Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lessons Learned at Year's End

After a lengthy (for me, at least) "silence", I'm happy to report that I'm once again among the eating, if not yet zestfully so. This month kept all of us at Carolina Sauce Company busier than ever, working long hours to fulfill Christmas and holiday orders, an unforeseen sudden spike in demand for Castle Sauce (an old-fashioned steak sauce that is oh so very tasty), and as many Operation Sauce Drop gift boxes for deployed troops as we could afford to buy and ship. And of course there also was all the year-end administrative work that had to be done before we could close for the holidays on the 24th. As a result, I didn't get a chance to write very much this month.

Of course, I had great plans for daily posts during my vacation beginning on the 24th, and I packed up lots of work to tackle from our trailer in the northern NC woods, along with plenty of warm clothes for running miles of previously unexplored roads out here, and a myriad other good intentions for a productive vacation..... And then the dreaded stomach virus struck. Thankfully, it waited until a couple of days after Christmas, but it knocked me out of commission for a few days and my tummy still isn't quite right.

Although this has not been the working (and running) vacation that I had planned, it actually has turned out to be exactly the type of vacation I needed -- well, I didn't need another bout of norovirus, but it taught me two valuable lessons:

First, sometimes a vacation really needs to be just that, a true break from everyday responsibilities including work, even when you love what you do. This is especially true during the holidays, which are best spent (IMHO) with loved ones and good friends, enjoying the season and each other's company. It's also true when your body says ENOUGH!! GET SOME REST!!

Second, I've learned that there is, after all, a purpose for bland, boring, un-zesty food: To help a tender tummy recover after a gut-wrenching virus wreaks havoc with one's digestive system. Yes, I've been living without hot sauce, salsa or spicy seasonings for several days now, much to my palate's dismay. The exception has been ginger, which has soothed my sour stomach as I slowly re-introduce solids back into my diet. As any fan of fiery foods and robust flavors can tell you, it's tough having to eat boring foods and I'm looking forward to being able to partake of zestier fare as soon as I can handle it!

So although my vacation hasn't been nearly as productive or active as I had hoped, it has been restful (for the most part) and restorative on many levels. And I still have a few days left out here to relax with friends and family, run a few new trails, and resume brainstorming on new ideas for the upcoming new year at Carolina Sauce, including potential new products for 2009. So stay tuned, dear readers, and best wishes for a safe and Happy New Year full of delicious good food!

Zestfully yours,

PS: The Carolina Sauce Company is currently closed for the holidays and will re-open on Tuesday, January 6th. While we are closed, you can still place orders online at the Carolina Sauce Company online store, and orders will ship out after we re-open on January 6th.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Healthy Curried Winter Fruit Salad

This zippy fruit salad can serve as a lunchtime dish or a dinnertime salad course. Using low-fat or non-fat dairy ingredients and Splenda brand sugar substitute will cut fat grams and calories but not sacrifice the taste, especially if you use a good quality curry powder from an Indian market or a higher-end grocery store like Whole Foods, and nonfat Greek style yogurt for extra creaminess without added fat. It's best to make the dressing at least an hour ahead so that the flavors have time to meld. This recipe makes six servings.

1 1/2 tsp curry powder
3 Tbs skim milk
1 cup low fat or nonfat yogurt (the new nonfat Greek style yogurts are extra-creamy and ideal for this recipe)
1 Tbs fresh lime or lemon juice (I prefer lime)
2 tsp Splenda brand sugar substitute (or use real sugar if you prefer)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
2 apples (I like Jonagold or Granny Smith), cored & cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pear (I like using red pears), cored & cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup red or green (or a mix) seedless grapes
1/2 cup jicama, cut into matchstick size strips (if you can't find jicama in your store, just substitute sliced celery)
2 Tbs cashew halves or pieces (your choice of salted or unsalted)
4 cups baby spinach

Make the dressing by whisking the milk and curry powder in a small bowl, and let stand a few minutes. Then whisk in the yogurt, lime or lemon juice, Splenda or sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Cover & chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld and develop.

When ready to serve, toss together the fruit, baby spinach, jicama or celery, and cashews in a salad bowl. Remove dressing from refrigerator and stir to re-mix the ingredients. Spoon some of the dressing over the salad and reserve the remainder to pass with the salad so that folks can add more as they wish at the table.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Wahoo Willie's Carribean Ranch Dressing

Today we bid farewell to one of my favorite dressings, Wahoo Willie's Carribean Ranch Dressing. Hailing from a popular seafood restaurant called Wahoo Willie's in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, this zesty dressing blended traditional creamy ranch dressing with Caribbean seasonings and peppers to create a deliciously rich and spicy salad dressing that could also be used for cooking and dipping. Sadly for fans of his creative and tasty recipes, Wahoo Willie's owner and chef decided to sell his restaurant and return to his first love, being a fishing boat captain. We wish him well, of course, but we'll miss his culinary creations including his Mango Vinaigrette (which sold out earlier this year) and his Carribean Ranch Dressing (and I never found out what the inside joke was with the intentional misspelling in this product's name).

Although his Carribean Ranch Dressing has now completely sold out and is no longer available, we're happy to report that his most popular product, Wahoo Willie's Jamaican Wing Sauce is still available, and you can find it on sale now at the Carolina Sauce Company online store. Get it while you can, as once we sell out of the award-winning Jamaican Wing Sauce, it will be gone for good!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Carolina Sauce Company Holiday Schedule

***Please note the following important information for Christmas and the Holiday Season:***

The Carolina Sauce Company will be closed from Wednesday, December 24th (Christmas Eve) through Monday, January 5th, to give our hard-working employees some time off with their families for the holidays, and to get ready for a new year of zesty new products and features. We will re-open for business on Tuesday, January 6th. While we are closed, you'll still be able to place orders at the Carolina Sauce Company online store, but orders will be packed and shipped after we re-open on January 6th. If you email or call us while we're closed, please understand that we won't be able to reply until after January 6th.

With respect to package delivery, the US Postal Service and UPS will deliver Ground and Air packages on Wednesday, December 24th. However, packages will not be delivered on Christmas Day, December 25th. Their regular delivery will resume on Friday, December 26th.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Spicy Tuscan Chicken Bundles

This is my adaptation of a recipe from the folks who make Nando's Peri Peri Sauces from South Africa. It takes only 30 to 45 minutes to prep and cook, and serves 4 as a main course, or you can serve the 16 pieces as heavy hors d'oeuvres. I like to serve the chicken bundles with a side of lightly sauteed spinach with garlic and a side of roasted new potatoes with onions. You can usually find fresh basil year-round in better grocery stores.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 slices of Prosciutto
8 thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
8 large basil leaves
1 Tbs olive oil
1 bottle Nando's Sundried Tomato & Basil Marinade
Nando's Garlic Peri Peri Sauce, for garnishing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Quarter each chicken breast and place 8 pieces on a plate or board, reserving the remaining 8 pieces. Layer a slice of cheese and a large bay leaf on each piece, then top with a piece of the reserved chicken. Wrap each chicken bundle with a slice of Prosciutto.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Carefully place the chicken bundles in the pan and sear on both sides (this will help them stay together). Place the seared bundles in a baking dish or casserole pan and pour the marinade over the bundles. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and splash a couple of drops of the Garlic Peri Peri Sauce on top of each bundle before serving.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Operation Sauce Drop Milestone: Over 400 Gift Boxes Shipped!

Today, Operation Sauce Drop reached a new milestone: We shipped our 400th free gift box of barbecue sauce and hot sauce to US troops serving overseas! Specifically, as of today Operation Sauce Drop has sent free gift boxes of delicious sauces to 405 troops stationed at APO and FPO addresses, at absolutely no cost to them. Operation Sauce Drop is made possible by donations from regular folks, people like you who want to send a little taste of home to our deployed military personnel, to let them know they're thought of and appreciated back home. The Carolina Sauce Company matches 100% of all donations, and the program is completely nonprofit, with Carolina Sauce donating the labor and covering all incidental costs so as to ensure that all donated funds are used solely for the cost of the sauces (at cost) and the cost of shipping. The troops can select a gift box of their choice, or a loved one or friend can sign up a serviceman with an APO/FPO address and select a gift box to be sent to them. The troops truly appreciate the generosity and thoughtfulness of Operation Sauce Drop donors, as you can see from the photographs and thank-you notes they've sent.

While shipping 405 free gift boxes is indeed an impressive milestone, and one that couldn't have been reached without the contributions of many, there still is a long list of troops waiting to receive a free gift box of sauce. Gift box requests continue to outpace donataions, to the extent that there are currently 328 troops waiting for their free gift boxes. The average cost for us to purchase and ship one gift box is about $20, and gift boxes are purchased and shipped as donations come in. Because the Carolina Sauce Company matches all donations, all it takes is $10 and you can help us send a free gift box of sauce to one of our deployed servicemen on our waiting list. If you have already donated to Operation Sauce Drop in the past, please accept my heartfelt thanks and the thanks of our troops. If you haven't yet contributed or if you'd like to help again, here's the link to donate to Operation Sauce Drop. You can also shop to support Operation Sauce Drop and treat yourself to some zesty salsas and dry rub (100% of the purchase price of those items goes straight to Operation Sauce Drop). And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact the Carolina Sauce Company. Thank you for your consideration.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Garlic & Pepper

This very simple recipe packs a peppery punch and garlicky pungency that's sure to please anyone who enjoys zesty, spicy foods.

1 lb spaghetti, regular or whole wheat
6 Tbs Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (for extra heat, I substitute 1 or more cloves of Twenty Pepper Garlic)
2 cayenne peppers, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
Salt to taste

Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions (I like mine "al dente"). While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the garlic
and pepper until soft, but don't let the garlic start to turn golden. Drain the spaghetti and then immediately pour the oil-garlic-pepper mixture over the spaghetti and mix well. Add the parsley and salt to taste, toss to combine, then serve immediately.

Mexican Spaghetti variation: Substitute 2 jalapenos or 1 serrano & 1 jalapeno pepper for the cayenne peppers; substitute fresh cilantro for the parsley.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Updated Info Page for Carolina Sauce

Check out the updated Info page at the Carolina Sauce Company, now featuring a photo of the founders (Greg and yours truly), taken earlier this year in our warehouse. The Info page is where to go if you're looking for our contact information, have questions about our shipping policies and how shipping costs are calculated at the Carolina Sauce Company online store, need to report a damaged item, would like to sign up for our free eNewsletter, or want to learn more about who we are. And if you have a question that's not answered on our Info page, please don't hesitate to call us at 919-286-1080 or email us at "salesATcarolinasauceDOTcom".

Zestfully yours,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Spicy Steamed Spinach

What appears to be a huge pile of raw spinach will quickly cook down to a much smaller amount, so don't let the initial volume of this quick, healthy and zestily delicious recipe scare you away. Serve Spicy Steamed Spinach as a side dish for meat or chicken, or as an alternative to a green salad.

1 1/2 lb fresh spinach, washed & trimmed
3 Tbs olive oil
1 small sweet onion OR 1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed (for added spiciness, use 2 cloves of Twenty Pepper Garlic)
1 Tbs freshly grated gingerroot
1 Tbs sherry (for added spiciness, use Busha Browne's Spicy Hot Pepper Sherry)
Optional: Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onion (or shallot), garlic and ginger until soft and the onion is translucent. Shake off excess water from spinach leaves, raise the heat to medium-high, add spinach to pot and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, Add the sherry, add salt to taste, cover the pot and steam for a few minutes until the spinach is tender (this happens quickly, usually less than 5 minutes). Stir and serve. Note: Some folks like to add a splash or two of a vinegar pepper sauce to their greens. I recommend Scorned Woman Hot Sauce or Durn Good Hot Sauce or Mile High Hot Sauce for this purpose.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Busha Browne's Spicy Hot Pepper Sherry is currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company online store

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bubba's Spicy Seafood Stew

I've fallen in love with Bubba's Special Sauce as an ingredient in recipes that call for canned tomatoes. I just substitute Bubba's for some or all of the canned tomatoes, and the final product is transformed from everyday ho-hum to zestily delicious with a peppery kick. That's one of the modifications I made to the original old seafood stew recipe I had in my file (the original called for plain canned tomatoes, and I substituted some Bubba's for half of the canned tomatoes and one of my favorite hot sauces for the red pepper flakes). This seafood stew is especially good if made with fresh fish and clams, but you can also use frozen fish fillets and canned clams if that's all you have. Serve with crusty Italian or French bread (or garlic bread!) and a tossed green salad for a hearty supper.

1 lb fresh or frozen (thawed) catfish fillets
8 large fresh clams in shells, or 10 oz canned whole baby clams
1 Tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 jar Bubba's Special Sauce
1 can (14 to 16 oz) cut tomatoes
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 cup bottled clam juice (plus 1/2 cup more if using fresh clams)
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel (make sure you avoid any of the white pith when peeling the lemon)
1/2 tsp crushed dried basil OR 1 Tbs chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh snipped parsley
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Blues Habanero Reserve Hot Sauce (or substitute 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes)
4 oz. medium pasta shells, uncooked

If using clams in shells, wash them thoroughly and then place in a large bowl or pot, cover with 8 cups of cold water and 3 Tbs salt. Let stand for 15 minutes, rinse, and repeat the soak/rinse process two more times. This will wash away any sediment or grit and plump up the clams.

If using canned clams, drain them and reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid, and set aside.

Prepare the fish by removing any skin from the catfish fillets. Cut fish into 1 inch chunks and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, then add onion & garlic and saute until onion is soft but not browned. Stir in the Bubba's Special Sauce, canned tomatoes (undrained), tomato juice, clam juice, lemon peel, basil, parsley and hot sauce (or red pepper flakes). If using fresh clams, add the additional 1/2 cup of bottled clam juice. If using canned clams, add the reserved 1/2 cup of liquid from the can. Stir everything in the pot to combine, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for half an hour. Stir in the fish chunks, clams and pasta shells. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the pasta shells are "al dente." Makes 4 hearty servings.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Acid Rain Hot Sauce is Back In Stock!

Newsflash: Acid Rain is back, after a protracted absence. No, not the environmental problem -- we're talking about Acid Rain Hot Sauce, an elusive and deliciously fiery hot pepper sauce from Canada that is dearly loved by chiliheads and fiery foods fanatics all over the world. Made with a unique blend of many different chile peppers, including piquin, ring of fire, peri-peri, tepin, habanero and jalapeno peppers, Acid Rain Hot Sauce delivers layers of heat with palate-pleasing complexity. But there's a lot more to love in addition to the heat, because this sauce has plenty of zesty flavors too, including garlic, ginger and citrus. If you've never tried Acid Rain, now's the time to treat yourself to a bottle (or more) from the Carolina Sauce Company online store, to spice up your holiday dining. And if you're a longtime fan, now's the time to stock up before we run out again!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Zesty Oyster Bisque

Now's the time to enjoy fresh oysters, and what better way to do so than in this rich soup that's sure to warm you on a cold evening. This is my variation of an oyster bisque recipe from the Tabasco sauce people, and it makes 6 to 8 servings. Enjoy with freshly baked bread or rolls for a real treat!

1 pint shucked raw oysters, drained and reserve 1 cup of the oyster "liquor" or liquid
1 cup half & half (you can splurge and use heavy cream)
3 cups whole milk (you can use low-fat, but it won't be as tasty)
1 slice from a sweet onion
2 stalks of celery, washed & trimmed
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh parsley
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp Hog's Breath Key West Red Hot Sauce (more for a spicier soup)
A dash of Busha Browne's Spicy Hot Pepper Sherry (you can substitute regular cooking sherry but it will be less spicy)
Optional Garnish: Chopped fresh chives

Using a very sharp knife, chop the oysters and place in a saucepan with the oyster liquor. Gently heat just to the boiling point, then remove saucepan from heat and pour contents into a bowl and set aside. Add the milk, half & half, onion, celery, bay leaf and parsley to the saucepan and heat to scalding. Strain the milk into a separate bowl and set aside; discard the veggies & herbs. Melt the butter in the saucepan, then stir in the hot sauce, pepper sherry, salt & flour and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Slowly stir in the scalded milk and cook while stirring over medium-low heat, until thickened. Stir in the oysters and cooked oyster liquor and cook while stirring until soup is heated through. Serve with a garnish of chopped chives, and an extra dash of hot sauce if desired.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, December 8, 2008

Grilling Indoors

Even though winter hasn't yet officially arrived, we've already had quite a few below-freezing nights here in the heart of Carolina. And no doubt it's already quite chilly up north and in the midwest. But you don't need to let the cold weather deprive you of enjoying grilled food. If you don't mind grilling in the cold and dark, you can do what Greg does and don a heavy coat, turn on the deck lights and continue grilling even in the dead of winter (just be careful not to light your coat on fire!). Or if you're less willing to brave the cold, you can grill indoors, provided you have the right type of grill and you take some precautions. Admittedly, you won't get that delicious charcoal-grilled flavors when cooking indoors (unless you have a fireplace that can safely fit your charcoal grill), but you can use a charcoal seasoning like Calhoun's Charcoal Grill Seasoning when using an indoor grill.

So what kind of grill is safe to use indoors? The ideal and safest way to grill indoors is to use a permanently-installed natural gas or electric grill. But if you don't have such a setup, you may be wondering if you can bring your outdoor grill into the house. The answer depends on what type of grill you have. NEVER, ever use a a propane grill indoors, or you risk carbon monoxide poisoning (yes, you can die and/or kill your pets). Also, NEVER use a charcoal grill indoors unless you have a large fireplace and can fit the grill towards the back, leaving the damper or flue open to vent the smoke and gases produced during grilling. You'll also have to leave the coals in the fireplace until they burn out (or cover the grill to put out the coals). NEVER try to move the hot coals out of the fireplace or you could end up starting a fire with falling ashes. Bottom line: Check the manufacturer's instructions for your grill to determine whether you can safely use it indoors, and be very careful.

Assuming you've cleared the first hurdle and have a grill that can safely be used inside your home, then the next step is to choose the right foods. Select foods that will require only a short cooking time, like fish and seafood, boneless skinless chicken breasts, etc. The reason is that you want to reduce the amount of smoke that will be produced. You can cheat on this by partially cooking the food in your microwave oven, and then finish cooking it on your indoor grill. This works especially well with vegetables.

Finally, the most important pointer for indoor grilling is ensuring adequate ventilation. Regardless of which indoor grilling method you choose, make sure your means of ventilation are strong enough to exhaust fumes outdoors. Depending on your setup, you may need to open your kitchen window(s) a crack and maybe even use a fan to help blow fumes out. Remember, if in doubt, leave the grilling outdoors.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Calhoun's Charcoal Grill Seasoning is currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company online store!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quick & Easy Peppered Steaks

The spices used in the Knox's Cracked Pepper Dry Rub are based on Brazilian churrasco, and enhance the succulent flavors of even inexpensive cuts of meat. Flame the steaks right before you serve them, for best flavor and dramatic effect. The recipe is for two, but you can easily multiply it to serve as many as you need.

2 beef cube steaks
Knox's Cracked Pepper Dry Rub
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs brandy

Generously sprinkle both sides of the beef cube steaks with the cracked pepper dry rub, and firmly press the spices in with your hands to coat well. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, and very quickly brown the steaks on each side (about 1 minute each side). Add the brandy to the skillet and carefully set on fire with a long-stemmed lighter to flame the steaks. Once the flames die down, remove the steaks to a warm serving platter and pour the pan juices over them. Serve with a tossed salad or simple green vegetables like sauteed spinach or broccoli, and with a side of rice pilaf or a baked potato.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you prefer to enjoy your steak with steak sauce, I strongly recommend Castle Sauce, from Greensboro NC.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Updated Lists of Best-Selling BBQ Sauce, Hot Sauce, & Other Products

The Carolina Sauce Company's top best-selling products in each specific product category for November have been updated, for your viewing & shopping pleasure. Here's a highlight or two for each specific product category:

*Best-Selling Hot Sauces: Serious chiliheads were shopping in earnest in November, because two of the hottest hot sauces available came in at number 7 (Dave's Ultimate Insanity Sauce) and number 9 (Dave's Insanity Sauce) on our list of top ten best-selling hot sauces

*Best-Selling BBQ Sauces: A classic favorite for almost 100 years, the spicy, vinegar-based Scott's Barbecue Sauce finished in the #10 spot last month, and it's currently on sale!

*Best-Selling Marinades & Dressings: One of our newest arrivals, Olio & Spices Pomegranate Teriyaki Sauce from Israel, broke in at a very impressive #9

*Best-Selling Dry Rubs & Seasonings: One of my personal favorites, Pig Pen's Original Seasoning from Salisbury, NC topped this list as the #1 best-selling dry rub

*Best-Selling Gift Sets: Two great Christmas gift ideas, the Peanut Lover's Gift Set and the Lawyer's Gift Set, finished in 8th and 9th place respectively

*Best-Selling North Carolina Products: If you're looking for an authentic eastern NC barbecue sauce, then you need Well's Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce from the tiny town of Burgaw just outside Wilmington, NC -- and it's currently on sale!

*Best-Selling Wing Sauces: Although not technically a wing sauce, we've included Anchor Bar Bleu Cheese Sauce (the 5th place finisher) on this list because it is the perfect dipping sauce for enjoying Buffalo wings and other styles of hot wings -- plus it's made by the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, the birthplace of the original Buffalo style chicken wings!

*Best-Selling Jerk & Curry Products: The ever-popular, festively fiery Walkerswood Jonkanoo Pepper Sauce finished in 2nd place, and is currently in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company online store

*Best-Selling Snacks: If you're looking for a Christmas gift for a firefighter, I recommend Firehouse Nuts: Smoked Habanero Seasoned Peanuts, which ranked 9th among November's best-selling snacks

*Best-Selling Mustards: Another great holiday gift idea, the Mustard Lover's Gift Set featuring 5 different zestily delicious mustards, finished in 5th place

*Best-Selling Salsa & Relish: The top-selling product in this category is Pepper Dog Salsa Verde, an all-natural, medium-hot tomatillo salsa made in North Carolina -- and 100% of the product price when you purchase this salsa goes to Operation Sauce Drop, the Carolina Sauce Company's nonprofit program that sends free hot sauce & BBQ sauce to deployed troops!

Zestfully yours,

Friday, December 5, 2008

Operation Sauce Drop in the News!

Operation Sauce Drop is a nonprofit program run by the Carolina Sauce Company that sends free gift boxes of BBQ sauce and hot sauce to our troops serving overseas. A very nice article about Operation Sauce Drop appeared online yesterday, with some background about the program and also an update on the need for donations, especially this time of year. To date, over 340 gift boxes have been sent to our troops, and another 20 or more will be shipped out on Monday (we've spent much of today assembling & packing the gift boxes, printing shipping labels, and preparing the customs forms). Our troops greatly appreciate a taste of home, as you can see from the photos and thank you notes to donors. Although donations continue to trickle in, the number of troops signing up for gift boxes far outpaces the rate of donations, and our waiting list has well over 300 troops on it. How can you help? Here are two simple ways:

1. First, the obvious way is to make a donation to Operation Sauce Drop through PayPal or with a credit card. Heck, you can even mail us a check so long as you indicate on the Memo line that it's for Operation Sauce Drop. The average cost for us to purchase and ship a gift box is $20. Because the Carolina Sauce Company matches all donations, a gift of only $10 will help us send a free gift box to a soldier serving abroad. Can't afford $10? We'll gladly take whatever you can afford, and match it.

2. Second, you can help Operation Sauce Drop without spending a single penny by going to the article about Operation Sauce Drop and clicking on the "share this" button at the end of the article, and then Digg or Stumble it or put on your Facebook page, etc. etc. In other words, help spread the word about the program and the need for donations. The more popular this article gets, the more potential donors will see it. Just in the last day, this article has already helped us raise $180 (which means 18 more free gift boxes with the Carolina Sauce Company match). Please help us raise more money to keep whittling away at our waiting list and letting our troops know we're thinking of them back home.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cackalacky On Sale & In Stock!

Newsflash: Just in time for the holidays, Cackalacky Spice Sauce is on sale and back in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company online store! This North Carolina original takes its peculiar name from a colorful nickname for its home state. But there's nothing funny about the fabulous flavor of this pleasantly piquant spice sauce! Made from the finest all-natural ingredients including crushed tomatoes, North Carolina sweet potatoes, spicy peppers, real honey and a splash of wine, this isn't your boring, run-of-the-mill, vinegary hot sauce. No sirree, Cackalacky is thick and full-bodied like a steak sauce, with a rich and robust flavor that's complex, subtly sweet and perkily spicy without being hot. The result is a delicious condiment that will please both chiliheads and gourmands alike, and will complement virtually all of your favorite foods, from burgers and sandwiches to steaks, grilled chicken, and baked beans. If you haven't tasted Cackalacky yet, now's the time to order a bottle (or more!) while it's on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company. You can find it listed under North Carolina Products, as well as in the Hot Sauce section.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Durn Good Spicy Noodle Bake

I came up with this recipe when I was craving some rich and creamy, hearty comfort food with a bit of a peppery kick to warm me on a blustery late-autumn evening. This recipe serves 6.

1 5-oz package thin egg noodles
4 Tbs butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 tsp garlic salt
3 to 6 dashes of Durn Good Hot Sauce
Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain, then toss with butter until well-coated. Gently stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the Parmesan cheese and combine thoroughly but with care. Pour into a casserole dish, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the topping is melted and starts to turn golden.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

November's Best-Selling Sauces & Products

The following is the list of the Top Ten Best-Selling Sauces and other zesty products at the Carolina Sauce Company online store for the month of November 2008:

1. Castle Sauce, a classic steak sauce made in Greensboro, North Carolina

2. Buderim Ginger Bears, a zippy, not-too-sweet gummy bear confection from Australia that's made with real ginger

3. Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce, an all-purpose hot sauce from Jamaica that's almost always on our top ten best-selling hot sauces list

4. Carolina Swamp Sauce, a unique BBQ sauce and marinade from NC that's *not* a vinegar-based barbecue sauce!

5. Matouk's Calypso Hot Sauce, a thick, rich hot sauce from Trinidad & Tobago that's made with scotch bonnet peppers

6. Capsicana Zing Sauce, an aptly named, not-too-hot all-purpose spice sauce from North Carolina that's good on just about everything, and comes with recipes!

7. Georgia Peach & Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce, mildly spicy but full of delicious flavor, capturing the essence of a warm, sunny day

8. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce, a traditional vinegar-based eastern NC barbecue sauce with a serious following

9. El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Kutbil-ik Mayan Hot Sauce, made with fiery-hot Mexican hot peppers according to ancient traditions

10. Jim's Own Homestyle BBQ Sauce, a delicious Piedmont-style NC BBQ sauce (vinegar & tomatoes) that's a little bit sweet, a little bit tangy, with just the right amount of spice -- and it comes with recipes!

Stay tuned for more best-sellers as we update the product-category best-seller lists in the very near future, and highlight some of the stars here!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cyber Monday Sale (& Cyber Tuesday Too)!

The Carolina Sauce Company is holding a huge Cyber Monday Sale on December 1st, and the savings will continue through Cyber Tuesday (December 2nd)! We have hot sauces, cooking & grilling sauces, condiments and spice blends for every taste and palate, all at bargain prices -- but on December 1st and 2nd, you can save even more money by taking advantage of the following specials:

***Order at least $40 in products from the Carolina Sauce Company online store on Monday, December 1st or Tuesday December 2nd, and we'll give you 10% off the product total when you use the coupon code "Cyber2008" (without the apostrophes). Simply enter the coupon online in the "coupon code" section of the billing page.***

Now's the time to order those special gifts for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, and we have lots of themed Gift Sets including:

*Our Lawyer's Gift Set for your favorite legal professional

*Our fiery NC Hot & Spicy Gift Set for fans of spicy foods

*Our elegant NC Gourmet Deluxe Gift Set for your favorite foodie

*Our two NC BBQ Sauce Gift Sets in mild or hot, for a taste of authentic North Carolina barbecue.

*For folks with dietary restrictions we offer Low Carb & No Carb products, plus Low Sodium & No Sodium Products, and a growing selection of Kosher Products, too!

We also have a huge selection of BBQ Sauces from all over the US, Hot Sauce from all over the world, and a comprehensive selection of North Carolina Products, from mild to wild. Still can't decide? Then send an electronic Gift Certificate, with no expiration date!

***Save even more with "On Sale" products!*** Lots of sauces & condiments are currently on sale, including Blair's Sudden Death Hot Sauce with the famous skull keychain, and many flavors of the Dave's Gourmet and Dave's Insanity Sauces; several different varieties of wing sauces and flavorful marinades; loads of barbecue sauce on sale from North Carolina and around the US, and special savings on Dry Rubs and Seasonings. Simply look for the red sale prices, or the words "On Sale" when you shop at the Carolina Sauce Company online store. You can also search the Carolina Sauce Company store for the words "on sale" and that will show you a list of all the products currently on sale. But don't delay, as these special sale prices are good only while supplies last. And yes, you can get 10% off your order including special "on sale" items, so you save even more! Just remember to use the coupon code Cyber2008 on Monday Dec. 1st (also known as Cyber Monday) and Tuesday Dec. 2nd (Cyber Tuesday) to receive 10% off your order of $40 or more.

***Want to save money in 2009, too?*** Then simply donate $5 or more to Operation Sauce Drop, our nonprofit effort to send free sauce to our troops, and we'll send you a coupon good for 10% off your next order (no minimum purchase required), good through the end of 2009! Just make sure you mention this Cyber Monday Special in the comment section of your donation so that we know to email the special coupon to you. The troops will really appreciate your support, as you can see from the Operation Sauce Drop feedback & photos we've received.

Zestfully yours,