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Posts Tagged ‘lime’

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When I spotted nopales in a produce market that I visited last week I decided to purchase one. I’ve been making an effort to incorporate new foods into my cooking and I figured that cactus would be an interesting addition. Nopales originated in Mesoamerica (what is now Mexico) and continue to be a popular ingredient in their regional cuisine.

I almost forgot about the nopale sitting in my refrigerator until today when I was looking for lunchtime salad ingredients. That’s when I also spotted some ripe avocados, softening sugar plum tomatoes and a lonesome lime that had seen better days.

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Needless to say, I became inspired by what could be created by combining everything. What transpired was this delicious dip that complements a variety of foods. If you are wondering about the flavor of the cactus, it’s sort of tangy and tastes like the spawn of a big green bell pepper that got lucky one night with a little okra. It definitely adds zip to the overall flavor! It works well paired with the creaminess of the avocado and the spiciness of the cayenne pepper. You can read more about nopales in this article and here.

Cactus Avocado Dip

Makes about 1 1/3 cups. Double ingredients as needed for larger servings.

Ingredients:

One nopale (cactus) pad
Handful each of pumpkin (pepita) and sunflower seeds
Juice of 1 lime
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup cherry or sugar plum tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Bring a small pot of water to boil with steamer basket. Prepare the nopale by scrubbing any spines with the hard side of a clean kitchen sponge. Cut around the sides of the pad and the bottom stem. Chop lengthwise, then into smaller pieces. Add the nopale chunks to steamer basket, reduce heat and lightly steam for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain liquid.

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The cactus will be slightly gooey in texture. Transfer the nopale pieces to food processor, add lime juice and seeds and pulse to smooth consistency. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides.

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Add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended.

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Transfer to a bowl and serve with fresh vegetables or crackers. This dip would also make a great addition to burritos or tacos. If you prefer a richer texture, add more avocado(s) to the recipe.

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With spring in full season, I was craving something that would complement the sunny weather and remind me that summer is just around the corner. I came up with this very tropical themed raw pie recipe, playing off flavors of coconut and lime wrapped in a rich crust consisting of cashews, almonds and dates. The final result? A perfect combination of tart and sweet. Serve this chilled or slightly thawed, great for a summer picnic or a refreshing dessert!

Raw Coconut Lime Pie

Pie Crust:

1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup almonds
1 cup mature coconut meat chunks
3-4 pitted dates

Filling:

Juice of two small limes
1 avocado
1/2 cup pineapple chunks*
1/2 cup mango chunks*
1/2 cup coconut meat
1/4 cup coconut water

*I used frozen, fresh fruit might change the consistency just slightly.

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Start with draining the water from a mature coconut to reserve for the filling, set aside. Break open the coconut and cut into chunks.

In a food processor, add the cashews and almonds. Process briefly into a coarse, broken down texture. This shouldn’t take long; approximately a minute or so. Add in the coconut meat chunks and dates, process until well combined with the nuts. Remove from food processor bowl and set into a 9″ pie form. Alternatively, you could also make two smaller pies, or multiple tart size ones.

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Combine all filling ingredients in food processor, pulse into smooth consistency. If you want a more dense/thick filling, leave out the coconut water.

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With a spatula, smooth filling into pie crust.

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Chill in freezer for about 2 hours, until firm. It should come out looking something like this!:

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I ate it straight out of the freezer, unchilled – I couldn’t wait to taste it! Best served thawed at room temperature with your favorite toppings – I added fresh shredded coconut and blueberries, delicious!

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