Shakshuka, Spanish Snail and Greek Vilage Salad photos and story by Manos Angelakis
Week Knees Bottles shots courtesy of Bushwick Kitchen
Weak Knees Hot Sauces
Through the years, I’ve developed a craving for hot sauces, especially with a number of rice, pork and egg dishes I prepare in my kitchen.
I started, many years ago in Europe with the classic McIlhenny Tabasco, the only hot sauce available in most European markets; a sauce made in Louisiana by fermenting hot peppers in a mixture of vinegar and salt.
My diet, when I lived on my own in Europe, seemed to be bland because my cooking skills were practically non-existent, compared to my mother’s cooking skills that I grew up with; she was considered one of the best home cooks in Athens. So I decided to start using a hot sauce to give my food some excitement, while learning to cook better flavored food. Cooking more exciting dishes made for better meals with friends and lovers.
When I came to the US in 1967, I discovered that there were many more hot sauces available, not only the Tabasco but numerous others from the Caribbean and Central and South America. Nowadays, if you look into my larder, you will see an entire shelf full of hot sauces that I use quite frequently.
I add flavor to my dishes that varies from very mild, to smokey, tangy and spicy, to knock-out, sweat inducing hot.
I’m always on the lookout for new hot sauces, so when I got in my in-box a press release about Weak Knees’ hot sauces developed as Bushwick Kitchen's latest collaboration with Angry Orchard, I thought I should be tasting them to see what these sauces can add to my hot-sauce repertory.
There were three samples that I will comment on; Crisp Apple Jalapeno, Peach Mango Scotch Bonnet and Strawberry Jalapeno. Each flavor is based on a cider in Angry Orchard’s fruity offerings i.e. Crisp Apple, Peach Mango, and Strawberry.
I like a little tang, so Peach Mango Scotch Bonnet was the perfect sauce for some of my dishes. It’s a blend of spices - coriander, cumin, and ginger - and peach and mango, and packs the punch of Angry Orchard’s Peach Mango cider into one flavorful sauce. An ideal pairing for me has been eggs Shakshuka with feta cheese and cilantro; a North African and Middle Eastern breakfast dish of eggs in a tomato and herbs sauce topped with white sheep’s cheese (feta). The hot sauce gave it a bit of a pleasant kick. I also drizzle some on Pulled Pork, as suggested by the developers at Bushwick Kitchen.
Strawberry Jalapeno Hot Sauce combines fresh pureed strawberries with a red pepper blend of habaneros, jalapenos and their OG gochujang paste, for a sauce that brings to a dish layers of sweet and smokey heat and lots of forehead sweat! Strawberry Jalapeno Hot Sauce added a fruity flavor to my favorite guacamole and also worked some culinary magic when I cooked snails in an onion and herb sauce. Just a few drops in the marinade made the difference.
I added a few drops on top of feta chhese in a Greek-style village salad; it was an interesting combination and unique taste.
The final sample was the Crisp Apple Jalapeno; hot with spicy serrano and jalapeno peppers, a joy, made with apples sourced from the Angry Orchard’s 60-acre apple orchard in the Hudson Valley.
Try them; hopefully, you’ll like them https://bushwickkitchen.com
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