Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Recipes, Gift Baskets, Flowers & More

Easter is this coming Sunday, on the Western as well as the Eastern Orthodox calendar. If you are celebrating Easter, you may already be planning on making traditional family recipes. But if you're interested in trying out something new or different, or simply reading about different food traditions associated with Easter, here is a useful article on traditional Easter recipes and foods. Another interesting read is this article on Orthodox Easter customs and foods.

Ham is a traditional Easter food for many here in the U.S. If you're planning on serving ham this Sunday, here are some helpful tips for buying ham. I've also posted some tasty ham recipes in the past, including one for apple-glazed ham, and also for sweet & spicy mustard-glazed ham.

For others, lamb will play the starring role for Easter dinner. If that's your plan, here are some excellent tips for cooking lamb. You might also be relieved to learn that there's still time to get some old-fashioned pepper jelly from the North Carolina mountains, to serve with your lamb (and even with your ham). You can also still order gorgeous grower-fresh flowers and stunning floral arrangements in time for Easter - just click on the banner below to see our lovely (and reasonably-priced!) selections:

Send Flowers

And don't forget to send a festive Easter basket to your loved ones - simply click below to choose the perfect Easter gift:

Send Flowers

Zestfully yours,

PS: Save 10% off ALL sauces, seasonings and other tasty products at the Carolina Sauce Company online store by placing an order before midnight TODAY, using our special Blog coupon!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2-Day Coupon Sale, 10% off EVERYTHING at Carolina Sauce!

Get 10% off all sauces, seasonings and other delicious products, INCLUDING already-discounted sale items, at the Carolina Sauce Company online store, today and tomorrow only! No minimum order required - simply shop online and enter the coupon code "MarchBlog2010" (without the quotation marks), and we'll give you 10% off the product total through Wednesday, March 31st. Enter the coupon in the "coupon code" field on the billing page when you order online.

Celebrate the beginning of spring, fire up the grill, and add some flavor to your winter-weary menu, AND save some money too! To help you get started, check out our Best-Selling Sauces and Seasonings, or try one of our newest products such as the feisty Blue's Chipotle Mustard Pepper Sauce (already on sale, and you get an additional 10% off, or the fiery No Wimps Allowed Hot Sauce from Marie Sharp's.

Don't delay - this two-day coupon sale ends at midnight EDT tomorrow, March 31st, and don't forget to use the coupon code MarchBlog2010.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lemon & Herb Roasted Asparagus for Passover or Easter

Here's a simple side dish recipe that's appropriate for Passover, Easter, or any spring dinner. The roasting brings out a much richer flavor than merely steaming the asparagus. The quantities are flexible and are determined by the number of folks you need to feed. There are still a few bottles of Nando's Lemon & Herb Peri-Peri Grinder available from the Carolina Sauce Company. Otherwise, you can substitute Kosher salt and your favorite lemon-pepper herb blend seasoning.

1 to 2 lbs fresh asparagus
olive oil
Nando's Lemon & Herb Peri Peri Grind or other lemon-pepper blend seasoning
Opt: Kosher salt (I omit if using the Nando's grind or other seasoning containing salt)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Wash and pat dry the asparagus, and trim off the thick end (I do this by breaking it off towards the bottom where it starts getting tough - it should break easily at that part if using very fresh asparagus). Place the asparagus in a resealable plastic bag and drizzle in just enough olive oil to be able to coat the asparagus lightly when you seal and shake the bag. For ease of cleanup, cover your baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil, or use a nonstick baking sheet. Spread the asparagus in a single layer on the pan, then sprinkle with the Nando's grind (or other seasoning) and Kosher salt (if using). Roast the seasoned asparagus at 400F degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until bright green and tender, being careful not to overcook.

Zestfully yours,

P.S.: Nando's Peri-Peri Grinder is a Kosher certified product. For additional delicious Kosher products, check out the Kosher seasonings & sauces available from Carolina Sauce.

P.P.S.: For a non-citrus, "herbalicious" alternative, replace the Nando's or other lemon-pepper herb seasoning with Big Daddy's Superb Herb Seasoning and Kosher salt

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Passover Recipes & More

Passover begins tomorrow night, Monday March 29th. If you are planning on observing Passover and preparing a seder, you may already have a few family recipes on hand. But if you don't, or if you are looking for new, traditional or simply different recipes, here's a site that has some Passover recipes that look quite good. I also have a great recipe for fat-free latkes, if you're trying to eat healthy while still enjoying traditional Passover foods.

You can add delicious flavor and spice to your seder with the many different Kosher sauces and seasonings available from the Carolina Sauce Company, including five luscious, all-natural gourmet sauces from Israel's Olio & Spices. Feel free to contact Carolina Sauce if you have questions about which Kosher certification mark appears on a specific product. An excellent resource for Kosher information, including the different certifications, recipes and other Passover information, is

And if you are looking for beautiful fresh flowers straight from the grower, or gorgeous florist-arranged bouquets especially for Passover, simply click below to view our wide selection and wallet-friendly prices:

Send Flowers

Zestfully yours,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spicy Peri-Peri Salmon Linguine

The original for this flavorful and spicy recipe comes from the makers of Nando's Peri-Peri Pepper Sauces of South Africa. The amounts are flexible so you can adjust to taste (and to the number of mouths you're feeding - this version serves 4). You'll want to use a large cast-iron skillet if possible, otherwise use another heavy and good-quality frying pan.

2 lbs (approx) fresh salmon, skin still attached to 1 side, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbs butter
4 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1/2 bottle (approx) Nando's Medium Peri Peri Pepper Sauce
1 8oz package fresh baby spinach
1 1-lb package linguine, cooked according to package & drained
Salt & cracked black pepper, to taste
Shaved Parmesan cheese, to taste

Add enough olive oil, plus the butter, to coat bottom of the frying pan and heat on medium high, stirring to melt the butter and blend with olive oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry until just golden and sizzling. Carefully place the salmon in the pan, skin-side down, and cook over high heat to crisp the skin. Add the remainder of the olive oil, and VERY carefully add the peri peri sauce (it will sizzle and possibly splatter, so be careful!). Use a heat-resistant spatula to carefully turn the salmon over and cook for a few minutes until cooked through, making sure you don't overcook. Use the spatula to carefully remove the salmon from the pan and set aside. Place the cooked linguine plus the spinach into the pan, and toss to combine and coat, allowing the spinach to cook. When the spinach is just wilted, the linguine is ready to serve. Divide among 4 plates and top each with a piece of salmon. Season with salt & cracked black pepper as desired, plus some shaved Parmesan cheese to taste.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Zippy Peach-Glazed Carrots

This mouthwatering recipe can be made with red or cayenne pepper for a spicy kick, or you can omit the pepper for a non-spicy, but still zesty, side dish.

2 lbs carrots, washed, peeled & sliced
1/4 cup Mrs. Picky Fanicky's Zesty Peach Cocktail MmmMarmalade
3 Tbs butter
1 Tbs honey
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne or red pepper, optional
Salt to taste

Cook the carrots with a little water until just tender - you can boil, steam or microwave them, just be careful not to overcook. Drain and set aside. In a saucepan large enough to hold the carrots, combine the marmalade, butter, honey, ginger and pepper (if using), and cook over medium heat, stirring to melt the butter and combine everything together. Once the butter is melted, stir in the carrots and salt to taste (I find that a pinch is enough, or you can omit altogether). Cook over low heat while stirring gently, until the carrots are glazed (a few minutes should suffice).

Zestfully yours,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Who Dat? Hot Sauce is Coming Back!

Good news for Saints fans, New Orleans natives, and folks who enjoy authentic Louisiana yellow pepper hot sauce: Who Dat? Hot Sauce will be back soon! We are currently out of stock of this tasty, all-purpose hot sauce, and because of the brouhaha with the NFL earlier this year we thought that we wouldn't be able to get any more. But according to the manufacturer Mossy Bayou Foods, Who Dat Hot Sauce will be back -- with a snazzier new label, too! -- as soon as the Louisiana pepper crop is ready. The special hot peppers used to make this tasty sauce have to be picked while they are still yellow, which gives Who Dat sauce its unique natural color, food-friendly medium heat and delicious flavor. Because most farmers pick the hot peppers while they're green OR after they've ripened and turn red, naturally yellow hot sauces made with Louisiana peppers are rather rare. But Mossy Bayou Foods has received commitments from farmers to deliver this spring's crop while they're in that brief yellow stage, which should be in the next few weeks. And once the yellow peppers are in, production of Who Dat sauce will resume. So, we expect to have our fresh new stock in about two months.

If you'd like to be notified when Who Dat Hot Sauce is available again, simply send an email to sales"AT"carolinasauce"DOT"com (replace the "at" with @ and "dot" with a period), and we'll add you to our waiting list and send you an email as soon as Who Dat sauce is back in stock.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, March 19, 2010

Our Troops would Love a Taste of Home - Can You Help?

I received the following email a few days ago, and was given permission to share it here:

I have been a frequent customer as well as a multiple contributor to Operation Sauce Drop. I recently was deployed to Afghanistan and was disappointed when I went to register myself and you were not taking anymore addresses due to a backlog of 5 as of 2/10/10. Please encourage your customers to contribute to this cause. The food here is good, but could be sooo much better with a care package from Carolina Sauce.

'The Grill Sergeant' Gary L."

Operation Sauce Drop is a not for profit program run by the Carolina Sauce Company that sends free gift boxes of BBQ sauce and hot sauce to US troops serving abroad. What makes Operation Sauce Drop different from other "care packages for the troops" programs is that servicemen and women can actually select which sauces they would like to receive by choosing from several different free gift boxes of sauce. Operation Sauce Drop is funded through donations from people like you (100% of donations are used solely for the purchase and shipping of the gift boxes), and the Carolina Sauce Company covers all other costs associated with running the program. As you can imagine, deployed troops greatly appreciate the free sauces and truly enjoy receiving a taste of home to help spice up their meals -- just take a look at the many thank-you notes to donors and photos that they've sent!

To date, Operation Sauce Drop has sent free gift boxes of sauce to over 800 troops stationed abroad. Unfortunately, however, the program is currently out of funds and has a waiting list of troops who had requested gift boxes when the money ran out. And much to the disappointment of recently deployed soldiers like Grill Sergeant Gary, we can't accept any more requests from our troops until Operation Sauce Drop receives more funds.

Would you like to bring a smile to the face of a soldier stationed far from home? Please donate to Operation Sauce Drop, or shop to support Operation Sauce Drop, where a portion of the proceeds of your purchase goes directly into the Operation Sauce Drop account. If you can't afford to make a donation at this time but still want to help, you can do so by spreading the word about Operation Sauce Drop: Email or Tweet your friends about the program with a link to Operation Sauce Drop, or post an Operation Sauce Drop banner link on your Facebook page or website. The troops will thank you for your support!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spicy Turnips with Bacon

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Like potatoes, turnips and bacon are traditional Irish foods (although admittedly hot sauce and hot peppers are not). In addition to the regular bicolor white & purple turnips most people are familiar with, turnips also come in solid white and also in vibrant red, as shown on the left.

The following recipe was inspired by traditional Irish recipes for turnips, and features a peppery kick for folks who like spicy foods. You can adjust the quantities as you see fit, keeping in mind that 1 lb of turnips generally serves four. Select small, firm, relatively smooth turnips for mildest flavor, and avoid any that have soft or wrinkled spots.

1 lb turnips
Boyle's Irish Scream Hot Sauce
3 to 6 thick slices of bacon
Salt to taste (you can omit if you prefer)
Several shakes of hot sauce, to taste (I recommend a tasty hot pepper sauce that's not too vinegary -- Boyle's Irish Scream Hot Sauce is excellent, plus it has an Irish theme)
A small bunch of parsley, chopped

Wash and peel the turnips, then cut into small pieces. Boil in a large pot until fork-tender but not falling apart - about 15 to 20 minutes. While the turnips are cooking, fry the bacon until fully cooked but not too crispy. Place cooked bacon on paper towels to drain, and reserve a few tablespoons of bacon grease in the frying pan. When turnips are done, drain well and add to the reserved bacon grease. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to move the turnips into a serving bowl, leaving any excess grease in the frying pan. Coarsely chop the cooked bacon and add to the turnips, together with the chopped parsley and a few splashes of hot sauce. Stir to combine, then serve.

Mashed Version: For mashed turnips, boil the turnips until fully soft and easily mashed, then drain and place in large bowl. You can discard all the bacon grease (or save it for another recipe). Mash the turnips, then fold in the chopped bacon and parsley and serve.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Steakhouse Roasted Potatoes

A classic companion to a good steak, these savory roasted potatoes also pair nicely with broiled seafood, roast chicken, and other hearty fare. I like to use small red or new potatoes, but you can use larger potatoes cut into wedges or chunks. Leave the skin on for richer flavor -- just make sure to wash and scrub the potatoes thoroughly clean, and dry them well with a paper towel before cutting. There are no set measurements for this recipe -- simply make as much as you want to serve. The bacon drippings add mouthwatering flavor, and a little goes a long way, but if you're being more health-conscious simply omit it.

Unpeeled potatoes, washed & dried
Olive Oil
Optional: Bacon fat or drippings, melted
Your favorite seasoned herb rub: I use Big Daddy's Superb Herb Seasoning or Char Crust Roto Roast

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Cut the potatoes into wedges or cubes and place in a large bowl or in a resealable plastic bag. If using bacon fat or drippings, drizzle just enough onto the potatoes to coat lightly, and toss (or shake sealed bag) to evenly coat the potatoes. Add the olive oil and herb seasoning to taste, and toss (or shake the sealed bag) to coat the potatoes evenly. Spread the potatoes onto a baking dish and bake at 400F degrees until lightly browned, about half an hour or so. Finish under the broiler for a minute or so, carefully checking to keep the potatoes from burning.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oops, I Did It Again!

You'd think by now I'd have learned my lesson, especially since I've given Greg much grief when he's done the same thing AND I've blogged about this topic before. But I did it again this morning, and paid the price this afternoon while eating my lunch.

Admittedly, I was half-asleep when I made my sandwich just after 6 am today (and my body hasn't yet accepted Daylight Savings Time so it definitely felt like 5 am). But that's still no excuse. What did I do? I slathered my sandwich in the extract-laden DEFCON 1 Extreme Heat Sauce, instead of the tamer (but still hot) DEFCON 2 Medium Heat Sauce sitting next to it in my refrigerator.

I didn't notice the error until hours later, when I was half-way through my sandwich and the burn in my mouth kept getting worse, and no amount of water would put it out. Then my lips started throbbing, feeling like I had slathered them in Tiger Balm (an intense capsaicin-based ointment for sore muscles that is NOT intended for ingestion). Foolishly, I finished the sandwich, not yet realizing what I had done and instead wondering how I had managed to become a hot sauce wuss overnight. When my stomach started pitching and rolling, as it tends to do if I ingest too much capsaicin extract, it dawned on me that I had used the wrong sauce on my sandwich. Thankfully I did have some milk in my mini-fridge at work, which settled my stomach and eased the sting in my mouth and burn on my lips, but it took several hours before everything settled back down to normal.

I guess the one good thing that came from this experience is that the resulting endorphin rush perked me up enough to save me from an afternoon cuppa joe. And it reminded me to be more merciful the next time Greg does the same thing -- and when I get home tonight I'm moving that bottle of DEFCON 1 to the back of the fridge, far away from #2 and from the sandwich condiments!

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Lower Price on Anchor Bar Bleu Cheese Dip!

Rich, creamy and made with real blue cheese, Anchor Bar Bleu Cheese Dip from Frank & Teressa's original Anchor Bar in Buffalo NY is now only $4.85 at the Carolina Sauce Company! A must-have for dipping Buffalo wings, this famous Bleu Cheese Dip now comes in a sleek new bottle and you still get the same amount (12 oz) of delicious sauce, but at a much lower price. More than just a dipping sauce for hot wings, Anchor Bar Bleu Cheese Dip is also fabulous with raw veggies and salad, chicken tenders, jalapeno poppers and other fried foods, and even as a topping for hamburgers. And we're thrilled to be able to offer it at a new lower price, so now you can save money while indulging your tastebuds!

Zestfully yours,

PS: A regular on our list of top ten best-selling wing sauces, Anchor Bar Bleu Cheese Dip is also one of 5 delectable chicken wing sauces in our bargain-priced Hot Wings Gift Set, the perfect gift for someone who loves chicken wings.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spicy Spinach with Ginger

Fresh baby spinach makes this easy, zesty side dish even faster to cook, but you can use mature fresh spinach too -- just make sure you rinse it thoroughly to remove any sand or grit, and shake off excess water to reduce splattering when you add the spinach to the hot oil. Use a large pan with a lid.

3 Tbs peanut or canola oil
2 scallions or green onions (including tops), trimmed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
1 small green chili pepper (e.g., serrano or jalapeno or other green chili), seeded & chopped
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 lbs fresh spinach
1 Tbs sherry (I use Busha Browne's Spicy Pepper Sherry for more flavor & fire)
Optional salt to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pan with lid. Add the scallions, garlic, pepper and ginger, and saute until soft. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the spinach and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. You may need to add the spinach in batches but it will quickly cook down. Add the sherry, and a pinch of salt if desired, stir and cover the pan. Steam for a few minutes until the spinach is tender.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, March 12, 2010

Red's Shrimp & Pasta

This yummy and simple recipe comes from the creator of Red's White Sauce, a white barbecue sauce made by an Alabama native now residing in North Carolina. White barbeque sauce is an Alabama delicacy that's mayonnaise-based and is actually quite tasty and unlike any other type of BBQ sauce. Use white BBQ sauce on anything you grill, from chicken to pork to seafood -- and it also adds zesty flavor to indoor recipes like this one.

1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled & cleaned
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
2 Tbs white wine
2 Tbs crushed garlic
1/2 cup Red's White Sauce
Angel hair pasta, cooked & drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago Cheese

Heat olive oil and butter in frying pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute until tender and onion is translucent. Add the shrimp and wine, stir and saute until shrimp turns pink and become firm. Remove from heat and toss with the cooked angel hair pasta and 1/2 cup Red's White Sauce. Serve and top with grated cheese.

Zestfully yours,

PS: For more delicious recipes using Alabama white barbecue sauce, simply order Red's White Sauce from the Carolina Sauce Company and we'll include them for FREE with your order!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tortuga Savory Caribbean Sauces Gift Box is Back in Stock!

Couldn't afford a trip to the islands this winter? Don't worry, you can still enjoy the sunny, spicy flavors of the Caribbean for a lot less cash thanks to the Tortuga Savory Caribbean Sauces Gift Box! This colorful gift box features three full-size bottles of flavor-packed authentic Caribbean sauces for cooking, marinating, grilling and enjoying at the table, including:

*Tortuga Caribbean Steak Sauce, a robust classic-style steak sauce with an exotic twist from a touch of tropical fruit and hot peppers;

*Tortuga Jamaican Jerk Sauce, for making authentic jerked chicken, meat, fish or veggies; and

*Tortuga Caribbean Hell-Fire Sauce, a traditional Caribbean hot sauce made with fiery scotch bonnet peppers for serious heat.

And you'll find several delicious and easy-to-make recipes printed on the pretty box, to help you get started on the kitchen. This popular gift box had sold out at the end of last year, but we've just received a new shipment at our warehouse so now is the time to treat yourself and your friends & family to authentic Caribbean cuisine without the expense of a trip to the island! Order the Tortuga Caribbean Savory Sauces Gift Box -- and its milder sibling, the Tortuga Sweet & Savory Caribbean Sauces Gift Box -- now from the Carolina Sauce Company online store.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

All Nando's Products Are Back In Stock!

At long last, all seven flavors of Nando's Peri-Peri Sauces, as well as all four varieties of Nando's Peri-Peri Cooking Sauces, are back in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company! Our shipment finally arrived at our warehouse today, and we are busily packing all pending customer orders for Nando's products so that they can ship out today. Many thanks to all of our wonderful customers who have been so patient and understanding during this delay. According to our importer, there was a hold-up in customs on their end (the sauces come from South Africa, the home of the famous Nando's Chickenland Restaurants), which caused unexpected shortages despite our best efforts (we had ordered our shipment over a month ago, long before we had run out of any sauces). So if you've been waiting to order any Nando's sauces, including the Nando's Marinades, now's the time to do it, while they're fresh off the boat and in stock!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saucy Peri-Peri Olives

March Madness is here! If you're looking for a zesty new appetizer to enjoy while watching college hoops, check out this quick and easy recipe from the makers of Nando's world-famous peri-peri pepper sauces:

1 jar Nando's Roasted Reds Cooking Sauce
1 Tbs capers
2 cloves garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tin anchovies
2 tsp marjoram
3 tsp parsley
2 tsp rosemary
4 Tbs red wine vinegar
8 Tbs olive oil (I use extra virgin)
16 oz mixed pitted olives, cracked slightly with the side of a rolling pin

Use a food processor to blend together all ingredients EXCEPT for the olives, and process until smooth. Place the mixture into a resealable baggie or plastic container with lid. Add the olives and combine to coat well. Seal bag or container and refrigerate at least overnight or up to a week, to allow the flavors to mature. That's it!

Zestfully yours,

PS: Nando's Roasted Reds Cooking Sauce is currently ON SALE at the Carolina Sauce Company!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hearty Homemade Minestrone

Deliciously hearty and comforting on a cold night, homemade minestrone is SO much better than canned soup that it's worth the time it takes -- plus, this recipe makes a big pot's worth, so you'll have plenty of leftovers (and the flavors will develop in the fridge, meaning it'll be even better the next day). I've adapted this recipe from the one on the back of a package of Cassoulets U.S.A. brand dry canellini beans. The recipe does not call for salt, and I didn't think it needed any since it's seasoned with bacon and Parmesan cheese (as well as herbs). But go ahead and taste it when it's ready to serve, and feel free to add a little salt if you prefer. It does take about two to three hours from start to finish, but it's very easy and you can prep each batch of ingredients while each stage is cooking, making it ideal to start on a weekend afternoon and enjoy at dinnertime.

1 lb dry cannellini (white) beans
2 medium carrots, chopped (about a cup)
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces (I used natural bacon)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cabbage, sliced (I used 1/4 of a medium head)
1 medium zucchini (or 2 small)
1 heaping tsp dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp dried rubbed sage
1/2 tsp seasoned pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
3 oz fine noodles (I used whole wheat angel hair pasta, broken into pieces)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Bring about 4 or 5 cups of water to a boil. In the meantime, pick over and rinse the beans, and place in a large stock pot. Pour enough boiling water over the beans to cover by 2 inches. Cover the pot of beans and let soak for an hour. While the beans are soaking, peel & chop the carrots and set aside, and slice the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon pieces onto a paper-towel-covered plate to drain, and leave about 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in the frying pan.

After the beans have soaked for an hour, drain, rinse and return them to the stock pot. Add 7 cups of fresh water and the sliced carrots. Cover, bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender - start checking them after 30 minutes of simmering.

While the beans and carrots are simmering, chop the onions and celery, and mince the garlic. Cook the onions, celery and garlic in the 2 Tbs of bacon fat over medium heat until tender, stirring from time to time, then drain off any excess fat (if using natural bacon, you might not have any excess fat). While these veggies are cooking, slice the cabbage and set aside, and slice the zucchini into half-moons and set aside.

Once the beans and carrots are tender (could take 30 to 60 minutes), add the sauteed onions and celery and garlic, along with the sliced cabbage and zucchini. Add the herbs and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil - if the soup seems too thick, feel free to add a little more water. Once the soup is boiling, stir in the noodles and simmer for about 10 minutes until the noodles are tender (again, feel free to add more water if soup seems too thick). Stir in the bacon, then taste for seasoning and add salt if desired. Ladel into soup bowls and top each serving with grated Parmesan cheese to taste (I used 1 to 2 tsp per bowl).

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Best-Selling Gift Sets for 2009

Here's the final top-ten best seller list in specific product categories for 2009. If you're looking for best-selling food gifts at a bargain price, you can't go wrong with any of the following themed gift sets and gift boxes from the Carolina Sauce Company:

1. As usual, our best-selling gift set for 2009 was the ever-popular Mild version of our NC Barbecue Sauce Gift Set, featuring 6 full-size bottles of North Carolina barbeque sauces and grilling sauces representing the different regional styles found in NC, including our own authentic vinegar-based Eastern NC Barbecue Sauce. This value-priced gift set comes with FREE recipes, including instructions for making genuine Carolina pulled pork BBQ!

2. In second place was the Hot version of our NC Barbecue Sauce Gift Set, featuring 6 full-size bottles of hot & spicy North Carolina BBQ sauces and grilling sauces representing the different regional barbeque styles found in NC. This gift set includes own authentic vinegar-based Eastern NC Hot Barbecue Sauce, and comes with FREE recipes, including instructions for making genuine Carolina pulled pork BBQ!

3. Moving up to third place last year was the "customizable" George's BBQ Sauce Gift Box from North Carolina -- you choose which flavors of George's BBQ Sauce to include in the gift box, and we include lots of FREE recipes!

4. Packed in a rustic wooden crate and sporting the classic chile pepper colors of red and green, our Pepper Dog Salsa Sampler Gift Box finished 4th for 2009, and comes with a FREE recipe for mouthwatering Southwestern style chili!

5. A favorite for cookouts, tailgating, and parties, our Mustard Lover's Gift Set moved up several spots to 5th place last year, and features five full-size jars of some of our best-selling flavor-packed mustards

6. The crazy-hot Dave's Insanity Sauce Gift Set was our 6th most popular gift set for 2009, and comes with full-size bottles of the original Dave's Insanity Sauce, Dave's Temporary Insanity Sauce, Dave's Total Insanity Sauce, and Dave's Ultimate Insanity Sauce

7. Featuring 4 delicious Caribbean sauces in a lovely box with recipes, the Tortuga Savory Caribbean Sauces Gift Box was a new addition last year at the Carolina Sauce Company online store and ended the year quite impressively in 7th place on our list of best-selling gift sets

8. In eighth place last year was our Hot Wings Gift Set, with 4 bottles of our most popular wing sauces ranging from traditional Buffalo style to gourmet and exotic, plus a jar of the quintessential hot wings dipping sauce, Anchor Bar Bleu Cheese Sauce from the birthplace of Buffalo wings, the famous Anchor Bar in Buffalo NY

9. A favorite among serious chileheads took ninth place honors: Dave's Insanity Deluxe Gift Set, which includes the 4 different types of Insanity Sauce in the regular Insanity Sauce Gift Set PLUS Insanity Popcorn, Insanity Salsa and Insanity Mustard

10. Rounding out our list of best-selling gift sets and gift boxes for 2009 was the Mild version of our Bone Suckin' Sauce Gift Set, with 2 jars of Bone Suckin Sauce (Original and Thicker style), a bottle each of the savory Bone Suckin' Yaki marinade and original Bone Suckin' Seasoning & Rub, and a jar of the mild version of Bone Suckin' Salsa, all at a discount and with FREE recipes!

Zestfully yours,

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spicy Caper Sauce for Fish

This zesty sauce is easy to make and can be used to dress up steamed, broiled, baked or grilled fish. You can find bottled onion juice in most grocery stores with the condiments and pickles, or in a specialty or gourmet shop. If you can't find it, you can substitute 1 teaspoon finely minced onion, which will also add more texture to the sauce. If using capers packed in brine, make sure to rinse them well first.

2 Tbs butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
Red or cayenne pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups boiling water OR hot vegetable stock
1 tsp onion juice OR 1 tsp finely minced onion
1/2 cup capers

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in flour until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the capers and whisk together. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking (I use a whisk), until sauce is thick. Remove from heat, stir in capers, and spoon over cooked fish.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Looking for great-tasting seasonings and sauces for fish and seafood? Check out this Seafood Lover's Gift Set!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Best-Selling Snacks & Sweets for 2009

Here is the list of the Top Ten Best-Selling Snacks & Sweets for 2009 at the Carolina Sauce Company online store:

1. Repeating its 2008 finish as the top best-selling snack was Buderim Ginger Bears, a zippy gummy bear candy from Australia that's made with real ginger, and addictively good

2. In second place for 2009 was one of my favorite snacks, the crunchy, sweet-salty and mildly spicy Hot Honeys: Honey-Roasted Chipotle Peanuts, made in North Carolina using premium peanuts

3. The insanely hot & spicy Dave's Insanity Popcorn moved up to third place for 2009 -- be careful with this snack, because it is a LOT hotter than any grocery store popcorn!

4. Another seriously hot treat, Robert Rothschild Hot Raspberry Thunder Sauce, finished fourth on our list of best-selling sweets & snacks. Deliciously sweet but devilishly fiery, Raspberry Thunder Sauce is best enjoyed with cream cheese or as an addition to recipes

5. A favorite gift for firefighters because of the themed label and tasty spicy flavor, Firehouse Nuts are seasoned with smoked habanero powder and ended in 5th place on our list of 2009's best-selling snacks and sweets

6. The world's best apple sauce (IMHO), Mullen's Apple Sauce of Chicago (currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company), came in 6th last year, and it really does taste like Grandma's apple pie without the crust!

7. Last year we introduced our very own Hot Pickled Garlic, and this zesty treat from the NC mountains ended the year as our seventh best-selling snack for 2009 -- and $1 from the sale of each jar is donated to Operation Sauce Drop for troops serving overseas!

8. Mrs. Picky Fanicky's North Carolina Apple Peach Chutney, a mouthwateringly-delicious blue ribbon winner at the NC State Fair, took 8th place honors on our best-selling snacks & sweets list for 2009

9. If you love the tart savory flavors of North Carolina barbecue sauce, you'll swoon over Carolina BBQ Peanuts from The Peanut Roaster in Henderson, NC, featuring that famous vinegar tang and piquant spice found in eastern NC barbecue sauce

10. Completing our list of the top ten best-selling snacks and sweets for 2009 was our very own Carolina Sauce Co. Hot Dill Pickle Chips, the perfect burger and sandwich topping for folks who enjoy spicy foods - and we donate $1 from the sale of each jar to Operation Sauce Drop!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blue's Chipotle Mustard Pepper Sauce

Smooth and spicy, with a rich pepper-mustard flavor featuring earthy smoke notes and moderately hot heat, Blue's Chipotle Mustard Pepper Sauce is a jazzy new condiment and hot sauce for people who want great flavor and enjoy spicy food. This masterful blend of smoked cayennes and chipotles with turmeric, paprika, garlic and other spices delivers harmoniously complex, savory and subtly smoky layers of flavors that will dance on your tongue and bring out the best in all sorts of hearty fare. The texture and mouthfeel is thick and substantial yet pourable, meaning that this sauce will cling to your food instead of dripping off.

Blue's Chipotle Mustard Pepper Sauce is great with burgers, meat, sausages, chicken and other poultry, grilled vegetables and shrimp, and even on spaghetti and other Italian foods. As expected, it's terrific on Mexican, Tex-Mex and Southwestern dishes, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it's FABULOUS on pizza, as well as with scrambled eggs and breakfast sausage. I added some to sauteed peppers & onions and ended up with a mouthwatering topping for subs, burgers and sandwiches -- and this combo also works well as a filling for veggie wraps, with or without cheese. If you have high expectations for hot sauces and condiments and are tired of watery vinegar hot sauces, Blue's Chipotle Mustard Pepper Sauce is for you. And if you collect hot sauces or know someone who does, the unique label makes this new hot sauce a "must-have". Made with all-natural ingredients, Blues Chipotle Mustard Pepper Hot Sauce is among the best all-around hot sauces out there -- and it's currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company, so now's the time to try it!

Zestfully yours,

P.S.: Blue's Chipotle Mustard Pepper Sauce has only 2 carbs per 3 tsp serving -- the label currently has a typo listing 62g of carbs, but I've verified with the manufacturer that the correct amount is only 2g.

Monday, March 1, 2010

2009's Best-Selling Steak Sauce & Pasta Sauce

Here is the list of the Top Ten Best-Selling Steak Sauce & Pasta Sauce for 2009 at the Carolina Sauce Company online store:

1. It should come as no surprise that our all-time best-selling product across all categories, Castle Sauce from Greensboro NC, is our best-selling steak sauce for 2009. Its food-friendly mustard-tomato flavor with just the right amount of tang makes it a favorite of young and old alike.

2. Tortuga Caribbean Steak Sauce adds tropical ingredients to a traditional steak sauce base for an intriguingly complex, subtly fruity and pleasantly piquant steak sauce that will thrill the palate with its island flavor -- and it's on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company!

3. Our best-selling pasta sauce (and third on this list) is Mama Thomas Marinara, a light and fresh classic marinara made in NC using all-natural ingredients and a traditional Italian recipe -- and it's also on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company!

4. Olio & Spices Red Wine Onion Sauce is the inspired creation of an Israeli chef, and is made in Israel using the finest all-natural ingredients. This elegant table sauce is the perfect accompaniment to robust dishes including steak and roast poultry, plus it's Kosher and comes with several pages of FREE recipes!

5. Our second-best-selling pasta sauce for 2009 is Mama Thomas Pasta Sauce, a thick, rich and robust sauce that's perfect for spaghetti and other pasta as well as all your favorite Italian recipes.

6. Samson's Town & Country Sauce is a spicy, tangy and subtly sweet table sauce for steak, chicken, meats and all sorts of other food -- and it has an old-fashioned humorous label that's worth reading for your amusement

7. If you enjoy fiery foods and are searching for a hot steak sauce, you must try Melinda's Habanero Steak Sauce from the makers of the world-famous Melinda's Hot Sauces. This sauce features a traditional steak sauce base that's spiked with habanero peppers plus a few tropical ingredients for exotically delicious heat

8. Susie's Tamarind Tango from Antigua is another tropical sauce that's amazingly good with steak and other meats, featuring plenty of tart and tangy tamarinds tempered with sugarcane syrup and a touch of hot peppers

9. Made from an old Sicilian recipe, Santo & Josie Tomato Artichoke Pasta Sauce is an old-fashioned, robust and hearty spaghetti sauce that's so good you'll swear it tastes home-made!

10. Completing our list of the top ten best-selling pasta sauces and steak sauces is Raisin the Steaks, a gourmet steak sauce that perfectly balances sweet & tart-tangy flavors and is made with raisins, tamarinds and a touch of citrus -- and it's on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company!

Zestfully yours,