Monday, May 31, 2010

Honoring the Fallen on Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, a day off from work or school for many folks, and also for cookouts, picnics and barbecue. While that's all fine and good, let's not forget the true purpose of Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor our military men and women who gave their lives in the service of our country. Originally called Decoration Day and observed on May 30th, the history of Memorial Day dates back to just after the Civil War and makes for an interesting read. If you want to pay your respects to our fallen heroes but can't make it to Arlington National Cemetery for today's observance, you might find this list of state national cemeteries useful. And regardless of where you are, please consider participating in the moment of silence at 3 pm today to remember those who made the greatest sacrifice.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Carolina Saucec Co. Memorial Day Info

Two important announcements for our customers and other fans of zesty foods:

1. The Carolina Sauce Company will be open for business on Memorial Day, Monday May 31st, but with limited staff and abbreviated hours, so please be patient if you call us and get our voicemail, or if it takes a little longer than usual for us to reply to your email. I promise we'll get back to you as soon as we can, and in any event by Tuesday at the latest. Please be aware that neither UPS nor the US Post Office will be in service tomorrow, so we will not be able to ship any packages on Memorial Day. We will resume shipping orders on Tuesday, June 1st.

2. Tomorrow is the last day of our special coupon sale in celebration of National BBQ Month, National Burger Month and National Salad Month. To find out more, and to get the special coupon code, simply check out our latest Newsletter.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Blair's After Death Sauce, 20/20 Limited Edition

Hot sauce collectors and serious chiliheads rejoice: Blair's After Death Sauce 20/20 Limited Edition is now in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company online store! In addition to the fancy new label, this special limited edition of Blair's After Death Hot Sauce features an improved recipe that omits the capsaicin extract that some folks said gave the original sauce an unpleasant aftertaste, and replaces it with even more fiery habanero peppers for a naturally super-hot -- and better tasting -- hot sauce experience. Like all Blair's sauces, this new version of Blair's After Death hot sauce is all-natural and comes with the trademark skull keychain. If you are addicted to fiery foods, you'll enjoy splashing this new and improved hot sauce on every sort of savory food and adding it to your chili, chicken wings, meatloaf, burgers, Tex-Mex, Southwestern and Mexican dishes, and anything else that needs a serious jolt of fire. And if you collect hot sauces, make sure and order a bottle today before we run out -- as the name suggests, only limited quantities are available of this special edition of Blair's After Death!

Zestfully yours,

PS: If After Death isn't hot enough for you, or if you already own it in your collection, treat yourself to a bottle of Blair's Sudden Death 20/20 Limited Edition Hot Sauce, also with improved flavor and available in limited quantities from Carolina Sauce.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My 5 Favorite Grilled Foods

Many folks consider the Memorial Day weekend to be the "official" start of grilling season. Although hard-core grillers are known to grill year-round regardless of weather (I recall watching Greg wearing a winter coat and grilling on our deck as snow fell one blustery February evening a few years back), most people fire up the grill for the first time this weekend or on Memorial Day. In the spirit of the holiday weekend, I thought I'd share my top five favorite grilled foods, beginning with #5 and ending with my all-time favorite grilled delicacy.

5. Grilled Portobello mushrooms, especially when marinated in Greg's Happy Sauce, which unfortunately is no longer available. An excellent marinade you can use instead is Thomas Balsamic Vinaigrette. Simply marinate for about 30 minutes and then grill to desired doneness. You can enjoy the mushroom caps as "veggie burgers" or slice and serve with your favorite sides.

4. Grilled Peaches served over vanilla ice cream: Greg makes the most amazing grilled peaches using ripe but firm peaches that he's cut in half and removed the pit. A couple of years ago I posted his instructions for how to grill peaches and other fruit as well as the recipe for a glaze for grilled fruit. Glazed grilled peaches make a delicious summertime dessert on their own or over vanilla ice cream.

3. Grilled Venison tenderloin: Alas, without Greg's Happy Sauce it is impossible to enjoy the most amazingly delicious venison in the world. But I can recommend two other excellent marinades that will tenderize and "de-game" venison, for mouthwatering results that will please even those folks who say they don't like game. The first is Thomas Marinade, which is ready to use straight from the bottle, and the other is Ann's Marinade, which I like to blend with some olive oil so as to not dry out the venison while it marinates. In both cases, you'll get the best flavor by marinating overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Grilled grass-fed beef, especially NY strip: To me, grass-fed, all-natural free-range beef has far better flavor than regular grain-fed beef. It's also leaner, and I've read some articles saying that grass-fed beef is more nutritious. However, because grass-fed beef is leaner, it's less forgiving on the grill (in other words, it's very easy to overcook it, which can be a problem if you prefer medium-rare steak like I do). Greg has mastered the art, and in my opinion he gets the best flavor by using a simple pepper-based steak seasoning such as Knox Cracked Pepper Dry Rub or Char Crust Roasted Garlic Peppercorn.

1. Grilled Salmon: I could eat grilled salmon every day if I could afford to do so, especially back when we had Happy Sauce to use as a marinade and basting sauce. Nowadays I have three favorite ways of enjoying grilled salmon: (i) Marinating (30 mins in fridge) and basting with Bear-Man Sap Happy Golden Bear Maple Sauce, which reminds me of Greg's Happy Sauce, or (ii) Sprinkling with Big Daddy's Superb Herb Seasoning and lightly coating with olive oil before grilling, or (iii) Marinating in Mama T's Olive Oil Vinaigrette for 30 minutes to 2 hrs and then grilling.

I hope you've enjoyed my list of favorite grilled foods. If you have any favorite grilled foods, please feel free to post a comment and let us know -- and recipes are always welcome!

I hope everyone has a safe, happy and saucy holiday weekend!

Zestfully yours,

PS: I have to throw in an Honorable Mention for grilled fresh pineapple. It is amazingly good, either "straight" or with vanilla ice cream, no syrup or topping needed! Make sure you use fully-ripe pineapple, and spears are easier to grill than chunks or rings. You can then cut the spears into chunks if you want.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yummy 'Yaki Pork Tenderloin

This recipe comes to us from the makers of Bone Suckin' Sauce and the other delicious, all-natural Bone Suckin' products. You'll need to marinate for at least 30 minutes, so plan accordingly. This pork tenderloin recipe serves 4 (simply multiply to feed more), and would make an elegant Memorial Day cookout entree.

1 lb Pork Tenderloin
1 bottle Bone Suckin' Yaki
1 Tbs dried rosemary (I prefer to use several sprigs of fresh rosemary)
1 tsp ground black pepper

Slice the tenderloin into 3/4" thick medallions. Place in a resealable plastic bag or a lidded container, add rosemary & pepper, and enough Yaki Sauce to coat well. Seal the bag or container and shake to combine, making sure all of the tenderloin is evenly coated. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Discard used marinade and cook the medallions in oven at 350F degrees or on grill, for about 15 minutes or until done - make sure the pork is fully cooked! If you want to baste the medallions while they cook, use fresh Yaki sauce from the bottle.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Another yummy, all-natural teriyaki sauce that I like to use in this recipe and others calling for teriyaki sauce is Olio & Spices Pomegranate Teriyaki Sauce from Israel, and it comes with recipes too!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spicy Slaw

The Q Shack is a popular BBQ joint with locations in Durham (the original) and Raleigh NC. What distinguishes them from the typical NC barbecue joint is that the Q Shack specializes in non-NC styles of BBQ, including Texas brisket and St. Louis style ribs. They do, however, also make NC pulled pork BBQ, and their southern side dishes like collard greens, hushpuppies and slaw are excellent. Although I tend to prefer vinegar cole slaw over creamy cole slaw, the Q Shack makes a unique creamy slaw that I could eat every day because of the great crunch and unusual (for slaw) ingredients including apple, raw sweet potato and collard leaves -- okay, so that may sound really weird to some people, but trust me, it makes for really tasty slaw! Here is my spiced-up version of the Q Shack's slaw, just in time for your Memorial Day BBQ.

1 head of green cabbage, trimmed & sliced into thin strips
6 collard green leaves, stemmed & sliced into thin strips
1 raw sweet potato, peeled & julienned (sliced into matchsticks)
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 green jalapeno peppers, deseeded & sliced into thin rings
Optional: 1 orange habanero pepper, deseeded & diced
1 green apple, unpeeled, cored & julienned
2 cups mayonnaise (regular or reduced-fat, but don't use fat free)
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs celery seed
Coarsely-ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of Kosher salt (omit if on sodium-restricted diet)

In a large bowl combine the cabbage, collard leaves, sweet potato, peppers and apple. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, black pepper and salt, whisking until smooth and creamy (you can do this in a food processor on LOW setting, but I like to do it by hand). Slowly add the desired amount of this dressing into the large bowl of slaw veggies and stir to combine (you can store any leftover dressing in a lidded glass jar in your fridge for a couple of days, and it's also good on other veggie salads and even on canned-bean salads). Serve with pulled pork and other barbecue/grilled foods, or as a side for fried seafood, etc.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Monday, May 24, 2010

Memorial Day BBQ Sale!

Memorial Day is next Monday, so if you're planning a BBQ, picnic, block party, cookout or other celebration during the long weekend, NOW is the time to get the barbecue sauces, condiments and seasonings you need to make your celebration a huge success. The Carolina Sauce Company is here to help, especially if you're on a budget, with always-low prices AND many BBQ sauces, condiments and seasonings on sale. To help you get started, check out these bargains, good only while supplies last:

Bubba's Special Sauce, a spoonably rich tomato hot sauce (no vinegar!) that makes a devilishly delicious topping for burgers, only $4.99 for a 9oz jar (almost twice the size of your average hot sauce bottle!)

Blue's Chipotle Mustard Pepper Sauce, a wonderfully robust & thick hot sauce that's amazing on grilled sausage, burgers, chicken & more - a favorite of foodies and chiliheads alike!

Melinda's Chipotle Ketchup, packed with real tomato flavor and smoky-spicy chipotle, and NO high-fructose corn syrup, only $5.99 for a 13oz bottle!

Carolina Sauce Co. Mixed Hot Pepper Rings, made in the NC mountains, these fabulously fiery pickled pepper rings are great on burgers, brats, kielbasa, subs and more -- only $4.99 for a 16oz jar!

Just My Taste Jalapeno Dip, featuring pure jalapeno flavor and great as a condiment, an alternative to salsa, and blended with cream cheese as a zippy dip - comes with lots of FREE recipes, only $5.50 for a generous 16oz jar!

Red's Sweet Salsa, sweet & sassy, this award-winning salsa is chock-full of chunky tomatoes, onions and peppers (NOT a fruit salsa) and is currently only $6.25 for a large 16oz jar!

Both flavors of Burning Asphalt Steak Sauces, favorites of racing fans everywhere and much better tasting than any grocery store steak sauce (to borrow a slogan, they make every burger a steakburger), each under $5 a bottle!

D'Vine Foods Muscadine BBQ Sauce, a tangy NC original made with sweet muscadine grapes in a traditional tomato-vinegar-mustard base, only $4.99 for a 12oz bottle!

Tarheel Premium Original BBQ Sauce, blending the best of eastern & western NC barbecue for the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, savory & spicy, only $5.75 for a 16oz bottle!

Mel's BBQ Sauce, a mouthwatering, tangy vinegar-mustard Carolina barbecue sauce for everything from pulled pork to chicken, only $4.75 for a 16oz bottle!

Mama T's Seasonings, hand-blended on the NC Outer Banks, the Ranch Seasoning (great on chicken & veggies) and Seafood Seasoning are on sale - and Mama T's also has a Mesquite Seasoning (great on steak, pork chops, & in ground beef) and Tropical Island Seasoning (superb with poultry, seafood & veggies), too!

This is just a sampling of the many delicious items currently on sale at Carolina Sauce. To find more tasty bargains, simply search the Carolina Sauce online store for the words "on sale", or look for the special RED sale prices when browsing through our offerings.

Want to save even more? Use our special discount coupon and get 10% off even already-discounted sale prices!

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sparkling Ginger-Tea Cooler

Here is a refreshing alternative to ordinary iced tea, just in time for your Memorial Day BBQ or cookouot! This recipe serves 16, and you can multiply it to serve more. You can prepare it without the ginger ale and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

2 "family-size" tea bags
3 quarts boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1 12oz can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 liter ginger ale, chilled

Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for 10 minutes, then add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the lemonade concentrate and stir to dissolve. If not serving right away, store in the refrigerator to chill and keep cold. Just before serving, pour in the cold ginger ale. You can serve this sparkling cooler "straight" or over ice.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Want to save on BBQ sauce, mustard, ketchup, pickles, relish and other cookout sauces & condiments for Memorial Day? Here's where you can find your discount coupon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki is a creamy, refreshing Greek yogurt-cucumber sauce that's great with traditional Greek dishes like falafel, gyro, souvlaki and pita - but it also complements grilled meats, chicken & veggies, roasted potatoes, salads & veggies, and more. I like to use tzatziki sauce as an alternative to tartar sauce for fish and seafood, and it's also a wonderfully cooling and soothing accompaniment to fiery dishes. This recipe makes 4 servings, and easily multiplies for more. Tzatziki is best when served fresh, and you definitely want to use Greek yogurt or other rich, natural yogurt.

1 small cucumber
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt (preferably NOT fat-free or low-fat)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Tbs chopped fresh mint
1 Tbs chopped parsley
Salt to taste
Paprika* to taste
Opt: Additional chopped parsley for garnish

Combine the yogurt, garlic and herbs in a bowl. Peel the cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds. Dice the cucumber into the bowl and stir until everything is combined. Add salt to taste, then garnish with a sprinkling of paprika (*you can substitute a sprinkling of red pepper if you want to add a little kick). You can also add a little chopped parsley as a garnish if desired.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ole Time BBQ Sauce & Hot Sauce are Back!

Good news for fans of Ole Time Barbecue: After an absence of about 6 months, both the original Ole Time BBQ Sauce and the spicy Ole Time Hot Sauce are FINALLY back in stock and available for purchase from the Carolina Sauce Company online store! Ole Time BBQ is a beloved old BBQ joint in Raleigh, NC, that serves some of the best eastern NC-style pulled pork barbecue, hushpuppies and collards in the area. In the past year they've been quite busy with their new second location, and had to "back-burner" the commercial bottling of their two famous sauces. But this morning I received the phone call I had been waiting for since January: The sauces are back! And as of this afternoon, we have fully re-stocked both products. So if you miss your Ole Time sauce, the waiting is over! And if you've never tried them before, keep reading to learn more about them.

The original Ole Time Barbecue Sauce is a family recipe from the tiny hamlet of Snow Hill NC that's been handed down for at least 3 generations, and blends a little ketchup as well as some unusual ingredients into the tangy vinegar base for a rich, robust old-fashioned flavor. Ole Time Hot Sauce is a spicier, more typical eastern NC barbecue sauce consisting of the traditional vinegar base with plenty of red and black pepper, spices and no tomatoes or sugar. Both sauces are wonderful on pulled pork barbecue, of course, but are also great for marinating and basting ribs and other meats as well as chicken. I like to add a few splashes of the Hot Sauce to collards and other greens, fried catfish, hushpuppies, fries, and even scrambled eggs. The Barbecue Sauce adds great flavor to ground beef recipes including meatloaf, burgers and sloppy joes. So if you want to try some authentic North Carolina BBQ sauce, give one or both of the Ole Time sauces a try -- you won't be disappointed!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coupon Sale for BBQ Sauce, Condiments & Dressings

In celebration of National Barbecue Month, National Burger Month, and National Salad Month, the Carolina Sauce Company online store is having a special coupon sale on all BBQ sauces, condiments including pickles and pepper rings, relish plus mustard and ketchup, as well as our salad dressings. Save 10% off any of those products by using the coupon code May2010Blog when you order online, or mention the coupon code when ordering by phone. And yes, this coupon will take 10% off already-discounted sale prices! For more information on which specific products are eligible for the May2010Blog coupon discount, simply read the latest Carolina Sauce Newsletter. And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. This special coupon sale is ongoing throughout the month of May, and you can use the coupon as often as you wish through Monday, May 31st. So stock up now for your Memorial Day cookout or picnic, and save big bucks with our coupon sale!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fiery Mango Salsa

Mango salsa is a festive tropical alternative to ordinary tomato salsa when served with tortilla chips, and also doubles as a devilishly delightful condiment for grilled or broiled seafood and chicken. You can even spoon it into sandwiches and wraps or over burgers. Mango salsa is best when homemade, and you can make it the night before and store in your refrigerator overnight. If you don't like cilantro, simply leave it out.

1 ripe but firm mango
2 jalapeno peppers (I like to use 1 red & 1 green but you can use 2 green)
1 habanero pepper
4 green onions
1 garlic clove, minced (I like to use a clove of hot pickled garlic)
Juice of 1 lime
1 small bunch (or to taste) cilantro
Pinch of Kosher salt

Peel and dice the mango into a non-metal bowl (glass is best but you can use plastic), catching the juices in the bowl. De-seed and chop the hot peppers and add to the bowl. Thinly slice the green onions including some of the green tops, and add to bowl. Peel and finely mince the garlic and add to the bowl. Chop the cilantro and add to the bowl, together with a pinch of Kosher salt and the juice of 1 lime. Stir everything together to combine, and either serve or cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Updated Year-to-Date Best Sellers at Carolina Sauce

The year-to-date top ten best-selling sauces and seasonings in specific product categories (hot sauces, BBQ sauces, snacks, gift sets, etc.) for 2010 have been updated again at the Carolina Sauce Company online store. This time, I'll highlight some of my favorite products that are in each top ten category, and as always I'll include links to each list and each highlighted product for your convenient perusal:

*Best-Selling Hot Sauces: When I'm in more in the mood for rich flavor rather than fiery heat, I reach for Georgia Peach & Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce, currently our 7th best-selling hot sauce. Packed with the summery flavors of ripe, juicy peaches and sweet Vidalia onions and just a touch of hot pepper, this mildly spicy hot sauce is wonderful on seafood and chicken, as well as on pork chops, turkey sandwiches and even hash browns and other breakfast fare.

*Best-Selling Barbecue Sauces: When I'm craving tropical island flavors and Greg is planning on using the grill, there's no better BBQ sauce than Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk BBQ Sauce. This unique and intriguingly delicious barbeque sauce blends naturally sweet bananas with spicy Jamaican jerk seasonings and other Caribbean ingredients for a thick, exotic sauce that beautifully complements everything you grill, from chicken to pork to ribs. Walkerswood Jerk Barbecue Sauce is currently our 10th best-selling BBQ sauce.

*Best-Selling Marinades & Dressings: I discovered Mama T's Olive Oil Vinaigrette a few years back while on vacation at the NC coast, and I fell in love with its delicate flavor and herbal notes. Made by hand in Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks, this wonderful vinaigrette is great as a salad dressing and also works as a marinade for mild fish and shellfish including scallops and shrimp. It's also quite nice drizzled over steamed or grilled vegetables. Mama T's Olive Oil Vinaigrette is currently our 5th best-selling marinade or dressing.

*Best-Selling Rubs & Seasonings: Continuing with the herbal theme is Big Daddy's Superb Herb Seasoning, which is also made in North Carolina. Not a BBQ dry rub but instead an aromatic blend of basil, rosemary, thyme and other herbs and spices with a touch of salt, I enjoy this seasoning in everyday cooking including seafood and poultry, in ground meat recipes, in soups and salads, and even in omelets and scrambled eggs. Big Daddy's Superb Herb Seasoning is currently our 10th best-selling dry rub or seasoning.

*Best-Selling Salsa & Relish: I love salsas and relish and there are many personal favorites on our list of best-sellers. Since I've previously raved about several of them, this time I'll spotlight an unusual and addictively good salsa which is currently in 9th place -- Peppers Chipotle Smoked Corn Blue Crab Salsa. Yes, this chunky, spicy-hot tomato salsa includes real Maryland blue crab among its ingredients, as well as kernels of smoked corn and fiery-smoky chipotle pepper for heat. If you love seafood and enjoy good salsa, you'll rave about this inspired salsa - and I dare you not to eat the whole jar in one sitting!

*Best-Selling Jerks & Curry: I love all sorts of curry, whether Indian, Thai, Caribbean, etc., so it's no surprise that Nando's Curry Coconut Cooking & Grilling Sauce from South Africa is one of my personal favorites. Moderately spicy due to the judicious use of peri-peri peppers, this rich and flavorful cooking sauce is wonderful in the kitchen and on the grill, especially with chicken, seafood, veggies and rice dishes. It's also our 3rd best-selling curry or jerk product.

*Best-Selling Mustards & Ketchups: I know I already described Trolly Stop Hot Mustard Sauce last month when it was 10th on this list, but this savory and flavor-packed mustard from Wilmington NC has moved up to 9th place and I can't help but sing its praises again. If you are a mustard connoisseur or just tired of store-bought mustards, Trolley Stop Hot Mustard Sauce is sure to please your palate when you slather it on hot dogs and sausages, burgers, sandwiches and more.

*Best-Selling Wing Sauces: Made in upstate New York, Burning Asphalt Buffalo Ranch Wing Sauce is one of my favorites, with its traditional tangy-hot Buffalo wing sauce flavor and hint of creamy ranch dressing. There's no need to make a mess dipping your hot wings in ranch dressing when you use this zesty wing sauce, and it's presently 10th on our list of best-selling wing sauce

*Best-Selling Gift Sets: When I need a little gift for a fellow foodie, I send them a Thomas Gourmet Chutney Gift Box with two jars of all-natural, NC-made Thomas Gourmet Chutney. You can currently select from 4 different flavors of chutney, including Apple, Mango, Peach, and Green Tomato, and two new flavors (pineapple and cranberry) are coming soon! The Thomas Gourmet Chutney Gift Box is presently our 2nd best-selling gift set or gift box.

*Best-Selling North Carolina Products: Once again I'm faced with the dilemma of which product to mention because there are so many products on this list that I love. So I'll pick out one of the most versatile ones, Capsicana Zing Gourmet Sauce, which is currently our fifth-best selling NC product. Spicy without burning and subtly sweet, this all-purpose sauce is great for adding zip to anything you serve as well as to anything you cook. I splash it on all sorts of grilled foods & stir-fry dishes, burgers, batter-fried foods, and breakfast fare (scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage). It also comes with free recipes!

*Best-Selling Snacks & Sweets: I love pickles, be they traditional cucumber pickles or other veggies, pickled with dill or other savory spices or with sugar in a "bread & butter" style. I also love garlic, and spicy foods. So it should come as no surprise that when I want a pickle snack I often reach for a jar of our very own Hot Pickled Garlic, our 4th best-selling snack or sweet. Made for us by hand on a family farm in the NC mountains and featuring a few whole pickled hot peppers among the pickled garlic cloves, this treat is great straight from the jar or sliced for sandwiches and wraps, chopped for adding to dressings and marinades and dips, and even in your favorite recipes. For every jar sold, we donate $1 to Operation Sauce Drop, our nonprofit program that sends free gift boxes of sauces to deployed troops.

*Best-Selling Steak Sauces & Pasta Sauces: I love hearty, tomato-sauced Italian dishes and usually prefer a bold, robustly flavored spaghetti sauce -- except during the heat of the summer, or when making delicate marinara dishes like Mussels Marinara. That's when I reach for Mama Thomas Marinara, an all-natural traditional Italian marinara sauce made with fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, Italian seasonings and a splash of white wine. The flavors are bright and light, perfect for simple summer pasta and seafood dishes and even for bruschetta. Mama Thomas Marinara is our second-best selling pasta sauce or steak sauce, and it's currently on sale!

I hope you enjoy these favorites of mine -- and feel free to tell us which are YOUR favorite sauces, seasonings and snacks!

Zestfully yours,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cool New Look for Blues Carolina Pepper Sauce!

Check out the snazzy new label for Blue's Carolina Pepper Sauce! This zesty, warmly spicy all-purpose pepper sauce has a cool new look that nicely complements its smooth and jazzy flavor. Made in North Carolina using only natural ingredients, Blues features real hot-pepper flavor in a tangy vinegar base that's mellowed with ripe tomatoes. This is not your run-of-the-mill, thin and vinegary one-note hot sauce you typically find in grocery stores. No, Blues Carolina Pepper Sauce is music for your mouth with its rich and harmoniously blended chili, habanero and cayenne peppers. Truly an all-purpose table sauce and cooking sauce, Blue's is great for adding lively spice to anything you grill, bake, roast or broil: Use it as a dipping sauce for egg rolls, shrimp, fries and other finger food; Add it to stews, casseroles, soups and spaghetti sauces; Use as a marinade and basting sauce, and more. In fact, when you order Blues Carolina Pepper Sauce from the Carolina Sauce Company online store, we'll send you a FREE recipe sheet with lots of ideas for enjoying Blues AND with a recipe for making awesome Buffalo chicken wings!

Blues Carolina Pepper Sauce comes in a generous 10 oz bottle -- twice the size of most hot sauces -- and requires no refrigeration, making it the perfect condiment for cookouts, picnics, tailgating and camping. Order it today for your Memorial Day barbecue!

Zestfully yours,

PS: Speaking of barbecue, if you make Carolina pulled pork BBQ you can use Blue's Carolina Pepper Sauce to make Piedmont style 'que.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Caramelized Cajun Onions

These Cajun-spiced caramelized onions are a wonderful accompaniment to steak, grilled sausage, omelets, quiche, burgers, sandwiches and more. You can make a whole bunch and store in an airtight container in your fridge to use over the course of a few days. Adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning to your taste.

2 Tbs olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 Tbs butter (you can substitute bacon grease for some of the butter, up to 1 Tbs)
2 large sweet onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
Your favorite Cajun seasoning, such as Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning or Louisiana Bayou Blend Seasoning (salt-free!) or Durn Good Cajun Spice Blend (on sale!)

Heat the olive oil and butter (and bacon grease if using) in a large saute pan over medium heat until the butter is melted, stir to combine. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally (I like using a wooden spoon), until the onions soften and start turning deep golden brown - that means they're caramelized. This will take about half an hour. Note: If the onions start sticking to the bottom of the pan, you can add a little more oil or a small splash of red or white wine to deglaze (use just enough to help you scrape the onions off the bottom). Stir in the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Season to taste with your favorite Cajun seasoning - I use a healthy sprinkling, then stir and taste for flavor balance, adding a little more seasoning if necessary. Remove pan from heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then serve or store in a sealed container in your refrigerator.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Carolina Sauce Goes Greener!

If you've ordered from the Carolina Sauce Company this week, you might be surprised to see your bottles wrapped in green bubble wrap. No, this isn't some leftover packaging gimmick from St. Patrick's Day -- this bubble wrap really is green, and not just in color! Our new bubble wrap is environmentally friendly in that it will naturally biodegrade in 24 to 36 months, which means less nasty plastic clogging up landfills, choking wildlife or otherwise polluting our planet. And it's just as strong as regular plastic bubble wrap, so your sauces are still well-protected during shipping.

This is just one of the many reasons why the Carolina Sauce Company is THE green source for hot sauce and barbecue sauce on the internet. In addition to using biodegradable bubble wrap, we also recycle or re-use all incoming packing materials and boxes, use biodegradable packing peanuts when available, and shred all unneeded paper materials (including junk mail, phone books, magazines etc.) to use for packing. We've also partnered with several local businesses to receive their unwanted gently-used shipping boxes, packing materials and old magazines/catalogs, which previously were being discarded. Not only is this environmentally friendly but it also saves YOU money by helping to reduce our costs and thus keep our prices low. So if you want to spice up your life while helping to save our planet, make sure to shop online at the Carolina Sauce Company, your GREEN source for zesty foods!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

All Burning Asphalt Sauces Are Back In Stock!

Fans of zesty foods will be thrilled to learn that all Burning Asphalt sauces and condiments are now back in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company online store! Made by a small family business in the tiny town of Forestville in rural upstate New York, Burning Asphalt first caught my attention with their spicy and tasty Buffalo wing sauces, including their innovative Ranch Wing Sauce which adds a touch of creamy ranch dressing to their traditional Buffalo wing sauce recipe. But this company with the racing-inspired name and logo (they're huge NASCAR fans) isn't just about wing sauces. Burning Asphalt also makes a wonderful line of fiery and flavorful hot sauces (currently on sale), ranging from tangy jalapeno to flaming habanero, plus a habanero-garlic and a sweet garlic hot sauce as well.

This affinity for blending food-friendly flavor with peppery fire is perfected in Burning Asphalt's spicy ketchups, including Zesty Jalapeno and Blazin' Habanero. Ideal for chargrilled hamburgers, hot dogs and other hearty fare but also quite good with scrambled eggs and sausage, these sweet tomato ketchups feature just the right amount of heat for folks who like a little kick (jalapeno) as well as for those who enjoy playing with fire (habanero). You'll never go back to ordinary grocery store ketchup once you've tasted Burning Asphalt Ketchups. Don't despair if you prefer mustard over ketchup: Burning Asphalt also makes an elegantly delicious White Wine Dijon Mustard that will please even the most discriminating palate (and it's not spicy, so even kids will enjoy it).

And since Burning Asphalt is located in the vicinity of New York's Amish community, it only makes sense that they should also have a couple of old-fashioned barbecue sauces made with farm-fresh ingredients including juicy apples and sweet honey. Featuring an Amish horse & buggy logo on the label, both the Dutch Honey Smoked BBQ Sauce and the Dutch Apple BBQ Sauce are thick and rich, packed with layers of mouthwatering flavor, and are marvelous on ribs, chicken, and anything else you grill. And if you're a steak lover, you've gotta try both varieties of Burning Asphalt Steak Sauce (which are on sale), including their zippy Homestyle Steak Sauce and their sweet & spicy Sweet Pepper Steak & Dipping Sauce.

All of these wonderful Burning Asphalt products are once again available at the Carolina Sauce Company, and now is the time to order them for your Memorial Day cookout!

Zestfully yours,

PS: In celebration of National BBQ Month and National Burger Month, you can save 10% off all Burning Asphalt barbeque sauces, ketchups and mustards when you use our special blog coupon!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thanks from Grill Sergeant Gary

Back in March, I posted an email from a recently deployed soldier serving in Afghanistan who was disappointed to learn that Operation Sauce Drop (our nonprofit program that sends free sauces to deployed troops) was out of money and unable to send him a gift box of zesty sauces at that time. Thanks to the kindness of folks who donate to support Operation Sauce Drop, the program is once again up and running, and "Grill Sergeant Gary" (as well as other troops) has since received a free gift box of sauce.

Last week, I received the following thank-you note from Grill Sergeant Gary, together with his donation to Operation Sauce Drop. With his permission I am sharing his note with you:

"I want to thank Carolina Sauce for the gift box that I received recently. I still have months to go here in Afghanistan, but through the generosity of Carolina Sauce, and it's customers, the remaining deployment will be a lot more palatable. In the spirit of 'paying it forward', I have donated to Operation Sauce Drop so that other service members can enjoy your wonderful products. Thanks again Carolina Sauce.

-SFC Gary, Afghanistan

If you haven't yet donated to Operation Sauce Drop, perhaps wondering whether something as simple as a little taste of home really matters to our troops, I hope that Grill Sergeant Gary's note of thanks has shown you that these little acts of kindness really do make a difference. You can read more from grateful service members and their families on our Operation Sauce Drop Feedback & Photos page.

May is Military Appreciation Month, which makes it the perfect time to show your support by sending the gift of good taste to our military men and women overseas through Operation Sauce Drop. You can make a donation in any amount and even include a personal thank-you note for us to print and include in a gift box being shipped to a service member. You can also shop to support Operation Sauce Drop where some or all of the purchase price of the featured products goes straight into the OSD account to pay for more gift boxes.

And if you are a member of our Armed Forces serving at an APO or FPO address, you are invited to sign up for a free gift box of sauce to be shipped to you at no cost. We have everything from BBQ sauce to hot sauce, spicy salsa, Buffalo wing sauce, and mouthwatering grilling/cooking sauce to choose from, ranging from mild and flavorful to wildly fiery and seriously hot. THANK YOU for serving!

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Quick Applesauce Parfaits

Surprise Mom on Mother's Day with breakfast in bed featuring this scrumptious and healthy recipe that anyone (even kids) can make! This very simple recipe makes a breakfast treat or dessert for two. The key is to use the best quality ingredients such as all-natural applesauce and real whipped cream, if possible. Serve in two wine goblets or parfait glasses for a pretty presentation -- or just layer in a large mug or a small bowl if that's easier for you. You can double this recipe if you want to make 4 parfaits.

1 cup good quality granola (break into small chunks if necessary)
1 cup all-natural chunky applesauce (I use Mullen's Apple Sauce)
1 container whipped cream or whipped topping (you won't use the whole thing)
Slivered almonds for topping
Ground cinnamon for topping

Note: When you're ready to assemble the parfaits, keep in mind that you'll want to have at least two "sets" of the three different layers (granola, applesauce, whipped cream) in each glass, and in any event you will want the top layer to be whipped cream. Also keep in mind that the ingredient quantities above are flexible, and you may end up with a little left over or need a little more, all depending on the size of your wine or parfait glasses (or bowl or mug).

Spoon some of the granola into the bottom of each glass. Spoon some of the applesauce on top of the granola. Top with a little of the whipped cream as the third layer, to finish the first "set" of layers. Repeat the three layers until the glass is full, with whipped cream as the final layer. Lightly dust with cinnamon to taste, and with a light sprinkling of slivered almonds. Serves two.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Mullen's Apple Sauce is hands-down the BEST apple sauce I've ever tasted, and it's currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company online store. A portion of the proceeds from each sale goes to support the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which assists officers and their families in times of need.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Carolina Sauce Newsletter: May is National BBQ, Burgers & Salad Month!

Coupon Sale for National BBQ, Burgers & Salad Month!

If you love BBQ, burgers, or salads (or all three), you're in luck: May is National BBQ Month as well as National Burger Month, and vegetarians can join in the fun by celebrating National Salad Month! The Carolina Sauce Company can help you celebrate AND save you money. Simply use the coupon code May2010Blog and we'll give you 10% off ALL barbecue sauces, burger condiments, and salad dressings, including already-discounted sale items, no minimum order size required. Now is the time to stock up for your Memorial Day cookout or picnic! This coupon is valid through May 31st, and is good on the following products:

*All BBQ sauces

*All Mustards and Ketchups

*All relishes, which include: Crunchy & tangy-sweet Chow Chow relishes in Mild and Hot, mild & tangy-sweet Sweet Pepper Relish, hot & tangy-sweet Habanero Pepper Relish, fiery-hot & savory (not sweet) Mama T's Hot Pepper Relish, ultra-hot and sweet Twenty-Pepper Relish, and spicy-hot & savory Just My Taste Jalapeno Sauce & Dip

*All condiments, which include: Fiery and tangy-sweet Mixed Hot Pepper Rings, spicy-hot and savory-tart Hot Dill Pickle Chips, and our all-time best-selling product, the tangy mustard-ketchup burger sauce from Greensboro NC called Castle Sauce

*All salad dressings, which include: Mama T's Olive Oil Vinaigrette (a classic herb vinaigrette dressing that's hand-made in the NC Outer Banks) and Thomas Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (a unique vinaigrette with a zesty tomato twist from a splash of BBQ sauce)

Get 10% off the above products when you use the coupon code May2010Blog. Enter the coupon online in the "coupon code" section of the billing page, or mention the coupon when ordering by phone. This coupon is valid during the ENTIRE month of May, and you can use it more than once, so order as often as you wish during May to save $$$ while celebrating National BBQ, Burgers and Salads!

Last-Minute Mother's Day Gifts

Still haven't found the perfect Mother's Day gift? Here are some beautiful and thoughtful gifts she's sure to love:

*Send breathtaking florist-arranged flowers of the highest quality, all at a reasonable price, such as the Sweet Serenade mixed bouquet of roses, lilies, stock, daisy poms and more, arranged inside a sleek lavender vase decorated with a wearable heart locket and chain.

*Gorgeous fresh flower bouquets shipped directly from the grower, including 12 pastel premium long-stem roses accented with greenery and Baby's Breath

*Pamper your Mom with the luxurious and indulgent So Serene Spa Essentials Gift Basket, or send her a bountiful Gourmet Gift Basket loaded with fabulous foods, delightful snacks and candy confections -- or how about the Bon Appetit Taste of Italy Gift Basket filled with delicious imported treats such as Parmesan bruschetta crisps, Tuscan style dipping herbs, Los Olicos wine biscuits and more.

*Moms are sure to enjoy the magnificent Gourmet Breakfast Basket, a beautiful cloth-lined muffin/bread basket filled with fantastic breakfast favorites including classic buttermilk pancake mix, New England maple syrup, cinnamon nut coffee, Perugina chocolates, cappuccino rolled wafer cookies, European sipping chocolate and more!

*For more last-minute gift options including fresh lobster & steak dinners, fine coffees & wine accessories and more, click on the link boxes at the top of the left column of this blog to see our offerings and select that special gift. Next-day and even same-day delivery options are available!

Latest Zesty New Products

Our newest products offer something for everyone, from mild & tasty to fiery-hot. Check these out:

Bone Suckin' Poultry Seasoning & Rub: From the makers of Bone Suckin' Sauce, this mild and savory-sweet seasoning features an all natural blend of herbs and spices that pair perfectly with chicken, turkey, cornish hens and more. The whole family will love the finger-lickin', bone-suckin' good flavor!

Blue's Chipotle Mustard Pepper Sauce is fiery-hot and robustly flavored with smoky chipotle and zesty mustard in a rich, thick base. Wonderful on everything from burgers to sandwiches to pizza to Tex-Mex and more -- and it's ON SALE!

Carolina Sauce Co. Mixed Hot Pepper Rings are deli-style "bread & butter" (sweet/tangy) pickled hot pepper rings made in the NC Mountains from locally grown hot peppers and all-natural ingredients. Terrific on burgers, subs, sandwiches & more, these zesty hot pepper rings are on sale AND you'll get an extra 10% off when you use the coupon code May2010Blog!

Carolina Sauce Co. Three-Pepper Hot Sauce is made in the Piedmont region of NC from all-natural ingredients and features jalapenos, cayenne and black pepper in a tangy-sweet vinegar base. A tasty, all-purpose hot sauce, it also makes a great spicy-hot sauce for Eastern NC style pulled pork BBQ -- and it's ON SALE!!

May is Military Appreciation Month - Send Free Sauce to a Soldier

Operation Sauce Drop is our non-profit program that sends free gift boxes of sauce to US military personnel stationed abroad. To date, we've shipped over 900 free gift boxes to our deployed military, at absolutely NO cost to them. Our cost to purchase and ship each free gift generally runs from $20 to $25. The troops really appreciate the free sauce, as you can see from the thank-you notes to donors and photos they've sent in. Want to send a soldier a taste of home and bring a smile to his or her face during Military Appreciation Month? Then please donate to Operation Sauce Drop. You can also shop to support Operation Sauce Drop, where some or all of the purchase price of the products goes straight into Operation Sauce Drop (you get the products you order, and the money you pay is used to send free sauce to the troops).

Zestfully yours,

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spicy-Sweet Lemon Bread

This delicious quick bread is even better the next day, so plan on making it the day before your Mother's Day brunch (or whenever else you want to enjoy it) and let it sit overnight in the pan. If you prefer a non-spicy version, simply omit the Lemon Vanilla Hot Sauce.

1 lemon
1/3 cup shortening, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 to 2 tsp (to taste) Toad Sweat Lemon Vanilla Dessert Hot Sauce

Carefully zest the lemon with a fine grater or zester (make sure you get only the yellow rind and none of the white pith), and reserve the grated zest. Juice the lemon into a glass or ceramic bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees, and grease a 4x9x3 loaf pan (I prefer a Pyrex or ceramic pan instead of a metal pan, if possible). In a large bowl cream together the melted shortening, 1 cup of sugar, and eggs. In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding some of the sifted flour mix and some of the milk into the large bowl containing the creamed mixture, stirring each time, until all is combined. Fold in the grated lemon rind, then pour the combined mixture into the baking pan. Bake in oven at 350F degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. While the bread is baking, add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and the Lemon Vanilla Hot Sauce to the lemon juice and stir to mix thoroughly. Let stand at room temperature while the bread bakes. When bread is done (a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean), remove from oven and immediately pour the lemon juice mixture evenly over the top of the bread. For best flavor and easier cutting, let sit in pan overnight before cutting and serving.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May is Military Appreciation Month

May is National Military Appreciation Month. As stated on the official website, "This very important month honors, remembers, recognizes and appreciates all military personnel; those men and women who have served throughout our history and all who now serve in uniform and their families as well as those Americans who have given their lives in defense of our freedoms we all enjoy today." If you are reading this and are a current or retired member of our military, please accept my -- and the Carolina Sauce Company's -- heart felt THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for your service to our country, and for all your sacrifices and your hard work to protect and defend our nation!

If you are currently in the military and are serving overseas with an FPO or APO mailing address, you are welcome to sign up for a FREE gift box of zesty sauces as part of our Operation Sauce Drop program. Thanks to the generosity of regular folks who donate to Operation Sauce Drop and who shop to support Operation Sauce Drop, this nonprofit program is open again and there are now 11 different types of gift boxes to choose from, including BBQ sauce, hot sauce, grilling & cooking sauces, wing sauces and salsa, ranging from mild to wild. As a US service person with an APO or FPO address, you can select a free gift box and we will ship it to you at NO cost to you whatsoever, as a little token of our appreciation for your service.

If you're not in the service and would like to say "thank you" to our brave military men & women who are serving abroad, you can do so by sending them a taste of home during Military Appreciation Month when you make a donation to Operation Sauce Drop or shop to support OSD. You can even include a personal thank-you note with your donation (type it in the "comment" section of your donation or order) and we will print it out and include it in a gift box to one of our troops.

And if you want to find more ways to show your appreciation to our military men and women, here are some ways to participate in National Military Appreciation Month.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, May 1, 2010

April's Top 10 Best-Selling Sauces & Seasonings

There were fewer surprises last month on our list of top ten best-selling sauces and seasonings across all product categories at the Carolina Sauce Company, but one of them was the debut of a savory & smoky mustard-tomato BBQ sauce made its first top 10 appearance, coming in at 8th place. Keep reading below to see which products finished on top for April 2010:

1. Our all-time best-seller, Castle Sauce, is back in first place where you can usually find it each month. This mustard-tomato burger and steak sauce from Greensboro NC has three generations of fans, and with its zippy, food-friendly flavor and rich, thick texture its popularity should come as no surprise.

2. Moving up four spots from March, Scorned Woman Hot Sauce came in second last month. Scorned Woman is a classic vinegar-based hot sauce made with a blend of fiery chili peppers and black peppers for straightforward heat that will add serious spice to your food without changing its flavor.

3. After finishing first in March, Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce slipped down to third place for April, which is still quite impressive. Made with sweet ripe papaya and fiery scotch bonnet peppers in a thick mustard base, this medium-hot sauce from Trinidad & Tobago adds spicy tropical flavor to everything from poultry to seafood to meat.

4. Matouk's Calypso Sauce is a spicier sibling of Matouk's West Indian Sauce, with a heftier dose of scotch bonnet peppers and no fruit for hotter, more savory flavor.

5. The quintessential Jamaican jerk paste, Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, came in 5th last month. If you want to make authentic jerked meat, seafood or chicken, you can't go wrong with this fiery and aromatic wet rub from Jamaica!

6. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce is a traditional eastern NC barbecue sauce (vinegar, spices, no tomatoes) that's ideal for making Carolina pulled pork BBQ and also serves as a tangy marinade for chicken and a tart condiment for collard greens, fries and hush puppies.

7. The original Bone Suckin' Seasoning & Rub broke in to the overall top ten list for the first time in a while. This savory, subtly sweet and slightly spicy dry rub from NC is great for ribs (beef or pork), roasts and other meat cuts, as well as for poultry and veggies.

8. Another newcomer to the overall best-seller list is J.T. Pappy's Hickory Heaven BBQ Sauce, which finished 8th for April. This robust, savory and smoky barbecue sauce is all-natural and adds great flavor without spicy heat. It's also part of our Sauce for a Cause program, so you can feel good about supporting a good cause when you buy this product!

9. A favorite of folks who want real char-grilled flavor without having to use a charcoal grill, Calhoun's Charcoal Grill Seasoning from Tennessee is made with real charcoal and is wonderful on steaks, burgers, chicken, seafood, and more.

10. Rounding out our list of the top ten best-selling products for April 2010 is another member of the Matouk's family, Matouk's Hot Pepper Sauce. Made with aged pickled scotch bonnet peppers in a thick and savory (sugar-free) mustard base, this is a traditional Caribbean hot sauce that's fiery hot!

We'll soon be updating the category-specific best-seller lists on our online store and featuring highlights in each category here.

Zestfully yours,