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Deborah Geering


Asha Gomez’s new cookbook draws parallels between Southern India and the American South

Asha Gomez My Two Souths
Puffy ginger hoecakes

Photograph by Jason Varney

Southern India and the American South are thousands of miles apart, but Spice to Table chef Asha Gomez sees an abundance of similarities between her family home in Kerala and her adopted home, both hot and humid places where hospitality reigns. Gomez, with the help of writer Martha Hall Foose, expands on the cultural connections in her debut cookbook, My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen, which hits shelves this month. Find recipes for Down South Goat Biryani, a deeply fragrant rice dish that is as respected (and takes just as long to prepare) in India as barbecue is in America; butternut squash soup perfumed with clove and ginger; chile-lime grilled catfish fillets served with watermelon-mango chowchow; and even Gomez’s legendary three-spice carrot cake.

This article originally appeared in our October 2016 issue.

Local find: Verdant Kitchen’s ginger syrup


Verdant KitchenVerdant Kitchen’s line of ginger-flavored foods was just beginning to step up from local farmers markets to regional super­markets when Oprah changed everything. After she proclaimed the Atlanta company’s ginger syrup and ginger-infused honey among her “favorite things” in last December’s issue of O: The Oprah Magazine, business skyrocketed. “We were kind of unprepared,” says Ross Harding, CEO and cofounder. To keep up with demand, the company opened a new facility in Norcross in May. The spicy-sweet, certified organic syrup—made with Georgia-grown ginger, cane sugar, and lemon—is spectacular over desserts, stirred into soda water, or mixed into cocktails like Moscow mules. Find it at Target.

This article originally appeared in our September 2016 issue.

Reviving the Sapelo Island red pea


Geechee red peasYou may have heard of Sea Island red peas, the popular heirloom legume sold by Anson Mills. Now business partners and Geechee descendants William Thomas and Jerome Dixon are reviving another heirloom, the Sapelo Island red pea, which they hope will bring accolades and income to Sea Island’s economically challenged neighbor to the north. Grown at Georgia Coastal Gourmet Farms, Dixon’s farm in Townsend, Georgia, the ruby-red pea has already won over fans like chef Linton Hopkins. “It’s very flavorful, and the peas keep their structure with lengthy cooking,” says Thomas. Reserve a one-pound bag of the next crop, to be harvested in late September, by calling 912-485-2206.

4 Atlanta dining events in September

Photograph by iStockphoto.com

September 10
Taste of Soul
Details are limited for this inaugural soul food festival, but plan on ribs, greens, and other home-cooked specialties from local food trucks and restaurants.

September 17
Taste of Smyrna
Thousands flock to downtown Smyrna to feast on bites from restaurants like Williamson Bros. BBQ and Kenny’s Great Pies.

September 22–25
Atlanta Greek Festival
Serving up “opa” since 1974, the Cathedral of the Annunciation hosts live music, dance performances, and a bounty of Greek food, including a loukoumades-eating contest.

Photograph by Emily Schultz
Photograph by Emily Schultz

September 30
The Cheese Fest
Atlanta’s biggest fromage fest moves this year to the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot. Expect hundreds of samples and a grilled cheese competition.

This article originally appeared in our September 2016 issue.

Would you buy beef from the back of a trailer? You should if it’s from Carlton Farms.

Carlton Farms cows
Photograph courtesy of Carlton Farms

Under most circumstances, we wouldn’t buy meat from the back of a trailer. Carlton Farms ground beef is one exception. Carlton’s cattle spend their entire lives on organically managed pastures in Rockmart, about 30 miles west of Kennesaw, and never end up on a feedlot for “grain finishing.” As a result, the beef is lean, flavorful, and loaded with omega-3s. The farm—whose offerings also include pasture-raised eggs, pork, lamb, and poultry—only sells directly to customers. Plus its Mobile Market Trailer makes weekly stops at several points between Cumming and Stone Mountain. Order online—ground beef is $7 a pound—and find a specified pickup location, or just meet at the trailer and see what’s for sale.

This article originally appeared in our August 2016 issue.

Life Hack: Tsamma watermelon juice makes a great cocktail mixer

Tsamma watermelon juice
Photograph by Savanna Sturkie

If your summer has been sadly void of watermelon-based cocktails, there’s an easy fix: Tsamma watermelon juice. “The dangerous thing about Tsamma is that there’s not an alcohol on the planet that doesn’t mix well with it,” says founder Sarah Frey-Talley. Her tip: Freeze the juice to create a slushy drink. In early to mid-summer, much of Frey-Talley’s watermelon supply comes from South Georgia and Florida. The juice is processed in Florida and shipped to stores within a few days of harvest. Available in Atlanta-area Krogers and Fresh Markets, $2.99 for 12 ounces.

4 great Atlanta dining events in August

August 12–13
Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival
Teams compete for cash and bragging rights at Perimeter Mall, while the rest of us pig out on brisket, chicken, and ribs from local restaurants.

August 13
Decatur BBQ Blues & Bluegrass Festival
The 16th annual event hosts barbecue vendors and live music in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood.

August 20
German Bierfest
Who’s thirsty for a pint of Warsteiner König Ludwig Weiss? Up to 50 German beers are on tap for this 13th annual celebration in Woodruff Park.

August 21
Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’
Try more than 100 flavors of ice cream on Roswell Square. Proceeds benefit the Drake House, which provides housing for homeless mothers and their children.

This article originally appeared in our August 2016 issue.

Community Farmers Markets releases first seasonal cookbooks

Community Farmers Markets cookbook
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Atlanta’s largest collective of farmers markets has launched a new series of seasonal cookbooks. In May, Community Farmers Markets released the first edition, Spring. It features more than two dozen recipes from farmers, vendors, and chefs like Billy Allin of Cakes & Ale, Terry Koval of Wrecking Bar, Steven Satterfield of Miller Union, and author Virginia Willis. Summer followed in late June, and Fall and Winter will be released before the end of the year. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit’s culinary outreach and education efforts. Available for $12 at CFM’s markets (including Decatur, East Atlanta Village, and Grant Park) and Cover Books.

This article originally appeared in our July 2016 issue.

Brian Jones brings fine-dining finesse to Kennesaw State’s cafeteria

Brian Jones salad plate
Photograph by Todd Burandt
Brian Jones
Photograph by Todd Burandt

When Brian Jones left his position as executive chef at Restaurant Eugene, he didn’t jump to another fine-dining institution. He went back to school. This summer Jones joined the kitchen at Kennesaw State University as a chef de cuisine, serving nearly 6,000 students, staff, and faculty each day. Jones now works with KSU’s 25-acre farm and supports local farmers on a significant level, thanks to the school’s need for big-ticket food purchases. It’s his chance to “change the world,” as he puts it, and the first time in 23 years he won’t have to work nights or weekends. “I would be an idiot not to take this job,” he says.

This article originally appeared in our July 2016 issue.

Local spotlight: Beautiful Briny Sea salt

Beautiful Briny Sea salt
$8 to $20 per tin

Photograph courtesy of Beautiful Briny Sea

After restaurateur Suzi Sheffield moved to Atlanta in 2012, she took up a new hobby: blending her own seasoned salts, with flavors ranging from lavender to pink peppercorn to mushroom. Flavored sugar blends and cupcake sprinkles followed. Before long, chefs like Gunshow’s Kevin Gillespie were asking for custom blends. This year she expects her company, Beautiful Briny Sea, to sell 150,000 units of seasoned salts and flavored sugars from its 6,000-square-foot facility in Grant Park. Available at Williams-Sonoma

This article originally appeared in our June 2016 issue.

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