Friday, April 30, 2010

Gourmet Gifts for Mother's Day

If Mom loves to cook, or simply enjoys good food, here are five gourmet gifts for Mother's Day, which is coming up on Sunday May 9th:

1. For the Mom who loves to cook: The North Carolina Gourmet Gift Set features a delightful selection of 8 different NC sauces and seasonings, including an elegant vinaigrette dressing that's hand-made on the Outer Banks, a classic steak sauce from Greensboro NC, a robust Sicilian-style pasta sauce made from an old family recipe, several unique spice sauces for adding "zing" to savory and sweet dishes, and more... all for only $44!

2. For the Mom who loves sweet stuff: Our brand-new Sweet Gourmet Gift Set comes with 4 full-size jars of decadently delicious and all-natural apple and peach marmalades from the NC mountains, old-fashioned chunky apple sauce that tastes like apple pie without the crust, and sublimely addictive maple butter made from an old family recipe -- only $24.99!

3. If Mom loves hand-made artisan soaps, give her some unique, skin-soothing chili pepper soaps from New Mexico. No, they're not made with chili peppers and they *won't* burn her skin. Rather, these lovely soaps are made in the *shape* of chili peppers using natural oils and fragrances, and produce a luxurious lather to pamper your favorite Mom. Available in Red (cinnamon scent) and Green (lime scent) single chile soap bars for 4.50 each, or 5-soap "ristras" for $15

4. For the Mom who's "a little bit country" and enjoys farmer's markets and roadside fruit & veggie stands, check out our lovely Pepper Jelly Gift Boxes, featuring two jars of traditional pepper jelly that's hand-made on a family farm in the NC Mountains. Select from red and green pepper jellies, and mild and hot heat levels, to customize your gift just for her taste preference -- only $11.99 for a two-jar gift box!

5. Can't decide what to get Mom? Send her a Gift Certificate from the Carolina Sauce Company! That way she can shop to her heart's content and select *exactly* what she'd like for Mother's Day -- and our gift certificates never expire!

Personalize your Mother's Day gift with a FREE gift message that we'll print out and include in the package, and for only $5 we can gift-wrap your order. Don't wait too long, as Mother's Day is next Sunday!

Zestfully yours,

PS: For more tasty gift options at great prices, check out our entire selection of themed Gourmet Gift Sets & Gift Boxes, with something for every palate and price point

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spicy Shrimp Scampi

Today is National Shrimp Scampi Day, so I thought I'd share my hot and spicy version of this super-quick, simple and satisfying dish. Traditional shrimp scampi calls for shrimp, garlic, butter, parsley, and a splash of white wine and lemon juice, but variations are common. This recipe serves two and can be enjoyed with pasta or crusty bread or even rice, and something green like sauteed or steamed spinach or a tossed salad.

1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 lb large shrimp, deveined and shelled but with tails left on
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, thinly sliced including green part
1/8 tsp (or more) red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbs chopped parsley
1 Tbs dry white wine OR dry sherry (I use Busha Browne's Spicy Hot Pepper Sherry for extra zip)
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Add the shrimp, garlic, green onion, red pepper and oregano, and saute for a few minutes until shrimp turns pink. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley, wine or sherry, and lemon juice. Serve at once.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lilly's Maple Butter Gift Box

Just in time for Mother's Day, Lilly's Gourmet Maple Butter is now available in a two-pack gift box from the Carolina Sauce Company! Lilly's Maple Butter is a decadently delicious, satiny-smooth spreadable maple butter that's made in North Carolina from an old family recipe using all-natural ingredients. If you enjoy the sweet flavor of real maple syrup, you will swoon when you taste Lilly's Gourmet Maple Butter. Not only is it divine on pancakes, waffles, biscuits, toast, croissants, bagels and stirred into hot cereal, but you can also heat it up and drizzle it over ice cream, cheesecake, bread pudding and other desserts. It's amazingly good with baked sweet potatoes, too, as well as in recipes for quick breads, cookies and more. I've been known to stir a little maple butter into my hot tea or coffee, and of course it's hard to stop eating straight from the jar.

If you're looking for a thoughtful and unique gourmet gift for Mother's Day, order the new Lilly's Gourmet Maple Butter Gift Box from Carolina Sauce, with two full-size 8oz jars nestled in our pretty white gift box for only $13.99 -- and we'll gift wrap it for you for only $5, and you can add a gift message for FREE!

Zestfully yours,

PS: Lilly's Maple Butter is also featured as one of four delectable treats in our new Sweet Gourmet Gift Set, and is also available by the jar.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick & Easy Peri-Peri Chicken Caesar Salad

This is my quick-n-easy adaptation of a deliciously spicy recipe created by the makers of Nando's Peri-Peri Sauces. The original has you make the croutons and Caesar dressing from scratch, which might not feasible when you're pressed for time or don't have all the ingredients handy. My version lets you use your favorite store-bought Caesar dressing and croutons, for a much simpler and faster meal. You can marinate the chicken that morning or overnight, or just start marinating in your refrigerator when you begin assembling and preparing the rest of the ingredients. This recipe serves 4 as main-course salads.

1 bottle of Nando's Hot Peri-Peri Marinade
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each sliced into 3 thick strips
2 Romaine lettuces
A bottle of your favorite Caesar dressing
Crunchy croutons (plain or garlic work best)
Parmesan shavings or grated Parmesan as garnish
Freshly ground black pepper as garnish

Place the chicken strips into a large resealable plastic bag, pour in enough of the Peri-Peri Marinade to cover the chicken, then seal and shake the bag to coat the chicken, and place the bag in the refrigerator to marinate. You can do this as far in advance as the night before you plan on making the salads.

Wash the lettuce and shake off excess water (I use a salad spinner or pat the leaves dry with absorbent paper towels). Trim the ends and any tough ribs, and then chop width-wise into strips approximately 1/2 to 1 inch wide. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and set aside until ready to assemble (if more than a few minutes, I place the bowl in my fridge).

Remove chicken from bag and discard the bag with the used marinade. Cook either in a saute pan, under the broiler, or on your grill, using fresh marinade from the bottle to baste while cooking. When chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from heat and take out the bowl of lettuce. Pour some Caesar dressing over the lettuce and add some of the croutons, and toss to coat the lettuce with dressing. Divide among 4 large plates or pasta bowls, top each with hot chicken and remaining croutons, and garnish with Parmesan cheese and black pepper to taste.

Zestfully yours,

PS: For a less fiery-hot but still very flavorful alternative, use Nando's Peri-Peri BBQ Marinade instead of the Hot Marinade.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mustard Coupon for National Pretzel Day!

Today is National Pretzel Day! Whether you prefer the big soft pretzels sold by street vendors and found at sporting events, or the small crunchy ones you buy in bags at convenience and grocery stores, chances are you enjoy your pretzels dipped in or slathered with mustard. If so, you are in luck: In honor of National Pretzel Day, the Carolina Sauce Company is holding a one-day-only coupon sale on all mustards! Simply use the coupon code "Pretzel2010" (without the quotation marks) to get 10% off any and all mustards, including mustard gift boxes and our already-discounted Mustard Gift Set, which features 5 full-size bottles of some of our most popular mustards. There's no minimum purchase required - just make sure you enter the coupon code Pretzel2010 in the coupon field found on the billing page when you order online, OR mention the coupon code if you order by phone (919-286-1080). But don't dilly-dally, as this special coupon is good ONLY on National Pretzel Day 2010, which is TODAY April 26, 2010!

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you're looking to try a new mustard that's packed with zesty flavor and is great on sandwiches, hot dogs, pretzels and more, I recommend Trolly Stop Hot Mustard, a local favorite from Wilmington NC that's virtually impossible to find outside the NC coast.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Gift Boxes for Operation Sauce Drop!

Thanks to the generosity of two North Carolina specialty-foods businesses, Operation Sauce Drop now has two new gift boxes available for FREE to US troops serving abroad. The first new gift box is the Spicy Salsa Gift Box, which comes with two 16oz jars of fiery and flavorful Pepper Dog Salsas from Pepper Dog Brands. Troops can choose to receive two jars of Hot Salsa or two jars of Salsa Verde or 1 jar of each. The second new gift box is the Spicy Grilling Sauce Gift Box, which comes with two full-size jars of the feisty tomato-rich Southern Twang Hot Grilling Sauce from Jodeco Foods, PLUS gorgeous full-color recipe cards with easy ideas for delicious meals.

With all Operation Sauce Drop gift boxes, any US service member with an APO or FPO address can request a free gift box of his or her choice, and the Carolina Sauce Company will ship it to them at absolutely NO cost to them. This nonprofit program is funded by donations from people like you who donate to Operation Sauce Drop or who Shop to Support Operation Sauce Drop, through product donations from companies like Pepper Dog, Jim's Own BBQ, and Jodeco Foods, and through the Carolina Sauce Company's donation of funds and administrative/logistical assitance. To date, Operation Sauce Drop has sent free gift boxes of sauce to over 900 troops serving overseas, and their thank-you notes and photos show how much our brave servicemen and women appreciate this little token of support.

Want to help send a taste of home to our troops? Please make a donation or shop to support OSD where some or all of your purchase amount goes into the OSD fund. Can't spare a buck or two but still want to help? Then please spread the word about Operation Sauce Drop by telling your friends, Tweeting about the program, and posting a banner link on Facebook, your website, blog etc. The troops will thank you for your thoughtfulness and support!

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Carolina Sauce Co. Mixed Hot Pepper Rings

If you like to pile on the hot peppers at your neighborhood deli or favorite sandwich shop, you're going to love our brand-new Mixed Hot Pepper Rings. Made in small batches on a family farm in the North Carolina mountains, this feisty condiment feaatures a variety of locally grown green, red and yellow hot peppers which are pickled according to an old-fashioned "bread and butter" recipe using only natural ingredients, for mouthwatering sweet-tangy flavor and fiery heat. The first time I tasted these mixed hot pepper rings, I couldn't stop eating them straight from the jar. So I am thrilled to be able to offer them under the Carolina Sauce Company brand name, and to share them with you and other zesty-foods fans all over the country.

You can enjoy our Mixed Hot Pepper Rings like you would any pickle or spicy condiment: In subs, sandwiches and wraps, on burgers, patty melts and hot dogs, with sausage and other grilled meats, chopped and added to tuna, chicken, potato or egg salad, mixed into three-bean salad or tossed on green salads, and even on nachos and with Tex-Mex dishes like burritos, quesadillas, fajitas and more. Greg likes to add them to omelets, especially really cheesy ones, and I also use these pickled hot pepper rings as a condiment for scrambled eggs and frittatas. I haven't tried them on pizza yet, but I bet that would work. Heck, they'd probably make a great addition to tartar sauce and cocktail sauce for fried seafood, too!

Carolina Sauce Co. Mixed Hot Pepper Rings come in an old-fashioned Mason pint jar, and are currently on sale for only $4.99 for a 16oz jar. Better hurry and order yourself some, before I eat all the inventory!

Zestfully yours,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bubba's Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a spicy eggs & tomato dish enjoyed in Israel for breakfast as well as for dinner, when it's often served with bread and a salad or other green side dish. Here is my version, with a Southern twist thanks to Bubba's Special Sauce from Alabama. This recipe serves 4 (one egg each) or 2 (two eggs each).

1 Tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 to 1/3 chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia(R)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 jar (9oz) Bubba's Special Sauce
4 eggs
Salt to taste, if desired

Heat the oil in a deep skillet. Add the garlic and onion and saute a few minutes until soft. Add the tomato and saute a few more minutes until the tomato starts to break down. Add the Bubba's Special Sauce and salt to taste (if using), and saute for about 5 minutes over medium heat until the sauce is hot. Break the eggs one by one into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the egg whites are set (about 5 to 7 minutes), or to your desired doneness. Remove skillet from heat and serve immediately.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sweet Gourmet Gift Set

If you have a sweet tooth, or need a unique and delicious gift for someone who does, check out our newest Gift Set from the Carolina Sauce Company, our delightfully decadent Sweet Gourmet Gift Set! This gift set features a full-size jar of each of the following:

*Mullen's Apple Sauce, made from an old family recipe using a variety of apples, sugar and a touch of cinnamon and spice, just like Grandma used to make, and with a wonderfully thick and chunky consistency that makes this apple sauce perfect on its own or with pancakes, ice cream, cheesecake, and even as a side dish for pork and other savory dishes or on its own straight from the jar

*Lilly's Gourmet Maple Butter, another old family recipe that you can spread on biscuits, toast, pancakes or waffles, stir into oatmeal and other hot cereals, heat and drizzle over ice cream, or even in recipes for quick breads and cookies

*Mrs. Picky Fanicky's Zesty Peach Cocktail MmmMarmalade, made in the NC mountains using succulent, sun-ripened peaches plus pineapple and spices for some tropical flair. Makes a sublime filling for peach cobbler, a topping for pancakes and cheesecake, and a quick snack or appetizer when poured over softened cream cheese and served with crackers

*Mrs. Picky Fanicky's Apple Pie MmmMarmalade, also from the NC mountains and a blue-ribbon winner at the NC State Fair, one taste and you'll agree that this old-fashioned apple marmalade tastes like apple pie in a jar -- and it comes with a FREE recipe ideas card, as does the Peach Cocktail MmmMarmalade

All four mouthwatering treats in our Sweet Gourmet Gift Set are made with the finest all-natural ingredients and absolutely NO high fructose corn syrup (no HFCS), so you can feel good while indulging yourself. And it makes a great gourmet gift for Mother's Day at only $24.99!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

Instead of buying mass-produced teriyaki sauce at the grocery store, you can make it at home and end up with a much better-tasting, natural product that's full of flavor. Here's my hot and spicy version of homemade teriyaki sauce for marinating all sorts of meat (including venison and other game), poultry, seafood, vegetables and tofu, or for using in stir-fry and noodle dishes. This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups, and you can store it covered in your refrigerator.

2 Tbs peanut or vegetable oil
1 Tbs minced garlic (I use Hot Pickled Garlic for added heat and tang)
1 Tbs fresh grated or minced ginger root
Pinch to 1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes OR 1 to 2 dried Asian hot pepper pods
1/2 cup tamari sauce or reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbs rice wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 green onions, chopped (including the green part)
2 tsp good-quality chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
1/8 cup dry sherry
1/8 cup spicy pepper sherry (I use Busha Browne's Spicy Hot Pepper Sherry)

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and saute the garlic, ginger and pepper for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the tamari or soy sauce, vinegar and sugar, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the green onions and sherry. At this point I store the sauce (covered) in a glass jar or bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to marry, but you can certainly use the sauce right away. If you do let it sit in the fridge, make sure you stir well before you use it.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you prefer a teriyaki sauce that's mild on the heat scale but nevertheless packed with rich and interesting flavors, I highly recommend Olio & Spices Pomegranate Teriyaki Sauce and Bone Suckin' Yaki, both of which are all-natural and delicious. Or for a homemade mild teriyaki sauce you can modify my recipe above by omitting the hot peppers and hot pepper sherry, and using 1/4 cup dry sherry.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dave's Hurtin' Habanero Sauce is Back!

If you love the flavor and fire of habanero peppers, you'll be pleased to learn that Dave's Gourmet Hurtin' Habanero Hot Sauce is available again! The manufacturer had been out of this spicy-hot all-purpose habanero sauce for some time as it tweaked the recipe, but today we received a fresh new batch of the new & improved product at the Carolina Sauce Company warehouse. To my tastebuds, this updated version of Dave's Hurtin' Habanero Sauce is more flavorful -- and a bit hotter -- than the old recipe. When I checked the ingredient list, sure enough it now featured more habanero pepper puree (before, red chiles had taken top billing) as well as a splash of pepper extract for a longer burn, and there was a tad bit more salt (although it no longer qualifies as a very low sodium hot sauce, it still is low sodium with only 45mg of sodium per teaspoon - and one teaspoon of this hot sauce is plenty to use on a dish!) So in my opinion, this new version of Dave's Hurtin' Habanero Hot Sauce was worth the wait. We just hope the good folks at Dave's Gourmet have worked out all their manufacturing/supply kinks so that we can keep enough of this tasty hot sauce in stock from now on!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Coupon Sale for National Garlic Day!

Today is National Garlic Day, and what better way to celebrate than with a one-day coupon sale! Get 10% off all of the garlic sauces and seasonings at the Carolina Sauce Company online store when you use the coupon code "Garlic2010" (without the quotation marks), and there's no minimum order. To help you get started, here's a list of all of our garlic products:

A Taste of Thai Garlic Chili Sauce: An authentic spicy-hot garlic chili sauce made in Thailand

Burning Asphalt Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce: Made in upstate NY with a cool racing-themed label

Burning Asphalt Sweet Hot Garlic Sauce: Similar to their Garlic Habanero Sauce but a bit more mellow thanks to the delicious sweetness

Char Crust Roasted Garlic Peppercorn Seasoning: A fabulous gourmet rub for steaks & other meats, chicken, veggies etc.

Char Crust Sundried Tomato & Garlic Seasoning: Inspired by the flavors of Tuscany, this rub is wonderful on all sorts of meats, poultry, seafood & veggies

Carolina Sauce Co. Hot Pickled Garlic Cloves: Made by hand in the NC Mountains, these spicy-hot garlic cloves are great in recipes and as a zesty snack

Dave's Gourmet Roasted Garlic Hot Sauce: So tasty, even vampires will eat it!

Dinosaur Roasted Garlic Honey BBQ Sauce: From the famous Dinosaur Bar in upstate NY, this rich BBQ sauce is finger-lickin' good on ribs, chicken, etc.

Melinda's Garlic Habanero Sauce: A Caribbean hot sauce classic with a garlic twist

Mountainman Roast Corn Garlic & Chipotle Hot Sauce: Superbly delicious with a rich, complex flavor and thick texture sure to please foodies and chileheads

Nando's Garlic Peri Peri Hot Sauce: Made in South Africa and featuring the rare peri-peri pepper and big, bold garlicky flavor

Olio & Spices Garlic Chili Sauce: A mild but flavorful all-natural gourmet sauce from Israel that's wonderful with chicken, fish, veggies & more -- and it comes with FREE recipes!

Pain Is Good #37 Garlic Hot Sauce: A classic garlic hot sauce with the famous "screaming head" label

Ring Of Fire Chipotle Garlic Hot Sauce: A southwestern favorite, this all-natural hot sauce delivers amazing robust flavors and comes in a generous 12.5 oz bottle

Texas Pete Garlic Hot Sauce: A straightforward all-purpose vinegar-pepper hot sauce with a touch of zesty garlic

Garlic Lover's Gift Set: Features 5 full-size bottles of our most popular garlic products, at a great discount!

Don't forget to use the coupon code "Garlic2010" to save 10% off any of the above -- but don't delay, as this coupon is only good TODAY, April 19, 2010, in honor of National Garlic Day!

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hot & Spicy Bacon Vinaigrette

I always save the bacon drippings when I fry bacon, letting them cool a bit and then pouring into a jar with a lid and storing in the refrigerator for later use. It only takes a little bit of bacon fat to add great flavor to just about anything -- for example, when I need to saute some onions or garlic or other such veggies in olive oil, I'll often use a little less oil and make up the difference with a little bit of bacon fat. And when making rice, I'll use a little dollop of bacon fat instead of butter added to the boiling water, or even saute the raw rice kernels in the bacon fat for a few minutes before adding the water for boiling. Of course, if you're counting calories or on a reduced-fat diet, you'll need to take into account that the bacon fat will be less healthy than olive oil or canola oil, etc. But if you can splurge once in a while, nothing beats the the rich, smoky bacon-y flavor!

Here is a deliciously decadent vinaigrette that makes good use of bacon drippings. It's wonderful on spinach salad, warm potato salad, and even steamed or microwaved veggies. If using reserved bacon drippings that have solidified in your refrigerator, you'll want to melt the bacon fat (I use a microwave-safe bowl covered with a paper towel against splattering) and keep it warm until you're ready to use it. Likewise, make the dressing just before you're going to use it so that it's warm when served.

1/4 cup bacon drippings, melted and warm
2 tsp Dijon mustard, at room temperature
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar OR balsamic vinegar*, at room temperature
1/8 tsp Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbs good-tasting extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, salt, black pepper to taste (I use several twists of my pepper mill), and a sprinkling (to taste) of red pepper flakes. Whisk in the olive oil until well-combined, then whisk in the warm bacon drippings until well-combined. Taste for balance and adjust the seasonings if desired (a little more vinegar for more tartness? a little more mustard or salt? etc.). Add the dressing to your salad or other food and toss to coat evenly, then serve. If you have leftover dressing, you can store it covered in the refrigerator but you'll need to reheat it gently to use.

*Using balsamic instead of cider vinegar produces a richer, more complex vinaigrette, while the cider vinegar results in a brighter, lighter-tasting dressing

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Year-to-Date Best-Selling Hot Sauces, BBQ Sauces etc.

I've finally had a chance to tally up the top ten best-selling sauces and seasonings in specific product categories (hot sauces, BBQ sauces, snacks, gift sets, etc.) for 2010 thus far, and all twelve lists have now been updated at the Carolina Sauce Company online store. Here are some of the highlights, as well as links to each of the lists for your reading (and tasting) pleasure:

*Best-Selling Hot Sauces: Fans of the Naga Jolokia "Ghost Pepper" (also called Bhut Jolokia), the world's hottest pepper, have been snapping up bottles of Dave's Gourmet Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce at a frightening pace, and as a result this ultra-hot hot sauce currently sits in 10th place on our list of best-selling hot sauces

*Best-Selling Barbecue Sauces: The very first product we stocked (and also one of my personal favorites) is currently our top-selling BBQ sauce -- Jim's Own Homestyle BBQ Sauce, a deliciously tangy and slightly sweet Piedmont NC style (vinegar & tomato) barbeque sauce from Durham NC that's great with pulled pork BBQ and also as a marinade & basting sauce (and it comes with FREE recipes!)

*Best-Selling Marinades & Dressings: I guess the Caribbean and other warm, exotic destinations have been on the minds of many of our customers this winter & early spring, because several tropical sauces are currently on this this best-seller list, including Tortuga Mango & Ginger Stir Fry Sauce (in 6th place and on sale!), and the island-style Tortuga Spicy Seafood Grill Sauce (in 8th place and on sale!)

*Best-Selling Rubs & Seasonings: One of our newest BBQ rubs, Bone Suckin' Hot Seasoning & Rub, has made an impressive debut at 10th place on this list and features the same savory-sweet flavor of the original Bone Suckin' Rib Rub but with lots more peppery fire

*Best-Selling Salsa & Relish: Our very own NC-made Hot Chow Chow and Mild Chow Chow are currently book-ending this list in 1st and 10th place respectively -- and for each jar sold, we donate $1 to Operation Sauce Drop, our nonprofit program that sends free gift boxes of sauces to our troops stationed abroad!

*Best-Selling Jerks & Curry: Made in NC by a Jamaican ex-pat, Pluto's Certified Organic Mild Jerk Sauce is presently in 8th place, and delivers authentic Jamaican jerk flavor with only a touch of peppery heat -- and it comes with FREE recipes and is on sale, too!

*Best-Selling Mustards & Ketchups: A Wilmington NC original with a scrumptiously rich, spicy flavor, Trolly Stop Hot Mustard Sauce has started off 2010 well and currently occupies the 10th slot on this list

*Best-Selling Wing Sauces: One of the hottest Buffalo wing sauces on the market (and the hottest one we carry) is the award-winning, ultra-hot DEFCON 1 Extreme Heat Wing Sauce, and it's presently our tenth best-selling wing sauce

*Best-Selling Gift Sets: Two of our most popular gift sets of all time now feature new selections of sauces and currently sit in first place (our Mild NC BBQ Sauce Gift Set) and eighth place (our Hot NC BBQ Sauce Gift Set) respectively, and both come with lots of FREE recipes!

*Best-Selling North Carolina Products: For the first time in ages (over a year, I think), we have a new number one on this list!! That's right, a different NC product has dethroned Castle Sauce as our best-selling NC product. What is the new #1? You'll have to read the list to find out :-)

*Best-Selling Snacks & Sweets: One of my favorite sweet treats is the sublimely good and addictively delicious Lilly's Gourmet Maple Butter, which is on sale and sits in 10th place on this list -- and makes a terrific Mother's Day gift!

*Best-Selling Steak Sauces & Pasta Sauces: I'll highlight two richly-flavored and dramatically different sauces for this last but not least list: The old-world-style Santo & Josie Tomato-Eggplant Pasta Sauce (in 6th place and on sale!) that's made by a Sicilian family living outside of Charlotte NC, and the aptly-named and intriguingly delicious Marie Sharp's Exotic Sauce (in 8th place and on sale!) from Belize that's wonderful as a tropical steak sauce and all-purpose condiment.

If you're looking to shake off the boring winter food blues, there's no better way to do so than by waking up your palate with any of these wonderful best-selling sauces and seasonings!

Zestfully yours,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Carolina Sauce Co. Three Pepper Hot Sauce

After a long search, we finally found a North Carolina hot sauce that met all of our criteria to bear the Carolina Sauce Company name: High-quality all-natural ingredients, peppery fire that's spicy-hot but won't burn out your tastebuds, and a versatile food-friendly flavor that will complement and enhance your food instead of overwhelming it or changing its flavor. With no further ado, I'm pleased to introduce to you our Three-Pepper Hot Sauce from the Carolina Sauce Company! Made by hand in small batches on a family farm in the Piedmont region of NC, this tasty hot sauce features an intriguing blend of jalapeno pepper, cayenne pepper and black pepper in a subtly sweet and tangy vinegar base. But this is not your run-of-the-mill, one-dimensional vinegar pepper sauce from your grocery store. No, this baby packs a hefty peppery wallop that will announce its presence with authority but then mingle quite pleasantly with the natural flavors of your food, becoming the life of the party on your palate. Unlike super-hot hot sauces, Carolina Sauce Co. Three-Pepper Hot Sauce lets you enjoy bite after spicy bite without numbing your tongue. So if you are ready to move up from tamer hot sauces like Texas Pete, Frank's Red Hot, Tabasco and other commercial brands, or if you appreciate a good all-purpose hot sauce with real flavor, then our Three Pepper Hot Sauce is for you.

During my research for just the right hot sauce to bear our company name, what really sold me on this 3-Pepper Hot Sauce was its versatility (as well as its all-natural ingredients). You really can use it on pretty much any sort of non-dessert food, either at the table or in a recipe. Greg and I have been having a blast in the kitchen playing with this hot sauce in a variety of recipes, and trying it at the table on all sorts of savory dishes. Here are just a few of the many ways you can enjoy our Three-Pepper Hot Sauce:

*With breakfast foods including scrambled eggs, omelets, frittatas, hash browns, sausage, biscuit sandwiches, quiche, etc.

*In sandwiches, subs, wraps, burritos, and on pizza and burgers

*As a marinade (or in a marinade) and splashed on grilled foods including meat, chicken, sausage, fish & seafood, shrimp kabobs, grilled portabellas & other veggies

*In ground meat recipes including burgers, meatloaf, meatballs, sloppy joes

*In stews, hearty soups, baked beans and chili

*As a seasoning condiment for side dishes including roasted veggies, skillet potatoes, collards and other greens

*As a spicy-hot eastern NC style vinegar-based barbecue sauce for Carolina pulled pork BBQ (makes a great substitute for Ole Time Hot Sauce, which is currently out of stock at the manufacturer level, and a mellower alternative to Scott's BBQ Sauce)

*To add heat to stir-fry recipes and Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Southwestern dishes

*In Bloody Marys and homemade cocktail sauce

*If you're a fan of Zing Sauce and just wish it had more heat, simply combine some Zing with our Three-Pepper Hot Sauce!

*If you're a fan of Durn Good Hot Sauce but want to tone down the tartness of its vinegar base without dulling the heat, simply blend some Durn Good with our Three Pepper Hot Sauce!

Carolina Sauce Co. Three-Pepper Hot Sauce comes in a large 12-oz bottle, which is more than TWICE as large as your everyday 5-oz hot sauce bottle -- and it's currently on sale for only $4.99, which is cheaper than most 5oz hot sauces! And did I mention it's all-natural, and hand-crafted too? Try a bottle today, and let me know what you think!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Saying Farewell to Smokin' Cole's BBQ Sauce & Rub

I learned the sad news earlier this week that the makers of the award-winning Smokin' Cole's BBQ Sauce and Smokin' Cole's BBQ Dry Rub had closed their business, and that their delicious sauce and seasoning rub were no longer available. What a shame, as these were outstanding products that had garnered national accolades and a growing fan base in the few years that they were on the market. But unfortunately this has been a very tough economy on small, family-run food businesses, and Smokin' Cole's is the latest casualty. If you were lucky enough to have enjoyed these great products while they were available, I know you will miss them and will join me in wishing all the best to the good folks who made them.

If you're going through Smokin' Cole's withdrawal and would like to try something similar to their bold, rich barbecue sauce and zesty BBQ rub, here are my recommendations:

*Outta the Park BBQ Sauce, an award-winning, all-natural tomato-based barbecue sauce from NC that's rich, flavorful and finishes with a pleasantly peppery kick (and it's currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company)

*Dem Bonz BBQ Sauce, also made in NC, and featuring a big, bold flavor in a thick and tangy tomato base with just the right amount of spice

*Uncle Pete's BBQ Sauce from South Carolina, with an award-winning robust tomato flavor that's subtly sweet & tangy -- available in 3 flavors (Original, Hickory & Spicy) and each comes with FREE recipes when you order from Carolina Sauce

*Bear-Man Tummy Rub from upstate NY, with a mouthwatering sweet-savory flavor and a FREE recipe brochure when you order from Carolina Sauce

*Texas Rib Rangers BBQ Seasonings, authentic Texas barbecue dry rubs for ribs and other meats, available in Original and Spicey.

If you miss your Smokin' Cole's, I hope you'll give one or more of these sauces and seasonings a try. And drop me a note to let me know what you think of them!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bone Suckin' Poultry Seasoning & Rub

Bone Suckin' Poultry Seasoning & Rub is a lighter blend of the original Bone Suckin' Rib Rub that features flavor notes of sage and garlic. This bright and savory, subtly sweet and all-natural seasoning is the ideal complement for chicken, turkey, cornish hen, game birds and other poultry. Just like the original Bone Suckin' Seasoning, Bone Suckin' Poultry Seasoning is fat free, gluten free and has no MSG -- plus it really is bone-suckin' delicious -- and is therefore ideal for the whole family.

Bone Suckin' Poultry Seasoning & Rub certainly lives up to its name, but don't limit its use to just to birds. It adds great flavor to tuna salad, chicken salad, and even potato salad, and its lighter flavor also works quite well on fish and seafood. Add it to melted butter or simply sprinkle on grilled, steamed or broiled vegetables. Heck, you can even use it on pork (the "other white meat") or stir into mashed potatoes. It's also a natural choice for seasoning raw ground turkey or ground chicken for making succulent burgers. In short, Bone Suckin' Poultry Seasoning & Rub is a wonderfully versatile seasoning to keep in your pantry or by your stove. And if you're counting carbs or keeping Kosher, you you'll be happy to learn that this seasoning rub has only 1 carb per 1/2 tsp serving and is Kosher certified. Order this tasty new seasoning, and the other flavorful Bone Suckin' Seasonings & Rubs, from the Carolina Sauce Company.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, April 9, 2010

Joe Bud's Everything Sauce wins Gold Medal!

Joe Bud's Everything Sauce, an all-natural mustard-based BBQ and basting sauce that's made in North Carolina, recently won the Gold Medal for the best sauce in the Bar-B-Cue, Glaze & Marinade category at the 2010 World Wide Mustard Competition! This international competition is in its 17th year and featured over 300 entries from all over the world. The official judging was conducted by a "blind" panel of food critics and chefs and was hosted by the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI. The awards ceremony was a black-tie event held at the Black Stallion Winery in Napa, CA as part of the annual mustard festival held in Napa.

Joe Bud's Everything Sauce was developed by Joe "Bud" Johnson from a 50-year-old family recipe originating in South Carolina. Although now made and bottled in NC, Joe Bud's Everything Sauce is true to its South Carolina roots, with a rich and tangy mustard base that complements everything from pork and beef ribs to pulled pork to chicken and even seafood and veggies. The Original version sports just enough spice to keep things interesting without adding heat, while Joe Bud's Hot Everything Sauce (a 2004 Scovie Award winner in the Hot American Style Bar-B-Cue Sauce category) adds hot peppers to the original recipe and is sure to please fans of fiery foods. You can order both award-winning versions of Joe Bud's Everything Sauce from the Carolina Sauce Company.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What's Going On At Carolina Sauce?

If you're one of my regular readers -- and many thanks if you are! -- you might be wondering what's going on, given that I haven't posted anything for a couple of days and haven't been writing as frequently as I usually do. Then again, maybe you haven't noticed. But if you've been wondering what's happening here at Carolina Sauce Company, the good news is that all is well... and the better news is that I've been really busy working on some neat stuff, including our very own brand-new hot sauce, which will soon be available for you to enjoy! Greg and I tried a sample last night on venison burgers, and in baked beans, and on sausage too, and we are very excited about how tasty and versatile our new sauce is. We have a feeling that it's going to be fantastic on pulled pork barbecue, and can't wait to try it that way. We're taking a bottle with us for our pre-game tailgating picnic (we're going to the Carolina Hurricanes game tonight), to try it on a bunch of other food. So stay tuned for a new product announcement soon, along with my review of our tasty new hot sauce!

Other exciting projects currently in the works include the first 2010 update of our category-specific best selling products lists, quick & easy & delicious recipes, new coupon specials, the next edition of our FREE eNewsletter featuring an exclusive Spring sale, and more new products for 2010. So don't worry, I'll have plenty to write about soon! Thanks again for reading my blog.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Operation Sauce Drop is Back in Business!

US troops serving abroad can once again receive a free taste of home through Operation Sauce Drop, a nonprofit program that lets servicemen and women select a free gift box of flavorful to fiery sauces from the Carolina Sauce Company. Thanks to the generosity of donors and folks who shop to support Operation Sauce Drop, we once again have enough funds in the program to resume accepting requests from our brave troops serving overseas. The troops greatly appreciate the program, as you can see from their thank-you notes to donors and photos.

Want to send a little taste of home to a soldier, sailor, Marine, airman or guardsman serving far from home? Donate to Operation Sauce Drop or shop to support OSD, where a portion of the proceeds from your purchase go directly into the OSD fund. It typically costs $20 to $25 to fulfill a gift box request (purchase the sauces at wholesale and ship via USPS Priority with insurance), and historically gift box requests quickly outstrip the pace of donations. Want to help us keep the program going? Then please make a donation in any amount -- or treat yourself to some tasty sauces and seasonings while supporting the troops when you shop to support Operation Sauce Drop. The troops and I thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Want to find out more about Operation Sauce Drop, including how I was inspired to start the program? Simply search this blog for "Operation Sauce Drop" to read more!

PPS: If you're in the military and are stationed at an APO or FPO address, and would like to receive a free gift box of sauce, here's where you can select a gift box. Thank you for your service!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Top 10 Best-Selling Sauces & Seasonings for March 2010

We had some surprises last month on our list of top ten best-selling sauces and seasonings across all product categories at the Carolina Sauce Company, not the least of which was the dethronement of our regular #1 best-seller (which fell to #5 last month). Keep reading below to see which products finished on top for March 2010:

1. One of our most popular hot sauces, Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce, accomplished quite a feat last month when it finished as our top selling product across all types. This is the mildest (on the heat scale) of the Matouk's hot sauces, and features sweet ripe papaya as its main ingredient, to help tone down the heat from the fiery scotch bonnet peppers used in all Matouk's hot sauces.

2. Our overall best selling Jamaican jerk product, Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, finished in 2nd place last month. This aromatic, spicy wet rub or jerk paste is a staple in Jamaican kitchens and is perfect for making authentic Jamaican dishes.

3. Matouk's Calypso Sauce, a thick and rich scotch bonnet sauce from Trinidad & Tobago, was the third most popular product for March, and is a great way to add tropical flavor and fire to virtually any savory dish.

4. George's Original BBQ Sauce is a tangy, vinegar-based barbecue sauce from eastern North Carolina that's ideal for Carolina pulled pork BBQ as well as for marinating -- and it comes with 2 pages of FREE recipes!

5. In a rare drop in position, our all-time best-selling product, Castle Sauce, fell to 5th place for March 2010 -- but don't be surprised if this classic steak & sandwich sauce from Greensboro NC ends up back on top again!

6. Scorned Woman Hot Sauce, a fiery-hot vinegar-based hot sauce that's been around forever, came in a very respectable 6th last month.

7. Jim's Own Homestyle BBQ Sauce is a Piedmont NC style (vinegar & tomatoes) barbeque sauce from Durham that's great with pulled pork as well as ribs, chicken, and more - and it comes with FREE recipes!

8. Another North Carolina original, Capsicana Zing Gourmet Sauce, is a flavorful, subtly-sweet & tastefully tangy all-purpose spice sauce for the table and the kitchen, and it also comes with FREE recipes!

9. Our all-time best-selling barbecue sauce is Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce from Burgaw, NC. This traditional eastern NC sauce is made with vinegar and spices (no tomatoes) and makes a great marinade as well as a condiment for collard greens, fries and hush puppies -- and of course it's essential for making real NC pulled pork BBQ!

10. Completing our list of the top ten best-selling products for March 2010 is Buderim Ginger Bears, an Australian gummy bear candy made with real ginger.

Zestfully yours,

PS: We will soon be updating each category-specific list of Best-Selling Products to reflect the current standings for 2010.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The History & Culture of Grits

If you were born and raised in the South, you're probably quite familiar with grits. But if you're a transplanted Yankee like me, you may have wondered about the Southern fascination with grits, and what they are, and how they're made and eaten. Anyway, I did. So I asked one of my true Southern friends and she sent me the following article, which I've copied below:


Q: What are Grits?

A: Grits are a Southern thing, like boiled peanuts. However, the word is spreading fast. Some folks believe Grits are grown on bushes and are harvested by midgets shaking the grit bushes after spreading sheets around them. This is not true. Other people feel that Grits are made from ground up bits of white corn. This is obviously a lie spread by Communists and terrorists since nothing as good as Grits can be made from corn.
Recent research suggests that the mysterious Manna that God rained down upon the Israelites in the Sinai Desert was most likely Grits. Some disagree, stating that there is no record of biscuits, butter, salt and red eye gravy also raining down. God would not punish his people by forcing them to eat Grits without these key ingredients.

Q: How are Grits Formed?

A: Grits are created deep underground under intense heat and pressure and it takes over 1000 years to form a single Grit. Most of the world's grit mines are in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. They are protected day and night by armed guards and pit bulls. Mining the Grit is a dangerous occupation, and many grit miners lose their lives each year so that we can have our Grits morning after morning for breakfast (having Grits for lunch and dinner as well is not unreasonable.)

*Synthetic Grits*

Yankees have attempted to create a synthetic form of Grits called Cream of Wheat. As far as we can tell, its key ingredients are Elmer's Glue and shredded Styrofoam. Synthetic grits have been known to cause nausea and may leave you unable to have children.

*The History of Grits*

The first known mention of the Grits was by the ancient Israelites in the Sinai Desert and then Grits were not heard of again for another 1000 years. Experts feel that during this time, because of its rarity, Grits were used only during secret religious ceremonies. The next mention of the Grits was found in the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii in the personal diary of a woman named Herculaneum Jemimaneus (Aunt Jemima to her friends).

*The 10 Commandments of Grits*

I. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits
II. Thou shalt not eat thy Grits with a spoon or knife
III. Thou shalt not eat Cream of Wheat and call it Grits, for this is blasphemy.
IV. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors Grits
V. Thou shalt use only salt, butter, and red eye gravy on thy Grits
VI. Thou shalt not eat Instant Grits
VII. Thou shalt not put ketchup on thy Grits
VIII. Thou shalt not put margarine on thy Grits.
IX. Thou shalt not eat toast with thy Grits, only biscuits made from scratch
X. Thou shalt eat Grits on the Sabbath, for this is manna from heaven.

*How to Cook Grits*

For one serving of Grits, boil 1.5 cups of water with salt and a little butter. Add 5 Tbsp of Grits and reduce to a simmer until the Grits soak up all the water. When a pencil stuck in to the Grits can stand up, it is done. That's all there is to cooking Grits.

*How to make red eye gravy*

In cast iron pan, fry some salt-cured country ham. Remove the ham when done and add coffee (yes, coffee) to the gravy. Let simmer and stir for several minutes.

*How to Eat Grits*

Immediately after removing your Grits from the stove top, add a generous portion of real butter or red eye gravy. The butter should cause the Grits to turn a wondrous shade of yellow. (Hold a banana or a yellow rain slicker next to your Grits and add butter until the colors match.) Instead of butter, a generous helping of red eye gravy may be poured onto your Grits. Be sure to use enough so that some is left for sopping up with your biscuits. Never substitute canned or store bought biscuits for the real thing because they can cause cancer, bad teeth and impotence. Next, add salt. (The correct ratio of Grit to Salt is 10:1 so that every 10 Grits should have 1 grain of salt). Always use a fork to eat Grits and they must be thick enough not to fall through the tines. The only beverage to serve with Grits is black coffee. Never eat Grits from a bowl because Yankees will think that it's Cream of Wheat.


Zestfully yours,

PS: If you know who originally wrote "The History & Culture of Grits", please drop me a note so that I can properly attribute authorship. Thanks!