Monday, June 23, 2014

Important News from Carolina Sauce Company

Carolina Sauce Company
Dear loyal patrons, friends, colleagues, partners and other devotees of the zesty lifestyle:

Please join me in welcoming my friend Dee Taggart as the newest member of the Carolina Sauce Company family! As of today, I will be stepping away from the "front lines" to begin a new job here in Bozeman, MT, and Dee will be taking care of daily operations at Carolina Sauce, which mostly consist of the Facebook page and other social media as well as monitoring email.

Rest assured that nothing is changing with our online store, which continues to be operated by our partner Carolina Sauces, and you will continue to receive the same outstanding level of customer service that you've come to expect from all of us. Because Carolina Sauces is a completely separate company from Carolina Sauce Company, my stepping back will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on orders, shipping, warehouse operations, customer service or anything else pertaining to the online store.

Should you have any questions about an order you placed online, or about products, shipping or anything else whatsoever, please feel free to email Customer Service and they will be more than happy to help you any way they can.

Please stop by the Carolina Sauce Company Facebook Page to say hello to Dee, and to keep up with the latest news including a "heads up" when we're ready to launch our July VIP coupon sale.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mountain Trout Stuffed with Lemon-Butter Mushrooms

Recipe for stuffed trout
What a long, strange week-plus it's been since I last blogged! I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that nothing went as planned with the house we thought we were buying, and with the job I thought I was starting last week. The good news is that we've found a new house we love and plan to make an offer on tomorrow, AND I'm now all set to start my new job tomorrow, so I think our temporary streak of mishaps and setbacks is coming to an end.

During this tumultuous time, Greg treated me to the following magnificent fish dinner: Fresh local mountain trout, butterflied and stuffed with butter, lemon and mushrooms, and delicately seasoned with tarragon, salt & pepper. I whipped up some sassy sauteed spinach to serve on the side, and that recipe will be posted here in the near future.

Back to the trout: There's no need to measure any ingredients for this recipe. Simply plan on one butterflied trout per person (they're not very large), then use your judgment and common sense when layering the ingredients and sprinkling with the seasonings. As with any fish recipe, it's imperative to use the freshest fish possible.

stuffed trout with lemon butter mushroomsIngredients
Butterflied trout
Thinly sliced lemon
Sliced mushrooms
Coarse salt & crushed pepper
Dried tarragon (or another herb such as dill, parsley or marjoram)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Open up each butterflied trout, skin side down, in the center of a square of foil that's large enough to wrap completely around the fish when it's stuffed and folded back together. Place a few lemon slices in a single layer on one half of the fish, then a few pats of butter, then the sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and tarragon or other herb. Fold the other half of the trout back over the topped half to "close" the fish up, then wrap the whole fish with aluminum foil, crinkling the seams of the foil to seal.

baking stuffed troutPlace the packets of fish on a baking sheet, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350°F until fish is fork-tender.  Remove from oven, carefully open each foil package and gently transfer each baked fish onto a plate. Enjoy!

Zestfully yours,

PS:  As much as it pains me to admit it, this fish requires no hot sauce. But if you must spice it up, keep it simple and select a milder, gentler, simpler hot sauce such as Cholula Green Pepper Sauce or Amazon Green Hot Sauce.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sauteed White Kale & Mushrooms

white kale with mushrooms
If there's one dark leafy green vegetable that Greg will eat without complaint, it's kale. He also loves mushrooms, so I whipped up this zesty side dish featuring two of his favorite vegetables to serve with seared pork chops as my first dinner cooked in Montana in our RV, where we're living until we close on our new house.

With its robust seasonings, my sauteed kale and mushrooms would be equally appropriate and tasty if served alongside steak, chicken, venison or another hearty entree.

white kale
white kale
The kale is white kale from the local farm stand at a garden shop within a short walk of the RV park at which we're staying. I had never heard of or seen white kale before, and these bunches had been harvested earlier that same morning, so I took a chance and bought a bunch. Its flavor was surprisingly mild and almost sweet, without any bitterness at all, and its broad, flat leaves proved very easy to wash, strip from the stems and tear or chop for cooking.

If you can find white kale in your area, I recommend giving it a try. If it's not available where you live, use any other variety of kale -- and for that matter, you can substitute spinach, chard, or other dark leafy greens if you prefer them over kale or simply have them on hand.

1 bunch white kale (or other greens), washed, stems removed and leaves torn or chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced as thin as possible
4 oz (1/2 a box) mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
1 tsp (or to taste) savory steak seasoning such as Stubb's Steak Spice Rub
2 Tbs olive oil

Stubb's Steak Seasoning
Heat the oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot or a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent and soft. Add garlic and mushrooms; saute until both are soft. Stir in the kale a handful at a time, stirring each handful until it cooks down enough to add another handful. Stir in the seasoning, reduce heat to low, and partially cover with a lid. Allow to cook, stirring once or twice, until the kale is cooked and tender to taste (we like it a little "al dente" but you can cook it longer if you prefer). If the vegetables appear to be drying out as they cook, you can add a very small amount of water to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot or pan. Before serving, taste for balance and add more steak seasoning if needed. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Get 7% off THIS WEEK at Carolina Sauces: Read This to Find Out How

Carolina Sauce VIP Club
Our Father's Day VIP coupon sale is going on at the Carolina Sauces online store -- but only Carolina Sauce VIP Club members are invited!

Would YOU like to become a Carolina Sauce VIP and get your 7% off coupon for our sale?

Simply sign up here, confirm your membership by clicking on the link in the confirmation email that you'll receive, and then I'll personally send you a copy of our June VIP Newsletter with the 7% off coupon.

Our VIP Club is completely FREE and gets you our biggest, best discounts and coupon sales available only to our VIPs. In each monthly VIP newsletter you'll find at least one exclusive coupon or sale, a preview of our newest products, zesty recipes & cooking tips, and any breaking news to keep you informed with the latest or upcoming developments at the Carolina Sauce Company. As a VIP, you'll receive our monthly Newsletter and we will not email you more than once a month, unlike other clubs or newsletters thar constantly flood you with emails. We value your time and privacy as much as we value ours, and won't share your contact info with anyone else. You can also unsubscribe any time, and your feedback is always welcome.

If you want to cash in on our current VIP coupon sale for 7% off everything at our online store AND free ground shipping (continental US) for orders over $75, click to join our VIP Club or just send me an email with "Sign Me Up" in the subject line and I'll take care of it for you.

Any questions? Just leave a comment below, or message me on Facebook, or send me an email and I'll be happy to help.

Don't delay: Our June VIP coupon sale ends at midnight EDT on Father's Day, June 15th!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, June 9, 2014

Seared Pork Chops with Zesty Italian Seasonings

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is a must for the following recipe, as are the best pork chops you can get, ideally from a small farm specializing in heirloom hog breeds rather than your standard mass-produced pork chop found in supermarkets and even most butcher shops. But if "fancy" pork chops aren't in your budget, or aren't available in your area, don't fret: The following cooking technique and seasoning blend will bring out the very best in any pork chop.

When selecting pork chops, I prefer bone-in chops with a nice amount of fat, especially if from an heirloom hog. Here in Montana, the Bozeman food co-op had guinea hog chops -- no, not guinea pig, although from the diminutive size of the chops I did wonder for a moment if they had come from an overgrown, cuddly guinea pig. Guinea hogs are a rare breed of pig that's unique to North America and known for its small size, and they produce a rich, deeply flavorful meat. You can read more about guinea hogs here.

There are no ingredient quantities for this recipe because it works for any number of pork chops and you season them to taste. This recipe is all about technique, and about the quality of the ingredients.

Pork chops
Fennel Seed Whole, 1 lb, StarWest Botanicals
Fennel seed
Lard, bacon fat, olive oil or pure coconut oil (not extra virgin because of its flavor)
Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt
Cracked or coarse-ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
Fennel seed
Granulated garlic
Onion powder
Dried oregano
Dried basil
Dried thyme
Dried rosemary (use your fingers to crush)
Brown sugar - just a pinch per chop side

Heat your cast iron skillet on high until you can feel the heat radiating from it and it has barely begun to smoke -- you'll want to have your kitchen well-ventilated by opening windows if practical, running any vent fans, and probably disconnecting your smoke detector. While the skillet is heating, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350°F, pat dry your pork chops and place them on a plate, then season the top side of the chops with the herbs & seasonings, using your fingers to sprinkle them evenly, liberally applying the salt & pepper and following your taste preferences for the remainder of the seasonings. I recommend going light on the fennel seed and rosemary because of their strong flavor. Gently pat the seasonings onto the chops with your fingers, without rubbing.

When the skillet is smoking-hot, use a bundled up paper towel or piece of brown paper bag to smear on the grease or oil, working quickly to coat the skillet generously and evenly. Let that heat for a few seconds until almost smoking, then carefully place the chops in the greased skillet seasoned-side down, and then LET THEM BE for 90 seconds to 2 minutes (the latter for very large or very thick chops). Resist the urge to disturb the chops because doing so will prevent them from searing properly.

While the chops are searing, season the exposed side of the chops in the same manner as you did the first side. When the 90 to 120 seconds have passed, carefully flip the chops over to sear the other side, again letting them cook undisturbed for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. After that allotted time, turn off the burner and carefully place the skillet with the chops in your preheated oven. Let the chops cook in the oven at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F using a meat thermometer -- don't touch the bone with the probe or you'll get a false reading.

Stubb's Pork Rub
Buy Stubb's Pork Rub
When the chops are done, remove skillet from oven and serve the pork chops. Enjoy!

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you want to save time, you can season the pork chops simply with salt & pepper, or with a good pork seasoning blend that has little or no sugar, such as Stubb's Pork Spice Rub, Historic Lynchburg Tennessee Whiskey Seasoned Salt or PETA Barbecue Seasoning, then use the same cooking technique for searing and finishing in the oven.

PPS: If you're curious about the greens served with the pork chops in the photo at the top of this post, stay tuned because that recipe will be available on this blog in the very near future.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Jim Beam Bourbon Bacon BBQ Sauce is Back!

Jim Beam Bacon Barbecue Sauce
After inexplicably going MIA for some time, Jim Beam Bacon Barbecue Sauce is back at the Carolina Sauces online store!

Big, bold, robust and all-American in flavor and attitude, this thick, tangy-sweet barbecue sauce is enhanced with a splash of real Kentucky bourbon from Jim Beam, and delivers unmistakeably meaty, smoky and mouthwatering bacon flavor with every bite.

Whether you slather it on grilled chicken or mop it on ribs (beef or pork), baste kabobs with it or pour it on hamburgers, or even mix it into your baked beans or meatloaf recipe, Jim Beam Bacon BBQ Sauce will be a hit with the entire family and any friends lucky enough to be invited for dinner or a cookout. This full-flavored barbecue sauce is also manly enough to be a thoughtful gift for Father's Day.

Buy Jim Beam Bacon BBQ Sauce online now while it's on sale, and while there's still time to give it as a Father's Day gift to that special Dad who loves to grill or barbecue.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Low Carb Recipe: Faux French Onion Soup (aka Mushroom & Garlic Soup)

Low-carb mushroom soup
Greg and I both love homemade French onion soup, but the real thing doesn't fit into either of our dietary preferences: The bread topping makes the soup prohibitively high-carb for Greg, and its cheesy high-fat richness makes it a very rare indulgence for me.

The following soup was one of the last meals I cooked in North Carolina before our move, born primarily of the need to use up the last frozen container of my homemade brown stock along with the shredded cheese, mushrooms, garlic, spring onions and part of a yellow onion residing in our refrigerator. I did not intend to make a soup that tasted very similar to French onion soup. It was only after we tasted it and Greg exclaimed, "I love it! It's like French onion soup without the bread!" that I decided to call this robust mushroom & beef stock soup a "faux French onion soup."

Regardless of whether you're looking for a low carb or gluten-free soup recipe, or are watching your fat intake, or simply enjoy mushrooms and hearty soups made with beef stock, this recipe is for you. Its flavors are sufficiently robust that you can omit the cheese, if you prefer.

sauteed mushrooms
Sauteing the mushrooms
2 Tbs butter plus 1 Tbs butter
1 cup very thinly sliced onion
1 cup thinly sliced spring (or green) onions including green top
Approx. 15 cloves garlic, crushed
8 oz sliced mushrooms
scant 1/4 cup dry sherry
1 quart beef broth OR 2 cups brown stock + 2 cups water
Salt & Pepper to taste
Opt: A splash or two of Hot Pepper Sherry
Shredded cheese, e.g., Swiss, gruyere, gouda, parmesan, mozzarella, etc.

Faux French Onion Soup recipe
Simmering the soup
Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden but not yet caramelized. Stir in the spring onions & garlic and saute until softened and the garlic is lightly golden. Stir in remaining Tablespoon of butter and when melted, stir in the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until soft. Slowly stir in the sherry to deglaze the bottom of the pot, then allow to simmer & cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has mostly evaporated but the vegetables are still moist. Add the broth or stock & water, bring to a simmer (you may need to increase the heat) and cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes. Taste for balance, season with salt & pepper to taste, and add a splash or two of pepper sherry if you like a spicy soup. Serve in bowls and top each serving with shredded cheese if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

May's Best-Selling Products at Carolina Sauce

Wells BBQ Sauce
The Silver Sausage, aka the RV-Que, has arrived in Bozeman, and I'm back in (almost) full-swing, at least when our flaky internet connection permits. We're camped on the outskirts of Bozeman for the month, and should be able to move into our new house in early July assuming all goes as planned with the final inspections and closing. In the meantime, I'm busily catching up on Carolina Sauce work, including the following list of the Top 10 Best-Selling Products for May:

1. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce is a genuine eastern North Carolina vinegar sauce that's thin and tangy with a touch of spice and absolutely no tomatoes, corn syrup or thickeners. Usually enjoyed with pulled pork barbecue, Wells can also be used as a marinade for chicken or a seasoning for greens like collards or kale. This is our best-selling barbecue sauce and also our best-selling product of all time.

2. Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce is our top-selling hot sauce of all time, which should come as no surprise when you taste it. A sensory delight, its thick texture sticks to your food and delivers spicy-hot scotch bonnet pepper heat in a tangy mustard base that's naturally sweetened with papaya for a lusciously exotic flavor that complements fish, chicken, veggies, rice & beans, and grilled foods of all kinds.

Jump Up & Kiss Me Hot Sauce
3. Jump Up & Kiss Me Hot Sauce was created by a heat-loving gourmet chef and beautifully proves that a hot sauce can be packed with layers of palate-pleasing flavors while still delivering enough of a peppery kick to thrill chileheads. Enjoy it with any savory dish that could benefit from a spark of flavor and fire, including burgers and fries, spaghetti and chili, nachos and burritos, scrambled eggs and quiche, fried or broiled fish or chicken, and even steaks, chops, ribs and roasts.

4. Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce is found regularly on our monthly and annual lists of best-selling sauces and has a devoted following among people who enjoy an all-purpose, food-friendly hot sauce that sparks the tongue without burning out the mouth. Made in Jamaica but not a jerk sauce, its special blend of peppers and spices dates back to colonial days, as hinted at by the name and the pith-helmeted explorer on the label. Pukka Sauce is excellent in the kitchen for cooking as well as on the table for splashing and saucing served food.

Scorned Woman Hot Sauce
5. We had a tie for 5th place last month, between Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, probably the most famous jerk seasoning that's made in Jamaica, with authentic fiery heat and intense aromatic herbs & spices; and Scorned Woman Hot Sauce, a classic all-purpose vinegar pepper sauce that's savory and fiery, perfect for recipes and table use, and great in Bloody Marys and other spicy beverages.

6. Matouk's Calypso Sauce is similar to its second-place sibling with one major difference: It doesn't have that fruity papaya sweetness, and as a result this island hot sauce will seem hotter and more savory on the palate. You can enjoy Calypso Sauce just as you would the West Indian Sauce, and it's even better than its sweeter sibling for heartier, more robust foods such as grilled or roasted red meats or smoked ribs.

Salsa Lizano
7. JohnBoy & Billy's Hot & Spicy Grillin' Sauce hails from the Old North State and blends together the three distinctive styles of barbeque sauce found in the Carolinas: zesty mustard from South Carolina and the NC "low country," sweet tomato from western NC, and tangy vinegar from eastern North Carolina. These three foundations are brought together with a handful of hot peppers for a crowd-pleasin', lip-smackin', finger-lickin' and tongue-ticklin' sauce that brings out the best in anything you grill, barbecue or smoke. Magnificent on pork or beef ribs, grilled chicken, brisket, chops, burgers, and even shrimp and veggies, it's hot enough to get noticed but not so hot that it hurts.

8. Matouk's Hot Pepper Sauce is a no-nonsense savory-tangy hot sauce that packs a serious scotch bonnet pepper punch. If you want to experience the real flavor and fire of West Indian and Caribbean cuisine, this is the hot sauce for you. Thick enough to pour without dripping all over the place, and versatile enough to add to all sorts of recipes calling for hot sauce, it's excellent with most styles of spicy fare, whether you're serving island cuisines or Cajun/Creole favorites, nacho chips or Mexican food, Chinese stir-fry or fried rice, and even pizza or pasta, as well as all-American burgers or sausages.

Flexible Cordless Stainless Steel Grill Light9. Salsa Lizano is a favorite in Costa Rica, where it can be found on virtually all tables whether at home or in restaurants. A classic recipe that's almost 100 years old, it's still made the old-fashioned way from natural ingredients including vinegar & molasses, secret spices and locally-grown vegetables for a food-friendly, savory-sweet flavor with just a touch of peppery zip. Superb as a marinade or table sauce for steak and all sorts of red meat, it's also terrific with chicken, beans & rice, and vegetable dishes.

10. This Flexible Cordless Stainless Steel Grill Light is one of our most popular BBQ & grill accessories and sold remarkably well during National BBQ Month. Available through one of our trusted partners, its brilliant white LED light will cut through the darkest night so that you can see what's cooking anytime. With a long-lasting light source and durable stainless steel construction, this grill light is battery-operated so there are no cords to get tangled up or in the way. Makes a great Father's Day gift for Dads who love to grill and barbecue!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

This Memorial Day, Carolina Sauce Company is remembering the fallen who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedom.

May we never forget....