Anything But the Norm

dweber posted this August 26th, 2014

Norm

Dogs will come and go, but Norman is forever. From abandoned orphan to genius recluse to leader of the pack, Norman has swiftly moved through the ranks at Horny Toad to emerge as our unquestionable Top Dog. Like great leaders before him, Norman speaks softly and carries a big chew toy. His stature is small, but his wits are mighty. He’s been described as the canine Napoleon Bonaparte: A creature so incendiary, his persona escapes the common boundaries of hero and villain. His presence is ubiquitous without being overwhelming, his affections sincere without being pervasive. He is pensive and elusive, with kind eyes that, at times, betray his stately façade. We sat down with Norman for an exclusive interview to find out more about his journey to the top.

How long have you been at Horny Toad? I came to Toad in the fall of ‘08. It was an interesting time. The Reign of the Big Dog was going strong. There was Jack the Bernese mountain dog, Benji the sheepdog, Pearl, Bella, and Jade – the Fates of the Labrador world – and then there was Sage, a shepherd/wolf mix of all things big. But it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. I watched as the big dogs, encumbered by their large paws and small minds, fell from power. From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow. And grow I did.

Well it sounds like you’ve really come into your own at Horny Toad. What’s your role here? My role has changed over the years. Currently I’m First in Command of the Super-Nose Inventory Faction, or SNIF. As First in Command, I patrol the office floor. Any tile, any crack, any tangled piece of ripped carpet – I’m aware of it. Nothing escapes me. My grandmother always said, “Good scents will take you far, ” and it certainly has.

Wow. That seems like a lot of responsibility for one dog. It’s not responsibility if it’s destiny. The best leaders are the ones with enough sense and responsibility to pick good recruits to get the job done, and enough self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. I’m not one to bark orders, so given my resources I’ve assembled an obedient SNIF team: Lucy takes care of inventorying the daily mail deliveries, while Leo patrols the kitchen and communal dining areas. Nothing comes in or out of the office without my SNIF being involved. Make no mistake, the Reign of the Little Dog thrives, but what is success without expansion?

So what is the best part of your job? I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion, but the power lies in knowing when to be one or the other. Even after six years, I enjoy the pursuit of power. The consistency is very meditative, and I must say, being the chief has its perks. Every morning I pee in the same five spots, and every afternoon I nap in the windowsill of my choosing. But anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm, so I relish the daily variety that comes with an office full of humans and their lunches.

How would you describe your personal style? I like refined. Black, white, and if I must, red. Less is more (unless snacks are involved).

Favorite book? Anything by Dostoevsky, and Art of War.

Favorite Vacation Spot? Where sprawling gardens, top-quality service, and fluffy Pomeranians with bows abound. So probably Switzerland.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Chateaubriand Tar-Tar.

Favorite drink? A large cup of black tea. But I’ll entertain the idea of a Friday night Manhattan.

Favorite hobbies? Long hikes, manipulation, belly scratches, ignoring the common folk, and peeing on things to claim them as my own.

Do you have any advice for dogs just starting out in the biz? Be thoughtful in your actions and think before you speak. Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. Too often have I seen young pups let eagerness degrade into brash, poor decisions. It works temporarily, but ultimately just leaves them begging for more. So be patient, be shrewd, and above all, do not wake me if I’m napping.

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Featured Retailer: Trailblazer

dweber posted this August 12th, 2014

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When you walk into Trailblazer, it’s like walking into a shop run by your best friends. With three stores in Connecticut and three more stores operated by their sister company, Denali, sprinkled throughout Southern New England, the staff at Trailblazer have made a name for themselves as being veritable experts in all things outdoorsy and awesome. These folks are tried and true mountain men and women, full of knowledge and spirit, and it comes across in stellar customer service that lets you know you’re in good hands.

Since starting as a running supply store in the 1970s, Trailblazer has evolved into a traveler’s one-stop-shop by offering a huge selection of great gear for anyone looking to take on his or her next adventure. And as a member of 1% for the Planet and the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, Trailblazer is committed to promoting sustainability, both locally and globally. They offer only the best when it comes to outdoor gear and eco-friendly clothing, which is why they’ve been outfitting customers with Horny Toad threads for over 10 years.

Trailblazer is so much more than just a retail store – it’s the hub of Connecticut’s outdoor community and the folks at Trailblazer really do practice what they preach. Trailblazer hosts the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour and Radical Reels Tour, puts on the Gauntlet 5k Obstacle Races twice a year, and each store hosts dozens of events like Pint Night and various clinics throughout the year. We were also pretty psyched when the New Haven store threw a Horny Toad Block Party. And if that’s not sweet enough, all of their events benefit local non-profits whose mission it is to promote access and preservation of our lands and natural resources. So whether you’re getting ready to hit the trails, travel the world, take on the next big race, or just spend a day out on the town, Trailblazer’s got your back.

good jeans

dweber posted this August 11th, 2014

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Everyone wears jeans. They’re sturdy yet flexible, you can dress them up, dress them down, they match everything, it takes a lot to get them looking dirty, and you rarely have to wash them. They’re universal. So when our design team set out to make a new pair of favorite jeans, there was no question they’d be made from our favorite fabric: organic cotton.

We have a bit of a love affair with organic cotton here at Horny Toad. Its soft and breathable like conventional cotton but grown free of intensive chemicals so it’s way, way, way better for the environment.  There’s always been a chemistry to cotton farming, but unlike conventional cotton, organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, soil additives, defoliants and other nasty substances. According to Planet Forward, 25% of global herbicides and pesticides are used in conventional cotton farming even though only 1% of agricultural land is devoted to growing cotton. The sheer amount of chemicals used in the process erodes soil, has disastrous effects on air and water quality, makes working environments unsafe, and pollutes neighboring communities.

Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown with all natural fertilizers and traditional farming methods. This supports biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, improves soil quality, uses less water, and relies on a skilled workforce. In general, organic farming requires more time and skill, which encourages robust communities, fair trade agreements, and environmentally conscious policies to flourish. Since being introduced to organic cotton12 years ago, Horny Toad has steadily increased the use of organic cotton in our line. We started with just organic cotton tees, but we’ve gradually replaced regular cotton in nearly every Horny Toad product. We’re proud to say that 90% of our line is made using organic cotton, and we’re working towards 100% by Spring 2016.

So that’s why we love organic cotton, because every step of the supply chain, from farm to factories, benefits the shared environment. We’re confident that you’ll love organic cotton too, for it’s smooth to the touch feel and better-for-the-earth qualities. The Horny Toad line has loads of options, but lately we’re really digging our organic denim jeans  – 98.5% organic cotton, 1.5% spandex for a bit of stretch, and equal parts utility and relaxation. We like to think we found the sweet spot with our denim – it’s classic and accessible, quality and comfortable – so you don’t have to choose between looking good, feeling good, and doing good.

Shop our organic cotton Drover Denim Pant here.

 

 

So a Peach Walks Into a Bar

dweber posted this August 8th, 2014

 

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(Photo by Wes Rowe)

Like most offices last month, we were glued to the TV and hanging on the edge of our seats for the World Cup. Naturally the office was divided – some rooted for the Americans, some for the Argentinians or Germans, and a small but feisty contingency pulled for the Ghanaians. But one thing was unanimous: our collective  newfound love for the Brazilians – the team, the fans, the culture – it was infectious. Face painted fans, dance parties in the street, feathers and sequins flying through the air, spontaneous explosions of song, colorful cocktails and come-one-come-all family feasts… Really, who doesn’t want to be Brazilian for a day?

So in honor of August as National Peach month and a nod to our Brazilian days, we’re making a Peach Caipirinha (pronounced “kie-pee-reen-yuh”) – A southern twist on Brazil’s most popular cocktail. Saude!

Peach Caipirinha
1 half very ripe peach
1 oz freshly squeezed juice from 2 limes
1 tsp sugar
2 oz cachaça (Brazilian sugar liquor pronounced “ka-sha-sa.” You can substitute light rum or vodka)
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Slice the peach in quarters and place in cocktail shaker. Add lime juice and sugar, muddle well. Add cachaça and lime wedges, fill the shaker with ice and shake everything up for about 15 seconds. Pour unstrained over ice and enjoy!

Water Conservation: Everybody’s Doing It

dweber posted this August 4th, 2014

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Water Conservation. It’s something that’s on our minds a lot these days as California goes through one of the worst droughts in decades. As a company, Horny Toad aims to make clothing using methods and materials that reduce our global water and carbon footprints. And as individuals, we at Team Toad also try to reduce our water footprints by adopting more water-conscious methods into our daily routine. Drought or not, we all know the basic water conscious tips – Turn the faucet off when brushing your teeth, install low-flow shower heads, let your car get dirty, and everyone’s favorite limerick, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.” But the recent drought has left our community and many others in California strapped for water, so we’re all being asked to examine our water usage and take even more steps to cut back on wasting water.

Lucky for us, Team Toad is full of crafty people with a soft spot in their hearts for the environment.  Lately we’ve swapped statistics and strategies around the ol’ watercooler and found that a lot of the best water conservation methods are actually pretty simple to implement and can make a big difference.

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Chris, our director of e-commerce, keeps a stylish vintage galvanized bucket in her shower to collect the cold water that runs while she waits for the water to warm. Chris uses the extra water to take care of her plants, put in her dog’s water bowl, or leave outside the front door to rinse her feet after beach walks. Chris has also been known to toss her dogs in the shower while the water warms up. No water is wasted and Fergie and Bodhi, two rambunctious weimaraners, get the royal treatment.

Christina, our creative director, made float boosters for her toilet tank. A float booster displaces water in your toilet, meaning that your toilet will use less water with every flush. To make a float booster, Christina put about two inches of pebbles in a plastic bottle, filled the rest with water, secured the cap on tight, and let the bottle sink to the bottom of the tank. It might not be the most elegant method, but Christina saves about 10 gallons of water per day.

Kate, our head designer, has scrapped the garbage disposal and started a compost bin. Garbage disposals require a lot of water to work properly, so composting is a really easy alternative. Kate built a basic wooden bin, but she says you can start a compost pile in a plot of dirt in your yard, no box required. Aside from saving on your water bill, the best part about composting is yet to come. After a few weeks of regular upkeep, compost turns into great soil that’s rich and full of nutrients, making perfect natural fertilizer for your plants.

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Nina, our inside sales rep and green thumb guru, has given her garden a drought resistant makeover by planting only native plants and succulents. Nina says that indigenous plants will flourish in your garden, require very little upkeep, and are generally inexpensive; succulents are also super easy to plant and require only a small sprinkling of water once per week. She also swears by “mulching.” Add about 2 – 4 inches of organic material, such as compost or potting mulch, to the topsoil of your plants. Organic material increases a plant’s absorption and water retention which means you can cut back on watering while still providing plants with a feast of nutrients.

Daisy, our content manager, has unashamedly changed her shaving habits. Drought or not, she always turns off the shower when shaving, but she’s opted for shaving out of the shower these days. Daisy uses shaving cream or a washcloth to shave in front of the sink and cleans her razor by plugging the sink and filling it with some warm water. Then again, Daisy says the most environmentally friendly method is to throw the razor away altogether, so why not use the drought as a good excuse to go au natural for a while?

We might not be glamorous, but we’re serious about water conservation out here in Santa Barbara. Not everyone can install dual-flush toilets or re-landscape their yards, but everyone can do their part to be conscious of their water intake. What are you doing to conserve water? Share your water-saving tips with us on Facebook, or on Instagram and Twitter by tagging #ToadTip.

#moderntraveler : salt lake city, ut

dweber posted this July 31st, 2014

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This month we’re headed to Salt Lake City, Utah for outdoor concerts and back-patio brews. Appropriately nicknamed “The Crossroads of the West,” SLC is an old mining town in the center of the great Western mountain ranges, making it a nature-lover’s paradise and an urban oasis. The Wasatch and Oquirrn mountains, the Jordan River, and the Great Salt Lake and its many islands inspire outdoor adventure year round, while Salt Lake City’s downtown scene provides plenty of excitement for travelers and locals alike. Hop on a bike share ($5 for the whole day) to tour SLC’s eclectic neighborhoods and you’ll see for yourself that this isn’t the Salt Lake City you thought you knew. With a plethora of local coffee roasters, a seriously rockin’ nightlife, and Asian cuisine that knocks your socks off, prepare for SLC to pleasantly exceed your expectations.

Check out our list of what to do and wear in Salt Lake City. And if you have a favorite spot, we want to see it! Tag a photo of it with #ModernTraveler on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and we’ll enter you into our monthly contest. If we pick your photo, you’ll score a $150 Horny Toad gift card to use on some sweet new travel threads.

 What We’re Doing in Salt Lake City:

Red Iguana, “The Killer Mexican Food” – It may be a funky yellow brick building with plastic floral tablecloths and mismatched furniture, but don’t let the décor fool you – Red Iguana means business when it comes to killer Mexican food. Known for their 7 types of mole (Our favorite is Mole Amarillo – golden raisins, yellow tomatoes, yellow zucchini and dried yellow chiles), make sure you ask for a sample plate with a spoonful of each sauce before you commit. Not into Mole? Check out their “Marvels of Mexico” section on the menu. Trust us, it definitely lives up to its name.

Big Cottonwood Canyon – Located 25 miles east of SLC, the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Basin Floor and the union is truly spectacular. Gorgeous vistas carved into the canyons highlight the erosive power of ancient rivers. The 15-mile long Big Cottonwood Canyon provides excellent hiking, biking, rock-climbing, camping and fishing in summer and fall. Donut Falls, Dog Lake, and Desolation Lake make for some dreamy spots to take in Utah’s natural vibes.

Lucky 13 – A sign outside reads, “Cheap Beer. Good Whiskey. House-Smoked Bacon. Gourmet Burgers.” As if that wasn’t enough, Lucky 13 is located in an old roadhouse next door to the minor league baseball stadium, home of the Salt Lake City Bees. Take advantage of these August days with a cold one and a bacon cheeseburger on the back patio, then mosey next door to catch a Bees game for $8. Lucky 13 is a home run in our books.

Twilight Concert Series – Every Thursday evening during July and August, Pioneer Park becomes the hottest spot in town. Bring $5 and rock the night away under the stars at this outdoor concert series in the heart of downtown SLC. Acts like Wu Tang Clan, Beck, and De la Soul are rolling into town this August, so pack a picnic and get your groove on.

Squatter’s Craft Beers – Their saying says it all: “Good for what Ale’s you.” With beers like “Provo Girl Pilsner,” “Respect your Mother Organic Amber,” and “Full Suspension Pale Ale,” it’s easy to see why locals consider it a home-brew remedy. Try the beer sampler, served on a sawed off ski, and feel good about supporting local. Squatter’s has a simple philosophy – “commitment to people, planet and profit,” which means they source regional ingredients, partner with local non-profits, and operate their breweries with wind power. We’ll drink to that.

What We’re Wearing in Salt Lake City:

Men’s Drover Denim – Current but not trendy, our jeans are great for going out or just hanging out. But you don’t need to be told what jeans are good for. Not too low and not too high, they sit at that perfect spot below your waist and drop to a comfortable, straight-legged fit.

Men’s Smythy Long Sleeve Shirt - The unexpected has its appeal – especially when it’s delivered in lightweight 100% organic cotton. Our SpaceDye fabric updates the look of traditional plaids with space-dyed yarns that dart through the weave in unprogrammable, unpredictable ways, creating a handcrafted textile effect. Other Smythy details – such as a button on the center back collar, button chest pockets with an engineer-worthy pen slot and a split back yoke with box pleat – are all part of the pleasant surprise.

Women’s Profundo Pullover – Layer it, run in it, sleep in it. The Profundo Pullover has two layers of our sumptuously soft, sweetly striped blend of organic cotton and Tencel® and a slouchy, neckline that can work as a hood and on-seam hand pockets for optimal coziness.

Women’s Elsa Pant - Elsa is a city pant that’s fit for the outdoors – and vice versa. Made from our light, stretchy Limbertwill, the cut and palette are modern but timeless and easily extend the abilities of all shirts and sweaters in your closet. The Elsa Pant is sleek and lean with narrow legs and plenty of pockets, including a secure hidden zipper pocket in the angled back yoke. Two rear button welt pockets complete the trouser look.

Stay tuned for a new trip every month, and don’t forget to check out our past trips to Nashville, TN and Portland, ME for more weekend travel inspiration. If you want to see more of this kind of stuff from us, be sure to sign up for our weekly emails here too. See you on the road!

Land of the Free

dweber posted this July 29th, 2014

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The Los Padres ForestWatch is kind of like the California Central Coast’s version of Batman: when our public lands are in trouble, the watchful non-profit swoops in. Responsible for protecting more than two million acres of California wilderness, the LPFW keeps a relentless eye on it’s precious charge.

Since organizing in 2004, the LPFW has served as a powerful advocate for the forests, chaparral, grasslands, rivers, wildlife, and residents along the Central Coast. ForestWatch has a straightforward philosophy that public lands are not only crucial to a healthy planet, but also contribute to vibrant and robust communities with an appreciation for outdoor recreation. These communities attract responsible businesses, environmentally conscious citizens, and promote eco-tourism, which in turn boost local economies. In short, taking care of the planet makes it easier to take care of ourselves.

Armed with a crack team of scientists and legal advocates and backed by more than 500 volunteers, ForestWatch has worked tirelessly to ensure public access and stewardship to the Los Padres National Forrest and surrounding areas. The region spans nearly 220 miles across two mountain ranges from Ventura to Monterey counties, encompasses eight major rivers, and is home to over four hundred species of wildlife and over 1,200 plant species.

The California Central coast is one of only 18 biodiversity hot spots on the planet, meaning that its once robust endemic plant and animal populations face major threats from human intervention. Threats from over-development and resource extraction have compromised the fragile Los Padres ecoregion and have led to unprecedented levels of endangerment. So even with a battalion of volunteers and a small but feisty office staff, the Los Padres ForestWatch have their hands full.

Luckily, he ForestWatch’s mission appeals to local businesses and individuals who share a common goal of keeping open space open. By forging alliances with local outdoor industry companies throughout the Central Coast, the Los Padres ForestWatch has been able to not only protect our public spaces, but in many cases improve them. Since 2007 they’ve removed over 12,000lbs of trash, taken out 15 miles of old fencing, eradicated thousands of invasive plants that threaten the region’s biodiversity, and logged hundreds of hours conducting community outreach.

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ForestWatch is currently spearheading efforts to expand the existing network of preserved lands in the Los Padres National Forest to include 300,000+ acres of wildlands and 150+ miles of free-flowing rivers. The addition expands the existing lands under the Federal Wilderness Act by a third and prevents further development from taking place on historically and environmentally important land. In order to garner political support, ForestWatch has teamed up with the Conservation Alliance in an effort to harness the collective power of the outdoor retail industry. This union enables the LPFW to draft legislation that ensures sustainability and protection of our wildlands, keeping open spaces open and available to the public.

Check out the Los Padres ForestWatch website (lpfw.org) for more information about their mission. If you’re in the neighborhood, get involved by becoming a ForestWatch member or volunteer, attend some of their upcoming events, and sign up for their monthly email newsletter to stay informed about the critical issues facing our local public land. Wherever you’re from, you can get involved in preserving the public lands in your community by seeking out non-profit groups who’s mission it is to protect the wildlands in your backyard.

 

Rockin’ Out: A Yarn Bomber heads to the Hills

dweber posted this July 21st, 2014

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Steve Duneier didn’t start the revolution, but he certainly reignited the flame. With enduring dedication to the cause and an underground network of supporters, Duniere has been detonating psychedelic yarn bombs in the hills of Santa Barbara for the past two years. And the results are awesome.

Since 2012, Steve has been coming up with some seriously cool public art and getting people fired up about going outside. He started by covering a majestic Eucalyptus on one of Santa Barbara’s most beloved hiking trails, followed by a crochet-covered boulder that overlooked the city in 2013, and three awesome installations in the Santa Barbara backcountry in 2014 – The Sasquatch Cave Web, the Seven Falls Starburst, and most recently the Lizard’s Mouth Rock Garden in June.

Our own HR manager, Carlynn, happened upon the groovy garden at Lizards Mouth and a light bulb went off. Here at Horny Toad, we have a monthly, “Lunch and Learn” where different people from the community give fun presentations about what they do. So last week Steve popped into the office to share a pizza and a few stories with us.  Inspired by the urban yarn bombing that has become a global phenomenon, Steve gave a new twist to the idea by yarn bombing nature in an effort to inspire people to “go outside to play!”

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“You have to show people what you do because it’s a powerful motivator to do something,” and show people he did. After a social media blitzkrieg and a call for knitters around the world to support his efforts, hundreds of square feet of knitting began to pour in as strangers around the world wanted to be a part of Steve’s first installation in 2012. Since then, his installations have grown in size and scope, with materials coming in from 36 different countries and six continents.

Of course, these installations are only temporary since Steve’s a firm believer in “leave no trace.” Each installation is up for nine days, after which the yarn is collected and either sent to a non-profit to be turned into blankets for those in need, or saved for future installations. So whether Steve Duneier is encouraging yarn bombers to take up arms in their own communities or inspiring people to bounce around the boulders for a day, you can bet that the revolution has been revived (and it will be televised).

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The Secret’s in the Sauce: BBQ Recipes from team toad

dweber posted this July 7th, 2014

It’s no surprise that we love to eat around here, and in the spirit of the 4th of July we asked Team Toad for their best, most mouthwatering, crowd-pleasing, down-home Americana BBQ sauce recipes. From peanut butter to bourbon to a healthy dose of Sriracha, these recipes aren’t your grandma’s BBQ sauces.

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Steve’s Tipsy Chicken BBQ Sauce (makes 1 ¼ cups)

Being from Boston, our marketing manager Steve can give you a zillion recipes featuring Guinness beer (Beeramisu, anyone?). So naturally  he has a great BBQ sauce recipe using everybody’s favorite Irish brew.

1 1/2 cups Guinness Extra Stout beer
1/2 cup Heinz chili sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Caribbean hot sauce (Steve uses Pickapeppa sauce)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp garlic salt

Add the beer and garlic salt to a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Heat the pan over medium heat, add the remaining ingredients, and keep whisking until the ingredients are mixed together. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the sauce is reduced by half, then set aside to cool. Brush the BBQ sauce on meat or veggies during the last 5-10 minutes of grilling.

 

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Ian’s Front Porch Peach Chutney (makes 1 ½ cups)

Our platform manager, Ian, hails from Louisiana and is Horny Toad’s resident expert in all things Southern. Ian’s combo of bourbon, butter, and peach preserves makes us feel like we’re sipping mint juleps and swatting away the fireflies. Nothin’ beats that Southern summer cooking.

3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ cup whole-grain mustard
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¾ cup peach preserves or jam
1 tbsp bourbon
½ tsp kosher salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and boil until almost completely reduced and the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 minutes. Whisk in both mustards and peach preserves and lower the heat to a simmer, whisking everything together for about a minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bourbon and salt. The bourbon is added at the end—uncooked—to give a genuine jolt to the sauce. This Southern blend goes great with pork but is also a good finisher for chicken, duck, or veal.

 

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Courtney’s China Town Chicken Ka-Pow (makes 1 ¼ cups)

It’s true what they say, sometimes life imitates art because this sauce has a real kick to it, just like our creative project manager, Courtney. Courtney grills up chicken wings and tosses them in this killer honey sriracha sauce to knock the socks off her guests.

5 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup honey, plus more for drizzling
¼ cup Sriracha
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fresh lime juice

Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Add the honey, Sriracha, soy sauce and lime juice, and whisk together until the mixture bubbles gently. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool for 10 minutes.

 

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Kimberly’s Saucy Satay 

“Satay” is just a fancy way of saying BBQ in Thai. Always aiming to please, Kimberly, our dealer sales support manager, sent us two sauce recipes. And just like Kimberly and Horny Toad, this marinade and peanut sauce are a perfect pair.

Satay marinade (makes 2 cups)
4 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground white or black pepper
2 medium garlic clove, minced
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp ground coriander
2/3 cup coconut cream

Combine everything in a bowl and stir until mixed. Toss meat or veggies in the marinade then cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before grilling.

Thai Peanut Sauce (makes 3 ½ cups)
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (full fat)
1/4 cup red curry paste
3/4 cup natural unsweetened creamy peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Put everything into a pot and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat whisking constantly. Simmer on low for 5 minutes and continue whisking to avoid burning. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature and serve. This recipe makes A LOT of sauce, so Kimberly likes to freeze half for later.

 

No Corkscrew? No problem.

dweber posted this June 30th, 2014

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Well folks, it’s that time of year again… A new festival every weekend, spur of the moment day trips, impromptu picnics, those breezy nights with a few good friends… Really, who doesn’t love the spontaneity of summer? Maybe it’s the heat going to our heads, but nothing says summer like grab-and-go adventures. Of course, it’s easy to forget to pack some of the essentials, and more than likely it’s the ever elusive corkscrew.

We’ve all been faced with the “forgotten corkscrew” dilemma. Do you give up, or do you fight for the vino? You fight. You get your MacGuyver on. Veni, Vidi, Vici, VINO. Below you’ll find our favorite methods for opening a bottle of wine when you’re up a creek without a corkscrew. Full Disclosure: We’re pretty sure these tricks work, but you might want to have an extra shirt handy, just in case.

The “Employee of the Month”
For all those in-house Happy Hours, take a pair of desk scissors and twist a blade into the cork until you get about three-quarters through the cork. Get a good grip on the scissors as you slowly twist the bottle and pull the cork out. Your check’s in the mail.

The “Just a Bit of Elbow Greisling”
Have toolbox, will travel. Twist a screw down into the center of the cork, grab hold of the screw with a pair of pliers or wrench, push up your sleeves and wrangle that sucker out. Your high school shop teacher would be so proud.

The “Me Tarzan, You Jane”
The King of the Apes probably never had to deal with a corked bottle, but if he did we’re pretty sure he’d just whack it with a rock. To take a page from Tarzan’s book, you can basically take ANY blunt object (hammer, boot, big rock) and smash a long pointy object (nail, golf pencil, bones) into the cork at a 60° angle. When it’s lodged about halfway through the cork, grab the neck of the bottle with one hand while slowly twisting the nail/cork out with your other hand. Tarzan drink now, clean later.

The “Julia Child”
Ever the life of the party, you can bet Julia pulled this party trick every once in a while. Take a serrated knife and slice into the cork at a 45° angle. Once the knife is lodged about halfway through the cork, pull the knife and twist the bottle in opposite directions. The cork should slide right out of the bottle, easy as pie. As our Patron Saint Julia would say, “Nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should!”

The “Cabernet Shoevignon”
So you hiked up a mountain and realized you forgot the corkscrew. Take off your hiking boot and place the bottle where your heel would be. Bang the shoe heel against a tree or a rock and watch the cork work it’s way out with every good whack. Once the cork is about halfway out, hold the bottle right side up and pull the cork out with your hand. Slam bam thank you mam.

The “Honey I’m Home”
Want to impress the neighbors? Jamb your house key into the cork at 45° angle until the serrated part of the key is completely inside the cork. Hold the bottle firm as you twist and pull the key upward. Congratulations, you just got the block party started.

The “Tour de Franzia”
We’re giving a whole new meaning to the term “fixie.” Using a knife or any sharp instrument bore a hole all the way through the cork. Once you’ve got a nice tunnel through the cork, place a bike pump nozzle through the cork and pump air into the bottle until the cork pops out. Vive le vin!

The “Bill Nye the Science Guy”
The chances of you having a blowtorch but not having a corkscrew are slim, but IF that’s you, this should be your new preferred method. Using your blowtorch, heat the bottleneck where the bottom of the cork sits. The air in the bottle expands which builds up pressure and forces the cork upwards. Really, is there anything cooler than science and wine?

Have you got another genius method for opening wine without a corkscrew? Let us know by emailing us at content@hornytoad.com.  And if you missed out on the email and want to see more of this kind of stuff from us, be sure to get signed up for our weekly emails here!