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Cacti Dinner

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Cacti Dinner

Postby Ralf » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:17 pm

Since 14 years ago hosted the World Oldest Cacti Nursery - Kakteen-Haage on two weekends in the year a public cacti dinner. Since 8 years ago my girlfriend and me are guests on one evening at this really stunning event.
The special on this dinner is that is in all dishes a part of Opuntia ficus-indica.

The evening starts with a welcome and a coctail or a small bit.

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Menu card
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Then came the musicans and play mexican rhythms that all guest get a mexican feeling.
For me is that the moment where I'm go in my thoughts to Mexico. It's like a short vacation.
Hóla Amigos!

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The appetizer was a small cacti leaf salad.
Ensalada nopalitos en mojo de piña
(Cactus salad in pineapple dressing)
It was a mix of a O. ficus-indica leaf in stripes, strawberrys and pineapple juice.

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After the appetizer the host and chief of the nursery Ulrich Haage welcomes all guests of the evening.

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He was talking about the history of this event and the normal difficulties to creating the menu for this years cacti dinner.
The next dish was a cactus tortilla. Not a mexican but a spanish tortilla of eggs and potatoes.
Tortilla con nopalitos y chorizo
(Cactus and chorizo tortilla)

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After that welcomes the chief of the kitchen Bastian Foerg all guests and he and his crew got a aloud applause for their excellent work.

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The next was a Agave chick skewer with tomato souce.
Pincho de pollo con salsa verde
(Skewered chicken with salsa verde)
The souce was very spicy but very tasty.

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Between the dishes again and again mexican sounds.

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The chief of the kitchen talk after and during every dish about the recipe and ingredients. Some of it are really easy to make.

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Opuntia ficus-indica leafs, cactus juice and sour cream mix and ready is a tasty soup.
Nopal emperifollado con espuma de mango
(Nopal decked with mango foam)

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After all this tasty dishes we've got the main dish.
It was a calf back under a almond crust with sweetpotato cakes and herbs foam.
Loncha de ternera bajo costra de almendras con galletas de batata y nopalito junto a hierbas espumosas
(Slice beef in almond crust with sweet potato biscuits with herbs and sparkling nopalito)

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After all this fantastic and absolutely tasty dishes get all a crown with the dessert.
It was a desert night cappucino (ice cream) with a hot banane.
Cappucino congelado y plátano al copil
(Cappucino frozen banana to copil)

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All dishes was absolutely superb and was served with an excellent wine in harmony to the dish. For me it was again a great event and I'm looking forward to the next year.

Hásta la vista Amigos!
Last edited by Ralf on Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.
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Postby daiv » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:33 pm

That is really neat, Ralf! Thanks for taking pictures of it all so we could peak in on it. I sure wish I could taste those dishes! :tongue8:
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Postby Tony » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:25 pm

Bravo! =D>
Forget the dog...Beware of the plants!!!

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Postby Arzberger » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:57 pm

Wow, that looks very tasty. Thanks for showing!!

I'd like to try to cook Nopalitos and have some O.ficus-indica in my garden, but I think that only young leaves could be eaten, so I'll have to wait for spring.

Best regards
Alex
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Postby edbartlett » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:25 am

Alex,
The Opuntia cladode must be young to be tender and before they develope a high level of oxalic acid. Any Opuntia can be used but O. ficus-indica is the easiest to prepare.
My next door neighbor comes out in the morning and cuts a couple young pads, cooks them on a George Forman Grill for breakfast.
Note:
Two, perhaps 3 small pads are all I recommend. One day my neighbor was very hungry and cooked up 5 pads.
He had to call in sick to work as he experienced the excelent purgative they can be also.
Enjoy your day,
Thank you,
Arizonaed

"What? Me worry?" Alfred E. Neuman (July 1955)
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Postby edbartlett » Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:38 am

Oh Yes Peter,
I do nature hikes for our winter visitors for Pima County. Nopales are said to not only have fiber but contols blood sugar and several other benefits.
I'm not stating that as fact only from what I have heard.
I enjoy them as napalitos (small slices of the cladode) as one ingredent in Spanish Omelet. IMO the fruits are pretty good from the O. ficus-indica but not nearly as tasty as from O. engelmannii. Both are beginning to ripen in this part of the desert.
Prickly Pear Lemonade is usually offered at any of our rescued cactus sales.
One of our members harvests and extracts the O. engelmannii fruit juice, freezes it and uses for the drink most of the year.
A word of warning:
Do not eat any wild plant unless you are certain it will not harm you. There are many books on the subject, some good, some with bad info.
Thank you,
Arizonaed

"What? Me worry?" Alfred E. Neuman (July 1955)
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Postby Peterthecactusguy » Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:28 pm

Ed,
Oh I am not sure I would go off into the desert and eat something. A lot of cacti have chemicals in them. A few Opuntia according to Wikipedia have mescaline in them too. It doesn't list which ones, but I wouldn't be shocked if it is true.

And yeah I have heard about the health benefits. The one I know is true is the part about the fiber.

As for O. engelmannii fruits this year I am going to make some jam with a lady from my town that has done it before. (I think I am going to probably be the one doing the collecting)

What about O. phaeancantha?
Here's to you, all you insidious creatures of green..er I mean cacti.
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Postby edbartlett » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:02 am

Peter,
OF. phaeancantha works but I find them less sweet and I would imagine adding some Agave nectar or other sweetener would be needed. The same goes for O. ficus-indica fruit. Tasty, mild and less sweet than O. engelmannii

I'm not certain on the Mescaline in Opuntia but would not be at all surprised to find another alkaloid in some. Usually the percentage of the "safer" hallucinogenic alkaloids, if there is such a thing (?), is to small to have any mind altering capability but can still do the other physiological damages alkaloids are known for.

I am not one to recommend anything with claimed herbal healing uses. My boss for the hikes believes otherwise and tells our guests what this or that plant can do. I refuse to knowing that dosage in one single plant can vary from time to time and one plant with the correct % of whatever can be right next to one with twice or 1/2 the potency.
The natives that use them have had a long time to learn exactly which plants and at which time they should be harvested. I sure it cost more than a few "volunteer" testers through the mellenia to learn the safest way to use a plant.
Enough--some very good scholarly books out there on the subject and some very bad (not all) alternative medicine literature. Best advice----try to know what you are ingesting.
The Food and Drug folks have their hands tied in many instances of herbal remedies and the benefits they infer that their product has. Too bad. Some are very dangerous and many are have less healing power than a glass of water but the price of fine wine.
Stick with Opunia fruits and young caladodes, Mammillaria fruits in moderation and a balanced diet.
Thank you,
Arizonaed

"What? Me worry?" Alfred E. Neuman (July 1955)
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Postby Peterthecactusguy » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:06 am

Ed thanks for the insight.

I can't wait to make my jam, and we might add sweetener we might not, I am not really sure yet. Sounds like the O. engelmannii fruits are good. I will of course be careful of the glochids too :)

If I ever come down your way I will let you know, as hiking is one of my many hobbies. :)
Here's to you, all you insidious creatures of green..er I mean cacti.
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Postby edbartlett » Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:06 am

Peter,
I am always happy to show folks some of the places not in the tourist guides.
Come on down!! 106 F at my house today. We had a cactus rescue this morning and with the added humidity it was down right HOT!!!
Thank you,
Arizonaed

"What? Me worry?" Alfred E. Neuman (July 1955)
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Postby Peterthecactusguy » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:52 am

Ed, I know the feeling, it's been in the 110's up here the past few days, minus today and the humidity has been insane!

yeah, I know some places up here that most people in Arizona have possibly driven by but never seen up close. I do a lot of hiking around the Aqua Fria River.

If I am ever headed your way I will give you a heads up. :)
Here's to you, all you insidious creatures of green..er I mean cacti.
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