Saturday, January 31, 2009

Matouk's Soca Hot Sauce

Matouk's Soca Hot Sauce is our newest addition to the ever-popular Matouk's Hot Sauce product line from Trinidad & Tobago in the West Indies. Not quite as hot as the incendiary Matouk's Flambeau sauce but hotter than the other 3 flavors of Matouk's, Matouk's Soca Hot Sauce features a thick mustard base, plenty of fiery-hot aged, pickled scotch bonnet peppers, a dash of cane sugar, and a special blend of West Indian herbs for authentic island flair. The rich flavors and thick texture make this hot sauce ideal for use as a fiery condiment on all sorts of sandwiches, burgers, and even hot dogs and sausages. In fact, Matouk's Soca Hot Sauce complements all sorts of hearty fare like grilled foods, pork chops, and even beer-battered fried shrimp. This is the hardest-to-find variety of Matouk's, so if you haven't tried it yet but enjoy their other sauces then I strongly recommend you give the Soca Hot Sauce a try. Likewise, if you're a fan of full-bodied, fiery-hot, mustard-based Caribbean hot sauces, then I'm sure you'll enjoy Matouk's Soca. Get it today at the Carolina Sauce Company!

Zestfully yours,

PS: Matouk's also makes a Jerk Seasoning, which I haven't yet had a chance to try. If you've tasted Matouk's Jerk Seasoning, please tell us what you think and whether you'd like us to stock it - simply leave a comment here, or email us at "salesATcarolinasauceDOTcom". If there's enough positive feedback and demand for the Matouk's Jerk Seasoning, I'll look into adding it to the Carolina Sauce Company online store.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Lazy J BBQ Sauce

Newsflash: Today we received the sad news that Lazy J Bar-Bee-Q Sauce is no longer being made, and that the folks that used to make it are no longer involved in the sauce business. This award-winning barbecue sauce from eastern North Carolina was unique in that it was *not* a thin, vinegar-based BBQ sauce in the typical eastern NC mold -- rather, it was very thick and rich, with a sweet and slightly tangy tomato base that made it ideal for ribs and chicken. If anything, Lazy J Bar-Bee-Q Sauce was far more reminiscent of Memphis or Kansas City style barbecue sauces, and this made it a favorite of people who don't care for vinegar-based BBQ sauce or are looking for a change of pace. It's a shame to see this unique and delicious sauce exit the market.

If you enjoyed Lazy J Bar-Bee-Q Sauce, or if you prefer your barbeque sauce to be thick and rich, with lots of tomato and very little (or no) vinegar, the good news is that you can still find a few North Carolina sauces to fit the bill. One of my favorites is Old Mule BBQ Sauce, made in the North Carolina Mountains on a family farm using all-natural ingredients and sporting a feisty peppery kick. Another great non-vinegar BBQ sauce made in NC is the unusual Yam Good Sauce, which features North Carolina sweet potatoes as a main ingredient, and the rest of the ingredients are all-natural too -- so it's packed with nutrition in addition to being delicious. You can get both of these tasty sauces, and many other barbecue sauces from NC and around the country, at the Carolina Sauce Company online store.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baked BBQ Chicken with Ham

Here's a mouthwatering recipe from the folks at George's Barbecue Sauce, a wildly popular NC barbeque sauce that was recognized last year by Rachael Ray's magazine as the best-tasting BBQ sauce in NC. The ingredient amounts are easily multiplied, and you can adjust the amount of country ham and salt to taste. Enjoy!

4 or 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Country Ham trimmings (bits & pieces - one package usually is enough for a 9 x 13 baking dish)
1 tsp salt (you can omit if you're watching your sodium)
1 cup George's BBQ Sauce (you can use George's Hot BBQ Sauce for a spicier dish)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the ham pieces in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Place the chicken on top of the ham and sprinkle with salt, if using. Pour George's Barbecue Sauce over the chicken, cover and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 275 degrees, remove cover and continue to bake for 1 1/2 hours. Once the chicken is done, cover with foil and leave in warm oven until ready to serve.

Zestfully yours,

PS: This is just one of several easy and delicious free recipes you'll receive when you order any flavor of George's Barbecue Sauce from the Carolina Sauce Company!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Slap Ya Mama Hot Cajun Seasoning

If you like to cook Cajun or Creole recipes with authentic Louisiana flavor and fire, you need to add Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasonings to your pantry or spice rack. Hailing from Evangeline Parish and made with traditional blends of salt, peppers and garlic, Slap Ya Mama seasonings come in three varieties: the original Black Pepper blend for big, bold peppery flavor, the milder White Pepper blend which is ideal for seafood and white sauce dishes, and the fiery Hot Cajun Seasoning (shown in the photo), featuring a hefty dose of red pepper for folks who like things HOT!

Slap Ya Mama Hot Cajun Seasoning is the newest arrival to the Carolina Sauce Company online store, and it's already outselling the other two flavors. With its convenient and inexpensive size and price, this fiery-hot seasoning adds the peppery punch that hot Cajun and Creole dishes need. But this seasoning will also complement many other recipes -- add it to breading mixes, sprinkle it on french fries and popcorn, and use it on anything that would benefit from a seriously spicy kick. It really is so good, you could "Slap Ya Mama" (but please don't hit anyone - that's just an old-fashioned saying that means it's outrageously good!)

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mountain Man Fire Roasted Habanero Sauce

I discovered Mountainman Fire Roasted Habanero Sauce by accident - literally. For some time now, the Carolina Sauce Company online store has stocked another flavor-packed hot sauce by the same manufacturer: Mountainman Roasted Corn Garlic Chipotle Hot Sauce. When we received a recent shipment of that latter sauce, however, apparently our supplier inadvertenly sent us the fire-roasted habanero sauce instead. You can call it a mistake, but I prefer to call it serendipity. One taste and I knew we'd have to start carrying both flavors of Mountainman Hot Sauce! Fire-roasting the habanero peppers gives this hot sauce an earthy, slightly smoky flavor that complements the fiery burn of the habanero peppers, resulting in a serious hot sauce with robust flavor. The texture is eye- and tongue-pleasing, with little bits of pepper and seeds. The base is red wine vinegar, which helps it blend better with food and avoids that harsh vinegar edge that can be off-putting with white vinegar-based hot sauces. The ingredients are all-natural, too.

I like to use Mountain Man Fire-Roasted Habanero Sauce on heartier dishes including grilled or roasted meats, burgers, chili and other Tex-Mex fare, and also sparingly on pizza and Italian pasta & meat dishes. It's also a great way to add some kick to comfort food like meatloaf and stew - sure to warm you on a cold winter evening! If you've never tried Mountain Man Fire-Roasted Habanero Sauce, go ahead and take a chance on a bottle today. I'm sure you'll be glad you did, just like I was!

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jump Up & Kiss Me Spicy Passion Fruit Sauce

During the dead of winter, I sometimes find myself reminiscing about the wonderful time I had on vacation in the Caribbean many years ago. Although the heat from the sun was intense, there usually was a gentle ocean breeze to keep me comfortably cool. And the mouthwatering, freshly-picked tropical fruit was a foodie's dream. Jump Up & Kiss Me Spicy Passion Fruit Sauce reminds me of the pleasures of dining on tropical cuisine on a sunny Caribbean isle. As with the other varieties of Jump Up & Kiss Me Hot Sauce, this delectable treat is the inspiration of a gifted chef and foodie who knows how to tantalize your tastebuds with creatively combined complementary flavors and potent peppers added by a deft and delicate hand. This all-natural hot sauce is pleasantly spicy thanks to just the right amount of habanero peppers. Unlike other sugar-laden fruit-based hot sauces, Jump Up & Kiss Me Spicy Passion Fruit Sauce strikes a wonderful balance of sweet and tart from the special blend of fresh pineapple and tangy/sweet passion fruit pulp and juice.

Because of its fruit base, I find Jump Up & Kiss Me Spicy Passion Fruit Sauce to be ideally suited for fish and seafood dishes, as well as for chicken and other poultry. But it is also quite nice with simply-prepared pork chops, and even as an alternative to ordinary burger toppings (dress your burger with thinly sliced onions or scallions and several dollops of this hot sauce). And if you like to make your own vinaigrette dressing for salads or marinating, you can easily add tropical flair to your recipe by adding some of this sauce. In sum, Jump Up & Kiss Me Spicy Passion Fruit Sauce is a quick and tasty way to bring in some tropical sunshine on a cold, dreary winter day. And best of all, it's currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dave's Insanity Private Reserve 2009 Edition - Buy It Now!

Newsflash: At long last, Dave's Insanity Private Reserve 2009 Edition is in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company online store! Like all prior editions, this year's version of Dave's Private Reserve is made in extremely limited quantities, and each bottle is signed and hand-numbered by Dave himself. This collector's item comes in a wooden coffin wrapped in yellow "caution" tape. That should serve as a warning that this ultra-hot hot sauce is indeed deadly-hot, and should only be used with extreme care and in extremely small amounts. Like last year's version, the 2009 edition of Dave's Private Reserve Insanity Sauce features the Naga Jolokia or "ghost" pepper, which is the hottest chile pepper known to man (and woman). But unlike last year's edition, this year's version lists the Jolokia as the #1 ingredient in Dave's Private Reserve -- so if you thought last year's edition was insanely hot, then wait until you try this year's version (if you dare!).

Each year, Dave's Private Reserve hot sauce sells out quickly, and once an edition is sold out, it's gone for good. So if you want a bottle for yourself, or as a Valentine's Day gift or other special treat for a loved one, don't delay and order today.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blue's Best Chicken Wings

This recipe comes from the creator of Blue's Carolina Pepper Sauce, a deliciously spicy (but not painfully fiery) blend of habanero, cayenne and other chili peppers in a tangy tomato-vinegar base. This highly versatile sauce is a terrific way to add zip and tang to any dish without changing its fundamental flavors, and Blue's Carolina Pepper Sauce is also a versatile cooking ingredient for any recipe that could use some zest. And if you want to make the best Buffalo style chicken wings from scratch, here's their famous recipe (no exact measuring required, just "wing it" based on how many folks you plan to feed and how spicy they like their wings).

Melt a bit of lightly salted butter and stir in some Blues Carolina Pepper Sauce -- you want to make enough of this blend to thoroughly coat the amount of chicken wings you have. Set the sauce aside and grill or deep-fry your chicken wings until done. In a large bowl, toss the cooked wings in the sauce-butter blend until thoroughly coated. Place the coated wings on a hot grill, or place on a cookie sheet and slide under your broiler, just for a few minutes to caramelize the sugars in the sauce. If using your broiler, this will happen very quickly so keep an eye on the wings to keep them from burning. Discard any leftover sauce from the bowl. Remove the wings from heat and serve with celery and blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Gloria's tip: If you want to add a fiery kick to these wings, simply add a few drops (or more if you dare) of Blue's Habanero Reserve Hot Sauce when you're blending the melted butter and Carolina Pepper Sauce together. This award-winning hot sauce with the eyecatching label is one of my alltime favorite fiery hot sauces, for its masterful blend of savory flavor and serious habanero heat.

Of course, if you simply don't have the time to cook up some Buffalo wings completely from scratch, the Carolina Sauce Company online store has a wide variety of delicious wing sauces that are ready to pour on your cooked wings (breaded or unbreaded). From mild to suicidal, and traditional Buffalo style wing sauces to a Jamaican-inspired wing sauce and even sweet & sour wing sauce, there's something for everyone and every palate!

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

December's Best-Selling Hot Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Condiments & More

At long last, we've finished updating the Carolina Sauce Company's top best-selling products in each specific product category for December 2008. Here are a few notables, as well as links to each category-specific list:

*Best-Selling Hot Sauces: A classic Caribbean hot sauce that's hard to find outside of Antigua, Susie's Original Hot Sauce came in at number 9

*Best-Selling BBQ Sauces: Made by two country gals in the North Carolina Piedmont, Oink Moo Cock-A-Doodle Doo BBQ Sauce debuted at a very impressive #3 -- and as the name suggests, this tangy barbecue sauce is delicious on pork, beef and chicken

*Best-Selling Marinades & Dressings: Our very own multiple award winning marinade & cooking sauce, Greg's Happy Sauce, finished in second place -- and it's currently on sale, and comes with lots of recipes and grilling tips!

*Best-Selling Dry Rubs & Seasonings: Straight from the Louisiana bayou, Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning, Black Pepper Blend is the real deal, and was our 10th best-selling dry rub -- and it now comes in a new size, at a lower price!

*Best-Selling Gift Sets: Apparently lots of folks wanted to send a taste of Carolina as a holiday gift last month, because our North Carolina Gourmet Deluxe Gift Set was our 6th most popular gift set

*Best-Selling North Carolina Products: Once again, the number one best-seller in this category was Castle Sauce, an old-fashioned steak sauce inspired by the original from the old Boar & Castle Restaurant in Greensboro, NC

*Best-Selling Wing Sauces: Hailing from Tony's Birdland Restaurant in Rochester, NY, Tony's Birdland Hot Wing Sauce rounded out our top ten list in this category -- and it's currently on sale!

*Best-Selling Jerk & Curry Products: Dave's Gourmet brings us the 9th-place sauce in this category, Dave's Jammin' Jerk Sauce, made with real Jamaican seasonings but with a California twist -- and it's also on sale!

*Best-Selling Snacks: Another local original, Carolina BBQ Peanuts, was our second best-selling snack for December

*Best-Selling Mustards: One of our newest mustards, Trolly Stop Hot Mustard Sauce from Wilmington, NC, finished in 6th place -- and yes, it, too, is on sale!

*Best-Selling Salsa & Relish: If you're looking for a sweet tomato salsa that isn't fruity, you'll love the 9th place salsa on this list, Red's Sweet Salsa (another NC original) -- and you guessed it, it's on sale!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Easy Italian No-Bake Casserole

Here's a hearty, no-work casserole that's full-flavored and sure to please the whole family.

8 oz uncooked elbow macaroni
1 lb lean ground beef
2 cups Santo & Josie Pasta Sauce, your favorite flavor
1 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions, drain & set aside. Brown the ground beef and onions in a large frying pan or skillet, then drain off excess grease. Add the rest of the ingredients to the skillet EXCEPT for the cheeses. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes over medium or medium-high heat. Remove cover, add the cooked macaroni and carefully stir to combine. Cook until heated through, then remove from heat and stir in the mozzarella. Spoon into a casserole dish for serving, and sprinkle top with parmesan cheese. Serves 4 to 6.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Santo & Josie Pasta Sauces are made for an authentic old-world Sicilian family recipe, are wholesome and delicious (no added sugars or preservatives), and are currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company online store.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Photos & Thank-You Notes from Our Troops

Towards the end of last year, Operation Sauce Drop was able to send out dozens of free gift boxes of hot sauce and barbecue sauce to our troops spending the holidays overseas, thanks to donations from folks all around the country. The troops have sent in many thank-you notes to our donors and photos showing how they're enjoying the sauces, and they're now up for your reading and viewing on our Operation Sauce Drop Feedback & Photos page. One of my favorite notes and photos is from a soldier in Special Ops, towards the top of the page. Another sweet note and photo recently received from a grateful young soldier is below:

"Thank you for the hot sauce and more than that the support. It means a lot to us for all of the support y'all give us. Again thanks." --SGT T.D., serving in Iraq

If you'd like to bring a smile to a soldier's face by showing your support with a taste of home, please consider making a donation to Operation Sauce Drop. You can also support Operation Sauce Drop when you buy Pepper Dog Salsa and Dry Rub, thanks to the generous donation of product by the good folks at Pepper Dog Salsa.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, January 5, 2009

Carolina Sauce Re-Opens January 6th

Newsflash: The Carolina Sauce Company will re-open for business tomorrow, January 6, 2009, at 9 am EST after being closed for the holidays. We will start re-stocking out of stock items right away, as well as processing and shipping orders placed while we were closed from December 24th through January 5th. We will also reply to emails and phone calls as soon as possible, and resume shipping Operation Sauce Drop gift boxes to our troops serving abroad (many thanks to those of you who made donations at the end of the year, and to all who donated throughout 2008!). We hope you all enjoyed Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the New Year, and any other holidays you celebrated, and we thank you for your patience and understanding while we were closed during the holidays. As soon as we catch up with all the orders, calls and emails, we'll be turning our attention to potential new products for the Carolina Sauce Company online store, as well as listing the year-end results for the best-selling sauces, posting recently-received thank you notes & photos from our troops, and posting more recipes on this blog. We hope your New Year has started off well, and stay tuned for some exciting new features and delicious new products in 2009!

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, January 4, 2009

December's Top Ten Best-Selling Sauces & Other Products

Here's the list of the top ten best-selling sauces and other zesty products across all categories at the Carolina Sauce Company online store for the month of December 2008:

1. Castle Sauce once again came in first, which is no surprise because this classic steak sauce from Greensboro, North Carolina has quite a faithful following among generations of patrons of the old Boar & Castle Restaurant which closed in 1979

2. Carolina Swamp Sauce, a unique barbecue sauce and marinade from NC that's *not* a vinegar-based barbecue sauce - try it on grilled shrimp for a real treat!

3. Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce once again came in third, with its fiery heat and food-friendly flavor inspired by colonial Caribbean cuisine

4. Georgia Peach & Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce moved up to fourth place, with its gently spicy heat and succulent, summery peach and sweet onion flavor

5. Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning: The name says it all - this is the savory, spicy paste or wet rub you need for making authentic Jamaican jerk recipes

6. Capsicana Zing Sauce delivers just the right level of spice without a painful hot pepper "bite", and its slightly sweet flavor enhances just about everything -- and this North Carolina favorite comes with recipes!

7. Scorned Woman Hot Sauce: This classic hot pepper sauce lives up to the saying that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

8. Matouk's Hot Pepper Sauce, a thick, rich and savory hot sauce from Trinidad & Tobago that's made with pickled scotch bonnet peppers and a dash of mustard

9. Buderim Ginger Bears, a grown-up gummy candy that's zippy, not too sweet, and made with real Australian ginger

10. Dave's Ultimate Insanity Sauce: True to its name, this ultra-hot hot sauce delivers relentless incendiary firepower, and should only be used one toothpick-drop at a time.

We're in the process of updating the individual product categories for the best-sellers within each category, and those will be highlighted here soon. We're also compiling the numbers to determine which were the top ten best-selling products for all of 2008, across the board and within each product category, so stay tuned for those results in the near future, too.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, January 2, 2009

Winter-Spiced Cafe Con Leche (Coffee with Milk)

When I was growing up, my Mom would make "cafe con leche" (a close relative of cafe au lait or the ubiquitous latte) for weekend breakfasts, and sometimes in the afternoons to enjoy on a cold winter day. She'd brew a pot of strong Cuban coffee, and while that was brewing she'd scald some milk (whole milk, none of that lowfat or skim stuff) on the stove. When the coffee was ready, she'd pour equal amounts of coffee and hot milk into a cup or mug and stir in plenty of sugar (usually 2 or 3 teaspoons). MMMMMmmmmmm, better than any over-priced, fancy coffeehouse beverage!

I remembered my Mom's cafe con leche today as I sat bundled up on our RV couch, forlornly looking out the window at the cold rain (and occasional sleet) that was keeping us indoors in the middle of the day. I decided to make my own version of cafe con leche, using decaf (I had already had enough real coffee earlier in the morning), skim milk and Splenda sweetener (to cut back on fat and calories), and flavoring it with some wintery spices left over from Greg's pie-baking (he's become quite adept at baking all sorts of delicious pies).

I started brewing a pot of decaf using a little less water than usual, for a stronger brew. While the coffee was brewing, I heated an equal amount of skim milk on our stove, and stirred in a dash of ground nutmeg, a couple of dashes of ground cinnamon, and about a teaspoon of real vanilla extract. The fragrance of the spices as the milk simmered reminded me of pumpkin pie, and blended nicely with the aroma of the brewing coffee. When the coffee was ready, I ladled some of the hot spiced milk into our mugs, to fill them halfway. I then added a heaping teaspoon of Splenda (feel free to use real sugar or a different sugar substitute) to each mug and finished filling the mugs with the freshly brewed coffee. After a quick stir, I took a sip...... YUM! Soon my hands and tummy were warm again, and my lite version of cafe con leche turned out to be quite satisfying to the palate thanks to the spices. And all in all, it took less time to make than driving out to an overpriced coffee house (assuming I could find one in this neck of the woods) to purchase a similar beverage.

The bone-chilling rain did pass eventually, and during a foray to a little country store I discovered a previously unkown local barbecue sauce which I look forward to tasting. If it's a winner in the flavor department, then it just might become one of the new products we'll add this year at the Carolina Sauce online store. But now it's time to go play in our little kitchen and whip up something tasty -- and gently zesty -- for our dinner....

Zestfully yours,