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.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t limit yourself to serving this for breakfast and brunch, frittatas are great anytime of day or night!
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
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!
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.
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).
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)
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
You should click through for the instructions, but the instructions are really just to pour it all together and stir. Easy enough.
2 1/2 cups prickly pear juice
3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 package powdered pectin
3 1/2 cups sugar
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.
4 prickly pears, peeled
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.
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
* 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!