Friday, April 29, 2011

Final 2 Days of Carolina Sauce April Coupon Sale

Just a friendly reminder that our April Newsletter Coupon expires tomorrow Saturday, April 30th. There are two ways you can get your coupon for 10% off at the Carolina Sauce Company online store:

1. Read the April Newsletter posted on this blog. If you already subscribe to our monthly Newsletter, then you also should have received the Newsletter in an email earlier this month. Both the email version and the Blog version include a coupon code for 10% off, along with more information on how to redeem the coupon when you shop online with the Carolina Sauce Company.

2. Get the coupon code from the "Coupons" section on the Carolina Sauce Company Facebook Page. To be able to access the Coupons section, you need to be a Carolina Sauce Fan on Facebook. Not yet a Fan? Then simply click the "Like" button on our Facebook page (the "Like" button is found towards the top next to our name and above the photos).

If you already used your coupon code earlier this month, you can use it AGAIN as many times as you want, between now and midnight tomorrow April 30th.

Want to receive more coupons, special discounts, recipes and the latest zesty news? Simply sign up for the Carolina Sauce Newsletter! It's FREE and emailed only once a month, and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Habanero Relish & Bone Suckin' Hot Salsa are In Stock Again!

Two fiery and flavorful condiments are finally back in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company, much to the joy of pepperheads (or chiliheads if you prefer) around the nation. First, there's Bone Suckin' Hot Salsa, an all-natural, chunky, tomato & hot pepper salsa with a seriously hot kick and garden-fresh flavor. Excellent with chips and all your favorite Mexican or Tex-Mex foods, Bone Suckin' Salsa is also tasty with omelets, frittatas, scrambled eggs, quiche, as a casserole or fried-fish topping, and in recipes. Bone Suckin' Salsa is made in North Carolina, and it's Kosher, gluten-free, and comes with a free recipe brochure.

Another fiery North Carolina product making a return is our very own Habanero Pepper Relish, hand-crafted especially for us on a family farm in the North Carolina mountains. Made with all-natural locally-grown ingredients including plenty of HOT habanero peppers, onions, savory spices and chopped cabbage for extra crunch, our habanero relish is superb with burgers and hot dogs, sandwiches, kielbasa, bratwurst, Italian sausage, as an alternative to salsa with chips, and on any hearty dish that could use a tangy kick. For every jar we sell, we donate $1 to Operation Sauce Drop, our nonprofit program that sends free gift boxes of BBQ Sauce and hot sauce to US troops serving abroad.

If you've been waiting for either of these zesty condiments, thank you for your patience and I'm relieved to say that your wait is over!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nando's Roasted Reds Lentil & Rice Risotto

Here is a simple--and simply delicious--recipe from the makers of the famous Nando's Peri-Peri Sauces from South Africa. This recipe serves 6 and uses one of my favorite Nando's products, their Roasted Reds Cooking & Grilling Sauce made with roasted sweet red peppers, tomatoes, and just a touch of Peri Peri chili peppers.

1 onion, chopped
4 Tbs olive oil
1 cup long grain rice
1/4 cup brown lentils, picked over & rinsed
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
1 jar Nando's Roasted Reds Cooking Sauce
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt, optional
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley as garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. In a large, oven-safe lidded pot saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent and soft. Add the rice and saute for a couple of minutes, making sure the rice is well-coated with the oil. Stir in the stock or broth and the Roasted Reds Sauce, and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and bay leaves, stir & cover, then place the covered pot in the oven and cook at 350F degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and fluff with fork - if all the liquid is not absorbed, return to oven for a few more minutes until the liquid is absorbed (rice should still be moist). Taste and season with salt if desired. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley as garnish, if desired.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Buderim Ginger Bears Have Arrived!

A fresh new batch of Buderim Ginger Bears arrived in our warehouse this afternoon, much to the joy of devoted fans (addicts, even) of this zippy ginger gummy candy from Australia. Although we received our largest shipment ever, we've already sold more than two-thirds of this supply, ensuring that they'll remain the best-selling snack in the history of the Carolina Sauce Company.

If you haven't yet placed your order and you need your ginger bear "fix," hurry up and place your order ASAP before we sell out (again). I'll also check with our supplier to find out how soon we can get more of these ginger gummy bears--but based on past experience, it won't surprise me if they've already sold out themselves.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gloria's Spicy Seven-Layer Salad

Here's my zesty take on a classic layered salad. There are no measured ingredients because the amounts will vary depending on how big of a bowl you're using (which should be based on how many people you'll be feeding). In fact, you don't need to limit yourself to seven layers--feel free to repeat layers as desired, or substitute a different ingredient (e.g., celery, sliced water chestnuts, etc.) if there's one here that you don't like. My version is somewhat lower in fat than the original version because I don't use hard-boiled eggs (I'm not a big fan of hard-boiled eggs), and because I prefer to use Greek yogurt (preferably nonfat) instead of the traditional mayonnaise dressing or sour cream. You definitely want to make this salad in a clear glass bowl, since the whole point of layering is to create a pretty appearance.

Chopped or shredded romaine lettuce
Grape tomatoes, halved
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cucumber, peeled, de-seeded & chopped
Radishes, sliced
Mixture of chopped green bell pepper plus 1 or 2 chopped jalapenos
7 or 8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped (you may need more if making a large salad)
Mixture of shredded cheddar plus pepperjack cheeses
Plain Greek yogurt (regular or nonfat)

Place the romaine lettuce in the bottom of large glass bowl. Layer the sliced grape tomatoes, beginning from the sides of the bowl towards the center so that the layer is visible. Lightly sprinkle with salt & pepper, then layer the cucumbers on top, beginning from the sides of the bowl towards the center. Continue layering in the same fashion with the next 4 ingredients. Use a large spoon to dollop the plain Greek yogurt on top of the final layer, spreading with a spatula to completely cover the final layer all the way to the side of the bowl to seal the salad. Cover the bowl with a large plate or plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve - you can make this salad a day in advance if necessary.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wells BBQ Sauce is Here!

Just a quick note to let y'all know that Wells Hog Heaven Barbecue Sauce arrived in our warehouse this afternoon, as promised! We are busy packing all of our pending orders, and expect to be caught up tonight. Thanks to all of our loyal customers who have been patiently waiting for this best-selling BBQ sauce!

For folks waiting on Buderim Ginger Bears to be back in stock, I have good news: The FDA finally cleared the shipment from Australia and the bulk bears are being packaged into the retail bags. I have good reason to believe that the ginger bears will be available again at the Carolina Sauce Company sometime next week. As soon as I know that they're on their way, we'll start accepting pre-orders. Stay tuned to this blog for a ginger bears update after the Easter weekend.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4 Easy Ham Glazes for Easter

If you're going to serve a pre-cooked ham for Easter, you can still add your own personal gourmet touch by using a homemade glaze. Simply brush on one of the following glazes (each recipe makes enough for up to a 10 lb ham) during the final 30 minutes of cooking/reheating.

*Spicy Caribbean Glaze: Whisk together 1/2 cup pineapple jam OR 1/2 cup pineapple chutney, 2 Tbs dark rum, and 1 tsp Susie's Pineapple Pleasure Hot Sauce or other pineapple hot sauce.

*Zesty Carolina Chutney Glaze: Whisk together 1/2 cup Mrs. Picky Fanicky's NC Chutney, 2 Tbs honey and 1 Tbs thawed apple juice concentrate.

*Peachy Mustard Glaze: Whisk together 1 cup peach preserves, 2 Tbs Bone Suckin' Sweet Hot Mustard OR other sweet & spicy mustard, 2 Tbs peach schnapps/liqueur, and 2 Tbs lemon juice.

*Sweet & Savory Apple Glaze: Whisk together 1/2 cup apple chutney, 1 Tbs honey, and 2 Tbs thawed apple-juice concentrate.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wells BBQ Sauce Update

If you're a fan of Wells Hog Heaven Barbecue Sauce (the one with the black label in the photo on the left) and have been waiting for it to be back in stock at the Carolina Sauce Company, I have good news: Your wait is almost over! I spoke with the folks at Wells Pork & Beef this morning, and they confirmed that we'll have our sauce sometime this Friday afternoon. As soon as the product is in our warehouse, we'll immediately start packing all of our back-orders from our customers (many thanks to those of you out there who are patiently waiting for your orders--we really appreciate your understanding!)

If you haven't yet placed your order for more Wells BBQ Sauce, I recommend you go ahead and do so now, in order to get in our queue. Orders will be shipped "first come, first served," and we expect continued high demand for this best-selling barbecue sauce, especially as the weather gets warmer. We won't process your payment until your order is ready to ship, and we'll keep you up to date on the status.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Not familiar with Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce? It's a classic vinegar barbecue sauce made in eastern North Carolina that's perfect for pulled pork BBQ, and also makes an excellent marinade for chicken and all sorts of meat. Folks also splash it on collard greens, fried fish and even french fries to add tangy zip.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baseball Themed BBQ Sauce

"Play ball!" That cry rings out in ballparks all over the country this time of year, to the thrill of baseball fans young and old alike. If you're looking for a unique gift for a baseball fan who also enjoys good eats, check out our baseball themed sauces available from the Carolina Sauce Company.

The Durham Bulls are the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, and were immortalized in the now-classic film, "Bull Durham." The Bulls have their own official barbecue sauce, called Durham Bulls Triple Play Bar-B-Que Sauce. This tasty, tangy BBQ sauce is made here in North Carolina and is a Piedmont (western NC) style sauce, which means it has a zesty vinegar-tomato base with just a bit of peppery zip. What makes Durham Bulls BBQ Sauce stand out from the crowd, however, is its touch of sweetness that plays off the vinegar tang (think bread & butter pickles). Terrific on Carolina pulled pork BBQ, Durham Bulls Barbecue Sauce is also excellent as a marinade and grilling sauce for chicken, ribs, shrimp and veggies. As shown in the photo, it features the Durham Bulls logo on the label, making it a great gift for fans of the movie and the team.

Also from North Carolina, but not a vinegar sauce, is Outta the Park BBQ Sauce, available in zippy Original and the brand-new fiery Hot & Spicy recipe. The award-winning Original Outta the Park BBQ Sauce is a classic all-American tomato-based barbecue sauce that's thick and rich, with just the right amount of family-pleasing sweetness and a feisty finish. The Hot & Spicy version takes the original recipe and adds a special blend of hot peppers to bring on the heat and satisfy fiery-foods fans. Both are wonderful for ribs, chicken, seafood, veggies, and even in recipes--in fact, we'll send you a card with recipes when you order either flavor from Carolina Sauce. Created by a Red Sox fan, the baseball-themed name and label make Outta the Park BBQ Sauce an ideal gift for baseball fans.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Preparing Fresh Horseradish Sauce

If you observe Passover, you probably know that horseradish is often the bitter herb served at the seder. It's very easy to prepare fresh horseradish sauce, but what stops some people from doing so is the intensely sharp pungency of the freshly cut and shredded root, both in terms of the odor and the oils. If you choose to tackle a fresh horseradish root at home, here are some handy tips for doing so, and for making a simple horseradish sauce:

*Buy horseradish root that's not too large, with skin that is unblemished and smooth. Older, larger roots are more fibrous and bitter.

*Before peeling, chopping or shredding the horseradish, it's best to put on a pair of plastic gloves and some sort of eye protection (glasses, goggles or even sunglasses) to protect your eyes and skin. Basically, treat fresh horseradish with the same respect as you would a fresh habanero pepper. You may also want to open the kitchen window, or even do the peeling, chopping and shredding outside.

*The easiest way to shred or grate horseradish is to peel the root, chop it into small chunks, and process in a food processor. You can also use a hand grater. The more finely shredded or processed, the more pungent the flavor.

*If using a food processor, turn your head away before removing the lid. Trust me, your eyes and sinuses will thank you.

*To make a simple horseradish sauce, simply add vinegar (white vinegar, white wine vinegar, or even lemon juice instead of vinegar) while processing--1 cup of shredded or grated horseradish to 1/2 cup of vinegar generally works. Most folks also add salt to taste, and some recipes even call for a little sugar, or the addition of shredded beets (which provide lovely color and earthy sweetness to help temper the bitterness).

*You can store homemade horseradish sauce in a lidded glass jar in your refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to Warm Tortillas

Ever notice how the warm tortillas served at Mexican restaurants for fajitas never crack when you roll them up around your fajita fillings? In contrast, do your tortillas tend to crack when you assemble burritos or fajitas at home? The solution is simple: warm your tortillas before rolling. If you just start rolling them straight from the refrigerator, they're almost certain to crack. Warm tortillas are more pliable, but you also want to keep them from drying out. To prevent your warm tortillas from drying out, keep them covered with a damp paper towel until ready to use, or hold them in a tortilla warmer (or a foil packet if using the oven warming method below). Here are two easy ways to warm your tortillas.

Microwave method: Layer 4 to 6 tortillas on a microwave-safe plate with a damp paper towel between each tortilla, covering the top tortilla with a damp paper towel. Microwave until heated through, about 30 to 45 seconds depending on the wattage of your microwave.

Oven method: Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Wrap 6 to 8 tortillas in a piece of aluminum foil and place in oven for about 5 minutes or until heated through. Remove foil packet from oven and only take out tortillas as you're ready to use them, closing up the packet to keep remaining tortillas warm and moist.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Carolina Sauce Newsletter: April Showers Bring Zesty Savings!

April Coupon Sale

April showers or the tax man got you down? We've got the cure! Take advantage of our special Spring Sale, and save an additional 10% off all products including already-discounted sale items with our April Coupon! Simply order $45 or more in products at the Carolina Sauce Company online store and use the coupon code AprilBlog11 when you order online, or mention the coupon when ordering by phone. This coupon is only good through April 30, 2011, and some product quantities may be limited, so don't delay and order today!

Quick & Zesty Ideas for Easter or Passover

Add family-pleasing flavor to your Easter Sunday dinner or Passover Seder with these simple, fresh ideas:

*Instead of covering healthy asparagus with calorie-dense, fat-heavy Hollandaise sauce, use light and creamy Nando's Lemon Cooking Sauce, on sale for only $4.99 a jar while supplies last!

*If you're serving lamb, instead of mint jelly try some Carolina Pepper Jelly (available in green or red, and mild or hot) for down-home Southern flavor. Our Pepper Jelly is already on sale for only $3.99 a jar, and you can save an additional 10% with the April Coupon!

*Check out our diverse selection of Kosher products, including Kosher dry rub for brisket, Olio & Spices BBQ Fig Sauce from Israel for chicken (already on sale for only $6.50 a bottle), and even several varieties of Kosher hot sauce

*Bring out the best in lamb or brisket with Nando's Sweet Apricot Cooking Sauce, which also happens to be Kosher certified

*Here's one for the grownups: This year let the kids keep their Easter egg hunt jelly beans, and instead provide habanero-spiked Ass-Kickin' Jelly Beans for adults with a sweet tooth AND a preference for spicy food!

*Gourmet chutney pairs beautifully with ham, especially savory-sweet apple chutney, tropical pineapple chutney, or spicy North Carolina peach-apple chutney

*Instead of using plain mayo in your deviled eggs recipe, substitute tartar sauce for extra flavor

*Hosting a cookout or barbecue to celebrate spring? You'll hit a home run when you serve the crowd-pleasing, thick & rich Outta The Park BBQ Sauce, which is now also available in Hot & Spicy as well as the award-winning Original! Both flavors are all-natural and have no HFCS, plus they're on sale for only $5.99 a bottle AND come with a free recipe card!

Don't forget to use the coupon code AprilBlog11 when you order $45 or more in products from Carolina Sauce, now through the end of April--and yes, you can use the coupon as many times as you'd like! Coupon expires on 4/30/11.

Operation Sauce Drop Update

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 1,070 free gift boxes to our deployed military, at absolutely NO cost to them. The troops truly 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 about $25, and 100% of all donations received are used SOLELY to pay for the cost of the sauces & shipping. Carolina Sauce pays for all the overhead of the program and also for a portion of the costs of each gift box. Send a soldier a taste of home by donating 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!

Find Recipes, Special Coupons, Product Reviews, Zesty News & More

The Carolina Sauce Facebook Page is your source for Carolina Sauce news, interesting food articles, and exclusive Facebook-only coupons. For access to these special coupons and the latest zesty news, simply visit our Facebook page and click on the "Like" button to become a Fan. You can then click on the Coupons tab and access special offers. And if you're looking for new recipes, grilling tips, product reviews, and the occasional chuckle, visit this blog on a regular basis. Here's where we post delicious recipes, review new products as soon as they arrive, announce any discontinued or unavailable products, warn of possible product shortages, run special sales and discounts, and provide other useful information. Subscribe to our free RSS feed and you won't miss a single zesty thing! Just fill in your subscription info in the spaces provided in the left-hand column of this blog.

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

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Zesty Russian Dressing

When I was growing up, I remember my Mom buying Russian Dressing at the grocery store. It was one of my favorite salad dressings, with a tangy tomato flavor that had just a bit of zip and added lively flavor to otherwise bland and boring iceberg lettuce salads (my parents didn't like any other type of lettuce, so we ate iceberg). Russian Dressing must have fallen out of favor over the years, as it's been at least a couple of decades since I last saw a bottle of Russian Dressing at a grocery store. Fortunately, I can make my own Russian Dressing--which is no doubt much healthier than the bottled variety. Here's my version of classic Russian Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ketchup (I like to use a spicy ketchup)
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs cider vinegar
1 to 2 Tbs water
1 Tbs finely minced sweet onion
1 Tbs finely chopped dill or sweet pickle (I use hot dill pickle chips)
1 garlic clove, finely minced (I use spicy pickled garlic)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper, preferably freshly ground

Combine all ingredients (use 1 Tbs water) in a clean glass screw-top jar. Cover tightly and shake to mix well. If the dressing seems too thick, add the second tablespoon of water and shake well. Taste for balance, and add a little more salt or other ingredients if desired, making sure to cover and shake well after adding anything. Chill until ready to use, then shake again before serving. Makes about 1 1/2 to 1 34 cups. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Which is the Hottest Pepper: Ghost, Bhut or Naga Jolokia?"

I get asked that question often, by folks who have seen or heard news reports about the Ghost Pepper being the hottest hot pepper, or the Naga Jolokia or Bhut Jolokia. Actually, the commonly-accepted answer is very simple: They all are! The names "bhut jolokia," "naga jolokia" and "ghost pepper" all refer to the same chili pepper from India, which has been rated as the hottest hot pepper on the planet (although apparently there are some recent challenges, as you'll read below). The American name for this pepper is Ghost Pepper, while the two most common names used in India for this incendiary chili are Bhut Jolokia and Naga Jolokia. The ghost pepper is red or orange when ripe, and looks somewhat like an elongated habanero pepper that has had its end pulled into a pointy taper.

Many tests have rated the Ghost Pepper at over a million Scoville units (SU's), and it is still considered by many to be the hottest hot pepper. More recently, however, this claim has been challenged by the Infinity Chili grown in England (which one test rated at just a few more SU's than the Ghost Pepper), the Dorset Viper pepper (which once tested at over 1,500,000 SU's), and the Naga Viper pepper (rated at over 1,300,000 Scoville units in several tests). Apparently these tests are very controversial in the chili pepper community, and a clear scientific consensus is lacking although the popular consensus seems to support the Naga Jolokia (aka Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper) as the reigning hottest hot pepper.

If you're interested in trying a hot sauce made with the Ghost Pepper, here are a few to consider:

Dave's Gourmet Ghost Pepper Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce, from the makers of Dave's Insanity Sauce, features the Naga Jolokia as the main ingredient and also includes a healthy dose of pepper extract, all in a garlic-vegetable oil base that will ensure an unrelenting, long-lingering burn in your mouth. This one is not for the faint of heart!

Dave's Insanity Private Reserve Hot Sauce is a limited-production, collector's edition hot sauce released each year by Dave's Gourmet and formulated to be their hottest hot sauce. In recent years, this sauce has gotten its intense heat from the Bhut Jolokia (aka Naga Jolokia or ghost pepper). Each bottle is numbered and hand-signed by Dave himself, and comes in a wooden coffin wrapped with yellow "caution" tape.

If you're looking for a natural ghost pepper hot sauce that's not spiked with extract and is actually edible (while still being insanely hot), choose Melinda's Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce. Melinda's begins with their traditional all-natural Caribbean hot sauce base, adds a bunch of Naga Jolokia peppers (that's the main ingredient), and then blends in a little onion and tropical fruit to balance out the fiery heat with pleasant flavor (assuming you can tolerate the burn, that is!). Like other Melinda's Hot Sauces, Melinda's Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce is Kosher certified.

At this time I'm not aware of any commercially available hot sauces made with the Naga Viper, Dorset Viper or Infinity Chili, but if we add any to our online store you'll read about it here first!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, April 11, 2011

Updated Best-Seller Lists Now Posted at Carolina Sauce!

It's been an unusually busy start to spring, but we've finally updated our product category lists of Best-selling sauces etc. at the Carolina Sauce Company online store to reflect year-to-date totals for 2011. As usual, I'll highlight some of the interesting results here, with links to the mentioned products and also to each of the specific best-seller lists, for your convenience.

Three different super-hot varieties of Dave's Insanity Sauce are currently on our list of the best-selling hot sauces, including the original Dave's Insanity in 10th place, the relatively new Dave's Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce (made with the world's hottest hot pepper, the Naga Jolokia) in 9th place, and the hottest hot sauce regularly available from Dave's Gourmet, the ultra-hot Dave's Ultimate Insanity Sauce in 7th place so far for 2011.

Tamer tastes are prevailing on our list of best-selling barbecue sauces, with the classic Piedmont NC (western style) Thomas Sauce breaking in at #9. Another western NC barbecue sauce, the nationally-popular Bone Suckin' Sauce, has also begun the year strongly, currently sitting 8th on our list of Best Selling North Carolina Products.

Bad Byron's Butt Rub is a Texas-style BBQ seasoning rub with a funny name and a big, bold flavor. Bad Byron's is presently our 5th best-selling dry rub. If you're looking for more of an exotic flavor burst, check out Dave's Gourmet Soyabi Sauce, a savory blend of wasabi and soy sauce that's currently in 5th place on our list of best-selling marinades & dressings.

Continuing with the exotic theme are the rich and creamy Nando's Curry Coconut Cooking Sauce from South Africa (our best selling curry sauce), and the aromatically spicy Busha Browne's Authentic Jerk Seasoning from Jamaica (in 6th place on our list of best-selling jerk sauces & products).

Two radically different condiments are featured on our list of best-selling salsa & relish: The ridiculously hot and aptly-named Dave's Insanity Salsa sits in 7th place on this list, while one of my personal favorites, the mild but zesty Chicago-made Capone Family Secret Giardiniera is now 10th. And in 3rd place on our list of best-selling mustards & ketchups you'll find the sweet & spicy Bone Suckin' Mustard, which comes with FREE recipes when you order it from Carolina Sauce.

Two unique, flavor-packed wing sauces are doing quite well on our list of best-selling wing sauces for 2011: In first place as our top-selling wing sauce is Tony's Birdland Sweet & Sour Wing Sauce, which is also quite good as a marinade, stir-fry, grilling or dipping sauce. In 4th place you'll find The Distillery Garlic Cajun Wing Sauce, a medium-hot Buffalo wing sauce with plenty of zesty pizazz.

If you're in the mood for steak, you can't go wrong with Burning Asphalt Sweet Pepper Steak & Dipping Sauce (on sale!), a rich and robust gourmet steak sauce from upstate NY that has just a touch of peppery heat, and which currently occupies 10th place on our list of best selling steak sauces. And if you enjoy a burst of savory Caribbean flavor to accompany your steak, burgers, roasts and other hearty fare, you're probably quite familiar with our 2nd-best selling steak sauce, the versatile Pickapeppa Brown Sauce (also known as the original Pickapeppa Sauce).

Breaking into the top ten best-selling snacks & sweets list for the first time are two varieties of our old-fashioned Pepper Jelly, made on a family farm in the North Carolina mountains: The hot red pepper jelly is presently in 5th place, while the mild red pepper jelly is in 9th place--and both are on sale!

Finally, if you need a tasty gift for someone who enjoys hot sauce, grilling, cooking, or simply eating well, you're sure to find the right gift on our list of the best-selling sauce gift sets, which includes our Hot Wings Gift Set in 4th place and our Tailgating Gift Set in 6th place.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Low-Carb Alternative to Pasta & Rice

If you're cutting back on carbs and are interested in trying a nutritious--and delicious--low carb alternative to rice, spaghetti, noodles or pasta, I recommend spaghetti squash. Rich in beta carotene and high in fiber, its unique ability to separate into thin, spaghetti-like strands when cooked makes it ideal in Asian and Italian dishes, and as a healthy low carb side dish. Spaghetti squash has a very mild squash flavor that won't interfere with the other flavors in your sauces or recipes. The texture is different from that of rice or pasta, however, with more of a crunch, so don't expect it to be identical in mouthfeel to spaghetti or rice. But it tastes quite yummy with your favorite hearty pasta sauce, light marinara, zesty stir-fry sauce or exotic curry. You can also serve it seasoned simply with some extra-virgin olive oil, sauteed garlic, salt & pepper to taste, and maybe some Parmesan, feta or mozzarella cheese.

Here are some tips for making (and making the most of) spaghetti squash as part of a low-carb diet or other healthy meal:

*Before using spaghetti squash in place of rice or spaghetti, you need to cook it and scoop out the seeds with a large spoon. Instead of boiling the squash in a big pot of water like many older recipes suggest, you can preserve more nutrients by cutting the squash in half lengthwise and cooking it in your oven or microwave.

*To cut the spaghetti squash without having it shift under your knife, place a damp kitchen towel under your cutting board to prevent it from sliding on your counter. This little trick works anytime you want to keep the cutting board from slipping while you cut a hard-skinned vegetable such as pumpkin and other winter squash.

*To bake the cut spaghetti squash, preheat your oven to 375F degrees. Place the de-seeded squash halves, cut side down, in a 9"x13" casserole dish with half a cup of water. Bake at 375 F until the squash is just tender, about half an hour or so.

*Microwaving is faster than baking. To cook the spaghetti squash in your microwave, place the de-seeded halves, cut side down, in a microwave-safe casserole dish, add 1/4 cup water, cover the dish loosely (I use plastic wrap with one corner pulled up as a vent) and microwave until just tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

*To prevent the squash from becoming water-logged, make sure you don't overcook it: Check it towards the end of the cooking period, and remove from oven or microwave until it's just tender and the strands can be separated with a fork.

*When the spaghetti squash is tender, carefully remove from the casserole dish and let it cool off until you can handle it safely. Then use a fork to remove and separate the spaghetti-like strands: Rake the fork gently across the cooked squash and place the strands in a colander with small holes or a bowl until ready to use in your recipe. I use a colander in the sink to allow any extra moisture to drip off the squash strands.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Sauce Sale, No Coupon Necessary!

It's springtime and we're feeling frisky, so we've put a bunch of our sauces, seasonings and condiments on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company online store! You don't need a coupon--just look for the red sale prices, or search for the words "on sale" when you search the Carolina Sauce site. Here are just a few of the delicious products currently on sale:

All four flavors of our old-fashioned Pepper Jelly from the North Carolina mountains. Available in red and green, with each color coming in mild and hot, pepper jelly is a classic condiment for lamb, pork, poultry, steak, brie and other cheeses, and even bagels, croissants, toast and biscuits. Regularly $4.99 a jar, on sale for only $3.99! Also available in a 2-pack gift box, regularly $11.99 but now only $10.99!

Olio & Spices Sauces are all-natural Kosher gourmet sauces from Israel that unfortunately were recently discontinued by the manufacturer. We still have a few bottles left of the lusciously rich Barbecue Fig Sauce and the refreshingly light Lemon Mint Chili Sauce, and they come with free recipes. Regularly $6.99 a bottle, on sale for only $6.50!

Uncle Pete's BBQ Sauces are made in South Carolina and come in sweet-tangy Original, smoky Hickory, and peppery Spicy. These award-winning barbecue sauces are ideal for slathering on ribs and chicken, and they come with free recipes. Regularly $5.95 a bottle, on sale for only $5.50!

Burning Asphalt Steak Sauces from upstate NY are huge on flavor and feature car racing themed labels. For gourmet steakhouse flavor you can't beat the Homestyle steak sauce, on sale for only $4.50 a bottle (regularly $4.99). The zesty Sweet Pepper Steak & Dipping Sauce is terrific at the table and also as a glaze, dipping sauce and marinade, and is on sale for only $4.75 a bottle (regularly $4.99).

The Distillery BBQ Sauce is served on ribs and chicken at the award-winning The Distillery Bar & Restaurants in upstate NY. Big and bold, with just the right balance of sweet, smoky & tangy, this full-bodied barbecue sauce is also great in meatloaf & baked beans. Regularly $5.99 a bottle, on sale for only $5.75!

If you enjoy venison and other game, you'll love Ann's Marinade, a savory tenderizing marinade created by a hunter especially for game and other lean or tough cuts of meat. Not only is Ann's Marinade the perfect marinade for venison, it's also fantastic with wild boar, pheasant, rabbit, beef roasts and even portobello mushrooms. Regularly $6.50 a bottle, on sale for $5.99!

Mama T's Seasonings are made by hand in small batches on the Outer Banks of North Carolina using family recipes. Available in tangy Ranch Style, savory Seafood Seasoned Salt, robust Mesquite Seasoning, and Cuban-style Tropical Island Seasoning, the large bottles are on sale for only $6.50 (regularly $6.99) and the small bottles are on sale for only $5.75 (regularly $5.99).

These special sale prices are good only while supplies last, so don't delay and order today!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spicy Onion-Tomato Relish

This zesty condiment is inspired by Indian cuisine, and is very easy to make. Enjoy with kabobs, grilled or roasted meats, on burgers, and even with egg dishes.

1 large onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 or 2 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 hot green chili pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped (jalapeno or serrano will work)
1 Tbs fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tomatoes, chopped

Place the onion slices in a non-metal bowl (ceramic or glass is best). Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the tomatoes, and toss to combine. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes for the onion to release its juices. Add tomatoes and mix well. That's it!

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spicy Avocado Omelet for 2

This delicious omelet recipe can be used to make two omelets (simply use half of the ingredients for each) or one large omelet to split between two people. Serve with your favorite salsa for added zest!

6 eggs
3 Tbs milk, half & half, or cream
salt & pepper to taste
1 or 2 hot peppers of your choice, de-seeded and finely chopped
1/2 large avocado OR 1 small avocado, pitted, skinned & diced

Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the milk and salt & pepper to taste, and stir to combine thoroughly. Melt some butter (2 or 3 Tbs should work) in a large omelet pan or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook until almost set, then sprinkle on the hot peppers and avocado on half of the omelet. Carefully flip over the other half of the omelet and cook until done.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Top 10 Best-Selling Sauces for March 2011

The results are in for last month, so here's the list of the top ten Best-Selling Sauces & Seasonings across all product categories at the Carolina Sauce Company:

1. Our overall best selling sauce for March 2011 was Matouk's West Indian Sauce, a fiery scotch bonnet pepper hot sauce with a touch of tropical fruit.

2. In second place is our best-selling barbecue sauce, Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce, which is a genuine eastern NC barbecue sauce (vinegar, no tomatoes) for pulled pork BBQ and also marinating chicken or meat.

3. JT Pappy's Flamin' Gator Sauce is a zesty, medium-hot mustard BBQ sauce that's excellent on ribs, chicken, shrimp, veggies and more. It's also part of our Sauce For A Cause program, with a portion of the proceeds donated to breast cancer research.

4. The less-spicy but just as flavorful sibling of our third-place finisher is JT Pappy's Mild Gator Sauce, a family favorite at cookouts, barbecues, block parties and tailgates.

5. On the opposite end of the heat spectrum is Dave's Ghost Pepper Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce, made with an insane amount of the world's hottest hot pepper and best used by the drop, with extreme caution.

6. Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce from Jamaica is one of our all-time best-selling products, and is a deliciously versatile hot sauce that adds great flavor and fire to any savory dish.

7. Also from Jamaica is Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, a traditional jerk paste or wet rub that's packed with aromatic herbs, exotic spices, and plenty of peppery heat.

8. Castle Sauce from Greensboro NC is thick and tangy mustard-tomato condiment that captures the classic flavor of the beloved Boar & Castle Restaurant, which closed its doors in 1979.

9. Our ninth-place sauce is another tasty mustard BBQ sauce, the fiery-hot JT Pappy's Gator Grenade Sauce. As with the other flavors of JT Pappy's barbecue sauces, a portion of the proceeds is donated to breast cancer research.

10. Completing our list of the top ten best-selling sauces for March 2011 is Matouk's Calypso Hot Sauce, a thick West Indian hot sauce that's made with a hefty amount of aged pickled scotch bonnet peppers for true tropical heat.

Stay tuned because we'll soon be updating the best-seller lists for each of the product categories to reflect year-to-date results.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, April 1, 2011

Congress Considers Hot Sauce Tax!

As part of the ongoing budget negotiations in Congress, some Representatives are advocating a federal tax on hot sauce, spicy barbecue sauce, and other sauces made with hot peppers or capsaicin. Apparently the tax would be based on the heat level of the sauce as measured in Scoville Units, so that the hotter the sauce, the higher the tax. Information is just now getting out on this hot breaking story, but apparently the tax effort is being spearheaded by politicians and lobbyists from states in regions of the country traditionally known for their bland cuisine, including New England and the Midwest. Predictably, strong opposition to the proposed hot sauce tax is being voiced by representatives from states known for their spicy foods, chili pepper consumption or pepper production, including New Mexico and other parts of the Southwest. Upon learning of the capsaicin taxation proposal, one executive at a well-known hot sauce manufacturer (who later requested to remain anonymous), reportedly blurted out, "This proposal is in extremely poor taste, and it's time to mail Naga Jolokia ghost peppers to Congress to let them know the heat is on!" Some political analysts are now forecasting that by the 2012 election the nation will no longer be divided into Blue and Red states, but rather into Beige (bland, pro-hot sauce tax) and Red (spicy, anti-hot sauce tax) states.

As word spreads, a loose coalition of hot sauce and BBQ sauce manufacturers, retailers and consumers incensed over the tax are organizing rallies and protests, including the formation of a new party, the Fiery-Foods Fans Opposed to Outrageous Levies on Sauces Party. If you enjoy hot sauces and other fiery fare, now is the time to act: Contact your Congressional representatives and tell them you oppose the hot sauce tax, join your local FFFOOLS Party (or organize one if your area doesn't have a chapter yet), and most importantly, support your favorite hot sauce and barbecue sauce outlets--such as the Carolina Sauce Company--as we fight this assault on our tastebuds.

Zestfully yours,