Make sure that everyone is equally thankful in your family….
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:
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.
Today we seem to have a breakfasty like recipe, featuring suasages and eggs and cactus too.
This is the link to the recipe, but the site seems to be down right now, so maybe you can click it later and see if it’s back up and working.
Boy, this is some lazy blogging from your lazy cactus blogger.
For instance, did you know you can make up things and then go looking on the internets and find out that the thing you made up actually exists?
Like a Cactus Peeler.
La Mexicana Cactus Peeler (Pelador de Nopales) makes it easier for you to peel cactus for your nopalitos! La Mexicana products are made with full analysis of designs and compatability to serve you with comfort in your cooking lifestyle.
I’m guessing you would use it for a recipe like this:
- 1 lb nopalitos, nopales prickly pear cactus paddles that have been stripped of spines, cleaned, and chopped
- Olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper
As per usual, click through the recipe link to see the instructions that go along with it.
You should try it. (Not the recipe, or the peeler, which you should also try, but I mean make something up and then search online for it and see what it gets you.)
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!
Prickly pears are delicious. Atlantans eat them too.
If you’re enjoying a cactus pad salad, are you eating leaves or are you eating stems? Just looking at a pad, it’s hard to know. I’m talking about the fleshy oval pads of Opuntia, the prickly pear cactus, also known as the Indian fig for its rosy oblong fruits.
Stems or leaves, leaves or stems. Hmmmm. Stems? Leaves?
Nice, and it turns out there’s a class for cactus salad prep in Atlanta coming up.
9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 7. Chef Ron Eyester, Rosebud. Morningside Farmers Market, Atlanta. www.morningsidemarket.com
Papago Cactus Salad
Hands on: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
And finally, the answer that you may have been waiting for, but probably not….
It’s not cactus flavored. But it is a Flowering Cactus Cake.
PRICKLY as it might appear, this dessert from the desert is one your guests will get their hands on in a hurry!
Click through for more puns and the whole recipe. In case you were wondering but didn’t want to click through, the spines are licorice. Yum.
I think I will do a new feature here on the cactus blog, and I’ll call it weekend blogging because it’s the weekend here on my blog.
This feature will feature many different small pictures of things. With Links.
It’s a picture of prickly pear pads for a recipe for Huaraches – Stuffed Prickly Pear Cactus Paddles. It features manchego cheese, so you know it has to be good.
Happy Weekend, all!
Are now available throughout the country, or at least at the few restaurants that will be carrying them.
This month’s taco is from Michael Kornick…. His Tacos Nopalitos y Pollo is available at Mercadito locations in Miami, New York, and Chicago until November 30.
If you can’t get over there in time, don’t worry, here’s the recipe.
24 thin corn tortillas 4-inches to 5-inches in diameter
Oil to warm on the griddle
1 fresh Nopalitos cactus
2 cups rich chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz. olive oil
1 pound of chicken breast
2 cups rich chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 Serrano chiles minced
½ cup sliced onions
½ tsp cracked black pepper
Salt to taste
6 medium tomatillos
Oil to grill
Salt and pepper
½ cup chiffonade cilantro
¼ cup minced red onion
½ Serrano chili minced (no seeds)
6 lime wedges
That is a long list of ingredients. You’ll have to click through for the instructions.
They sure look good.
What if you wanted a cactus banana smoothie? Who would you turn to for a recipe? Your mother? Your Uncle Saul? Sammie from the corner market?
It’s not a complicated recipe. The directions are not complicated either. You can click through to read the whole description, but here’s the primary part you were looking for.
Cactus Pear and Banana Smoothie Recipe
1 cactus pear, flesh and meat, seeds removed
4 oz filtered of water
Add all the ingredients to your blender, (I use a Blendtec) and blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.
Indeed, that seems easy enough. I wonder how they took care of the spines on the cactus pear?
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.
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)
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.
Earlier today I blogged a link to a cactus recipe.
Here’s a delicious looking recipe for grilled cactus that you can now make on your cactus-briquette-fired grille.
I thought the photo looked so delicious that I should blog the recipe. Here goes!
Grilled Cactus Paddles (Nopales Asados)
Makes enough for 24 taquitos or serves 12 (side dish)
Start to finish:20 min
Cactus paddles (nopales or nopalitos) are an important vegetable in Mexico, particularly in the central and west-central parts of the country. Their flavor—reminiscent of summer’s green beans but with a hint of acidity—adds freshness and succulence to the taquitos.
- 12 cactus paddles (nopales or nopalitos)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
You’ll have to click through for the instructions, but I would highly recommend it.
Cactus slaw without cabbage? You do have roast the nopales, so I don’t really know if you could call this a slaw, plus they don’t have a dressing.
CACTUS LEAF (NOPALES) SLAW WITH RED FRESNO CHILE
Makes 4 servings
4 cactus Leaves
1 chili seeded and finely diced
1 orange, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
Seems like a simple enough recipe.
Chef Michael shows you how.
I haven’t tried this recipe, so I don’t know if it’s any good. In fact, I haven’t even watched the video – I hate cooking shows – so I don’t even know anything about anything here, except this is the description that goes along with it, so I figure what the heck – have at it.
Chef Michael Flores show how to make his Cactus and Cabbage Salad.
Greenwalla recommends you go out and eat some cactus fruit RIGHT NOW!
Cactus Pear: (or Prickly Pear)
A lot of people have never tried a cactus pear, but it is a delicious fruit! Look for cactus pears that do not have any dark spots on them, you can wash them and keep them in the refrigerator for seven days. The best way to eat them is to dice them up, eat it plain or use it as a topping for a salad, cereal or soy yogurt. They can be tricky to prepare, here is a short video on how to peal one.
See, they think it’s delicious too. It’s not just me. They’re also called Tunas.
[Pedanticism warning:] Bells peal, fruit peels.
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?
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.
Dear Cactus Blog,
I’ve got an Opuntia that is growing too fast, and my husband is worried about our 4 month old baby get stuck with the spines.
I said we should wait until the baby can walk before worrying, but my husband thinks we should get rid of the plant entirely right now. What should we do?
Stuck in the Suburbs
Unless your husband is propping the baby up against the cactus while he’s off fixing his evening cocktail, you shouldn’t have to worry about the baby getting stuck at this young age.
As the baby gets older, I would recommend keeping the prickly pear well trimmed back so that there aren’t any wild spiny pads attracting the attentions of your inevitably wandering toddler. In fact, if you cook the freshly cut pads and feed them to your family, it’s a win-win.
Use this recipe for a healthy and happy family life for years to come:
- 1 or 2 cactus pads
- 8 Eggs
- 1/4 lb. of cheese (your choice)
- salt & pepper to taste
Prepare the cactus pads as described in the preparation section above. Once you have removed the needles, nodules and thoroughly washed the pads, slice into bite-size pieces. Sauté the sliced pads in a small amount of butter for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl; add shredded cheese and the sautéed cactus pieces. Pour the egg mixture into a skillet and scramble. Serve warm with salt and pepper to taste.
I made my prickly pear martini, did you? And if I may say so, its delicious.