Monday, August 5, 2013

New apartment means New Fun Recipes!.....Cactus and Roasted Bell Pepper Quesadilla!

Sorry for my blog being in hiatus for the past week.  We were in the process of moving and are finally settled into our new place.  While moving can be a pain, it is also exciting!

New place and new area of Chicago.  This means exploring and discovering new grocery stores!  We moved into the artsy area of the city which has a large Hispanic population.  This means great new produce that was not readily available at the grocery stores we were close to before.  So get ready to see some fun recipes with cactus, squash blossoms and more!

 I have never cooked with cactus before, so I learned a few tricks.  In Hispanic markets, cacti are called Nopales or "cactus paddles".  Sometimes you can find them with the stickers or thorns removed (get these)!  If you cannot, you will have to take a razor and carefully remove the stickers.

Cacti are also surprisingly pretty spicy.  To remove the spiciness, do what I did for the jalapeno poppers;  boil the sliced cacti in water and cover for about 15 minutes.  This not only reduces the heat level, but also removes the slimy sap.  End product of the cooked cactus?  A delicious and a bit sour product.  Delicious in this Quesadilla recipe!

                                   Cactus and Roasted Bell Pepper Vegan Quesadilla!
 Ingredients: (yields 2 servings)
2 cactus paddles (thorns removed)
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green red pepper s
1/2 yellow onion sliced
vegan cheese (optional)
2 large flour tortillas
1 tbsp evoo

Preheat oven 350.  Place bell peppers, cut side down.  Roast for about 15-20 minutes.  In the meantime, wash and slice your cactus.  In a large saute pan, add about 1/2 inch of water and boil.  Throw in cactus slices, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  In another saute pan, heat evoo and saute onions for about 5 minutes.  Once peppers are done, carefully slice and add to saute pan with the onions.  Season with salt.  After the cactus strips are done, drain and rinse in colander and add to your sauteing vegetables and set aside.
Heat a George Foreman grill or panini maker (if you don't have, can cook in pan).  While it is heating, place your cactus/pepper mix on half of the tortilla, add vegan cheese on top and fold.  Place on the panini maker, close and let grill for about 3-5 minutes.  Serve with your favorite salsa and vegan cream cheese.

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