Monday, February 23, 2015

Asian Hot Sauces-Prickly Pear Jelly and The Desert

Some of the previously published recipes have called for chili paste. What to use when you can't find it at your local store.

Read below.  

FYI: Cooks can substitute hot sauce like Sriracha (pictured below) or crushed red pepper flakes for chili paste. Chili paste is seasoned with salt and made up of hot peppers, oil and garlic. Cooks sometimes use dried peppers instead of paste.
Sriracha is a type of hot sauce or chili sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It is named after the coastal city of Si Racha, in Chonburi Province of eastern Thailand, where it was possibly first produced for dishes served at local seafood restaurants.

A Southwest Food Item 
Prickly pears are the fruit of the prickly pear cactus.. These tasty, oval fruits sprout from the tops of prickly cactus leaves and range in color from yellow-green to deep red or purple. Grown on sun-drenched deserts and watered naturally by our generous monsoon rains, the succulent Prickly Pear Cactus fruit produces a rich, fruity flavor with distinct clarity, and a delicate aroma. 

These neon fruits provide delicious juice that tastes like a cross between all-natural bubblegum (if indeed there is such a thing) and watermelon. Prickly pear juice is often used to make jam or candy, but works wonders in cocktails and used in vinaigrettes for salads.
Prickly pears are not only a diet staple but also a medicinal treatment for swelling and rheumatism among many indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States and Mexico. Whether eaten raw or dried, these prickly little fruits provide your body with several health benefits.  I couldn't resist purchasing a jar of Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly. It does have a flavor that can't quite be defined.  



The Sonoran Desert
by Tara Trewinnard-Boyle

How lucky am I? I have found my home!
In the place of dust and rock where the lizards run,
Where hot winds whip and the sun sears through a lapis colored sky.
Where Saguaros march uninhibited across the arid land.
Miles and miles of emptiness: freedom.

This is the place where Mother Nature still shows her true beauty.
Wild and uncompromising, she cuts me down to my rightful size.
Teaching me to live without; demand less; appreciate more.
Silently reminding me that the race is of my own making.
I can be free.

I have found my home. Not the home I was born to but where I belong.
The ache of leaving weighs heavy in my heart.
But today I can carry with me a gift, humbly offered to all who seek.
The desert is more than a place; it is a state of mind.
It is life and death, land and sky, struggle and freedom.

Slow! Your frantic pace does not matter here.
Breathe and be grounded in your humanness.
Be still and find your small place in this vast world.
You belong, just as you are. In the silence you can find peace.
This is the gift of the desert; for which I am eternally grateful.


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