Cleaning Nopales

cleaned nopales
cleaned nopales
Don’t let cleaning cactus pads scare you away. It’s easy!

When we picked up our nopales (cactus pads) from the CSA we were surprised that they hadn’t been cleaned. This is the first time that’s been the case, and it seemed as though it scared people enough that the trading baskets were pretty much full of cactus paddles. Probably partly because nopales are a bit different, and, perhaps, because cleaning them seems daunting. Well, fear not, fellow scratcher, because we’re going to show you how easy it really is.

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A Real Southwest Pickup

weekly CSA produce share
Rex Allen would feel right at home with this week’s CSA share.

This week, our CSA provided quite a number of items that we’d consider to be evocative of the southwest. It’s not too surprising, since the foods that grow well in the desert are generally those that most people think of when they think about southwestern food.

We’ll note especially that one of the items we picked up was nopales; this is the first time we’ve had them from the CSA with the spines still attached. That seems to daunt some people, so tomorrow we’ll show you how to remove those spines safely, making your nopales eating adventure painless.

This week’s share:

  • Glendale Gold Onions (3)
  • Sweet potatoes (4)
  • Roasted green bell peppers (1 bag)
  • Roasted green chilies (1 bag)
  • Nopales or cactus pads (3)
  • Eggplant (3)
  • Black beans (1 bag)
  • Green beans (1 bag)

Cauliflower Gruyère Agnolotti

cauliflower gruyere agnolotti
cauliflower Gruyere agnolotti
Little cauliflower pillows!

It’s been a while since we’ve made a filled pasta, and agnolotti is one of the easiest and fastest to make. Of course, you can make another filled pasta shape; scarpinocc is another easy filled pasta. Or, of course, there’s always ravioli (see Sweet Potato Ravioli with Lemon Pepper Pasta for shaping ravioli). The filling for today’s post is based around sale items from the store.

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Worth the trouble?

Watermelon Basil Sorbet

watermelon basil sorbet
watermelon basil sorbet
Cool color. Cool flavor. Cool.

Remember that watermelon in the photo last Wednesday? We surely do, because we had to eat it. While we love watermelon, it was too much for just two people, so we looked for ways to extend its “shelf life.” The first thing we came up with was watermelon sorbet; then we figured we’d go all exotic on you and add a bit of basil. Oooh. Exotic.

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Worth the trouble?

Potato and Roasted Green Chili Soup

potato and roasted green chili soup
potato and roasted green chili soup
Twice as warming!

When we went through the line at the CSA this week, we were glad to see the roasted green chilies separated into three categories: hot, medium, and mild. We chose mild since we had this soup in mind. In the past we’ve had a mix of heat, from set-your-tongue-on-fire hot, to just-a-little-warming-power mild. It seems that a lot of the differences come from how the chilies are grown, and, here in Arizona, ours seem to get their heat from the bright sun and 100+°F days.

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Worth the trouble?

Savory Goat Cheese and Pumpkin Pie

savory goat cheese and pumpkin pie
savory goat cheese and pumpkin pie
Pie for dinner! Yay!

No, this isn’t for dessert. It’s not that kind of pie. Instead, this pumpkin pie is a main dish. While you might not think of it, pumpkin is nothing but a large squash, and you’ve probably had a whole variety of squashes as part of your meals. So, why not as a pie? After all, wouldn’t it be fun to have pie for dinner?

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Worth the trouble?

This Wasn’t Even the Largest

weekly CSA produce share
That watermelon outweighs a small child!

Wow! That is one huge melon. We knew we’d be getting a huge watermelon as we walked to the CSA pickup site. We saw  several people struggling to carry away watermelons that seemed the size of a small child. But, we don’t mind; we love watermelon, plus we have plans for some of it in the near future: watermelon sorbet, but don’t tell anyone.

This week’s share:

  • Watermelon (1)
  • Roasted green chilies (1 bag)
  • Basil (1 bag)
  • Small red potatoes (1 basket)
  • Red onions (3)
  • Pinto beans (1 bag)
  • Tomatillos (1 basket)