If you are not here in San Miguel de Allende - omg! Not only have I washed SIX pair of jeans at once by hand in the bathtub and hung them to dry in a tree, but I have now eaten fresh alfalfa, and nopales (cactus shoots) salad, and made my first corn tortillas, also by hand. The first was a lot of work, but the next 3 were delicious. (I didn't even know you could wash jeans by hand, lol.)
Nopales have a subtle and unique flavor. In the springtime, when the new "shoots" (they look like little paddles) begin to emerge, people in Mexico cut and prepare them as a delicacy -- and to them, this is their "green vegetable". Nopales are served as a filling for tacos and burritos, and they are even added to corn flour for "green" tortillas.
For the fresh nopales, we only had to walk out our front door and harvest them from a huge nopale cactus growing in the garden; it's the one with the prickly pears growing.
|Ted approaching nopale cactus with a knife|
|The harvest! Ouch, look at those needles!|
|Nopales at the open air market, already partially-cleaned!|
The next step is to rinse the shoots and then cut them into bite-size cubes. Then put them in a collander and rinse again.
Put the pieces in a bowl and sprinkle liberally with apple cider vinegar. Cover and chill, letting the nopales marinate in the vinegar.
Now you can make your salad: you can add chopped onion, radishes, tomatoes, cilantro, jicama, carrots, cucumbers. You want the nopales however, to be the star, so the other chopped and/or diced vegetables are just supporting characters. Squeeze fresh lime over the salad. Chill for as long as you can before it's time to eat - hopefully, an hour or so. Leftover salad will keep in the refrigerator for another 2 days; after that, it's "done for" and headed to the compost pile. The taste and texture is very different than anything I have ever had - and very delicious, and I'm told, very nutritious as well.
And boy, am I glad that the washing machine's working again!