Sunday, October 31, 2010

Curried Butternut Squash

I came up with this zesty recipe while playing in the kitchen for a couple of hours this evening. It's not hot and spicy, but you can easily spice it up by adding a minced hot pepper or some ground red pepper to taste.

1 medium butternut squash, about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs
2 Tbs ghee or butter
3/4 tsp curry powder
1/3 to 1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp grated lime rind
1/2 cup chicken broth (you can use apple cider for a vegetarian version)

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut-side down in a large microwavable casserole dish, use a fork to pierce the skin a few times, and add about 1/4" water to the dish. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving a corner open as a vent. Microwave until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Melt 1 Tbs ghee or butter in a large saucepan or skillet, add the curry and almonds and saute over medium heat until the almonds start to turn golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully remove the almonds from the pan using a perforated or slotted spoon and set aside. Add the other tablespoon of ghee or butter to the pan. When melted, add the onions and saute until soft. Add the lime juice, rind and chicken broth and stir to combine.

When squash is tender, remove from microwave and allow to cool enough so that you can handle it. Depending on how tender the squash is (it's ok if it's too soft to cube since you can make this recipe either mashed-style or with squash cubes), remove the flesh from the skin either by scooping out with a spoon or by using a butter knife to "score" the flesh and make cubes (cut horizontal and vertical lines about 1/2" apart, through the flesh but not through the skin, to form a grid and then slide knife between the flesh and skin to remove the flesh as cubes). Add squash to the skillet or pan and stir to combine. Cover and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, then stir in the almonds and serve.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tortuga Trifecta at 2011 Scovie Awards!

Among the recently-announced 2011 Scovie award winners are three delightful sauces from the Tortuga Rum Company, all of which are available and on sale for under $4 a bottle at the Carolina Sauce Company! For folks who enjoy tropical flavors but aren't into fiery heat, there's the lusciously exotic Tortuga Mango & Ginger Stir-Fry Sauce, which came in 2nd Place in the Prepared Sauces, Stir-Fry category. Made in Barbados using all-natural ingredients, this delicious sauce will enhance any stir-fry dish and especially those with seafood, chicken, rice or noodles. It's also nice as a table sauce to boost the flavor of take-out Chinese, steamed or microwaved vegetable dishes, and broiled, steamed, grilled, baked or fried fish. And for hot sauce fans, there's the savory and fiery Tortuga Caribbean Hell-Fire Sauce made with scotch bonnet peppers, and the sweetly spicy Tortuga Sweet Heat Caribbean Pepper Sauce featuring carambola (star fruit) as well as scotch bonnets. The Caribbean Hell-Fire Sauce came in 3rd Place in the Authentic Caribbean Hot Sauce category, while the Sweet Heat Sauce took 2nd Place in the same category. Congratulations to the Tortuga Rum Company for their well-deserved recognition in this prestigious international competition!

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2010 State Fair: Sauce, Peppers & FOOD!

The North Carolina State Fair ended this past Sunday, and as usual we enjoyed sampling a variety of what I call "only at the Fair" food, taking in the sights & sounds & smells, and visiting with some of our good friends who make delicious NC products, including Beth & Scott Granai of Outta the Park BBQ Sauce who were busy sampling their award-winning sauce in the Gotta Be NC tent. Outta the Park recently won its second Scovie Award, and is one of my personal favorites with its rich tomato flavor and zippy peppery kick that's mildly spicy. Too bad they weren't selling ribs or chicken slathered in Outta the Park BBQ Sauce, or I'd have had some for lunch! Instead, I went back to one of my old favorites, the "Hot Fish" booth located directly across from the Dorton Arena Waterfall. Their fried tilapia sandwich is the best fried fish I've had: Cooked to order using the freshest tasting tilapia (no "fishy flavor" at all), fried at the perfect temperature so that there's not a drop of grease, and with a crispy golden batter. I splashed the fillet generously with Texas Pete Hot Sauce and topped it with a dollop of tartar sauce, and then enjoyed my sandwich at a picnic table while watching the rain clouds approach.

Once the rain arrived, I spent a couple of hours checking out the different exhibit halls where all sorts of produce, animals, arts & crafts, and cooking competition entries were displayed. There was quite an extensive variety of different chile peppers on display, including several different strains of habanero peppers such as Naga Jolokia and chocolate (brown) habaneros, datil peppers, cayennes, jalapenos, and adorable little "micro-peppers." Also on display were gigantic pumpkins and watermelons, sweet potatoes of different shapes and colors, lots of apples, and exotic fruit that normally doesn't grow in NC (pineapples, kiwis, and even a banana blossom).

In one of the exhibit halls I discovered a new company selling sinfully delicious cupcakes, including a maple-bacon cupcake which I just had to try. The frosting was as tall as the "cake" part of the cupcake, and delivered a decadently rich maple flavor that was offset quite nicely by the salty bits of bacon sprinkled on top -- but the bacon looked and tasted suspiciously like "Bacos" or other such crumbled imitation bacon, which was a disappointment. If making these at home, I'd have used real crumbled bacon. Nevertheless, the overall flavor of the maple-bacon cupcake was quite good and worth the calories. Other than my fish sandwich, I stayed away from almost all the other deep-fried foods at the Fair, which this year included all sorts of deep-fried candy bars, deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried pickles and more, as you can see from one of the vendor stands offering a selection of deep-fried fare. I did, however, indulge in the deep-fried pumpkin pie, which was an old-fashioned Southern pie (half-moon in shape like a turnover, so that you can carry and eat it by hand if served "straight up"). This was truly a surprise treat, with a not-too-sweet filling that tasted like good old-fashioned pumpkin pie. I thought that serving it with caramel sauce and powdered sugar was overkill, and when Greg and I went back to the Fair on Sunday for our final visit I got another one and asked them to leave off the toppings -- it was even yummier that way.

Another new food this year was the Krispy Kreme Hamburger. I overheard quite a few fairgoers refer to it as "a heart attack on a plate." This cardiologist's nightmare featured a hamburger patty sandwiched between two Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. No, I did not try it. But they were selling. Instead, I settled for a piece of chocolate-covered bacon, which I had tried last year and enjoyed. Last year it was a crispy-cooked slice of bacon threaded on a skewer and dipped in chocolate coating, then refrigerated to allow the coating to harden into a shell. This year, they took it one step further and added white chocolate drizzle plus sprinkles, both of which I thought were unnecessary and served to overwhelm the flavor of the bacon with too much sweetness. The plain chocolate coating was better.

I'll have more photos up on the Carolina Sauce Co. Facebook page in the near future showing more of the peppers as well as some gorgeously decorated cakes. Unfortunately, my camera's flash stopped working and I ran out of batteries so I wasn't able to take as many photos as I had hoped. As a "fair junkie," I'm already looking forward to next October when the State Fair returns. It'll be interesting to see what new deep-fried concoctions are available next year!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cajun-Spiced Potato Salad

If you enjoy flavorful, spicy food, this potato salad is for you!

2 cooked potatoes, peeled & cubed (don't overcook - make sure potatoes are still a little firm so the cubes hold their shape)
1 hard-boiled egg, peeled & chopped
1/4 cup diced celery
2 Tbs minced onion
1/2 tsp Cajun spice seasoning, such as Slap Ya Mama or Louisiana Bayou Blend (adjust amount to taste)
3 to 4 Tbs mayonnaise
2 Tbs chopped green pepper
Opt: 1 small garlic clove, peeled & minced (I use hot pickled garlic)
Opt: 1 tsp minced jalapeno pepper, or to taste

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to chill and allow flavors to meld.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pig Pen's Hot & Spicy Seasoning Wins 1st Place Scovie Award!

The winners of the 2011 Scovie Awards have been announced, and North Carolina's very own Pig Pen's Seasonings has come home with a First Place award! Pig Pen's Hot & Spicy Seasoning from Salisbury NC won the top prize in the "Meat Required - All-Purpose Dry Rub/Seasoning" category. Made with the same secret blend of spices as the original Pig Pen's Seasoning plus a whole bunch of ground habanero pepper, this fiery-hot dry rub packs a powerful wallop of flavor and heat. If you enjoy fiery foods, this is the all-purpose seasoning and BBQ dry rub for you! Use it on anything you're going to smoke or grill, including pork butt, ribs and other meat, venison and other game, and even chicken (I use a little less on poultry). If you're really brave, you can use Pig Pen's Hot & Spicy Seasoning to add savory-sweet flavor and habanero fire to French fries, veggies and even popcorn. Mix a little into raw ground meat to make spicy hamburgers, or add it to your chili or baked beans recipe for a zesty kick. Just make sure you start with a little first, because you can always add more and this baby is HOT so you don't want to add too much.

Pig Pen's Hot & Spicy Seasoning is currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company online store, so now's the time to try this award-winning barbecue rub and seasoning!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Operation Sauce Drop Ships 1,000th Gift Box!

Operation Sauce Drop reached a major milestone today, shipping its 1,000th free gift box of sauce and bringing its total to 1,005 gift boxes shipped to US troops! As you may know if you are a regular reader of my blog, Operation Sauce Drop is a non-profit program of the Carolina Sauce Company that ships free gift boxes of hot sauce, barbecue sauce and other zesty condiments to US troops serving overseas. I was inspired to start the program back in 2007, when my brother-in-law who is in the Army was deployed to Iraq. He had commented that although the military certainly provided plenty of food, it tended to be very bland and boring, and that his fellow service members greatly appreciated receiving an occasional taste of home. And thus Operation Sauce Drop was born. US servicemembers with an APO or FPO address can select a free gift box of their choice, and we ship it to them at absolutely no cost to them. Operation Sauce Drop is funded through donations from regular folks like you, plus the proceeds of our Shop to Support Operation Sauce Drop program, and also by the Carolina Sauce Company. One hundred percent of all funds raised are used solely to purchase and ship the gift boxes at cost -- we make no money from OSD, and we donate the labor, materials and overhead involved in operating the program.

The free sauces and condiments have become a favorite of the troops, as you can see from their photos and thank-you notes to donors, including some new recently-received notes and photos. It's amazing how much a seemingly insignificant little token of support or flavorful reminder of home can mean so much to a service member stationed far from home. With the holidays right around the corner, we'll likely experience a surge of Operation Sauce Drop gift box requests. In the past, donations have not kept up with gift box requests, resulting in a waiting list and the temporary suspension of the program until enough donations were received to fulfill the pending requests. At this moment, Operation Sauce Drop has just enough funds left to cover the cost of one more gift box. Please help us keep this program going by making a donation on our secure site (and no amount is too small) or treating yourself to some tasty sauces through our Shop to Support OSD program. If you'd like to read more about Operation Sauce Drop, simply visit the main OSD page or search this blog for "Operation Sauce Drop" to read older posts. And if you have supported the program in the past, please accept my heart-felt THANK YOU for supporting our troops and helping to send them a little taste of home!

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Interesting Egg Facts

During my visit to the North Carolina State Fair earlier this week, I picked up a brochure from the Good Egg Project and Got to Be NC program which included some interesting information on eggs, egg farming and egg recipes. Although eggs have gotten a bad rap in some circles, they can be part of a healthy diet and are an excellent source of protein. Here's a summary of some of the egg facts from the brochure:

*If you leave a raw egg out at room temperature for a day, it will age as much as a refrigerated egg will age in a week.

*Eggs that are 1 or 2 weeks old will peel more easily when hard-cooked. The reason is that the egg's air cell next to the shell gets larger as the egg ages.

*Hard-cooked eggs will last one week when stored in their shell in the refrigerator. Raw eggs will keep their good quality for 3 to 4 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.

*It's against Federal Law to feed hormones to poultry, so all commercially available eggs are hormone-free even if not labeled as such.

*North Carolina farmers have about 9 million laying hens, which produce about 7 1/2 million eggs per day. That's a LOT of eggs!

If you're like me, you like splashing your scrambled eggs with a good hot sauce or perhaps some ketchup, and on some days I'm in the mood for a zesty salsa with my eggs. When it comes to sauces or condiments for eggs, in my opinion simpler is better: I look for straightforward, "clean" flavors with a mild to medium heat level, rather than more complex multi-ingredient condiments or fiery heat. I think this is probably because I tend to eat eggs for breakfast rather than lunch or dinner, and in the morning my palate prefers "easier" flavors. I also drink coffee with breakfast, and to my taste coffee and fiery hot sauce don't go together. With that in mind, for breakfast eggs I recommend Durn Good Hot Sauce or any of the Texas Pet Hot Sauce varieties for their honest peppery flavor and pleasant heat. If I'm in the mood for a spicy ketchup, my choice often is Melinda's Jalapeno Ketchup. And if it's a salsa that I'm craving, I select the mild version of Pepper Dog Salsa for Southwestern flavor (try it on Huevos Rancheros or breakfast burritos) or Bubba's Special Sauce for garden-fresh tomato flavor (great with omelets and quiche).

If you have a favorite sauce or condiment for eggs, let me know by leaving a comment.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dave's Insanity Private Reserve, 2010 Edition, Is Here!

We now have a few bottles of Dave's Insanity Private Reserve 2010 Edition in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company online store! Like prior editions, this year's version of Dave's Private Reserve is made in extremely limited quantities, and each bottle is signed and hand-numbered by Dave himself. And like last year's edition, the 2010 Private Reserve features the Naga Jolokia (also called the Ghost Pepper) as it's primary ingredient, lending credence to Dave's claim that the 2010 edition is his hottest hot sauce ever!

This collector's item comes in a wooden coffin wrapped in yellow "caution" tape. That should serve as a warning that this ultra-hot hot sauce is indeed deadly-hot, and should only be used with extreme care and in extremely small amounts, and kept out of the reach of children and pets. This is NOT a joke -- nor should this hot sauce be used as a joke. If you do plan on using it with food, I recommend using it by the micro-drop, off the tip of a toothpick. One or two drops can add fiery heat to an entire pot of chili. And as with any ultra-hot hot sauce, make sure you don't get it on your hands or in your eyes!

Each year, Dave's Gourmet Private Reserve hot sauce sells out quickly, and once an edition is sold out, it's gone for good. So if you want a bottle of the 2010 edition of Dave's Private Reserve for yourself, or to give as a Christmas gift or other special treat for a loved one, don't delay and order today.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce is Here!

Fans of genuine eastern North Carolina vinegar BBQ sauce rejoice: Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce is back in stock again at the Carolina Sauce Company! We received our back-ordered delivery today and have plenty in stock, just in time for late-season tailgating, the holidays and Fall/Winter pig pickins' and cookouts. Wells Hog Heaven Barbecue Sauce (the one with the black label in the photo on the left) is our all-time best-selling barbecue sauce, and one of the overall top-selling products on our website. Ideal for splashing on pulled pork BBQ, it's also excellent as a marinade for chicken and meat (I'd add a little oil if you're going to use it as a marinade, to keep the chicken or meat moist). Spicy and tangy but not too hot, Wells also adds zesty flavor to collard greens and other veggies, and can even be enjoyed on fried fish, hushpuppies and French Fries. It's made in the tiny town of Burgaw, NC, just outside of Wilmington, so it's definitely the real deal.

Wells also makes a thicker, tomato based BBQ sauce specifically for ribs and chicken, and it's called, appropriately enough, Wells All-Purpose Ribs & Chicken BBQ Sauce. That's the one with the yellow label in the photo. This sauce is milder in flavor and richer in texture due to the generous amount of tomato, but it still has a nice savory tang like any proper Carolina style sauce. Now for the bad news: We have only 1 bottle left of the Wells Chicken & Ribs sauce, and we're not sure if we'll be able to get any more before the end of the year. So if you've gotta have your Wells All-Purpose Ribs & Chicken Sauce, hurry up & order it ASAP! And if you miss out, just contact us and I'll be happy to recommend a close substitute.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Scorned Woman Mustard

I was dismayed to learn today that Scorned Woman Mustard has been discontinued by the manufacturer. What a shame, as this was one of my favorite mustards and also one of the best-selling mustards at the Carolina Sauce Company. Its thick texture featured little bits of garlic, onion and pepper, providing for a pleasingly interesting mouthfeel, and the flavor was classic dijon with complementary herbs and spices plus a fiery chile pepper wallop. Alas, I won't have another chance to slather it on sandwiches or sausage now that it's gone for good and I finished my last jar several days ago....

Although there's no other mustard that tastes just like Scorned Woman mustard, another one of my favorites comes close, Trolly Stop Hot Mustard from Wilmington NC. This one also has a thick, rich texture with a dijon base and interestingly complex layers of flavor which include a subtle hint of sweetness and smoke, neither of which asserts itself but rather adds depth and dimension. The heat level is comparable, so if you enjoyed the spiciness of Scorned Woman mustard, I think you'll be pleased with the Trolly Stop mustard -- and no, that's not a typo on my part. The product is actually called "Trolly Stop", not "trolley".

Since Scorned Woman Mustard is no longer available, we've reduced the price of our popular Scorned Woman Gift Set, which features the remaining Scorned Woman products including the 3 different hot sauces, the salsa, BBQ Sauce and wing sauce. And we've replaced the Scorned Woman Mustard with the aforementioned Trolly Stop Mustard Sauce in our Mustard Lover's Gift Set. I hope to have new photos of both of these gift sets posted on the Carolina Sauce online store in the near future.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carolina Sauce Closed on Oct 20, 2010 for State Fair

The Carolina Sauce Company will be closed on Wednesday, October 20th, for our annual day trip to the North Carolina State Fair. We'll be meeting with some of our vendors who are promoting their products at the fair, and we'll also be sampling new sauces and hopefully discovering some potential new products to add to our online store in 2011. And of course we'll be partaking of some fabulous Fair food, and maybe even finding some inspiration for playing in the kitchen and creating new recipes. I'll try to remember to bring my camera so that I can share some photos in a later post.

Although no one will be available today at our office or warehouse to answer calls or reply to email, please do feel free to leave us a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can when we're back to work on Thursday. And as always, you can still place orders online and they'll be packed and shipped beginning on Thursday when we re-open.

Thank you for your understanding, and if you're also going to the State Fair sometime this week -- or if you've already been there -- please do leave me a comment with your thoughts on this year's Fair!

Zestfully yours,

PS: Check out our new Carolina Sauce Company Facebook page! Just click on the "Like" button to become a Fan, and stay tuned for upcoming coupons, contests and other zesty fun available only to our Fans.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Carolina Sauce is Now on Facebook!

We just launched our Facebook page today, and we have big plans for the near future. To become a Fan, please visit the Carolina Sauce Facebook page and click on "Like".

Please help us spread the word by telling all your Facebook friends, and stay tuned for upcoming specials!

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Monday, October 18, 2010

All-Purpose Spicy Tomato-Onion Relish

Variations on this all-purpose fresh condiment or relish are found in many different ethnic cuisines: For example, in Mexico it's called "pico de gallo," while in India it's known as "kachumbar." Regardless of what you call it, it's very easy to make and goes well with all sorts of savory food, from tacos and enchiladas to chapatis and biryani, and even with chips or on burgers and sandwiches. The ingredient quantities are merely suggestions so feel free to adjust them to your taste or to what you have on hand.

3 ripe tomatoes, deseeded & chopped
1 large onion, diced (I use a sweet onion like Texas or Vidalia(R))
1 or 2 fresh green chili peppers, deseeded & minced (jalapeno, serrano, Thai or other variety)
3 Tbs chopped cilantro
2 Tbs fresh-squeezed lime or lemon juice
1/2 to 1 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper (to taste)
Opt: Pinch of sugar

Place all ingredients in a non-metallic bowl (glass or ceramic is best), gently toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, gently toss and then taste for balance. If desired, add extra salt or pepper or cilantro or sugar.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spicy Redneck Eggplant Casserole

This is my spicy take on an old Southern recipe. There ain't nuthin' fancy about it (hence the name), just some good eats and an easy way to use eggplant from your garden (or from the grocery store).

1 medium eggplant, peeled & cubed
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs butter or margarine
1 egg (or equivalent egg substitute), beaten
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs chopped green jalapeno (deseeded)
1 1/2 cups canned "Mexican style" tomatoes (seasoned with chilies & garlic/onion & spices)
1 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs (finely crumbled)
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 to 1 cup (to taste) shredded pepper-jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place eggplant in a saucepan with just enough water to cover, add salt and cook on stovetop until tender. Thoroughly drain off all the water, then stir in the remaining ingredients except the cheese. Spoon this mixture into a greased 2-quart casserole dish, sprinkle top with cheese and bake at 350F degrees for half an hour or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Saturday, October 16, 2010

NC State Fair is On!

Greg and I were in Raleigh today for a seminar, and we headed over early so that we could spend a couple of hours roaming the State Fair in the morning -- and after the seminar ended, we went back to the Fair to spend the evening, indulge in some fried food, and watch the fireworks. Among the new fried fare at the Fair this year are fried frito pie (described as "Texas chili mixed with mild cheddar cheese, wrapped in a Frito corn chip which is then battered and fried"), fried pumpkin pie, and fried banana split sundae. Last-year's surprise treat of chocolate-covered bacon is back, and yes I've had it and must confess I liked it. Since our time was limited we stuck with some old favorites, like the BBQ and fried fish platters from the Shriners, salads with London broil steak from Butcher Boys, some ribbon-cut sweet potato chips, and a cup of moosetracks ice cream from the ice cream vendor inside one of the exhibit halls. We visited the Got to Be NC tent where we saw our friends Weng and Cheng of Capsicana Zing Gourmet Sauce who had quite a crowd sampling their zesty sauce. The Bone Suckin' Sauce folks were also there, and another popular stop with fairgoers was the Lilly's Maple Butter booth (in one of the exhibit halls this year) where you could sample their sublimely delicious sweet treat.

The crowds were out in full force this evening, no doubt because of the spectacular weather and today being the first Saturday of the fair. It was almost overwhelming along the midway and other popular spots, with people packed more densely than I've ever experienced -- and I know crowds, having grown up in NYC and traveled to India. But almost everyone seemed in good spirits, although it was irritating to have clusters of people come to a complete stop in the middle of the road so that they could text or talk on their cell phones (people, please be considerate and step to the side instead of blocking traffic!). The fireworks show was entertaining as usual, although not quite as satisfying as the musically-choreographed fireworks we saw at a Durham Bulls game this summer. But over all we have a lovely time at the fair on our first visit of the year (we will be back before it's over). The one disappointment was all of the trash on the ground. We've been going to the North Carolina State Fair every year for over 20 years now, and never has there been some much trash lying around, which was a shame and unnecessary since trash cans and recycling bins are everywhere. Please folks, don't throw your food wrappers, plastic bottles or other garbage on the ground: Use a trash can or recycling bin. Let's keep our fair fun and looking good.

If anyone tries any of the new fried items, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Carolina Sauce Newsletter: Trick or Treat for Free Sauces & Seasonings!

Who said trick or treating was just for kids? It's time for our annual Halloween giveaway, when grown-ups can trick or treat for FREE sauce gifts, and we're being more generous than ever! Simply place an order with the Carolina Sauce Company in any amount, now through Halloween (October 31st), and enter the words "Trick or Treat" in the comment section of the online order form, and we'll send you at least two (2) FREE samples of sauces or seasonings! Every order is guaranteed at least 2 free mini-samples (we choose your free gifts), but the bigger your order, the more different free samples you'll get:

*Get 2 different free mini-samples for orders of $20 or less in products
*Get 3 different free mini-samples for orders of over $20 in products
*Get 4 different free mini-samples for orders of over $30 in products
*Get 5 different free mini-samples for orders of over $40 in products
*Get 1 FULL-SIZE free sample AND 5 different free mini-samples for orders of over $50 in products
*Get 2 FULL-SIZE free samples AND 5 different free mini-samples for orders of over $75 in products
*Get 3 FULL-SIZE free samples AND 5 different free mini-samples for orders of over $100 in products

(Note: If your order is a gift to be shipped to a different person, please specify if you want the gift recipient to receive the free sample(s), OR if you want us to email you a special coupon so that you can receive the free sample(s) the next time you place an order to be shipped to yourself)

Just remember to include the words "Trick or Treat" in the comment section of your online order (or say "trick or treat" when ordering by phone) between now and October 31st. If you don't say "Trick or Treat", we won't know to send your free sauce, so don't forget! And don't delay -- this special ends at midnight on Halloween, October 31st.

To help you get in the Halloween spirit, our Scary Sauces Gift Set is frightfully hot, and the bottles look pretty scary too! Say "trick or treat" with your order and you'll get 4 free mini-samples just for ordering this gift set! We also have several different varieties of Blair's Death Sauces each with the famous skull keychain, plus Black Widow Hot Sauce with a realistic plastic spider stuck on the bottle, You Can't Handle This Hot Sauce with a creepy demon on the label, Black Mamba Venomous Hot Sauce and Venom Xtreme Hot Sauce with terrifying snakes on the label, and Satan's Blood Hot Sauce in a vial that might have come from a witch's workshop, plus Dave's Insanity Ghost Pepper Sauce...

October Recipe: Spicy Sausage & Sweet Potato Balls

Here's an easy, crowd-pleasing appetizer or snack for your next tailgate or sports-watching party: Spicy Sausage & Sweet Potato Balls!

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. In a large bowl mix together 3 cups of Bisquick, 2 cups of cooked & mashed sweet potatoes, 1 cup of shredded cheddar or pepperjack cheese, 1 lb raw bulk sausage, and several dashes of your favorite hot sauce or spice sauce such as Zing Gourmet Sauce. Roll into golf ball size balls and place on a greased cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake in the oven at 350F degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

Gluten-Free Products at Carolina Sauce!

If you or someone you know is on a gluten-free diet, I have great news: The Carolina Sauce Company is now your one-stop source for delicious gluten-free barbecue sauce, feisty gluten-free hot sauce, zesty gluten-free seasonings, flavor-packed gluten-free salsas and condiments, and more. For your convenience, we've assembled a page where you can see all the different Gluten-Free Products we offer in our online store. We'll keep adding to our selection of zesty gluten-free sauces and seasonings, so keep checking back for new arrivals.

Latest New Products

Check out these zesty new sauces, ranging from mild to wild and all ON SALE:

*Pickapeppa Brown Sauce: This is THE original Pickapeppa Sauce! Fabulous as a savory steak sauce and all-purpose table condiment, the rich & robust flavors compliment everything from meat to chicken to seafood to even Bloody Marys.

*Big Bob Gibson Championship Red BBQ Sauce: Winner of multiple international barbecue competitions, this KC-style savory-sweet sauce from Alabama is mouthwatering on ribs and other meat as well as chicken and grilled veggies.

*Bailey Farms Chocolate Habanero Hot Sauce: No, it's not chocolate-flavored. This award-winning hot sauce from NC is made with the brown Chocolate Habanero pepper, which is the hottest habanero variety. Packed with flavor and fiery heat, this all-natural zero-carb hot sauce will please chileheads who crave a really hot hot sauce that tastes good.

*Xtreme Hot Sauce: True to its name, this one is SUPER hot. If you love garlic and can handle extreme heat, this Caribbean-style all-natural habanero hot sauce is for you. The flask bottle and stark label add to its "bad boy" appeal, making Xtreme Hot Sauce a great gift, too.

Operation Sauce Drop Closes In On 1,000!

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 990 free gift boxes to our deployed military, at absolutely NO cost to them. The troops greatly appreciate the free sauces, as you can see from their thank-you notes & photos. Our cost to purchase and ship each free gift box generally runs from $20 to $25, and 100% of all donations received are used SOLELY to pay for the cost of the sauces & shipping. Want to send a soldier a taste of home for the holidays? 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). Our troops will thank you for your support!

Follow SaucyGlo on Twitter for exclusive coupons, the latest food news, & for sharing zesty tips!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Favorite No- Salt Seasonings

Although I'm not on a sodium-restricted diet, I do try to moderate my sodium intake so long as it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of my food. Through the years I've learned that the over-reliance on salt can be an excuse for careless recipe construction, a cover-up for lower-quality ingredients, or a lazy substitute for creative (and more pleasing) seasonings. Don't get me wrong: Sometimes I crave, and indulge in, a salty snack. But making delicious and satisfying salt-free or low-sodium food isn't difficult if you are willing to try seasonings that might be new to you. Here are three very different -- and very flavorful -- salt free seasonings that I enjoy and use. Trust me, you won't miss the salt. In fact, I was surprised to learn that two of these have no sodium when I looked at the label after I'd been using them for some time!

1. Louisiana Bayou Blend Seasoning: This is my go-to savory spice blend when I want to add zesty peppery flavor to any recipe calling for salt and pepper as seasonings. Mild on the heat scale, the nice thing about this all-purpose seasoning is that no one flavor stands out (it's not overly garlicky, for example), which means you can add it to any recipe to enhance it without altering it -- just like you'd use salt and pepper.

2. Mama T's Olive Oil Vinaigrette: I use this classic herb vinaigrette as an everyday salad dressing for tossed salads as well as for steamed or microwaved vegetables. It's an excellent choice when feeding a group of folks who may have different dietary concerns or preferences, and where a creamy or strongly-flavored salad dressing might not please everyone. But more importantly, this salt-free vinaigrette is delicious as a salad dressing AND as a marinade for everything from fish and shellfish to chicken, veggies and even steak or other meat.

3. Jump Up & Kiss Me Spicy Passion Fruit Sauce: If you enjoy spicy sauces with a twist of fruit, this all-natural, medium-heat no-sodium hot sauce is a must-have. Made with habanero peppers, pineapple and passion fruit, the tropical flavors are like an island vacation for your mouth. The judicious use of savory ingredients like onions and spices keeps this luscious sauce from being too sweet. With layers of rich, palate-pleasing flavors and just the right amount of peppery kick, Jump Up & Kiss Me Passion Fruit Hot Sauce perfectly balances sweet & tangy for a seductive taste that complements seafood, poultry, pork, stir-fry dishes, Caribbean fare and more.

If you're interested in trying other low-salt or no-salt sauces and seasonings, make sure to check our complete list of no sodium and low sodium products.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to Make Blackened Fish or Meat

Cajun blackened catfish
Cajun Blackened Catfish
If you enjoy Cajun blackened fish or meat, here's how to make it at home. You'll need a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, and ideally you'll make this outdoors over a charcoal grill because the cooking process will produce a LOT of intense smoke, which will choke up the air indoors and set off your smoke detectors. If you have no choice but to try this recipe indoors, make sure your stove has an excellent exhaust fan.

You can use raw fish fillets such as catfish, red snapper, tilapia, trout, etc. You can also use this blackening recipe for steak, but begin with slightly undercooked steak and use this recipe to finish cooking the meat while blackening. For best results, use a genuine Cajun spice blend, such as Slap Ya Mama from Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, or a seafood blackening seasoning.

Heat your cast-iron skillet over a charcoal grill or on high heat for 5 to 10 minutes until it is very hot (you might see some smoke, which is fine). While the skillet is heating, melt some butter and pour into a shallow dish. You'll use the butter for dipping the raw fish or meat before seasoning. When the skillet is very hot, dip the fish or meat in the melted butter, remove and then generously sprinkle both sides of each fillet or steak with the Cajun seasoning -- I used the back of a spoon to press the seasoning onto the buttered fish so that it sticks better and coats the fish well. Carefully place the fish or meat in the hot skillet and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute for thin fillets or up to 2 minutes for thicker fillets  -- yes, it will cook quickly and there will be a LOT of smoke, and you will need to flip the fillets as soon as there is a crust formed on the first side.

Frying blackened catfish

Use a metal spatula to flip each fillet carefully. Expect to see even more smoke, and to remove the fish from the skillet and onto a platter within 1 minute.

cooking blackened fish

Trout or other small/thin fish fillets will thoroughly cook in as little as 2 to 3 minutes total. With thicker fillets, remove them from the skillet within 3 minutes even if not yet completely cooked, because residual heat will finish cooking them on the serving plate within an additional minute or so. However if thicker fillets still are not fully cooked (easily flaking), you can finish them in a preheated oven at 350°F degrees -- but keep your eye on them so as to not overcook! Serve hot with lemon wedges, tartar sauce, remoulade, or cocktail sauce.

With steak or other meat, you follow the same steps but you can complete the cooking during the skillet blackening process, checking carefully for your desired doneness.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Updated Lists of Best-Selling Hot Sauce, BBQ Sauce, etc.

The category-specific lists of Top Ten best-selling sauces and other products have been updated to reflect the year-to-date totals at the Carolina Sauce Company online store as of October 1st. I've included a link to each list below, along with one or more highlights per category. If you're looking for a new hot sauce, rub, BBQ sauce, condiment or snack -- or a great gift idea for someone who enjoys zesty foods -- you can't go wrong with any of our best-sellers.

*Best-Selling Barbecue Sauces: My favorite Piedmont NC style (vinegar with tomato) sauce, Jim's Own Homestyle BBQ Sauce is currently our third-best selling barbecue sauce, while my favorite KC/Memphis style (thick tomato) sauce, Outta the Park BBQ Sauce (which happens to be made in North Carolina) is in fifth place. Jim's Own BBQ Sauce comes with FREE recipes, and Outta the Park BBQ Sauce is currently on sale.

*Best-Selling Hot Sauces: If you are a serious chilehead with a cast-iron stomach and Teflon(R) tongue, you've probably helped make the ultra-hot Dave's Ultimate Insanity Sauce our tenth best-selling hot sauce to date for this year. Spiked with capsaicin extract, this dangerously hot sauce is best used one micro-drop at a time.

*Best-Selling Marinades & Dressings: Two of my favorite tropical sauces for marinating and cooking are currently on this list. Tortuga Mango Ginger Stir-Fry Sauce (6th) is zesty and exotically delicious on all types of stir-fry, grilled, steamed and rice dishes. Tortuga Spicy Seafood Grill Sauce (9th) is savory & spicy, and great on fish and shellfish cooked indoors or on the grill. Both are on sale for only $3.75 each!

*Best-Selling Rubs & Seasonings: In 5th place is Pig Pen's Original Seasoning from NC, which is Greg's favorite dry rub for pork butt & beef brisket and is also one of my go-to seasonings when I'm craving mouthwatering BBQ flavor on grilled or sauteed veggies.

*Best-Selling Salsa & Relish: Giardiniera is a traditional Italian relish and sandwich condiment of mixed peppers and vegetables pickled in oil and vinegar. Capone Family Secret Hot Giardiniera from Chicago is the real deal, and legend has it that it's based on Al Capone's favorite recipe.

*Best-Selling Jerks & Curry: Two savory products from Jamaica's Busha Browne company are presently on our list of top-ten jerk products, with Busha Browne's Authentic Jerk Seasoning (a concentrated wet-rub or paste) in 4th place and Busha Browne's Spicy Jerk Sauce (an all-purpose table sauce and condiment) in 6th place.

*Best-Selling Mustards & Ketchups: One of my favorite savory mustards, Trolly Stop Hot Mustard Sauce, is virtually impossible to find outside of Wilmington NC. This spicy mustard is presently in 10th place and is excellent on hot dogs, brats and other sausages, burgers, sandwiches and anywhere else you'd use regular mustard.

*Best-Selling Wing Sauces: If you enjoy fiery Buffalo wings and prefer a thick sauce that will stick to your wings, the Distillery Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce from Rochester NY is for you. And if you enjoy your wings with blue cheese dressing, make sure to get some Anchor Bar Bleu Cheese Dip from the birthplace of the original Buffalo wings.

*Best-Selling Gift Sets: This list is full of tasty (and tasteful) holiday gift ideas, so be sure to start your Christmas shopping here. To send a sampling of sauces from the Tarheel State, send our best-selling gift set, the mild North Carolina BBQ Gift Set. For the fiery-foods fanatic, we have the Ultra-Hot Gift Set featuring 9 of the hottest hot sauces we carry. And for the foodie who prefers gourmet treats with exotic flair, design your own Gourmet Chutney Gift Box.

*Best-Selling North Carolina Products: In a tight race for the top two spots on this list you'll find Well's Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce, a classic eastern NC BBQ sauce (vinegar, no tomato) currently in first place, with Castle Sauce, an old-fashioned mustard-ketchup burger & steak sauce from Greensboro NC, close behind in 2nd place.

*Best-Selling Snacks & Sweets: If you love apples and old-fashioned preserves, you'll swoon over Mrs. Picky Fanicky's Apple Pie MmmMarmalade, a blue-ribbon-winning apple marmalade made from a family recipe from rural NC and currently on sale. If pickles and spice are more your taste, try our very own Hot Dill Pickle Chips -- and a dollar from every jar we sell is donated to Operation Sauce Drop, our nonprofit program that sends free gift boxes of sauce to deployed troops!

*Best-Selling Steak Sauces & Pasta Sauces: If you like your steak sauce with a fiery kick, check out our 5th best-selling steak sauce, the all-natural and spicy-hot Melinda's Habanero Pepper Steak Sauce (and it's on sale). If gourmet flavor is more your style, you'll love Olio & Spices Red Wine Onion Sauce, a luscious accompaniment for steak and other meats, as well as for grilled or roasted vegetables.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dave's Insanity Private Reserve 2009 Edition is Sold Out!

If you're a hot sauce collector and haven't yet gotten your bottle of the 2009 edition of Dave's Insanity Sauce Private Reserve, I have bad news: We've sold out! Made with the world's hottest chili pepper (the Naga Jolokia or "ghost" pepper, also called the Bhut Jolokia), Dave's Private Reserve is known for being one of the hottest hot sauces on the market. Each year, Dave brews up a new version and releases a limited number of his Private Reserve Insanity Sauce. Each bottle is packaged in a wooden coffin that's wrapped in yellow "caution" tape, and is hand-signed and numbered by Dave himself. Prized by chileheads, fiery foods fanatics and serious hot sauce collectors, early editions of Dave's Private Reserve Hot Sauces have been known to command a hefty price, with stories of people paying over $1,000 for a bottle!

If you missed out on the 2009 edition, don't despair. Here at Carolina Sauce, we're hoping to get our hands on a few bottles of the 2010 edition of Dave's Private Reserve in time for the holiday shopping season. Stay tuned to the blog, because as soon as we have the 2010 edition in stock, it'll be announced here.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Healthier Creamy Horseradish Sauce

Creamy horseradish sauce is usually made with sour cream, which means it's loaded with unhealthy fat. This version uses plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, which cuts down on the fat -- and if you're really watching your fat intake, you'll be glad to know that you can use FAT-FREE plain Greek yogurt and still have a deliciously rich-tasting horseradish sauce! The key is to use a good quality Greek yogurt (organic if possible, but Oikos or Chobani brands will work), which have a mouthfeel and tang that are remarkably close to sour cream, even when you use the fat-free Greek yogurt. Ordinary "non-Greek" yogurt just doesn't taste close enough to sour cream, so I don't recommend it for this recipe. This horseradish sauce is wonderful with roast beef or prime rib.

1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (fat-free will work)
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all ingredients thoroughly, and store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Stir well before using. That's it!

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oink Moo Cock-A-Doodle Doo BBQ Sauce is Back!

The wait is over: Oink Moo Cock-A-Doodle Doo BBQ Sauce is back in stock and available again at the Carolina Sauce Company! This spunky barbecue sauce with the quirky name was created by two ol' country gals from the little town of Yadkinville NC, in the northern piedmont. A little bit sweet, a little bit tangy, and with just the right amount of "kick," Oink Moo (as I like to call it) is a genuine Piedmont NC style barbecue sauce, which means there's some tomato added to the vinegar base. As you can guess by the descriptive label and name, this barbeque sauce is great on everything from traditional pulled or chopped pork BBQ to beef brisket to grilled chicken. You can marinate, baste, mop and dip with it, and it's also good in the crock pot, oven, and in raw ground meat for burgers. Splash it on collards and other greens for zesty flavor, add it to baked beans or green beans, and even enjoy it with hushpuppies, fried shrimp, fried catfish and other crispy or battered fried foods. One taste, and even the bluest-blooded Yankee will be hollerin' "Yeeee-HAW!" with delight!

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bad News for Fans of Pickapeppa Jerk

If you're a fan of Pickapeppa Jamaican Jerk Seasoning and have been wondering when it will be back in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company, I'm afraid I have bad news: The folks at Pickapeppa don't expect to have any available until February 2011. This morning I received word from our supplier that Pickapeppa had notified them of this problem -- Pickapeppa has been out of stock for some time -- but did not give any reason why they weren't going to produce any more of this product until next year. So now you know as much as we do about what's going on, which unfortunately isn't much other than the fact that Pickapeppa Jerk Seasoning won't be back on the market for at least a few more months.

In the meantime, if you are craving the exotic, aromatic and fiery flavors of Jamaica, check out the different Jamaican jerk seasonings that we do have in stock for you at Carolina Sauce. Of course we have the ever-popular Walkerswood jerk products as well as the venerable old Busha Browne's jerk products. But two lesser-known jerk sauces are actually my personal favorites: First, there's Pluto's Certified Organic Jerk Sauces which are made in North Carolina by Pluto, a Jamaican ex-pat who brought his authentic homeland recipes when he moved to NC. Pluto's Jerk Sauces are intensely delicious and made with the finest all-natural, organic ingredients, and are excellent for marinating and cooking. Available in Mild and Hot, Pluto's jerk sauces come with a FREE recipe brochure AND they're also currently on sale. Another favorite of mine is Tortuga Jamaican Jerk Sauce, a versatile, moderately spicy but richly flavored jerk sauce that can be used at the table as well as for marinating and cooking. With only 30mg of sodium per Tablespoon, it qualifies as "very low sodium" like the unavailable Pickapeppa Jerk did. And at only $3.75 a bottle, the Tortuga Jerk Sauce is a real steal! I hope you'll try one or more of these tasty Jamaican jerks while we wait for Pickapeppa to bring back theirs....

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Uncle Pete's Sloppy Joes

This hearty recipe comes from the creator of the award-winning Uncle Pete's BBQ Sauces from South Carolina, and is sure to become a family favorite. If you enjoy hot & spicy foods, simply add a minced jalapeno pepper or some pickled jalapeno rings (drained). I've included my suggestions in parentheses.

1 lb lean ground beef (or ground venison, or even ground turkey)
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
(Opt: 1 minced jalapeno pepper OR 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno rings, drained)
1 16oz can Pork & Beans
1 bottle Uncle Pete's BBQ Sauce, any flavor
1/2 tsp salt (I omit this)
1/2 tsp chili powder

In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, cook the first 3 ingredients (plus the optional jalapeno if using) until the meat is well browned, about 10 minutes (when it's done, I drain off excess fat). Stir in the remaining ingredients and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve on rolls or buns, with plenty of napkins handy!

Zestfully yours,

PS: Uncle Pete's BBQ Sauce comes in 3 delicious varieties -- Original, Hickory and Spicy -- and you get a FREE recipe sheet when you order it from the Carolina Sauce Company.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quick Tips for Buying Fresh Fish

Fresh fishIf you want to serve your family the most delicious fresh fish, here are some quick tips from the nonprofit Consumers Union (and from me) to ensure you're buying the freshest fish:

*Sniff the fish before you buy. If it has a strong fishy smell, don't buy it. Fresh fish smells clean and like the ocean, not like cat food.

*Fish should be on ice or in a refrigerated case. If it's not, don't buy it.

*Steaks and fillets should have firm flesh. If the flesh looks slimy or dried out, or if it has gaps between the muscle fibers or if it has spots, don't buy it.

*Whole fish should have clear eyes and bright red gills. If the eyes are cloudy, don't buy it.

*Buy fish or seafood last so that it stays as cold as possible. If you get it early and then cart it around the store as you finish your shopping, bacteria can start to grow as the fish's temperature gets warmer.

*If your drive home is more than a few minutes (especially on hot days), ask the seafood counter clerk to pack your fish with a bag of ice to keep it cool. Better yet, have a cooler with ice in your car for the drive home.

Lovely Pink Salmon*Get to know your fishmonger. Ask him or her what day of the week fish is delivered to the store, and ask what's freshest. If the source/origin of the fish isn't posted, ask where it's coming from.

*If possible, buy local fish and seafood. The shorter the travel from the body of water to the store, the fresher it probably is.

*Refrigerate fresh fish as soon as you get home, and use the same day or in any event within 2 days. If you don't plan on eating it that soon, wrap it well (airtight) and freeze.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you love eating fish, check out our partner The Crab Place for some of the freshest fish the East Coast has to offer. All of their fresh fish is wild-caught from U.S. waters. Be sure to check out our Fresh Fish Specials for money-saving deals on salmon, rockfish, flounder, red snapper, swordfish and tuna.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Big Bob Gibson Championship Red Sauce

Sometimes even the most adventurous eaters need a reliable, all-purpose crowd-pleasing sauce that's not too spicy, not too sweet, not too tangy and not too rich -- and yet manages to make everyone's mouth water and even the primmest diner lick his or her fingers. Big Bob Gibson's Championship Red Sauce is such a sauce. This is an all-American, "great on everything" classic-style tomato BBQ sauce that has been pleasing young and old alike for 85 years now. Winner of multiple First-Place barbecue competition awards at the national and international level, Big Bob Gibson Championship Red BBQ Sauce has been hailed as the "best barbecue sauce on the planet" by at least one judge at the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce Contest in Kansas City. While I personally wouldn't go quite that far, I am willing to say that this is genuine "comfort food" in a bottle when you're craving a good ol' sweet & savory slathering sauce similar to what your Mom or Dad used to buy at the store, but tastier.

There's a definite sweet tomato flavor when you first taste this sauce, but then you taste robust savory notes from Worcestershire sauce and steak sauce. Big Bob Gibson adds a touch of smoke and even some beef flavor, which provide a depth of flavor rather than standing out as independent ingredients. The texture is thick but pourable, which makes it good for glazing and dipping. This is a well-balanced sauce that's perfect for serving at tailgates, cookouts, block parties, family reunions, and any time that you need to satisfy a wide variety of ages and palates. Big Bob Gibson's Championship Red BBQ Sauce is ideal for basting ribs (beef or pork), chicken and all sorts of meat including venison -- use as a glaze or slather towards the end of cooking to avoid burning. Serve it on the side at the table for dipping, use it in ground beef recipes (sloppy joes, burgers, chili, meatloaf) and in baked beans, and enjoy it instead of ketchup with fries and onion rings. Big Bob Gibson Championship Red Sauce is also a favorite on the competitive BBQ circuit as well as with backyard cooks. Best of all, it's currently on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company, so now's the time to stock your pantry!

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Spicy Reduced-Fat Spinach Artichoke Dip

Here's my spicy, healthier take on a classic dip that's usually very high in fat. Use high-quality low-fat ingredients for the best texture and flavor, and you won't miss the fat! Serve with whole wheat crackers, pita wedges, crostini or raw veggies.

2 cups grated Parmesan Cheese (the real stuff, not from a can)
2 cups grated reduced-fat Pepper Jack cheese
1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt (Oikos or Chobani brands work well)
1 Tbs minced garlic (you can use Hot Pickled Garlic)
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry to remove as much moisture as possible
1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp (or more) red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Stir together the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine completely. Place in a 1 to 1 1/2 quart casserole dish and bake, uncovered, until heated through (about 10-12 minutes). Remove from oven, allow to cool just a little and serve while still hot/warm for best flavor.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, October 1, 2010

September's Top Ten Best-Selling Products

The top ten best-selling products across all categories at Carolina Sauce have been updated for September, and for your convenience I've listed them below. You'll see some perennial favorites on the list, as well as a first-time top-ten finisher that's been around for decades and has a growing fan base.

1. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce was our top-selling sauce last month. This is a genuine eastern NC barbecue sauce, which means plenty of tangy vinegar and NO tomatoes or thickeners.

2. Castle Sauce is back in the top ten list, where it's usually in the top three (and last month it was second). Castle Sauce is an old-fashioned steak & burger sauce the whole family will love, with a rich mustard-ketchup flavor that's also great for dipping fries and onion rings.

3. Matouk's Calypso Hot Sauce is made in Trinidad & Tobago, and is a fiery scotch bonnet pepper sauce with great tropical flavor and a thick, food-friendly texture.

4. Scott's BBQ Sauce is another eastern NC barbecue sauce that regularly finishes in the top ten. Made from a century-old recipe and featuring plenty of peppery heat, Scott's Barbecue Sauce is ideal for pulled pork BBQ and also as a spicy marinade for chicken and meat.

5. Samson's Sauce broke into the top-ten list for the first time last month, with a very impressive 5th place finish. This spunky vinegar-based pepper sauce has been around since the 1920's, is great on any savory dish, and sports an amusing "old-school" label reminiscent of patent-medicines from the early 1900s.

6. Matouk's Flambeau is a super-hot West Indian hot sauce that rates a solid 10 on a 1-10 point heat scale -- but there's no harsh capsaicin extract in this incendiary sauce, just aged scotch bonnet peppers and other devilishly delicious island ingredients.

7. Susie's Original Hot Sauce from Antigua was our seventh best-selling product in September. Prone to shortages and frequently difficult to find outside the Caribbean, Susie's Hot Sauce is a traditional Caribbean hot sauce made with tropical peppers in a savory mustard base. Get it while you can!

8. Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning is our overall best-selling jerk product, and deservedly so. It's an authentic Jamaican wet-rub or paste that's intensely aromatic and spicy-hot, and perfect for making real Jamaican jerk chicken, pork, seafood, goat and more.

9. Matouk's Hot Pepper Sauce is the savory sibling of the slightly mellower Matouk's Calypso. Not quite as hot as the Flambeau, Matouk's Hot Pepper Sauce is excellent for adding scotch bonnet heat to any dish that needs a good kick of flavor and fire.

10. Scorned Woman Hot Sauce completes our list of September's top-ten best selling products across all categories. This traditional vinegar-pepper sauce tastes much better -- and is significantly spicier -- than any grocery store hot sauce, and it's great on everything from breakfast sausage & eggs to burgers to pizza and even in Bloody Marys.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Stay tuned as we work on updating our product category specific best seller lists....