Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hot Sauce and Pepper Salt with Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

All images © Valery Rizzo

It’s hard to think about anything other then helping those in need and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy devastated the New York City area and New Jersey. Many of the Brooklyn businesses that I talk about here and often photograph for Nona Brooklyn were wiped out by the storm. Nona Brooklyn, is publishing some great stories about these places if you would like to find out more and if you would like to volunteer your time or make a donation to the countless number of people without power or that have lost everything you could try here, here and here.

A couple of weeks before the storm I was invited to photograph Annie Novak and the rest of the crew at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm harvesting the farms many varieties of hot peppers and then to follow them over to Eat, a beautiful little cafe in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where they make the farm’s beautiful Pepper Salt and amazing Hot Sauces.

Eat has a natural and relaxed atmosphere and is dedicated to sourcing exclusively from small local farmers and producers, Eagle Street is one of them. Beautiful pottery, furniture and accessories fill the cafe are all handmade by regional artisans, Eat's mission being to promote and preserve a handmade life.

The Pepper Salt is made by crushing fresh Cayenne peppers, whole fruits and seeds, in a coffee grinder and then tossing it together with coarse sea salt, infusing the flavors. It’s great to bake, cook or season with. Annie likes to use the Pepper Salt when she bakes corn bread, yumm. Recently I have been making steamed sweet potatoes and drizzling extra-virgin olive oil and the Pepper Salt on top, which gives the potatoes a nice little kick. The jars of Salt are beautiful too!

During the fall and winter of last year Annie studied and traveled from Arizona to Jamaica to find great peppers worth growing. The farm has made several different hot sauces with this years harvest. Awesome, Sissy, Death Sauce, Scotch Sunrise and Canyu Cayenne, each having it's own characteristic and heat. To learn more about the flavors of each of the sauces and for more info on the farms peppers visit their hot pepper page here

This weekend, November 9, 10 and 11 at The Brooklyn Kitchen, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm will be selling a limited edition sauce to support the folks down in the Rockaways effected by Hurricane Sandy. Also the farm's last market will be on Sunday November 18th from 1 - 4pm and you can also find them, their Pepper Salt and Hot Sauces at The Brooklyn Night Bazaar on Fridays and Saturdays in December. In the mean time it is an honor to have Annie share her recipe for the farm’s Awesome-Sauce style sauce here with us on Eating Brooklyn.

Annie's Awesome-Sauce

20 fresh red jalapeno peppers
1.5 cups of water
1.5 cups of vinegar
2 table spoons salt

In a large pot, bring water and vinegar to a boil. Add Chiles and salt and continue to boil for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and process in a food processor or vitamix. Bottle immediately, or refrigerate.

Chef's note: Hot sauce is often made with garlic, onions, carrots and other goodies. The key is freshness of ingredients and choosing good varieties of peppers. Our sauce is awesome because it is thick (made with more peppers and less liquids than most store brands), and we use peppers with interesting flavors, colors and heat. Some of our farm's favorite peppers are the "NuMex" types like "Sunrise" and "R Naky," which have thick, fleshy walls, a lower heat, and a great flavor--blended with hots like the jalapenos or ever habaneros. This basic recipe is a good springboard to exploration of many fresh pepper types available at our and other local farm markets.