Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Flickr photo by torbakhopper
Happy Easter from the Carolina Sauce Company, to all of our friends, customers, partners and fans who are celebrating Jesus' resurrection.

May God's blessings be with you and your loved ones on this joyous and holy day, and all the days of your lives.

He is Risen! Alleluia!

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Maybe Not the Smartest Thing to Bring on a Plane...

Buy Mustard Gas Hot Sauce
If you're serious about your hot sauce and other zesty condiments, you probably have one or two favorites that you bring with you on the road. After all, most food would otherwise simply taste boring.

Unfortunately, the TSA has made it more difficult to bring along your favorite sauces when traveling by air, limiting us to mini hot sauce bottles in a quart-size baggie for carry-on luggage.

Full-size bottles are still generally fine to bring along in checked luggage, and of course you need to pack them with care so that they don't break or leak in transit.

If you choose to bring along a few bottles of hot sauce in your luggage, however, here's a tip:

Leave Crazy Jerry's Mustard Gas Hot Sauce at home.

I know, I know, it may be difficult to have to go without this potent concoction that expertly combines the sinus-clearing, tear-jerking power of REAL mustard (think wasabi or Chinese restaurant mustard) with the tongue-searing, heart-pumping burn of pepper extracts. This super-hot mustard hot sauce takes capsaicin-induced adrenaline rushes to new heights.

But if some overzealous TSA agent happens to open your bag for inspection and finds the metal "mustard gas" canister that encases this hot sauce, you may have some serious "splaining" to do.

So here's my advice:

If you know you'll be visiting friends or family and you can't bear the thought of spending days eating woefully bland food with only wimpy supermarket condiments for seasoning, simply plan ahead and order Crazy Jerry's Mustard Gas Hot Sauce (or whatever your favorite spicy condiment happens to be) from the Carolina Sauces online store and have it shipped your destination ahead of your departure. Your taste buds will thank you.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, March 29, 2013

Christine's Crawfish Etouffee

Photo by Christine Laudonio Wendell
Feisty and flavorful crawfish etouffee is one of my favorite dishes from Louisiana.

Given the depth and richness of flavors, you'd think it takes a lot of time and hard work to make a good etouffee -- yet in reality, it's a very approachable dish that's uncomplicated and fun to make.

It's also a feast for all the senses because of the bright colors and different textures of the ingredients, the percussive crunch of chopping and staccato sizzle of sauteing, the seductively enticing aromas as it cooks, and of course the layers of varied flavors in every bite.

The following zesty recipe and accompanying photo come to us from my friend Christine Laudonio Wendell, the owner of Nella Mia Cucina Artisanal Jams, Jellies & Preserves. Christine is a personal chef and cooking instructor who has appeared as a Top 100 contestant on Master Chef Season 2, and she describes herself as a "Foodie blogger, self-appointed food critic, Wife, Mom and military spouse." Her recipes and photos always make my mouth water & tummy rumble, and provide inspiration in the kitchen - visit her Nella Mia Cucina page on Facebook and you'll see what I mean.

Without further ado, here is her recipe for Crawfish Etouffee:

1 lb fresh or frozen peeled crawfish tails
3 lbs Louisiana Crawfish 10-15 Crawfish Per lb
Buy crawfish online
2 large onions, minced
1 cup minced celery
½ cup minced green bell pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons crawfish fat (or butter)
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup water
½ cup tomato sauce
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon (or more to taste) cayenne pepper
Hot cooked rice

Thaw crawfish if frozen. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions, celery, green bell pepper and garlic for 10 minutes or until tender. Add crawfish fat (or butter) and cornstarch. Stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add water, tomato sauce, crawfish and seasonings. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for a minute or two. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered 5 minutes, or until crawfish turn pink. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you want to spice up this recipe with more of a peppery or fiery kick, add a few splashes of a good Louisiana or Cajun hot sauce such as Panola Clearly Hot Sauce when you add the other seasonings during cooking, or splash it on your serving at the table.  A simple mixed-greens salad with a citrusy vinaigrette or a lighter, cool creamy dressing would be an excellent accompaniment to round out this meal.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Buy Salsa Lizano Online & On Sale at Carolina Sauce

Salsa Lizano -- or Lizano Sauce, if you prefer -- is a savory, all-purpose sauce and marinade from Costa Rica that's achieved world-wide popularity and praise. The original recipe was developed almost 100 years ago and is still used today. Smooth and pourable (thin not thick) with a mild vinegar tang and mellow sweetness from molasses plus a peppery zip, the deep, rich flavors come from a special blend of all-natural ingredients including vegetables and spices. The complete recipe is a closely guarded secret that has been preserved since 1920, and only the master saucemaker at Lizano is said to know the entire recipe.

Ubiquitous in Costa Rican cuisine, Salsa Lizano is used both during cooking (think of it as the Latin American answer to Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce but with a distinctive Latin twist) and as a table sauce for enhancing the flavor of pretty much any savory food. It's a natural with poultry and meats, in stews and bean dishes, as a condiment for breakfast eggs, to season rice or soup, and even in curries and cheese dishes. Lizano Sauce is an excellent choice for marinating steaks and other cuts of beef, venison, pork and other red meats, and adds mouthwatering flavor to burgers when you mix some into the ground beef. It also adds Costa Rican flair to fish and seafood. No wonder this versatile sauce become one of the best-known condiments across the globe.

The Carolina Sauces online store is excited to add the original Salsa Lizano to its stable of sauces and seasonings. The 24oz bottle is currently on sale for only $7.45 a bottle, so now is the time to buy Lizano Sauce online.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Very Veggie Frittata, aka "Spinach Pizza" Frittata

I did not set out to make a frittata that reminds me of my favorite pizza (traditional NY style with spinach and feta) when I came up with this recipe. But boy am I glad I did! I've been missing my weekly pizza lunch with Greg ever since he got serious about low-carb eating. Luckily for both of us, the flavors of this zesty vegetable frittata at least partially satisfied our craving for a good spinach pizza, minus the crust.

This very veggie fritatta is a welcome breakfast, brunch, lunch or even dinnertime dish for anyone on a low-carb diet who misses eating veggie pizza. And of course it's great for vegetarians who enjoy Italian and Mediterranean flavors.

If you like your frittata on the thicker side, almost like a crustless quiche, use a smaller, deeper skillet, e.g., 8" or 10" in diameter, partially cover with a lid and plan on a little longer cooking time. For a thinner frittata, cook in a larger skillet, e.g., 12" in diameter, but be sure you have a plate large enough to help you flip the frittata. Makes 4 servings.

2 Tbs butter or olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper or red mini sweet peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I use cremini or "baby bellas")
1 large roma tomato, chopped
8 oz. fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs
1 Tbs half & half
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 to 2 oz shredded mozzarella or crumbled feta cheese (or some of each)

Heat 1 Tablespoon of the butter or oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet and saute the onion, pepper and garlic until just soft. Add mushrooms and saute until softened, then stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring regularly, until tomatoes begin to break down. Stir in spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted. Remove skillet from heat.

Beat together the eggs, half & half, oregano, salt & black pepper in a large bowl, then add the sauteed vegetables and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in the cheese.

Add remaining Tablespoon of butter or oil to skillet and heat over medium heat until melted or hot. Pour in the egg & vegetable mixture evenly into the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover with lid and cook until set, approximately 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of your pan. After the frittata is set, place a large plate (at least the diameter of the frittata) serving-side down over the frittata, lift the skillet by the handle and carefully flip over so that the frittata is now on the plate, cooked side up. Return skillet to stove and gently slide the frittata back into the pan so that the uncooked side is now on the bottom. Cook for another 5 minutes or until done to your liking.  Remove from heat and let sit for a minute, then cut into wedges to serve.

Zestfully yours,

PS:  If you usually spice up your pizza, feel free to add some crushed red pepper flakes to the beaten eggs, or season your portion at the table with a few splashes of hot sauce. And if you like to have some ketchup on the side with most egg dishes, an excellent choice for this frittata is Melinda's Black Pepper Ketchup, which is made with all-natural ingredients and NO high fructose corn syrup, plus just the right amount of peppery zip.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Our Favorite Latke Recipes for Passover

Passover Seder
Flickr photo by Edsel L
Happy Passover to all our friends celebrating the holiday!

Over the years, I've posted a variety of different latke recipes, some more traditional and others more unusual but still appropriate for Passover, Hanukkah or any time you're craving potato pancakes.

For your convenience, here are links to my favorite latke recipes:

Tips for Healthier, Lower-Fat Latkes:  If you're trying to eat healthier but still want to enjoy traditional Jewish foods, here are some easy ways to trim the fat content of latkes, which can be notoriously rich.

Fat-Free Latkes:  Yes, that concept might be anathema to purists, but if you're seriously committed to cutting back on fat and fried foods, this recipe is for you -- and it's surprisingly tasty, too!

Hot & Spicy Potato Latkes: For the chilehead or fiery-foods fanatic who wants to add a peppery twist to this normally mild dish.

Dilly Turnip Latkes:  As the name suggests, these little latkes are made with shredded turnips instead of traditional potato. They're shown in the photo on the right.

Savory Cottage Cheese Latkes:  There are no potatoes in this rich and flavorful alternative to traditional potato pancakes.

And if you want to offer an alternative to the traditional toppings of sour cream and apple sauce, try my recipe for Creamy Cucumber-Jalapeno Sauce, made with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Chag Pesach Sameach!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, March 25, 2013

Acorn Squash with Spiced Fruit & Nuts

Acorn squash is one of my favorite winter squashes, with a mellow and mild flavor that takes to sweet or savory fillings and seasonings equally well.

We routinely enjoy roasted or baked acorn squash as a savory side dish with butter, herbs & spices, or as a main course when stuffed with seasoned ground beef & vegetables.

The other night, however, I decided to try my hand at a sweet filling inspired by the warm fragrance of mulled wine, the luscious flavor of ripe pair, the toothsome textures of dried fruit & nuts, and the seductively rich sweetness honey.

This recipe will perfume the air with the comforting aromas of winter spices. Serve it with roast chicken or turkey, pork chops, roast beef, venison medallions and other hearty meats or poultry. Replace boring old sweet potato casseroles this acorn squash stuffed with spiced fruit and nuts. And I can see myself enjoying it as an alternative to dessert, or even for brunch on a cold and blustery late morning or early afternoon.

Use either one large acorn squash, or two small ones. If you end up with more filling than you can stuff in your squash(es), refrigerate it and stir it into oatmeal or other hot cereal the next day, or spoon it over vanilla ice cream.

Acorn squash: 1 large OR 2 small
1 ripe but firm pear
4 Tbs butter
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans (walnuts would also work)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds (you can save them for roasting, just like pumpkin seeds). Tip:  To keep squash halves upright for stuffing and eating, cut a small slice off the skin side of each half to give it a flat bottom surface. Place squashes cut-side down in a large, shallow baking pan and add about 1/4" water to the pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

While the squash is baking, core the pear and cut into small cubes. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the pear and remaining ingredients except the nuts. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the nuts and keep at a very low simmer until the squash is ready to stuff.

After the squash has baked for 30 minutes, remove from oven and turn halves cut-side up (be careful, they will be HOT to the touch). Spoon the fruit & nut mixture into the middle of each half, drizzling with any sauce that may be left in the saucepan. Return the stuffed squash to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until squash is fork-tender.

Zestfully yours,

PS:  If you love the sweet-tart flavor of cranberries and enjoy it year-round, be sure to try Toad Sweat Cranberry Dessert Hot Sauce (fantastic on cheesecake, over ice cream, with pancakes or waffles, and even as a condiment for turkey and pork) and Cajohn's Gourmet Cranberry Salsa (an all-natural sweet & tangy salsa made with cranberries and spiced with jalapenos), both on sale at the Carolina Sauces online store.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Order a North Carolina Ham for Easter

Johnston County Hams in Smithfield, NC, is well-known for its award-winning country ham made from North Carolina hogs and naturally cured and smoked the old-fashioned way, for incomparable depth of flavor and buttery texture.

But did you know that Johnston County Hams also has honey-cured hams that are perfect for Easter dinner?

Hickory-smoked and prepared with real honey, their North Carolina ham are lusciously rich, tender and juicy, with a delectably sweet-tangy flavor that's not too salty with just a subtle touch of smoke. Available boneless and pre-sliced or bone-in and spiral-sliced, both come fully cooked and ready to serve. Whether you're serving them for a special occasion like Easter or for an everyday family dinner, the entire family (and any lucky guest) is sure to enjoy this wholesome alternative to "chain store" precooked hams.

Never ordered a ham online before? Don't worry, the folks at Johnston County Hams are seasoned experts. All hams are carefully and properly packed for shipping via FedEx and arrive within 2 business days when shipped within NC or to SC or VA (orders shipping outside those 3 states are shipped via 2nd Day Air). Your ham will arrive with information on cooking, carving and storage to keep things simple for you.

Easter is only a week away, so now is the time to order ham online for that special day.

Zestfully yours,

PS:  If you'd rather serve a country ham, be sure to check out our NC Country Ham page to browse our offerings from Johnston County Hams and order online.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Roasted Leeks & Carrots

Here's another extremely easy, flavorful and family-pleasing vegetable side dish that will have even notorious veggie-haters requesting seconds. Leeks have a mellower flavor than onions, and roasting caramelizes their natural sugars while canceling out any pungent notes. Likewise, roasting carrots brings them an earthy, deep sweetness that's virtually irresistible -- and that's coming from someone who normally loathes cooked carrots!

Roasted leeks and carrots are an excellent side dish to serve with steak, pork chops, London broil, roasts of all sorts (beef, chicken or pork) and other hearty, richly flavored main courses. For additional nutritional benefits, serve over a bed of sauteed spinach as shown below, and finish with a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice.

I did not list specific quantities because this recipe is completely flexible. Generally I plan on 1 leek per 2 servings, and for every leek I use two carrots. So, if you need more than two servings, simply multiply the recipe below accordingly.

Ingredients (for 2 servings - multiply as needed)
1 large leek
2 large carrots
Olive oil
Sea Salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash the leek thoroughly under running water. Trim the root bottom and about 1" off top and remove any tough or discolored outer leaves. Slice diagonally into pieces about 1" thick -- you may want to rinse each piece again to remove any remaining interior grit. Peel & trip the carrot, then slice into 1/2" thick diagonal pieces. Place the leek and carrot pieces in a bowl or large resealable plastic bag, drizzle with a little olive oil, season with salt & pepper to taste, then toss (or seal the plastic bag and shake) to coat all the pieces well. Spread leek & carrot pieces in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan or on a baking sheet and roast at 375°F until tender and light golden-brown, about 30 to 40 minutes (depending on how tender or browned you want them). Transfer to serving dish, taste for balance and season with more salt & pepper if desired.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

Friday, March 22, 2013

Peach 'n Pepper Grilling Sauce: Summer in a Bottle!

I first had the pleasure of tasting Peach 'n Pepper Grilling Sauce at the Fiery Foods Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, many years ago. My tasting notes begin with:

"Summer in a bottle"

Luscious, juicy peaches are among summer's iconic fruits, and sweet Vidalia onions are the perfect savory foil for their ambrosial flavor. Both of these flavors of the season play a central role in this magnificent barbecue and grilling sauce, with three different kinds of hot peppers and just a dash of capsicum oil providing a fiery finish that complements without overpowering (the heat level is on the lower end of "medium").

Peach 'n Pepper is superb for slathering on ribs (beef or pork) and grilling chicken, as well as for basting all kinds of kabobs. Simply mop or baste with it during the final 10 or so minutes of grilling. You can also serve this sauce as a table or dipping sauce for all sorts of robust meats, poultry and seafood -- e.g., beef brisket, pork chops, grilled shrimp, venison roast, even duck -- and use it for cooking in a crock pot (slow cooker) or in the oven for baking and roasting.  Some people even add it to ground meat recipes like sloppy joes, burgers and meatloaf.

Buy Peach 'n Pepper Grilling Sauce online at the Carolina Sauces online store, where it's currently on sale, and enjoy the flavors of summer any time of the year.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Indian-Style Spinach with Raw Peanuts & Raisins

Most people who enjoy Indian food are familiar with palak paneer, aka saag paneer, a popular feature in most Indian restaurants in the U.S. For those not familiar with it, palak or saag paneer is most commonly made in the US with spinach and paneer cheese. In India, however, it is made with whatever greens are available or in season, which could be spinach, mustard greens, fenugreek greens, beet greens, collards, and even a combination of several.

Like palak paneer, the following Indian spinach dish is vegetarian -- but unlike the former, you can make the following recipe vegan by using vegetable oil instead of ghee (Indian clarified butter).

Raw peanuts can be found at natural food stores like Whole Foods and at Asian and Indian markets, and you cannot substitute regular roasted or fried peanuts because the flavor and texture is dramatically different. It will save you time if you can find shelled raw peanuts that have been skinned; otherwise, for best flavor you should remove the red skins after soaking the peanuts (they rub off rather easily but it takes time to get them all).

The original version of this Bengali recipe appears in Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East, Vegetarian Cooking cookbook.  Here is how I make it, using raisins or currants instead of coconut:

1 cup raw, shelled peanuts
2 cups water
2 Tbs ghee
1/8 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
1 12-oz bag of frozen spinach
1 Tbs blackstrap molasses
1 hot green chili pepper, e.g., jalapeno or serrano, seeded & minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup currants or raisins

Soak the peanuts in a large bowl with 2 cups water for 3 to 4 hours -- the peanuts will plump up during soaking so make sure there's enough room in the bowl. Drain the peanuts and remove skins if using unskinned peanuts.

Melt ghee over medium heat in a large, deep skillet.  When hot, toss in the fenugreek seeds and cook for a few seconds, just until they sizzle and begin to darken -- do not overcook or they'll turn bitter! Add rest of ingredients (the spinach can still be frozen) and stir well to break up the spinach and combine everything. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until spinach is fully cooked, stirring once or twice and adding just a little bit of water if the dish looks too dry -- it should be moist but without excess liquid. If there's any liquid remaining when the spinach is cooked, simply bring heat back up to medium and cook, uncovered & stirring regularly, until the extra liquid has evaporated.  Serves 2 to 4.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you're looking for more Indian recipes, be sure to follow our Indian Recipes board on Pinterest!  You can also search this blog for "Indian recipe" to find more.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Love Hot Wings? Try Danny Cash's Fallen Angel Wing Sauces

Can't stop eating super-hot buffalo wings?

Do you consider names like "Suicide Wings" and "Nuclear Wings" to be a personal challenge?

Are you addicted to the adrenaline rush from eating seriously HOT wing sauce?

If you answered "YES" to any of the above questions, Danny Cash's Fallen Angel Wing Sauces are for you.

You know a company is serious about fiery heat when their "milder" hot wing sauce is made with a generous quantity of habanero peppers -- so many, in fact, that habaneros are the #1 ingredient in Danny Cash's Fallen Angel Habanero Wing Sauce.

This is a traditional Buffalo style sauce, which means it's made with real butter, vinegar and cayenne peppers plus the requisite savory seasonings... and that's it: No unorthodox flavorings or sissy herbs, just honest and straightforward classic stuff in this sauce.

When habaneros are considered "mild," it can only mean that the notorious ghost pepper, aka bhut or naga jolokia, will star in the "hot" wing sauce (quotation marks around "hot" only because it would more accurately be described as ULTRA hot). 

Such is the case with Danny Cash's Fallen Angel Jolokia Ghost Wing Sauce.

This time the lead ingredient is a copious quantity of naga jolokia ghost peppers, followed by the habaneros and cayenne in his original wing sauce recipe. As you might imagine, the end result is a blazing hot wing sauce that's not for the faint of heart or palate, which delivers the same great classic Buffalo flavor as Danny Cash's habanero original.

Both flavors of Danny Cash's Wing Sauce are now available and on sale at the Carolina Sauces online store, where you'll also find other fiery Danny Cash sauces and seasonings.

Zestfully yours,

PS:  If you prefer a Buffalo wing sauce that is tamer in heat, or non-traditional wing sauces like garlic-parmesan or honey-BBQ, you'll want to browse our wide selection of Wing Sauces where you'll find sauces for every taste and heat preference.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Roasted Spring Radishes with Sauteed Radish Greens

Roasted Radishes with pecan-crusted tilapia
This simple way to prepare radishes will delight anyone who enjoys this zesty late-winter/early-spring vegetable, and convert radish-haters into lovers. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in radishes and other root vegetables, while toning down and virtually eliminating their notorious sharpness or "bite."

As with any roots, the younger and smaller radishes will be milder in flavor. Likewise, it's important to select radishes that are a fresh as possible. One very good reason to buy them with their green tops is that the tops provide tell-tale signs of age: Perky, deep-green leaves with little or no blemishing or wilting indicate a fresh bunch, while radishes with yellowed, limp or very large dull-looking leaves are past their prime.

Another good reason to buy radishes with their tops is that the greens are tasty and nutritious, more tender than collard or turnip greens and surprisingly light in flavor when sauteed in a little oil or butter. The sauteed radish greens serve as a base for the roasted radish roots in this side dish.

Finally, there are no quantities listed in this recipe. Use as much or as little oil as it takes to coat the radish bottoms lightly and as little as possible to saute the greens. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Because of the very short list of ingredients, for best flavor use a good-quality sea salt and freshly-cracked or ground black pepper if possible. And if you happen to have a Meyer lemon, by all means use it here!

"Easter Egg" radishes
1 bunch radishes with green tops attached
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Cracked or coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Thoroughly wash the beets and tops under running water, shake off excess water, pinch off the green tops and set aside. Trim the ends off the radishes and cut in half or into quarters, depending on the size of the radish. Toss with just enough olive oil to coat lightly, season with salt and pepper to taste, then spread in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan or on a baking sheet. Roast at 400°F until tender and lightly golden, about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice to ensure even cooking.

During the last 15 minutes or so of the roasting time, add a little olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat. Coarsely chop or tear the radish greens (I include the stems but you can discard if you prefer) and saute in the hot oil until tender and wilted -- this can take 10 minutes or more, and they should appear very dark green in color. Season to taste with salt & pepper and one or more squeezes of lemon juice.

To serve, create a "bed" with the sauteed greens, then spoon some roasted radishes on top. If desired, you can season with additional salt & pepper, or another squeeze of lemon juice, or even a little drizzled extra virgin olive oil.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

PS: For more family-pleasing, wholesome vegetable recipes ranging from easy to make to involved but worth it, be sure to follow our Vegetarian Recipes board on Pinterest!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Introducing Walkerswood West Indian Curry Paste

Buy Walkerswood Curry Paste
One of the most recent additions to the Carolina Sauces online store is a member of the renowned Walkerswood product line from Jamaica -- but this zesty new product is not a Jamaican jerk.

Walkerswood West Indian Curry Paste is a spicy and exotic curry condiment made in the Caribbean tradition, which is different from (but just as flavorful) as curries from India and the Far East.

Turmeric, coriander, cumin and fenugreek combine with Jamaican allspice, anise and star anise plus plenty of fiery cayenne pepper and a touch of tropical cane sugar for a multi-layered, intriguingly complex and savory flavor that will sweep you away to an island paradise. Use it like you would any other curry paste or jerk paste: Slather or rub on meats, poultry, seafood or vegetables and marinate for at least 30 minutes for seafood & veggies, or up to overnight for meats and poultry. Then cook any way you prefer: On the grill or stove top, in the oven or crock pot, or under the broiler. Because Walkerswood West Indian Curry Paste is already pre-cooked, you can use it as a table sauce as well as in marinating and cooking. Its rich and robust flavors work best with red meats like goat, mutton, lamb, venison and the fuller-flavored cuts of beef and pork; with chicken or turkey thighs and other dark meat, game birds and waterfowl, and used sparingly on fish or shrimp. When it comes to vegetables, this curry paste is excellent for hearty stews and bean dishes, with roasted or sauteed potatoes, and even stirred into cooked rice for a quick curried rice dish.

Buy Walkerswood West Indian Curry Paste online at our website on the Jerks & Curry page, where it's currently on sale along with other Walkerswood sauces & seasonings, and get ready for an exciting culinary adventure!

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Irish Grilled Pork Chops with Creamy Guinness Mushrooms

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Carolina Sauce Company!

My inspiration for this low-carb, hearty and full-flavored pork chop recipe was traditional Irish fare. With St. Patrick's Day on the horizon and some lovely pork chops from MAE Farms, I was in search of an authentic Irish recipe but every one I found called for flour, breading, potatoes or other carbohydrates that are currently "taboo" in our house.

So, after much research, I decided I would create my own recipe using ideas and ingredients from traditional Irish cuisine.

This is not a low-fat recipe. But if you use organic and/or all-natural, high-quality ingredients, it is wholesome and deeply satisfying in a "primal" sort of way. And if you are restricting or watching your carb intake, you'll be glad to know that this recipe doesn't call for any flour, cornstarch, breading, thickeners or the like -- and Guinness beer is actually relatively low in carbohydrates for a beer (and the entire recipe only calls for half a cup, much of which evaporates during cooking).

If you prefer, you can grill the pork chops indoors on a George Foreman grill (that's what I used). You could also pan-fry them in a cast-iron skillet prior to cooking the mushrooms, and hold the cooked chops in a warm oven until the mushrooms are done and you're ready to serve.

2 bone-in pork chops (approx. 1 lb total)
Sea salt & cracked black pepper for seasoning chops
2 Tbs butter OR 1 Tbs butter and 1 Tbs bacon fat
10 oz mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed & sliced (I used cremini)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup Guinness beer
1/3 cup half & half
1 tsp dried thyme OR 1 Tbs fresh chopped thyme

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring regularly, until tender and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add salt, pepper & beer, cook at a simmer, stirring regularly, until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. While the mushrooms are simmering, preheat your grill and season the pork chops to taste with sea salt and cracked black pepper. When the mushrooms are almost "dry," place the chops and grill until done, turning once (if using a Foreman grill, you don't need to turn the chops and the cooking time is only 5 to 7 minutes depending on the chops' thickness). While the chops are cooking, stir the half & half and thyme into the mushrooms and cook, stirring regularly, until reduced to a thick creamy sauce that coats the mushrooms. This takes about 5 to 7 minutes, and ideally the pork chops will be done around the same time -- if the chops need longer to cook, you can reduce the heat on the mushrooms to low/warm until the chops are done (and you can stir in a little more half & half if the sauce gets too thick). If the chops are done early, you can hold them until the creamy mushrooms are done.

To serve, spoon half of the creamy mushrooms over each plated pork chop. A green salad, roasted vegetables or sauteed spinach are all excellent low-carb side dishes. The photo shows roasted leeks and carrots over sauteed spinach as the side dish.

Serves 2.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, March 16, 2013

March Coupon Sale Ends Tomorrow

Click to sign up for our Free VIP Newsletter
We recently sent out our March newsletter to our VIPs, and it includes a special discount coupon for 7% off everything at the Carolina Sauces online store.

The newsletter also includes a zesty appetizer recipe, and info about our newest products including Stubb's BBQ Sauces, Marinades & Rubs.

Did you receive the newsletter and your VIP coupon? If not, send me an email and I'll forward a complimentary copy of the newsletter and your own VIP coupon.

Our March VIP coupon sale ends at midnight (EDT) on Sunday, March 17th, which also happens to be St. Patrick's Day. This is THE BEST coupon or discount we'll offer in March, so don't miss out and be sure to place your order online before midnight on Sunday!

Want to receive future monthly VIP coupons? Simply sign up for our monthly e-Newsletter.

Questions? Email me or leave a comment below or contact us on Facebook and I'll help any way I can.

Best regards,

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spicy Pecan-Crusted Fish (Baked, Not Fried)

Spicy Pecan-Crusted Tilapia (with roasted radishes & sauteed radish tops)
Here is a low-carb, healthier alternative to breaded fried fish, with a pleasant nutty crunch and a nice spicy kick. I used tilapia fillets but any similar fish will work, e.g., sole, catfish, flounder, cod, walleye, etc.

If habanero powder is too spicy for you, substitute cayenne or red pepper powder, or even ground chipotle powder or ancho chile powder for an earthier, less fiery flavor.

This recipe takes only a few minutes to assemble and no more than 15 minutes to cook in the oven. If you insist on pan-frying rather than baking the fish, use about 2 Tbs butter or oil (or 1 Tbs each) over medium-high heat and fry on each side until golden-brown and fork-flaky, about 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your fish fillets. Your skillet should be large enough to fry all 4 fillets simultaneously -- if not, you can fry in batches and hold the fried fillets in a warm (200°F) oven until all are done.

Depending on how hungry everyone is and how much other food you're serving, plan on 1 or 2 fillets per person -- and you can multiply this recipe for more (or bigger) servings.

4 tilapia or other fish fillets, approx 3-4 oz each
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans*
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika or regular paprika
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
pinch (or to taste) habanero powder (or other ground chili pepper)
Oil or cooking spray

*Place pecan halves or pieces in a resealable plastic bag, squeeze out all the air, seal and then use a rolling pin to crush into very small pieces. Or, you can pulse in a food processor, but be very careful not to over-process or you'll end up with ground pecans or pecan butter (neither of which is a bad thing, but they're not the right thing for this recipe).

Preheat oven to 400°F and very lightly oil (or spray with cooking oil) a baking sheet. Stir together the chopped pecans, spices, salt & pepper in a small bowl until thoroughly combined, then spread on a shallow plate. Dip each fillet in the beaten egg, then press into the pecan mixture to coat both sides well. Place each pecan-coated fillet on the oiled baking sheet and bake at 400°F until golden-brown and the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve with lemon wedges, or your favorite cocktail sauce or tartar sauce.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you enjoy spicy foods and want an alternative to humdrum, everyday cocktail sauce, try Historic Lynchburg Tennessee Whiskey Jalapeno Seafood Cocktail Sauce, a grown-up take on cocktail sauce that's spiced with red ripe jalapeno peppers and spiked with a splash of real Jack Daniels Black Label Whiskey.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stubb's Barbecue Sauces are Here!

Buy Stubb's BBQ Sauce online
Stubb's Bar-B-Q Sauce is a genuine Texas barbecue sauce created by C.B. Stubblefield, aka "Stubb," a legendary barbecue master who began his cooking career in the US Army and opened his first restaurant in 1968 in Lubbock, Texas. In response to all the well-deserved praise and accolades for his mouthwatering food, Stubb would humbly state, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm a cook." That sentence appears on the label of his sauces to this day.

Stubb's products are made the old-fashioned way, with all-natural, gluten-free ingredients and without any high fructose corn syrup. His Original Bar-B-Q Sauce blends tomato, molasses and vinegar with just a touch of black pepper and spice for a big, bold flavor that's sweet and sassy, bringing out the best in beef, pork and chicken. It's the perfect accompaniment for smoked brisket, or for mopping or dipping ribs, or mixing into ground meat for juicy burgers, sloppy joes or meatloaf. Many people also enjoy it as an alternative to ketchup on hamburgers or for dipping french fries. And it's perfectly acceptable to serve it at the breakfast table with hash browns, scrambled eggs & country sausage.

If you prefer a barbecue sauce without any peppery zip, try Stubb's Mild BBQ Sauce, which features the original recipe minus the pepper. On the other hand, if you like hot & spicy sauces, simply use Stubb's Spicy Barbecue Sauce, which throws in some habanero peppers (but not too many) into the original recipe.  And if sweet-n-spicy floats your boat, Stubb's Sweet Heat Barbeque Sauce will sail you away to saucy bliss with its delightful blend of molasses and brown sugar with earthy, smoky chipotle.

Speaking of smoke, Stubb's Smokey Mesquite BBQ Sauce uses natural mesquite liquid smoke for deep, robust smokiness that's all southwestern mesquite. If you don't have a smoker or are cooking indoors or with a gas grill but you crave that special smoky flavor, Stubb's Mesquite Barbecue Sauce will fulfill your desires.

Stubb's Hickory Bourbon Barbecue Sauce brings a little bit of Kentucky to Texas -- Kentucky Bourbon, that is. Starting off with the original recipe, this sauce gets its distinctively dignified flavor from a generous splash of real bourbon and the complementary addition of natural hickory smoke. Sophisticated yet unpretentious, and pairing handsomely with robust meats like brisket, venison, ribs and roasts, this sauce will satisfy even the most discerning of BBQ connoisseurs.

Finally, but certainly not to be forgotten, there's Stubb's Honey Pecan Bar-B-Q Sauce, the sweetest and lightest of the Stubb's line of barbecue sauces. Texas is known for its pecans, and this sauce showcases that unmistakable pecan nuttiness and pairs it with honey for a smooth, friendly flavor that's especially good with chicken and other poultry as well as grilled fish or shrimp. It's also quite nice with ribs (pork or beef), and kids love it as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers, fries and other finger food.

If you want to experience real Texas barbecue but can't get yourself to Texas, Stubb's Barbecue Sauce will bring the taste of Texas to you. You're on your own when it comes to the ten-gallon hat, however. 

Zestfully yours,

PS:  The Carolina Sauces online store carries other Stubb's products including their various marinades and rubs. I'll be featuring them here in future blog posts, or you can browse through them all here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Basic Curry Powder Recipe

Spices often used in curry powder
In India and other curry-loving countries, cooks usually combine a variety of single spices to make their own curry blends rather than buying a commercial curry powder. In fact, "curry" in India refers to sauces that are made from many different spices, rather than the dry spice blend sold in US supermarkets.

Other countries have their own distinctive styles of curry sauces, including Thailand and other Asian countries, some West Indian nations including Jamaica, and African countries such as Mozambique and South Africa.

The following is a basic, all-purpose blend of spices that you can use to create your own personalized, signature curry powder. Give it a taste and use it "as is" or customize it by increasing or decreasing the amount of one or more of the spices. You can even omit or substitute for one or more of the listed spices. Follow your taste buds and use your imagination.

Store this homemade curry powder in an airtight container and it will keep for months. The fresher the spices you use, the better and "fuller" the flavor.

3Tbs ground coriander
2 Tbs ground turmeric
2 Tbs ground cumin
2 Tbs ground cardamom
1 Tbs ground fenugreek
2 tsp ground red pepper or cayenne
2 tsp ground black or white pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground (dry) mustard

Combine all ingredients in a small lidded jar or small plastic storage container and shake vigorously until thoroughly mixed, OR stir with a fork until thoroughly mixed.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you adore curry but don't want to spend the time blending your own spices, instead of buying commercial curry powder at the grocery store, which might be old and bland from sitting on the shelf for months, a better alternative is to buy organic curry powder online.

PPS: If you're interested in trying a West Indian style curry sauce, try Walkerswood Spicy West Indian Curry Paste. And for a lusciously exotic, tropical curry that helps tenderize tough cuts of meat, use Spice Exchange Papaya Curry Sauce & Marinade

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Carolina Sauce Ships to APO & FPO Addresses

Our "No Survivors" Hot Sauce Gift Box is a military favorite
The Carolina Sauce Company is proud to offer USPS Priority Mail shipping to our brave servicemen and women stationed at military APO and FPO mailing addresses around the world.

Our updated Carolina Sauces online store correctly and accurately calculates shipping costs to APO and FPO addresses when you enter a military address and select USPS as your shipping method during checkout. We are one of the few online barbecue sauce and hot sauce stores with as extensive a product catalog that can offer this service to our deployed military personnel.

If you're not sure how to enter an APO or FPO address on our online shipping form, or if you have questions about the proper format for entering a military shipping address, here are some tips:

1. Enter the full name of the Sender and the full name of the Recipient. The mail must be addressed to someone specific (in other words, you cannot enter "Any Soldier" or something similar as the Recipient because the Post Office doesn't accept that anymore).

2. Include the Unit number and APO/FPO address with the nine-digit ZIP Code™ (if one is assigned), and the complete phone number (or your own if you don't have the Recipient's number), as follows:

  • City field: Enter "APO" or "FPO"
  • State/Province/Region field: "AE" or "AA" or "AP"
  • Country field: Always select "United States" from the drop-down (never select the actual foreign country)

Here is an example of the proper format:

SSGT John Doe
(Any Other Identifying information)
Unit 2222 Box 4444
APO AP 99999-2222
United States
Phone 011555666677

3. Any other questions about shipping to a military APO/FPO address? Simply visit our Shipping Policies page, OR you can email Customer Service, OR you can contact Customer Service via Live Chat using the Live Support link found in the left margin about halfway down on our Customer Service page.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spicy Mustard-Sherry Stir-Fry Sauce

Buy Spicy Pepper Sherry
This zesty, spicy sauce is wonderful for any chicken or pork stir-fry. It also complements vegetarian stir-fry recipes with or without tofu. For a vegetarian or vegan version of this sauce, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Using a small lidded jar to shake everything together is not only easier than whisking or stirring, it also virtually eliminates any lumps from the sauce.

1 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 cup chicken broth OR vegetable broth
3 Tbs tamari or soy sauce
2 Tbs Busha Browne's Spicy Hot Pepper Sherry

Stir together the first 4 ingredients in a small jar with a lid, making sure to break up any sugar clumps. Stir in the remaining ingredients, close jar tightly with lid, then shake vigorously until thoroughly combined. Set aside while you stir-fry the ingredients for your stir-fry dish.

The spicy mustard-sherry sauce should be added to your wok after you've finished stir-frying the other ingredients:  Either remove them from the wok before cooking the sauce, or push them to the sides and away from the center of the wok so that you can use the center to cook and thicken the sauce. Before cooking the sauce, shake the jar vigorously to make sure the sauce ingredients are still completely combined. Pour the sauce into the cleared center of the wok and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Return the other ingredients into the center with the sauce and stir until everything is evenly coated and heated through.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, March 9, 2013

February's Top 10 Best-Selling Sauces at Carolina Sauce

February brought some newcomers and a shake-up among the "usual suspects" on our monthly list of best-selling sauces at the Carolina Sauce Company.  Here are the top ten:

1. Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce: Hailing from Jamaica but not a jerk-style sauce, this all-purpose and versatile hot pepper sauce will spice up any savory dish from breakfast eggs to lunchtime pizza or sandwiches to dinnertime dishes with its solid but not overpowering heat and mellow peppery flavor.

2. Walkerswood Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce: Also from Jamaica and also not a jerk sauce, this classic scotch bonnet pepper sauce provides pure pepper flavor and heat without any additional seasonings. If you appreciate the distinctive taste and powerful burn of Jamaica's most famous chile pepper, this is the hot sauce for you.

3. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce: When people talk barbecue sauce for eastern NC style pulled pork barbecue, this tangy vinegar sauce from Burgaw, NC, is almost always part of the conversation. There are no tomatoes in this sauce because it is true to the unique style found in the eastern part of the state. You can also use Wells Barbecue Sauce as a marinade for chicken.

4. Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, Hot & Spicy: This is our most popular Jamaican jerk product, and for good reason, too -- it's the real deal in terms of flavor and fire, and it's made by the best-known brand on the island. Lightly coat meats, chicken or seafood with some of this jerk paste and marinate in your refrigerator overnight (meat/poultry) or for 30 minutes (seafood) and then grill, bake, broil or roast for genuine Jamaican flavor.

5. Matouk's Calypso Sauce: This thick and rich West Indian style hot sauce from Trinidad & Tobago delivers feisty scotch bonnet pepper heat with a hint of sweet papaya in a tangy mustard base, per the traditional style of the island nation. Matouk's Calypso is excellent on poultry and seafood, in stews, with stir-fry dishes, and on other hearty dishes.

6. Ole Ray's Kentucky Gold Bourbon BBQ Sauce: Making its first appearance on our best-seller lists, this mouthwatering, sweet & sassy mustard barbecue sauce has a peppery kick and a mellow richness from real Kentucky bourbon. Whether you slather it on ribs, baste on chicken, serve with grilled sausage, or even dip pretzels in it, it will leave your mouth and belly happy.

7. Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce: Not quite as hot as Matouk's Calypso and with a delightful tropical sweetness from papaya, this full-flavored, spunky hot sauce is wonderful with fish and seafood, island-style chicken or meat dishes, red beans & rice, stews, stir-fry recipes and more.

6. JohnBoy & Billy's Hot & Spicy Grillin' Sauce: Made in North Carolina in the "down east" mustard style, this spicy and savory barbecue sauce blends together tomatoes, vinegar and mustard with just enough molasses and hot peppers to make things interesting. It's finger-lickin' good on ribs (pork or beef), chicken, shrimp kabobs, and on burgers, too.

9. Pappy's XXX White Lightnin' BBQ Sauce: Bursting onto our top-ten list for the first time is this spicy-hot, tangy-sweet tomato barbecue sauce from Kentucky. A generous splash of bourbon brings everything together to make for a well-balanced, food-friendly barbeque sauce that packs a peppery punch. Enjoy it on everything you grill or smoke, and at the table as a dipping sauce.

10. El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Habanero Kutbil-Ik Mayan Hot Sauce:  Returning to our best-seller list after a long absence, this genuine Mexican hot sauce is made from select habanero peppers using an old Mayan recipe for authentic fiery heat and traditional flavor. A natural for all your favorite Mexican, Tex-Mex and Southwestern foods, it's also a great choice when you want to add some serious heat to pizza or pasta, egg dishes or casseroles, and any other hearty dishes.

Zestfully yours,