Thursday, May 31, 2012

Are You Brave Enough to try the World's Hottest Ketchup?

Melinda's Naga Jolokia Ketchup
Buy Melinda's Naga Jolokia Ketchup
The Naga Jolokia pepper, also known as the bhut jolokia or ghost pepper, is widely recognized as the hottest chile pepper in the world. Hailing from India, this infernally fiery pepper is magnitudes hotter than a habanero pepper. While ghost pepper hot sauces have exploded in popularity since the arrival of the jolokia pepper on the mass market--we even offer a brand-new Ghost Pepper Hot Sauces Gift Box just in time for Father's Day--its use has been limited mostly to extreme hot sauces appealing only to hard-core chileheads, veteran fiery-foods fanatics, and hot sauce collectors.

Lately, however, we've seen the introduction of a few somewhat more "mainstream" products featuring the naga jolokia pepper as an ingredient, namely salsas (with Da Bomb Ghost Pepper Salsa and Jolokia 10 Salsa being the best-known), Jolokia 10 Mustard, and even flaming-hot peanuts dusted with jolokia powder and aptly named Da Bomb Ghost Pepper Nuts. So it was just a matter of time before the infamous naga jolokia made its way into that ubiquitous pantry staple that's beloved by kids as well as more than a few adults: Ketchup.

Melinda's Naga Jolokia Ketchup is quite possibly the hottest ketchup on the planet. But unlike some other ghost pepper products, this super-hot ketchup is not a gimmick. True to Melinda's heritage, this Naga Jolokia Ketchup is about superior flavor along with the fiery heat. As with all of Melinda's products, this ketchup is all-natural and does not use high fructose corn syrup for sweetness, relying instead on pure cane sugar and glucose to enhance the natural sweetness of ripe tomatoes. And the spices in this ketchup were carefully chosen to complement the jolokia pepper and pay tribute to its Indian heritage: Along with garlic and onion, Melinda's adds a dash of cinnamon and a nip of cloves. The net effect, other than being astoundingly hot, is surprisingly flavorful and pleasing to (whatever is left of) your taste buds.

A word of caution: If you are brave enough to try ghost pepper ketchup, start off with a VERY small dab on your food until you are comfortable with the heat level. You can always add more....

So, are YOU brave enough to try Melinda's Naga Jolokia Ketchup? If so, please leave a comment to tell us what you think!

Zestfully yours,

PS: Like all other Melinda's Ketchups and nearly all of her other products, Melinda's Naga Jolokia Ketchup is certified Kosher.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May Coupon Sale Ends Tomorrow!

Bourbon Q Roasted Garlic Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Click for more info on Bourbon Q
***URGENT***  You have less than 48 hours left to take advantage of our special May Newsletter Coupon Sale for 7% off your product total at the Carolina Sauces online store!

To get your special Carolina Sauce coupon, simply go to the May Carolina Sauce Company Newsletter and look for the coupon code towards the end of the newsletter.

In addition to the 7% off coupon, our May Newsletter features a super-easy and flavorful recipe for BBQ Potatoes (in celebration of May being National BBQ Month), and spotlights all of the useful new barbecue tools & accessories plus palate-pleasing BBQ sauces that we've recently added to our product offerings.

To receive future issues of the Carolina Sauce Company monthly newsletter, simply sign up here. Our newsletter is FREE, sent only once a month, and always includes special sales and/or discount coupons not available elsewhere, as well as a featured recipe or handy cooking & grilling tips, plus brief reviews of new products added since the previous newsletter.

Once you sign up, you'll receive a confirmation email requesting that you click on our confirmation link. ***Please make sure to click on that link to complete the sign-up process (otherwise, you won't receive our newsletter because we use a double-opt-in subscription process).***

If you have any questions about the Newsletter, please don't hesitate to contact us, or leave a message here on this blog.  You are also welcome to message us through the Carolina Sauce Facebook page or leave a comment there for us. We always love to hear from our customers, fans and friends.

And don't forget, our May coupon sale ends at midnight tomorrow!

Zestfully yours,

PS:  You can use the coupon code as many times as you want until it expires, so feel free to share it with friends or to use it again if you placed an order earlier.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Beet Greens with Soy-Ginger Sauce

Sweet & Spicy Beet Greens with Soy-Ginger Sauce
This recipe for sauteed beet greens combines a traditional Southern ingredient (the greens) with Asian-inspired seasonings for a fusion of interesting, palate-pleasing flavors.

Beet greens, aka beet tops, are best if young and very fresh, when they're less likely to be bitter or tough. You can still enjoy older beet tops with larger leaves, but you might want to blanch them first to make them more tender in texture and mellow in flavor. If you prefer, you can substitute any other dark leafy greens for this recipe, including kale, collards, spinach, turnip greens, or a mixture of different greens. I used a fairly large red spring onion but any kind of spring onion, green onion or scallions will work. And you can substitute a different type of oil if you prefer, but I like the subtle blend of flavors in Spectrum brand organic Asian stir fry oil (a blend of soybean, peanut & sesame).

Ideally cooked in a wok, you can also use a very deep, large skillet or saucepan to make this recipe. Two pounds of greens might seem like a lot when raw, but they cook down in volume quite dramatically, resulting in 4 to 6 side servings. You can halve this recipe, or turn it into an entree by adding cooked tofu or tempeh cubes, or cooked shrimp, scallops, chicken breast strips or even sliced beef or pork and serving over rice or noodles. Any unused leftover sauce can be refrigerated and used within a few days as a dipping sauce, table sauce or condiment for other recipes.

2 lbs beet greens (beet tops)
1 1/2 Tbs (approx) Asian stir-fry oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced spring onion, green onions or scallions, including some of the tops

Sauce ingredients:
Beet greens & spring onion
1/4 cup soy sauce (reduced sodium is best)
2 Tbs honey
1 tsp grated, pureed or minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp (or less to taste) red pepper flakes

Thoroughly rinse the beet greens and shake off as much water as possible. Trim off the stems and/or strip the leaves off any thick, tough stems. Grab the beet greens by the handful, grasp firmly on a large cutting board and cut the greens crosswise into strips about 1/2" wide.

Heat the oil in your wok or skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion until softened and translucent. While the onion cooks, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, making sure they're thoroughly combined.

When the onion is done, toss in the chopped beet greens and stir-fry until they begin to soften and cook down significantly. Reduce heat slightly, pour in some of the sauce (enough to coat the greens without "drowning" them - you may or may not use all of the sauce) and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring  regularly, until the greens are done to your taste: less time for crunchy "al dente" greens with more of a "bite," and longer for more tender, mellower-tasting greens. If adding a cooked protein such as tofu, chicken, seafood or beef, add just before serving and toss well to combine, adding any reserved sauce as desired. Serve hot, either alone or over rice or noodles.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company, Inc.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Thoughts, 2012

Memorial Day
Photo by Sister72 on Flickr
Amidst the store sales, barbecues, parades, beach trips, picnics, and other activities and festivities today, it's easy to forget the real purpose and meaning of Memorial Day.

Take a moment to reflect on that, especially in light of the continuing conflicts involving our troops.

On this Memorial Day, we pause to honor and remember all those who have given their lives in the service of our country. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest gratitude are with them and their families.

Carolina Sauce Company

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Five Deadly Grilling Sins...and How to Avoid Them

Barbecue grill feast
Grilling by a pro: Well-spaced food on clean grill grates
Memorial Day is generally considered the official start of the summer barbecue and grilling season. Are you guilty of making one or more of these common grilling mistakes? Don't worry, you don't have to confess your sins here--simply keep reading to obtain absolution and achieve BBQ and grilling salvation.

1. Grilling dirty:  Dirty grates, dirty tongs and dirty spatulas not only make your food stick, but also leave unpleasant and bad-tasting--think creosote--bits of old, burnt food on whatever you're grilling. Dirty grates can also contribute to flare-ups, which can char your food, and dirty grilling tools are also unsanitary (and no one wants food poisoning). A good grill brush and some grill wipes don't cost much and are well worth it. For some useful info on cleaning your grill and keeping it clean, read my post on Quick Tips for Cleaning Your Grill.

2. Stop playing with your food: There's hardly ever a reason to turn food more than once or maybe twice on the grill. You won't achieve those impressive, professional-quality sear bars on your steaks, chops or chicken if you're constantly flipping or moving your food as it grills. So long as you've placed the food in the right place on your grill, you should only have to flip it once while it cooks, or twice if you're going for the sought-after cross-sear pattern.

Grill thermometer
Click to browse grill thermometers
3. Over/under-cooking: Rarely should you place food directly over hot coals or other high heat. Cooking over direct heat is good for a quick sear when needed, but after that most grilling should take place over indirect heat and usually at medium or low heat, to ensure the food is properly done, neither dried out nor charred. Invest in a good grill thermometer to save you time and and prevent disappointment. Grill thermometers take the guesswork out of figuring out if your food has reached a safe internal temperature, thus reducing the risk of over- or under-cooking and of illness from undercooked food.

And then there's fish: The trick to grilling fish and other seafood is to remove it from the grill before it's fully cooked, because it will continue cooking for the next 1 to 2 minutes from the residual heat in the fish or seafood. If you wait until it's done, in reality it will be dried out and overcooked by the time you plate it. For more information on how to grill fish, just read my post on Easy Tips for Grilling Fish.

4. Overcrowding: Arrange the food on the grates in an orderly manner, leaving sufficient room for easy turning. You'll facilitate even cooking, reduce the risk of dropping food through the grates, and more easily keep track of what went on the grill first (and thus is likely to be done first).

Picnic at Ascot Chef's Set BBQ Apron and Tools
Chef's BBQ Apron & Tools
5. Stop piercing your meats and poultry: This one's a cardinal sin. Using a fork or pointy-toothed tongs to handle meat or chicken on the grill is a recipe for flavorless, dried-out food. Each time you pierce the surface of the meat or poultry, you allow flavorful juices to drip out. Instead, use a grill spatula or "The Grate Tool" or flat-ended grill tongs, and use wood planks or a grilling basket for fish.

Bonus tip:  Want to know the secret to fool-proof, championship-quality BBQ grilling? Make sure to read my post on the BBQ Pro's Secret to Great Grilling.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Two New Gourmet BBQ Sauces to Thrill Your Taste Buds

Bourbon Q Roast Garlic Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Click to order
The two newest BBQ Sauces to arrive at the Carolina Sauces online store are a notch above the pack in terms of complex, sophisticated flavors, and nevertheless inviting, approachable, and sure to please the entire family.

For meat-lovers and those who enjoy big, robust flavors that finish with a kick, there's BourbonQ Gold Reserve Roasted Garlic & Chipotle Kentucky Barbecue Sauce.  Unabashedly savory-tangy and generously seasoned with pungent garlic and smoky chipotle, this tomato-based BBQ sauce is balanced nicely with molasses and aged Kentucky bourbon for just the right amount of dark sweetness to smooth out the edges. Although the chipotles do provide a peppery kick, this sauce isn't truly hot and can be enjoyed and appreciated by young and old alike, as well as folks who prefer non-spicy foods. Sure, the ideal use for this hearty barbecue sauces is on ribs, chops, tenderloin and other cuts of beef, pork or venison. But it will also complement chicken or duck, shrimp, portobello mushrooms and other more substantial vegetables. You can also enjoy it as a dipping sauce or as a substitute for ketchup.

Cajohn's Private Reserve Apple Smoked Spiced Rum Ancho Barbeque Sauce
Click to order
Cajohn's Private Reserve Apple Smoked Spiced Rum Ancho Barbeque Sauce likewise will be appreciated both by the foodie or gourmand and also by those who aren't as picky. Sweeter in flavor and gentler in spice than BourbonQ, on first impression this tomato-based barbecue sauce might seem rather unassuming... but then your tongue begins to savor the multiple layers of flavor with intriguing, sometimes exotic notes that add delightful interest while complementing virtually anything you slather it on. The natural apple wood smoke creates earthiness without harshness, while the spiced rum provides caramel-like sweetness and the ancho chiles a playfully peppery nip. You can't go wrong with this marvelous barbecue sauce, whether used on meats, poultry, seafood or veggies, and whether you're cooking for sophisticated palates or a diverse crowd of hungry folk.

You can find both of these new barbecue sauces on sale at the Carolina Sauce Company.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, May 25, 2012

How to Make Zesty Chipotle BBQ Hot Wings

Anti-Flare-Up Grilled Chicken Wings WingRackThese smoky, spicy hot wings are guaranteed crowd-pleasers for your Memorial Day cookout or any other time you fire up the grill and are craving chicken wings.

Using a WingRack chicken wing holder for the grill makes any recipe for BBQ wings a breeze--and it also prevents flare-ups, ensures even cooking and takes all the work out of cleanup, too. Once you try making hot wings on the grill with this nifty barbecue tool, you'll never go back to frying your wings or baking them off the rack (it's oven-safe).

For this recipe, you'll need 18 to 24 chicken wings, or a dozen drumsticks or 8 thighs, if you prefer. If the weather is too nasty to cook outdoors or if you prefer to use your oven instead of your barbecue grill, you can use the grilled chicken wing holder in your oven, too.

Below are the ingredients for the Chipotle marinade, and instructions for the recipe.

1 small can (7 to 8 oz) OR 1 cup chipotles in adobo sauce, undrained
2 or 3 spring onions (with some of the green part), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 lime, OR 1 Tbs orange juice AND 1 Tbs lemon juice
1 bunch fresh cilantro OR 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (NOT reduced-fat or nonfat)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (you can use fat-free)

Strip cilantro or parsley leaves from stems--I freeze the stems in a plastic bag for adding to soups, stews & other recipes. Combine the chipotles and sauce, onions, garlic, citrus juice and herbs in blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a large non-metal bowl (glass is ideal). Stir in salt, then add the mayonnaise and yogurt. Stir well until thoroughly combined. Taste for balance: If it's too hot, add a little more mayo or yogurt until you reach your desired level of heat. If too mild, add a few splashes of a good-quality chipotle hot sauce (I recommend Blair Q Heat Chipotle Slam or El Yucateco Chipotle Hot Sauce) until you reach your desired level of heat.

Add chicken to the marinade and stir until all the chicken pieces are evenly coated with the chipotle BBQ marinade. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, turning chicken occasionally. When ready to grill, place the chicken wings or legs or thighs in the WingRack slots (you may need to cook them in two batches). Baste with a little more marinade before placing on the grill and discard any leftover marinade. Place the chicken wing rack on your grill over indirect medium-hot coals. Cover grill and let cook until internal temperature reaches 180°F, or, if you don't have a meat thermometer, cook until juices run clear and meat is no longer pink. When done, remove the chicken wing griller from your grill and let sit for 5 minutes or so, then remove chicken from the rack and serve.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you don't want to make your own sauce or prefer traditional Buffalo wing flavor, you can marinate the chicken in any of our wing sauces and then grill or bake them using the WingRack.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Buy Carolina Sauce Products at RDU Airport

North Carolina productsDid you know that the Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU) is the exclusive source for Carolina Sauce Company brand products including "Piggin' Out" Genuine NC BBQ Sauce, "Hog Wash" Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce, and other Carolina Sauce branded products?

These unique sauces and condiments are made especially for us by small, family-owned and operated manufacturers in North Carolina using primarily locally-grown ingredients. You can buy them at the "Discover NC" shop operated by Hudson News in Terminal 2, inside the security checkpoint so that you can carry them onto your flight without worrying about the size limit on liquids. Bringing a taste of the Carolinas to friends and family outside the state has never been so easy! And of course you can also pick up some jars or bottles when you stop at the shop after your flight lands at Terminal 2 and before you leave the security area.

You'll also find an extensive selection of other fine North Carolina products in the Discover NC shop, including the world-famous Bone Suckin' Sauce products as well as less-well-known but equally delicious (and much harder to find) condiments, snacks, sauces and seasonings made here in North Carolina.

The following are the Carolina Sauce Company products currently available at the RDU Airport:

Carolina Sauce Company

Piggin' Out Genuine NC BBQ Sauce, a tangy vinegar-based eastern NC barbecue sauce for pulled pork and for marinating

Hog Wash Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce, a savory mustard-based "low country" or South Carolina style barbecue sauce that's delicious on everything from pork to ribs to chicken and even shrimp

Apple Butter BBQ Sauce, a thick & rich, sweet-savory BBQ sauce with old-fashioned apple flavor that's mouthwatering on ribs, chicken, veggies, pork chops, shrimp and more

Three-Pepper Lemon Hot Sauce, a citrusy, medium-heat combination of hot peppers and spices in a lemon base to add tangy, feisty flavor and fiery flair to everything from fish & seafood to salads, chicken, steak and other meats, cooked veggies and other savory dishes

Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce, a gourmet pepper sauce blended with real Vidalia Onions from Georgia that's fabulous on pizza, egg dishes, fries, hash browns, and anything grilled, roasted, baked or broiled, as well as in your favorite recipes

Smokin' Gun Habanero Hot Sauce is the hottest of the bunch, packing a powerful high-caliber habanero punch for folks who like things HOT and aren't afraid to play with fire.

The lineup of available Carolina Sauce products at RDU will change from time to time, and can potentially include many different products because our specially-chosen producers have dozens of other tasty recipes they can make for us including chow-chow and other relish, jams & jellies, pickles, salad dressings, etc.

For now, these Carolina Sauce Company brand products are available ONLY at the Discover NC shop in Terminal 2 at the Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU). If you own a shop in the Triangle area and are interested in adding Carolina Sauce Company brand products, please contact us for wholesale information.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Love Guinness? Read This!

Guinness beer with Irish pork chop dinner
Tall, dark & handsome, smooth & cool in any situation, and a wonderful companion for dinner, a night out, a party or just relaxing at home with a movie or sports on TV.... 

The ideal man?

Perhaps, but I'm talking about Guinness, that marvelous beer from Ireland!

If you love Guinness as much as I do, or know someone who does, check out Red Tail USA, online purveyors of official Guinness merchandise and apparel!

Guinness pint glassesRun by my good friend Jeff Bouton, Red Tail USA is the place to shop for everything from rugby shirts, polo shirts, t-shirts, hoodies and other clothing bearing the Guinness logo, plus mugs & other drinkware, caps, novelty items and more. They also have great Guinness gifts for Grads, Dads (Father's Day is coming up!) and anyone else who enjoys the smooth, rich taste of Guinness beer.

For a limited time only, Red Tail USA is offering Carolina Sauce Company fans 5% off everything through May 31st.  Simply enter the coupon code "saucyglo" (without quotation marks) at checkout to receive the discount when you shop for Guinness products on their site.

Red Tail USAAnd here's a bonus:  Through the end of May, Red Tail USA is holding a contest for a $25 Gift Certificate, and all new followers on Twitter are entered for a chance to win! Make sure to read the contest details for more info and to enter the contest.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Carolina Sauce Newsletter: Celebrating National BBQ Month!

BBQ ribs
Finishing smoked ribs on the grill
Featured Recipe: BBQ Roasted Potatoes

May brings warmer, longer days without the oppressive heat & humidity of summer, making May the logical choice for National Barbecue Month. Whether you prefer cooking with charcoal or gas, and whether you're grilling ribs, steaks, burgers, chicken or seafood, potatoes are a crowd-pleasing side dish that will complement your meal. Instead of serving potato salad or traditional oven-baked potatoes, make these super-easy & flavor-packed BBQ-Roasted Potatoes on your grill. They're similar to pub-style seasoned potato "skins" or twice-baked potatoes, but slow-cooking on the grill makes these BBQ-roasted potatoes oh, so much tastier!

Ingredients (no set quantities needed)
New or Red Potatoes, washed & dried & cut into halves
BBQ Roasted potatoes & vegetables
BBQ-Roasted Potatoes & Veggies
Olive Oil
Your choice of BBQ Seasoning or Dry Rub, or dried-herb blend, or Kosher Salt & Cracked Pepper

Place all ingredients in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag, drizzling in enough oil to generously coat the potato halves and sprinkling in your choice of seasoning to taste. Mix well. Place a large square of heavy-duty foil on a tray or platter. Transfer the potato mixture to the center of the foil, making sure the potatoes are in a single layer, then fold up the sides to make a foil "bowl" or "boat." Carefully transfer the foil bowl to your grill, placing over indirect heat. Cover the grill and let the potatoes "roast" for about 1 hour or until done (they'll turn golden & crispy on the outside, while soft & tender in the middle).
Note: You can use the same technique to BBQ-roast other vegetables such as sliced zucchini with spring onions (shown in photo served with BBQ-roasted potatoes), but grill for only 15 to 20 minutes because they'll cook much faster than potatoes.

New BBQ Sauces & Grilling Products

Habanero BBQ Sauce from Hell*Dave's Badlands BBQ Sauce: If you like your barbecue sauce thick & tangy with a touch of sweetness & a feisty, peppery kick, this robust mustard-tomato BBQ sauce is for you. Sweetened with brown sugar (not corn syrup) and spiced with jalapenos & green chiles, it's fabulous with ribs & other meats as well as chicken, shrimp & grillable veggies.

*Habanero BBQ Sauce From Hell: This one is for serious chileheads only! It starts off friendly with sweet tomato flavor, but finishes with a blast of blazing habanero heat. Delicious with hearty grilled fare. It's also all-natural and sweetened with sugar & molasses, not corn syrup.

*Texas Longhorn Rodeo Jalapeno BBQ Sauce: Pleasantly spicy, slatherfully thick, and boasting a rich, sweet tomato flavor, this genuine Texas barbeque sauce will complement beef or pork ribs, brisket or burgers, and even chicken, shrimp or portobello mushrooms. Made from an award-winning recipe using all-natural ingredients.

Texas Longhorn Smoky Chipotle BBQ Sauce
*Texas Longhorn Smoky Chipotle BBQ Sauce: For authentic southwestern flavor that's big & bold, with a complex smoky and tangy-sweet flavor, you can't go wrong with this championship-caliber barbecue sauce from Texas. Like the Rodeo Jalapeno sauce, this one is all-natural too.

*Steak Branding Irons: Personalize your steaks with your initials using a personalized steak branding iron, or let your guests stake their political turf by choosing between Republican and Democratic steak branding irons. We even have a unique 3-sided Rare-Medium-Well steak branding iron to identify how each steak is cooked! These make a great Father's Day gift...

*Professional Grill Pizza Stone: Made from porous clay mounted on a sleek stainless steel base with a built-in thermometer, the PizzaQue® pizza stone makes Italian pizzeria brick-oven style pizza on your grill or in the oven. Great for making calzones & baking bread, too, and comes with a handy how-to guide.

Beer Can Chicken Roaster and Flavor Enhancer w/ Potato Prongs*Deluxe Beer-Can Chicken Roaster with Potato Prongs: For the juiciest, tender-moist grill-roasted chicken with mouthwatering crispy skin, use this grill-top roaster with your favorite beer, wine or other marinade. The potato prongs let you cook potatoes or sweet potatoes faster & more evenly than simply placing them on your grill grates.

*Chicken Wing Grilling Rack: Frying adds unnecessary fat & calories, while baking dries out wings. For the best flavor & healthiest results, grill your chicken wings, then toss in your favorite wing sauce. The WingRack Grilled Chicken Wings Holder fits up to 12 wings, drumsticks or thighs for even, no-turn cooking without flareups--and for that incomparable grilled flavor.

*Jalapeno Poppers Pepper Roasters for the Grill: These nifty grill-top pepper roasters take the work and mess out of making jalapeno poppers, and grill-roasting produces far superior flavor in the peppers and cheese fillings. Simply core the peppers, stuff with your favorite filling, place the peppers in the rack slots and cook on your grill. Available in regular (holds 18 peppers), large (holds 24 peppers) & extra large (holds 36 peppers) rack sizes.

Flexible Cordless Stainless Steel Grill Light*Flexible Cordless Grill Light: Free up your hands, avoid potentially hazardous cords and shine a bright light wherever you need it when grilling after dark with this revolutionary stainless-steel flexible cordless grill light. It clamps onto virtually any surface and features 4 powerful LED bulbs powered by 3 AA batteries (included) for up to 500,000 hours of light.

*Ultimate Fish Grill Basket: Grill fish to perfection without falling to pieces (you or the fish!) when you use this heavy-gauge, nonstick metal grilling basket specially designed to cradle delicate fish during cooking & turning on the grill. The long rosewood handle is detachable, letting you close the grill cover for gentle smoking or cooking over low heat. Comes gift-boxed, too.

To see all our grilling products & BBQ tools, visit our BBQ Grills, Smokers & Accessories Page, and don't forget our Wood Chips, Charcoal & Grilling Planks page, for a wide selection of hard-to-find wood products for your smoker or grill.

Coupon for 7% Off!

Our AprilShowers coupon sale has been extended through the end of May! Simply enter the coupon code AprilShowers (no space) to get **7% off ** your product total at the Carolina Sauces online store, good on ALL Carolina Sauces products including our newest barbecue sauces. And yes, you can re-use the coupon even if you already applied it to an order last month! But don't delay: The AprilShowers coupon expires at midnight on May 31st, 2012. (Please note, the AprilShowers coupon doesn't apply to products purchased from other partners, such as the BBQ & Grill Accessories.)

"Like" Us on Facebook & You Could Win FREE Sauce!

If you want a chance to win FREE sauces and seasonings, play the Crock Pot Game on June 1st on the Carolina Sauce Company Facebook page! We post a new game on our Facebook page on the 1st of each month. Simply follow the rules and post your answer, and we'll select a winner each month to receive a free product, gift certificate, or other zesty prize. The next Crock Pot Game will be posted on June 1st, so make sure to "Like" us on Facebook in order to play. You'll also find additional coupons, special offers and private sales when you click on the "Coupons" tab (with the green dollar sign) on our Facebook page. We want to hear from you, too, so please leave us a comment on our Facebook page, and feel free to share your food photos, recipes, BBQ/food blog, and other zesty stuff.

 ***If you'd like to receive our FREE monthly eNewsletter with exclusive coupons & sales, product info, recipes & grilling tips, simply sign up here - and remember to click on the link in your confirmation email (check your spam folder & add us to your "safe sender" list) to confirm your subscription.***

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Steak Branding Irons Add a Personal Touch

Political Party Steak Branding IronsBarbecue and grilling season is upon us, and Father's Day will be here sooner than you think. And with this being an election year, a political-party steak branding iron is guaranteed to get the conversation started around the grill and keep it going at the dinner table. Let your guests declare their allegiance to the Grand Old Party with the Republican Elephant steak branding iron, or to the Democratic cause with the Democratic Donkey steak branding iron. (Sorry, Libertarians, we haven't found a steak branding iron for you yet.) Both styles of political branding irons feature a 14" long metal shaft with a solid wood handle to add a touch of elegance and of course to allow you to handle them safely. And they're also proudly made in the USA. In addition to being a great Father's Day gift for the politically-savvy steak-loving Dad, they also make great Christmas stocking stuffers and birthday gifts.

Personalized Steak Branding Iron with Wood Gift BoxFor those who prefer to steer clear of controversy when cooking steer, we also now offer personalized steak branding irons, custom-designed with your choice of up to three letters. Finely crafted in the USA and featuring superior workmanship, the letters are made from "HeatBacker" stainless steel for a clear, uniform "professional-quality" brand every time.  The letters are expertly welded onto a 14" long metal shaft that is capped with a stylish lacquered wooden handle and finished with a leather loop for hanging at your grill or on a hook when not in use.  The personalized branding iron comes in a cedar box that's been branded with the enclosed brand, for a one-of-a-kind, elegant presentation when given as a gift.

Rare, Medium, and Well Steak Branding IronAnother excellent--and practical--choice is the three-sided Rare, Medium, and Well Steak Branding Iron to help identify how each steak is cooked, and thus avoid potential controversy and disappointment when dinner is served. By branding each steak as it cooks, the barbecue chef will know at a glance how long to cook each steak. And when the serving platter is brought to the table, guests will be able to select a steak cooked to their desired level of doneness simply by looking at the brand on each steak. Made of steel with a wooden handle and leather hanging strap, this branding iron measures 15 1/2" in length and features a unique 3-sided "head" bearing the letters R, M and W (one on each side) for 3-in-1 convenience at the grill. It also arrives gift-boxed, so you don't even need to worry about finding the right-sized box for this useful and thoughtful gift. If you or someone you know enjoys grilling up steaks for friends or family, this is one tool you and they need!

Steak branding irons make memorable Father's Day gifts for any Dad who loves to barbecue or grill steaks. There's no reason you shouldn't treat yourself to one or two of these as well.  And while you've got steak on your mind, check out our selection of unique and unusually delicious steak sauces available on the Carolina Sauces online store.

Zestfully yours,

PS:  We recently updated our BBQ & Grill Accessories page and have many other nifty barbecue tools, gadgets and grilling essentials available through our affiliate partners.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cannellini Beans with Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Cannellini Beans with Spinach & Sun-dried tomatoes
Here's a simple, Tuscan-inspired vegetarian/vegan recipe that's packed with protein and iron. Cannellini beans are also called white kidney beans, and while being similar in nutrition to dark kidney beans I find the flavor of cannellini to be milder.

As written below and shown in the photo, my cannellini with spinach & sundried tomatoes recipe is vegan. If you eat cheese, you can add some grated parmigiano cheese. Non-vegetarian additions that would add texture and flavor include crumbled bacon or grilled shrimp.

You can make this recipe in less than 15 minutes, and it as a side for two to four people, or as an entree for two with pasta, rice or even quinoa. And you can double it or adjust the seasoning amounts to suit your needs.

1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini or white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 Tbs sun-dried tomatoes cut into strips (drain if using oil-packed tomatoes; reconstitute if using dried)
1 Tbs aged balsamic vinegar OR red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dried basil (or 1/2 Tbs chopped fresh basil)
Salt & Pepper to taste (I use Kosher salt & cracked black pepper)

Cannellini Beans with Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat, then saute the onion & garlic until softened and the onion is translucent.  Add the beans and sundried tomatoes, and cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach, vinegar, basil, salt & pepper, stir to combine, then cover, reduce heat to low and let cook a few minutes until spinach is just wilted. Serve hot.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you're a vegetarian or are interested in vegetarian or vegan cooking, make sure to "like" us on Facebook because the second Monday of every month is Meatless Monday at the Carolina Sauce Company on Facebook, beginning today! And if you're a carnivore looking for meat, seafood & poultry recipes, you'll be happy to know that we celebrate Meaty Mondays on Facebook on all other Mondays.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Indian Cauliflower & Peas (Gobi Matar)

Gobi Matar Indian Cauliflower & Peas
The flavors in this traditional cauliflower and peas dish from India's Uttar Pradesh region are subtle and fragrant, rather than bold and spicy. Slow, gentle cooking makes the cauliflower florets tender and buttery, while the stems remain slightly crispy for a pleasing contrast in textures. Use fresh or frozen peas, preferably organic, for their naturally sweet flavor and bright green color.

The key to this dish is to allow the cauliflower to braise in the liquid until it is all but evaporated, leaving the cauliflower delicately spiced and a lovely golden yellow.  Serve gobi matar as a side dish for 4 to 6, or as a vegetarian entree over rice (preferably basmati) or with naan or other Indian bread, for 2 or 3.

If you cannot find ghee (Indian clarified butter, often available at natural-foods stores or higher-end markets), you can use vegetable oil, but the flavor won't be as rich.

3 to 4 Tbs ghee
1 large cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (thawed)
1 bay leaf
3 to 5 curry leaves (available at Indian and other specialty markets - if you can't find curry leaves, substitute 1 bay leaf for a total of 2 bay leaves in the recipe)
1 Tbs dried parsley OR 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/2 Tbs pureed or finely minced ginger
Spices for Indian food
Cooking the spices in ghee
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (you can use non-fat)
1/4 cup water

Melt the ghee (or heat the oil) in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until browned stirring regularly, then stir in the bay leaf and/or curry leaves. Add the cauliflower and sprinkle with turmeric, cayenne and parsley, then stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is lightly browned. Add the peas and water, partially cover the pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and virtually all of the liquid has evaporated. If after 30 minutes there is still too much liquid, uncover and bring heat to medium high, then cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, until it evaporates.

Once the liquid has evaporated, reduce heat to low, sprinkle with salt and stir. Fold in the yogurt and gently stir to combine, cooking over low heat to prevent curdling.  Serve with a garnish of fresh parsley or cilantro if desired.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, May 11, 2012

Updated BBQ & Grill Tools and Accessories!

Beer Can Chicken Roaster and Flavor Enhancer w/ Potato Prongs
Deluxe Beer Can Chicken Roaster with Potato Prongs
When's the last time you visited our BBQ & Grill Accessories page on the Carolina Sauce website? If it's been a while, then you'll be in for a real treat: We've recently added a whole bunch of handy new accessories and tools to make your barbecue and grilling experience better than ever! Among the new additions are the jalapeno popper roaster grill racks that I mentioned in a recent blog post on how to cook jalapeno poppers on the grill.

But that's not all: We also have a deluxe BBQ fish grill basket that takes all the hassle out of grilling delicate fish fillets, steaks and whole fish on the grill (I also have a blog post, written a while back, that discusses how to grill fish like a professional chef).

I'll be featuring most of these newly-added barbeque accessories and gadgets here on this blog, together with recipes and grilling tips. In the meantime, however, I encourage you to check them out yourself by browsing our selection of BBQ accessories--after all, Father's Day will be here before you know it, and the last thing Dad wants is yet another tie or other uninspired gift. Instead, get him what he really wants, and he'll thank you each time he cooks steaks or burgers or fish on the grill, or tailgates before the big game.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wilted Kale Salad with Lemon & Deep-Fried Garlic

kale salad
If raw kale is a little too bitter or tough for your taste and you're looking for a different sort of salad, here's one I made the other night. My inspiration was the warm spinach salad served at my favorite Greek restaurant, which I usually order with fried calamari. My wilted kale salad recipe is vegetarian (vegan, in fact), but you could certainly top it with crumbled feta cheese, grilled shrimp or even fried calamari. I surrounded the kale with cucumber and tomato, although any salad vegetables of your choice would work--and you could substitute a balsamic or herb vinaigrette instead of lemon juice if you prefer.

The longer you saute the kale, the more tender and mellow-flavored it will get. For more of a bite, both in flavor and texture, remove from heat as soon as the kale begins to wilt. For a kinder, gentler kale, cook a little longer and even let it steam a bit by covering your pan for a few minutes.

1 large bunch of kale (I used red kale but any variety is fine)
1 to 2 Tbs Olive Oil
Deep-Fried Garlic Cloves
1/4 cup chopped onion
Salt & Pepper to taste
Approx. 1/4 cup (or more) deep-fried garlic cloves*
1 small tomato, chopped
1/2 small cucumber, peeled & chopped
Juice of half a lemon

*Note: To make deep-fried garlic cloves, use my recipe for Easy "Roasted" Garlic but increase the time for boiling in water to 5 minutes (until tiny blisters form on the cloves), and cook in the hot oil for 15 minutes or until deep golden-brown. The surface of the cloves will be lightly crisped and they'll have a mellow, almost nutty, toasted-garlic flavor. Remove to paper towels to drain and cool, sprinkling with sea salt if desired while they're still hot.

Salad Spinner/Pair
Buy salad spinner
Wash the kale well to remove any dirt or grit, shake off as much water as possible, then strip the leaves off the stems. Discard the stems (or compost them, or feed them to your chickens if you have any). I use a salad spinner to remove excess water from the stripped leaves.

Heat the oil in a deep, large frying pan or skillet with a lid, then saute the onions over medium heat until soft and translucent. Add the kale (depending on the size of your skillet, you might only be able to fit half of it), cover and let cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes--this will soften the leaves on the bottom and make it easier to stir, or to fit any remaining leaves.

Uncover, stir well, season with salt & pepper as desired (I use Kosher salt and several twists from my pepper mill). Let the kale cook uncovered, for several minutes, stirring from time to time, until the kale is just wilted. If you prefer, you can cover the pan to let the kale steam for a few minutes, which will further tenderize it and mellow out the flavor.

When the kale is as wilted as you'd like it, remove from heat, spoon onto serving dish, garnish with deep-fried garlic cloves, tomato and cucumber, and drizzle with freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Serve warm.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jalapeno Poppers on the Grill Made Easy

Jalapeno Poppers Grill Roaster PLUS Corer
Buy the Jalapeno Popper Grill Roaster
Take the mess out of making cheese-stuffed jalapeno poppers at home when you roast them on your BBQ grill using this jalapeno popper roaster for the grill!

By roasting the poppers on your grill instead of battering and frying them, you not only add incomparable fire-roasted flavor while evenly melting the cheese filling, but you also reduce the fat and calories without sacrificing taste. The stainless-steel jalapeno pepper roaster also reduces dripping and flare-ups by neatly keeping the stuffed peppers upright, ensuring that they'll cook evenly and making cleanup a snap.

Making grilled jalapeno poppers is super-easy:  Simply cut off the top of the pepper, scoop out the core and seeds, then stuff with a mixture of equal parts softened cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese (you can substitute Monterey Jack, pepper-jack, mozzarella, or any other shredded cheese).  Slip each stuffed pepper into a hole on the roaster rack, position on your grill over indirect medium heat, and close the grill cover. Let them cook for several minutes until the peppers are softened and the cheese filling has melted and turned golden (you can open the grill to check from time to time). Gently lift out each popper when done--they'll be hot to the touch, so use small tongs or let them cool a bit first.

Large Jalapeno Poppers Pepper Roaster PLUS Corer
Cored, stuffed & ready to grill
The jalapeno popper grill roaster is not just for jalapenos: Make a crowd-pleasing mild appetizer by using mini sweet peppers instead of jalapenos. Or use any variety of pepper that's similar in size to jalapenos, or any other veggie you might want to grill in an upright position to save room on your grill.

You can get creative with the fillings, too, by adding any of the following to the cheese mixture: A little cooked & crumbled bacon, some dried herbs, your favorite BBQ rub, or even some minced cooked crabmeat if you want to get fancy.

You can order jalapeno poppers grill roasters online from our recently-updated BBQ & Grill Accessories page on the Carolina Sauce Company website. They're available in three different sizes:

(1) The regular jalapeno grill roaster that holds up to 18 poppers and comes with a pepper corer;

(2) The large jalapeno poppers grill roaster which fits up to 24 peppers and also comes with a corer; and

(3) The extra-large grill roaster for cooking up to 36 jalapeno poppers at a time, excellent for parties and other get-togethers.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Make Poultry Stock (Chicken or Turkey)

Poultry stock made with chicken & turkey
Pot of homemade poultry stock
To me, nothing says "home" like the savory, heartwarming aroma wafting from a stock pot simmering on the stove. In my opinion, no store-bought chicken or poultry stock can compare in flavor and nutrition to homemade stock, especially if you use organic (or as close to organic as possible) ingredients, starting with the chicken or turkey. By making, not buying, stock, you control the amount of sodium and which herbs, spices, vegetables and other seasonings you choose to add to it. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more intense the flavors get. For a lower-fat stock, you can chill it in the refrigerator or freezer until the fat hardens at the surface and then simply lift out the pieces of fat.

Whenever we cook a whole chicken or turkey, I freeze the carcass and bones in freezer bags for making poultry stock at a later date. Likewise, if we find a good deal on organic whole chickens, we buy several, cut up and freeze in parts for later use, and save the wings, backs and necks for making stock. You can combine the raw parts together with the cooked bones and carcasses when making stock--in fact, I've never made stock using just raw chicken or turkey. If you don't buy whole raw chicken but instead buy cooked roasted or rotisserie chicken, you can use the carcass and bones for making stock.

It's not difficult to make homemade poultry stock, but it is somewhat time consuming so I usually reserve stock-making for weekends or for a day when I know I'll be home and able to check the stock pot periodically. For the same reason, whenever I make stock, I make A LOT all at once--I use two 12-quart stock pots--and freeze most of it in different-size containers for later use (usually 1-cup, 2-cup and 4-cup containers). Homemade stock will keep for months in your freezer and a few days in your refrigerator, and is excellent in any recipe calling for stock or broth, for making homemade soup, for cooking rice, adding flavor to casseroles or stews, and even for sauteing vegetables as a substitute for oil or butter. To turn stock into broth, simply dilute with water.

I'll often use both turkey and chicken together to make a more complex and robust stock than chicken alone. The steps are the same, and the quantities below are merely recommendations. There's no need to thaw the poultry beforehand; I use it straight from the freezer. It's hard to mess up stock, unless you over-season it (remember, the flavors intensify as the stock simmers). I do not salt my stock, for the same reason I use unsalted butter in recipes: It enables me to add the right amount of salt to the entire recipe.

Stock Seasonings
Here are my instructions for making poultry stock.

3 lbs (approx.) chicken and/or turkey carcasses, bones, backs, necks, wings
1 onion, trimmed & quartered
1 large carrot, peeled, trimmed & cut into 1" chunks
1 large rib celery, trimmed & cut into 1" chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 sprigs fresh thyme)
1 tsp dried parsley (or 4 sprigs fresh parsley)
1/4 tsp whole peppercorns
5 whole cloves

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large stock pot. If desired, place the herbs & spices in the center of a square of cheesecloth and tie up the ends with kitchen string to make a little bag, then toss in the stock pot. Alternatively, you can add all the herbs & spices directly into the stock pot (that's what I do).

Making homemade stock
Getting ready to cook
Add enough water to completely cover everything, then bring to a boil. Use a fat-skimmer or slotted spoon to skim off the foam and any "scum" that rises to the surface.

Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and allow to cook, uncovered, for several hours (I recommend at least 3 hours). Check each hour to skim off any fat or scum that rises to the surface, and add additional water as needed to keep the bones covered. Return to a simmer each time after adding water. Gentle cooking for a long time will bring out the best flavor and keep the stock from getting cloudy. I usually let the stock simmer for 4 to 5 hours, and stop adding water after 3 1/2 to 4 hours to allow it to get more concentrated, reducing the heat as needed to keep it from boiling.

simmering poultry stock
Simmering the stock
When you're satisfied with the cooking time, remove from heat and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes or so. Skim the surface of any fat, scum or foam. Now it's time to strain. I place a very fine-mesh colander or strainer over another large pot and ladle the stock into that (you can line your colander or strainer with some cheesecloth to more finely strain the broth). Once most of the stock has been strained, I separate out the bones and the vegetables from the stock pot. You can discard the cooked vegetables if you wish--I save them to puree with a couple of cups of stock to make a thick soup that I can season as desired.

Once the original stock pot is empty of bones and vegetables, I carefully pour out any remaining stock into the colander/strainer. As soon as the reserved bones are cool enough to handle, I pick off any bits of meat and add some of this meat to the pureed veggie soup. The rest of the meat goes into one or more of the containers in which I'll freeze the stock (those containers eventually will be used to make chicken soup). Discard the picked bones and any skin, cartilage, herbs, spices and other solids.

At this point you can refrigerate or briefly freeze the strained stock to solidify any fat for ease of removal, OR you can go ahead and ladle out the stock into storage containers as desired. Don't forget to label the containers with the contents and date, so that you'll know what they are when you pull them from your freezer at a later date.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mmmm, Peach MmmMarmalade!

Mrs. Picky Fanicky's NC Chutney
This Easter, I received a sweet little Easter basket of goodies from my fellow foodie friend and entrepreneur, Mrs. Picky Fanicky of Mrs. Picky Fanicky Foods--no, that's not her real name, but rather a term of endearment that describes her devotion to producing only the finest, most irresistibly delectable North Carolina marmalades and chutney made from wholesome, all-natural ingredients, using traditional family recipes and plenty of love. In addition to a jar of her divine Peach Cocktail MmmMarmalade, my basket contained an adorable notecard with recipe suggestions and a few homemade chocolate goodies which were a delightful--and delicious--surprise. One taste of her peach marmalade reminded me of how much I missed being able to sell her products through the Carolina Sauce online store, and how disappointed I was when I learned that our warehouse partner wasn't going to stock them.

Not being willing to give up so easily, and because I've continued to receive requests from customers who want to purchase Mrs. Picky's chutney and marmalades from Carolina Sauce Company, I set off on a quest to see if we could partner with one of Mrs. Picky's distributors and thus resume offering her products on our website.
Mrs. Picky Fanicky's Peach Marmalade
Buy Mrs. Picky Marmalade

Good news: I succeeded.  Through our new affiliate partnership with Abe's Market, you can now buy Mrs. Picky Fanicky's NC Chutney & Marmalades from our recently-updated North Carolina Products page! When you get to this page, simply scroll half-way down and you'll find the link for Mrs. Picky's products in the left column (look for the photo with three jars). Click on that link and you'll be able to place your order directly with Abe's Market, and we'll earn a small commission from them for referring the sale. Likewise, you can also click on the "Buy Mrs. Picky Marmalade" link and photo on the right.

So how did I enjoy my jar of Easter marmalade? In addition to the usual ways of slathering it on toast or biscuits and spooning it over ice cream, I treated myself to a hearty bowl of hot cereal topped with a sprinkling of slivered almonds and a generous dollop or two of marmalade. This was my breakfast of choice on several cool mornings after returning from a long run. Whether you make hot oatmeal or a multi-grain hot cereal like I did, or even a bowl of Grape-Nuts with hot milk, adding a few spoonfuls of marmalade turns an ordinary, boring breakfast into a special occasion, without ruining your diet, either.

Oatmeal with almonds and NC peach marmalade

Another satisfying breakfast, brunch and lunch treat was a toasted whole-wheat bagel spread with natural chunky peanut butter and Mrs. Picky's peach marmalade. Healthy, hearty and heavenly, especially when accompanied by a big mug of good coffee or tea. If you don't like bagels, you could certainly make a PB&M (peanut butter and marmalade) sandwich with regular bread, or spread both the peanut butter and the marmalade on a wrap or tortilla and then roll up--or even on a hot waffle or on pancakes. Peanut butter and peach marmalade are a winning combination, better than using ordinary jelly or jam.

Bagel with Mrs. Picky's Peach Marmalade

My favorite creation, however, was this recipe for roasted sweet potatoes & carrots with rosemary and peach marmalade. It was very easy to make and took about 30 minutes of time, most of which was the roasting time, leaving you free to prepare the rest of your dinner while the sweet potatoes and carrots roast in the oven. Not only was it sublimely delicious as a dinner side dish with its balance of sweet and savory (an ideal pairing would be roast chicken or pork or even venison), but the leftovers were surprisingly good the next day, straight from the refrigerator without warming them up first.

Sweet potatoes with rosemary & peach marmalade

Mrs. Picky also makes a marvelous strawberry marmalade called Sundae MmmMarmalade, a spiced Apple Pie MmmMarmalade that tastes like old-fashioned apple pie, and a spicy-sweet and subtly savory chutney that complements meats, poultry and seafood, and also doubles as a BBQ glaze for ribs and chicken. Gift packs are also available, and would make a thoughtful Mother's Day gift.

How do you enjoy Mrs. Picky's products? Please leave us a comment here or on the Carolina Sauce Facebook Page to let us know!

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Frozen Mexican Mocha Latte

Frozen Mexican Mocha Latte
If you partied a little too hard yesterday for Cinco de Mayo or the Kentucky Derby, this eye-opening frozen coffee drink is guaranteed to wake you up. My inspiration was the spicing in Mexican hot chocolate. This recipe makes two generous servings, or one very large one.

There is no alcohol in my recipe, but if you're looking for "the hair of the dog" you could certainly add a shot of Kahlua or other coffee liqueur, or creme de cacao or other chocolate liqueur.

The red or cayenne pepper provides a noticeably spicy-hot kick the more you use. For a gentler, subtle zip, stick with just a dash or two of pepper. And if you prefer a sweeter drink, use more brown sugar.

Other possible variations I haven't tried (yet) include making this with a couple of shots of very strong espresso instead of instant coffee (and reducing the amount of milk accordingly), and using sweetened condensed milk for a richer drink (omit the brown sugar).

If you make this recipe, please leave a comment with your feedback, and also with any modifications you make.

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup crushed ice
1 heaping Tbs instant coffee
1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp (or more to taste) brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
scant 1/8 tsp ground cloves
Frozen Mexican Mocha Latteup to a scant 1/8 tsp ground red or cayenne pepper (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend on high until smooth.  If you'd like the drink to look like that in the photo at the top, let it sit in the blender for a couple of minutes until some of the frozen foam settles on top, then pour the liquid into a glass half-way and top with a few spoonfuls of the foam. Alternatively, if you pour the drink right away, it will look like this photo on the right:

If desired, sprinkle the top with a little cinnamon, cocoa or even a bit of red pepper. You could also top with whipped cream if desired.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, May 4, 2012

April's Top Ten Sauces & Seasonings at Carolina Sauce Co.

Wells BBQ Sauce
Buy Wells BBQ Sauce
April's list of the Top Ten Best-Selling Products at the Carolina Sauce Company features some surprises, namely, a couple of rich and flavorful sauces that deserve far more popularity than they've had in the past, and the return of a couple of favorites. The list also has something for everyone, whether you like tangy eastern NC BBQ sauce, exotic Jamaican jerk flavors, fiery hot sauces, old-fashioned marmalades, and even a savory Caribbean brown sauce that doubles as a steak sauce. Here's the complete list:

1. Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce is back in first place after finishing second in March. True to its name, Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce is made from an authentic recipe that blends aged, pickled scotch bonnet peppers with sweet papaya in a tangy mustard-vinegar base for fabulous tropical flavor and a good solid burn.

2. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce is our best-selling sauce of all time. Made in eastern NC and true to its roots, this vinegar barbecue sauce is thin and spicy (no tomatoes and a touch of pepper) and best enjoyed either with pulled pork BBQ or as a marinade for chicken.

3. Wells All-Purpose Ribs & Chicken BBQ Sauce makes its first-ever appearance on our monthly best-sellers list. The "younger sibling" of Wells Hog Heaven is deliciously different: Plenty of tomatoes add thickness and natural sweetness that's balanced with a bit of spice, smoke and savory seasonings. As the name suggests, this sauce is for slathering on ribs, chicken, chops, kabobs, and anything else you grill.

Walkerswood Jonkanoo Sauce
Buy Jonkanoo Sauce
4. Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning is back up in the top five after a 7th place finish in March. Walkerswood is THE name for Jamaican jerk products, and this concentrated jerk paste or wet rub packs a powerfully spicy and aromatic punch. Enjoy Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning with any type of meat or poultry, and it also adds exotic island flavor to roasted potatoes.

5. Walkerswood Jonkanoo Pepper Sauce hasn't been on our top-ten list in a very long time, which indicates what a well-kept secret this feisty, food-friendly Jamaican hot sauce really is. Named after a colorful street festival, Walkerswood Jonkanoo Sauce is spicy-hot with a hint of sweet and will complement virtually anything on which you splash it.

6. Susie's Original Hot Sauce used to be nearly impossible to find outside of Antigua and other Caribbean destinations, and thus when we were able to add it to the Carolina Sauces online store it quickly became a hit. After a brief hiatus this savory mustard-based hot pepper sauce is once again back on our list of the top ten best-selling sauces.

7. Matouk's Flambeau Hot Sauce is hands-down one of the hottest "natural" (not spiked with capsaicin extract) hot sauces you can buy. Made with an incendiary mash of aged, pickled scotch bonnet peppers in a tangy and savory mustard base, Matouk's Flambeau Sauce delivers flaming-hot heat that should be enjoyed with care.
Walkerswood One Stop Savory Sauce
Buy One Stop Savory Sauce

8. Georgia Peach & Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce is one of our all-time best selling hot sauces, no doubt because it's so approachable: Sweet ripe peaches blended with mellow Vidalia onions and judiciously-selected hot peppers give this sunny sauce a food-friendly flavor and mild heat level that virtually everyone will enjoy. Georgia Peach & Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce is wonderful with summertime fare (especially grilled food) as well as with steamed or broiled fish, roast chicken or pork, and even veggies, rice and beans.

9. Walkerswood One Stop Savory Sauce makes its first appearance on our best-seller list. Similar to a steak sauce but with a touch of bright tropical spice, this Caribbean brown sauce is an ideal table sauce and marinade for all sorts of meat (including steak), and will also complement chicken, portobello mushrooms, hearty bean dishes, stews, casseroles and other robust recipes.

Mrs. Picky Fanicky Marmalades & Chutney
Buy Mrs. Picky Chutney & Marmalade
10. Mrs. Picky Fanicky's NC Chutney & MmmMarmalades are back at the Carolina Sauce Company after a long absence, courtesy of our new partnership with Abe's Market. Made the old-fashioned way using wholesome, all-natural ingredients, the apple-peach North Carolina Chutney delivers a subtly exotic sweet-savory flavor and spice that makes for a mouthwatering condiment and doubles as a unique BBQ sauce. The thick, lusciously sweet and chunky MmmMarmalades are available in Apple Pie, Peach Cocktail, and Strawberry Sundae.

You can view this list on the Carolina Sauce home page. And if you're curious to find out which were our top-selling products for all of last year, visit our Best-Selling Products page where they're listed by type of product (e.g., hot sauces, BBQ sauces, dry rubs, etc.) as well as the over-all top 10 list for 2011.

Zestfully yours,