you can thin them with a little olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle the result over grilled meats or vegetables. Our favorite use was spread thinly over the crusts of grilled pizza. In addition to the eggplant favor, the spreads also come in Green Olive, Kalamata Olive and Sundried Tomato. $3.49 for each 7.76 ounce jar. GAEA products are available at Whole Foods Market, Publix, Fresh Market and Savi Urban Market. The vegetable spreads are available at Sprouts Atlanta locations. gaeaus.com

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