99¢ Cactus

cactus+99c+cactus+tortilla

And a recipe too, from the 99 Cent Chef.

Cactus Quesadillas
Ingredients (1 serving)
1 flour or wheat tortilla.
2 ounces of Queso Fresco – half of the 4oz. package. Okay to substitute with your favorite cheese.
2 tablespoons of cactus – drained and patted dry with paper towel.

Directions
Heat pan or grill. Drain and pat dry cactus from jar. Place tortilla on grill or pan and crumble cheese onto half of tortilla. Add drained and dried cactus over cheese. Fold in half and lightly brown tortilla on each side until cheese is melted.

That sounds easy enough.

Agave Recipe

So, people ask us, what can they use agave syrup for?

Fear not, it is an easy recipe that even I could follow, not that I have yet, but I might.

Agave BBQ Sauce

1 Can Tomato Puree
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 to 3 Tablespoons vegetable (coconut oil)
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon Prepared Mustard
Dash cayenne pepper or bottled hot pepper sauce

Combine all ingredients in sauce pan. Can bring to a boil to use as a dipping sauce or placed directly on BBQ items.

Man oh man that seems easy. It’s my turn to cook tonight, so maybe I’ll try it out.

Black Cactus

No, I don’t mean the Neoporteria. It’s 4:00pm so it must be time for a tequila-based drink called Black Cactus. Not that there’s any cactus in it, mind you. But there is Agave in it, in the form of the tequila, of course. I’ve been using some Agave nectar recently as a replacement for simple syrup. It’s good stuff. Anyway, on to the recipe.

1 oz Sauza Hornitos Resposado tequila
1 oz blackberry brandy
1 oz club soda

Pour Tequila and blackberry brandy together. Add club soda. Drink like a shooter.

Well, that seems simple enough. Now to go find some blackberry brandy. I wonder if there’s any other use for it, or if I should find a very small bottle.

Breakfast Recipe with Agave

It’s all agave syrup here at the cactus blog for our breakfast needs.

Whole Wheat Agave Pancakes with Blueberry Agave Syrup
Ingredients:

Pancakes:

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp. Agave Nectar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 each egg yolk
  • 1.5 tsp. grapseed oil
Syrup:

  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup blueberries

Now that’s just delicious. Click through for the instructions. Enjoy!

Cactus and Turkey Recipes

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers. And to the Canadians, Happy Fletcher Day.

Here we present a recipe that calls for both turkey and cactus. However, since it’s a frittata, it’s probably best as a morning after leftover breakfast kind of meal.

Cactus Frittata
Don’t limit yourself to serving this for breakfast and brunch, frittatas are great anytime of day or night!

Olive Oil
2 Leeks, white parts only, sliced
1 Bulb of Elephant Garlic
2 Ears of organic corn
3 Chipotle Peppers, chopped fine
4 Paddles of seared cactus, sliced into 4″ strips
1 Tomato, diced
1/2 Cup Goat Cheese
6 eggs

Turn your oven on to about 425 degrees….

You’ll have to click through for the rest of the instructions.

And if you were wondering why the recipe for what I am calling a “cactus and turkey recipe” doesn’t actually include any turkey in it at all…. Well… It’s a frittata so you can add any ingredient like turkey pretty easily now, couldn’t you, like you had to ask. Just throw in some leftover turkey and you’re golden!

Here, let me help.

1lb leftover roasted turkey, cut into small cubes

Yay!

Cactus are Delicious

The Examiner gets in on the nopales health fad.

Nopales taste good and good for you

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The pads are… “nopales” when they’re whole, and “nopalitos” when they’re diced. They taste something like green beans. The fruits are called prickly pears, cactus pears, or “tunas”.

Whether you add sliced or cubed pads to omelette’s or gently urge the fruit from its stickery skin and eat it fresh or cooked into jelly, this cactus has much to offer. Even the seeds can be eaten in soups or dried and ground into flour.

They don’t share any recipes with us. I wonder why? Everybody loves recipes.

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Like this one from Big Oven.

Cactus Candy

Marian Manners and Prudence Penny were pseudonyms for the cooking instructors and writers, and later the food editors, of the Los Angeles Times and Hearst newspapers, respectively….

Many requests were for… “Top Chef” Quickfire challenges with Prudence and Marian inventing dishes based on one ingredient. A Southern California woman who wanted to use the wild cactus growing in her backyard received instructions for making cactus candy (chop down a cactus, remove thorns and simmer in simple syrup for several days).

Cactus Cookies

image

Doris made Cactus Cookies for her holiday party. Delicious!

Cactus Fest '11

We missed the Santa Cruz Cactus Festival again this year. I’m sure it proved to be delicious. It was last weekend.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel hasn’t posted the winners online yet, but they did post this Nopales Salad recipe for us to share with you so you could enjoy it.

MEXICAN NOPALITO SALAD

2 medium nopale pads, cleaned
1 tablespoon Spanish (or other fruity) olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoon finely chopped Maui onion
1 teaspoon finely minced roasted garlic
1 tablespoon finely minced serrano chile
2 tablespoons finely minced red brll pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon queso fresco

1. Slice nopales into thin strips. Saute in olive oil till just browned, but not soft.
2. When cool, toss with other ingredients. Add more lime , if necessary.
3. Serve in a chilled bowl, or iceberg lettuce cups, or on a crisp tortilla. Sprinkle with queso fresco.

Cheryl Marquez grows her own cactus for nopales dishes at her Tortilla Flats restaurant in Soquel (Dan Coyro/Sentinel)

Cactus Fruit Video

Interesting look at the Pitaya market and new varieties being developed to be tastier and use even less water. These are from the night-blooming Hylocereus from Central America, although the Pitaya name can also be applied to many different cactus fruit. The more common name around here is Dragon Fruit.

The most interesting part is the difficulties with pollinating a night-blooming plant when it’s been taken out of it’s native habitat, away from it’s night-pollinator.

Maybe I should add a margarita recipe to this post. What do you think?

Well, this is what I found:

Red Dragon Cocktail

*Vanilla Vodka
*Stawberry Liqueur
*Dragon fruit
*strawberry
*Vanilla syrup

You should click through for the instructions, but the instructions are really just to pour it all together and stir. Easy enough.

From Alex’s Cocktails in the UK.

Cactus Jam

It’s the Muddy River String Band playing their ever popular “Cactus Jam”.

Download here.

And what’s most remarkable is if you listen closely, they’re actually singing a recipe for cactus jam, both the cactus type of cactus jam and the musical jam type of cactus jam. Oy, the irony.

Cactus Jelly

The Cactus Candy Company sells Pure Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly. Only $1.64!

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Or you can make your own, from Epicurious, via a postcard they received. All it takes is:

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups prickly pear juice
3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 package powdered pectin
3 1/2 cups sugar

Directions:
1 quart of prickly pear cactus fruit should make about 2 1/2 cups of juice. Pluck the fruit from the cactus with a long-handled fork or tongs. Wash under running water, then use a brush to clean (spines left on the fruit will soften during cooking and should come off after fruit is strained.)…

In a saucepan, measure out 2 1/2 cups of cactus juice; add 1 package of powdered pectin. Bring mixture to a fast boil, stirring constantly…. Makes 6 1/2 pints of jelly.

The rest of the instructions are at the link.

Cactus Margarita

From Epicurious.

Ingredients
4 prickly pears, peeled
Ice
4 ounces tequila
1 1/2 ounces triple sec
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
Coarse-grained salt for rimming (optional)
Lime slices for garnish (optional)

That does seem like the basic set of ingredients for a cactus margarita. For sugar, I would use agave syrup. You’ll have to click through for the directions on how to peel a prickly pear and what to mix together too.

Cactus Margarita

So we have the classic Cactus Blog double whammy – Cactus and Agave.

Ingredients:
1. Margarita Mix – fill
2. Tequila – 1 oz.
3. Dekuyper Cactus Juice – 1 oz.

I didn’t know Dekuyper made Cactus Juice.

I’ll bet it would go well in this 12 oz Libbey cactus margarita glass.

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That’s quite handsome.

Cactus Martini

Did you watch that? What a ripoff – there’s no cactus in that martini. I don’t know what that crap is. Oh well, drink up and Happy Holidays.

Cactus Medley

I still haven’t found a cactus desert pie, but I did find this tropical medley.

Ingredients
2 cactus pears, peeled
6 cups assorted fresh fruit (sliced kiwi, sliced carambola, whole or sliced strawberries, orange sections, banana chunks, quartered figs, cubed mango, sliced guava, and/or sliced papaya)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Seems like it could be delicious. As usual, click through for the instructions.

Cactus Pads

A Nipomo (CA) man who grows and markets edible cactus nationwide believes its value soon will be discovered by U.S. consumers as well as those working to help poverty-stricken countries.

“This plant could save the world,” said John Dicus as he gave visitors a tour of his Rivenrock Gardens.

But how should we eat this cactus that you sell?

Dicus offered visitors a taste of his own recipe for cactus salsa.

A mix of beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and cactus chunks that look like chopped broccoli stalks, the salsa has a unique flavor but doesn’t scream “cactus.”

“Cactus should be seen as an herb, where it doesn’t really overwhelm the salsa,” he explained. “It’s been compared to green beans. It should be mixed in as an overall ingredient.

That’s practically a recipe. And what do you know, there’s a whole recipe page too. Now that’s service.

And where is this so-called Nipomo? Southern Cal of course.

Cactus Pie

I wonder what I should blog today? Another photo of a cactus in bloom? Another echeveria mixed pot?

No!

Google has been very kind to me this morning, and so I would like to share with you my most recent google find – “cactus pie.” Brownsville Baby has the recipe.

YOU’LL NEED
Yield: 6 servings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
¼ teaspoons salt
1 cup prepared nopales, diced
2 tablespoons queso anejo crumbled

Seems like a savory pie. Later I’ll try to find a sweet cactus pie. Click through for the instructions.

Cactus Recipe

I googled for a cactus recipe, and jumped forward to the 100th page, and came up with this.

Queso Fundido de Nopales
2 cups nopales, scraped, washed and cut into strips
1 cup ground chorizo sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups Chihuahua cheese, grated (available in Mexican food stores, or substitute shredded Monterey Jack)
1/2 of an avocado, sliced

That sounds delicious. I may actually have to try one of these recipes someday, and this sounds like a good one to start with.

Click through for the instructions.

Cactus Recipe

Yesterday I posted a fresh cactus salsa recipe from Big Oven, so today I’m posting a ground beef cactus recipe.

Ground Beef with Cactus
Ingredients
1 lb Ground beef
1/2 c Onion, chopped
14 oz Jar of cactus, drained
14 oz Diced tomatoes w/ chilies

Instructions for Ground Beef with Cactus
Cook ground beef and onions until done, drain off grease. Mix in the cactus and tomatoes and simmer for about 20 minutes. Posted to MM-Recipes Digest by Paula

That sounds pretty simple. You’ll let me know if it’s delicious, now won’t you?

Cactus Recipe

Dinner is for cactus. (And duck, too, obviously).

Oh my god this sounds good. If anyone wants to make this for me, I pay in rebutia.

duck cakes with nopalito cactus sauce

Measure Ingredient
1 Whole duck
2 Yellow onions; thinly sliced
2 Red onions; thinly sliced
1 bunch Leeks; thinly sliced
1 bunch Green onions; thinly sliced
8 Whole eggs
Salt and pepper
Clarified butter; for frying
3 Strips bacon
3 tablespoons Onion; chopped
2 cups Nopales; cleaned and diced
1 teaspoon Garlic; chopped
3 tablespoons Vinegar; (rice, herb, pepper
; and fruit)
4 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Chili paste
2 Limes, juice of

Don’t forget to click through for the instructions. No pictures, though. Video would be helpful too, considering what you have to do to the duck.

Cactus Recipe

And just in time for the holiday. The one that is coming up this week, not the one coming up next month. Although it is in time for that holiday too.

Tom’s Pricklypear Cactus and Cranberry Jelly

I have a large pricklypear cactus growing outside my back door. Most years… it produces large numbers of dark pruple-red fruits. I make these into either jelly or syrup, depending on whether it sets or not. This year, I turned my less bountiful harvest into a variation on cranberry sauce–the jellied kind….

24 or so ripe pricklypear cactus fruits
1 bag fresh cranberries.
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 box pectin
3 cups sugar

Click through for the full instructions.

And who is this Tom and why should we follow his recipe? He’s Tom Fitzmorris of WWL AM870, a talk radio fixture in the Gulf South Region with a food show. On the radio! I trust him. I really do.

Cactus Salad

The Mayan Cafe in Louisville makes a very attractive and delicious looking cactus salad.

It’s not currently on the menu, but maybe they’ll bring it back for spring.

Besides a bit of grilled cactus, I see arugula and tomato and cheese, all tossed in a light vinaigrette. Am I missing anything in there?

Cactus Salad

It’s a cactus salad recipe on What’s Cooking, a site that mixes recipes and photography. Here’s a photograph I’ve borrowed.

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©whatscooking.us

Cactus Salad
The ingredients:
* 2 cups cleaned and cubed nopalitos
* 1 jicama, julienned
* 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into chunks
* 1 small tomato, cubed
* 1/2 red onion, chopped
* 1 red tuna fruit
* 1 green tuna fruit
* 2 TBSP cilantro, chopped
* the juice of 1 lemon
* salt to taste

You’ll have to click through for the instructions and the rest of the photos.

Cactus Salad

Just in time for christmas dinner, I found this seriously delicious looking cactus salad at myrecipes.com and it only takes 2 nopales!

cactus-salad-ck-630119-l

Ingredients
* 2 medium cactus pads (nopales)
* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
* 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
* 2 medium tomatoes, diced
* 6 cups shredded leaf lettuce
* 6 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco cheese
* 2 1/2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream

You’ll have to click through for the instructions. I don’t want to give it all away, you know.

And it’s probably one of those “heart-healthy” meals too, since nopales are supposed to be good for you.

Nopales… contain flavonoids, a type of antioxidant…. (and) can reduce the glycemic index of a meal, and have been used to decrease the level of glucose in diabetics’ blood…. The American Heart Society, for example, is researching the use of nopales to help manage cholesterol levels.

Cactus Salad, Los Angeles Style

L.A. style indeed.

Nopalitos y chapulines, a salad of prickly pear and grasshoppers, as served at La Huasteca in Lynwood. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

La Huasteca in Lynwood. Chef Rocio Camacho, who made her mark at Moles La Tia, is focusing on pre-Columbian cuisine.

Pre-Columbian indeed. Cactus and crickets! Ooh boy. What would my mother say.

Cactus Salsa

Cactus fruit salsa
By Betty Cortina, NBC Latino

It isn’t every day you discover an entirely new ingredient, something you had no idea existed let alone tasted this good. But that’s exactly what happened to us, the NBC Latino crew, while we attended the Culinary Institute of America’s Latin Flavor, American Kitchens conference last week in San Antonio.

It happened when we stepped into the kitchen with Roberto Santibañez, the chef-owner of New York’s Fonda restaurants (in Brooklyn and Manhattan) and author of “Truly Mexican” and the soon-to-be released “Tacos, Tortas and Tamales.” First, he taught us to call the ingredient by its name: xoconostle. (Pronounced: choko-nose-leh.) It is, he went on, the fruit of the cactus plant and similar to a prickly pear, which in recent years has grown in popularity, its sweet flesh often used to flavor margaritas. But the xoconostle is sour and tart instead and typically used to make salsas in Mexico.

Interesting! I wonder what that is. I’ve never heard that name for a cactus fruit. But first the recipe:

Salsa de xoconostle/cactus fruit salsa

1 pound xoconostles (about 9)
2 small dried chipotle chiles, or 5 dried árbol chiles, wiped clean
1 medium garlic clove, peeled
Kosher salt, to taste

Simple! Click through for the instructions.

And now, for your fun and kicks, the xoconostle is the fruit from the Opuntia joconostle. It looks similar to tunas, but it tastes different, and most importantly the seeds are all grouped in the center rather than spread throughout the flesh.

Nice!

Cactus Salsa

I never learned the salsa. A friend from Colombia tried to teach me and a few other architecture students when we were on semester abroad in Switzerland, but it was a hopeless endeavor. Instead we played volleyball on the slopes overlooking Lago Lugano.

Meanwhile, here’s a cactus salsa recipe.

Ingredients
* 1 bn Cilantro; leaves only, roughly sliced
* 4 Scallions; thinly sliced
* 1 Serrano chiles; stemmed, seeded,
* 1 ts Coarse salt
* 1 c Prepared cactus paddles; rinsed, sliced fine
* 1 c Fresh corn kernels;
* 2 tb Red wine vinegar
* 1/2 ts Freshly-ground black pepper
* 1/4 c Olive oil
* 6 Tomatillos; husked, washed,

Directions
* Step #1 Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat….

Oy that seems complicated. You’ll have to click through to find out the rest of it.

Cactus Soap

So now we’ve hit the true test of our ability to run a retail plant nursery. We are now making our own cactus products. Or product – in this case soap. Cactus Soap!

That’s Olive Oil soap – no glycerin or other fillers – from locally sourced organic certified olives. Plus real prickly pear fruit, and three different scents: Peppermint with Mint Leaves; Grapefruit, Lemongrass with Oatmeal; and Clove and Apricot Kernel, in a thick 5.3oz bar.

See the thing is, there are lots of fancy glycerin soaps out there, but it’s tough to find a top quality pure soap, hand or facial. So we made it ourselves.

Now someone else can post on their blog all about the silly cactus soap they found at the Cactus Jungle. Hah!

(For reference, see my now-ironic posts about cactus soap and cactus costume (on a hedgehog!) and Cactus Glasses and Cactus Candy).

I suck!

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