At home in Portland, I spend a lot of time cooking. So what do I do when I go visit friends in the restaurant-rich Bay? Cook with them, of course. (For the record, I did also go out for Mexican and a delicious brunch.) Taking advantage of a huge and fun California produce market, we made two great meals.
First, a salad with Nopales (or Prickly Pear) Cactus. Quite tasty! The cactus reminded us just a little bit of okra with it’s flavor and slightly slimy texture when cooked. I did some limited research, and it turns out both okra and succulent cacti are mucilagenous plants…but I’d need a more botanically inclined friend to weigh in with more on this relationship.
The next night, after another market run with another friend, we grilled up a tasty meal of T-Bones with grilled Jicama and mango salsa. These T-Bones went much better than the last ones, since I knew to be wary of touch-testing and we went with the blood drop method for doneness.
The grilled jicama was kind of unexceptional on its own, even with olive oil and chili powder, but it proved a wonderful vehicle for the mango salsa (mango, red onion, red jalapeno, cilantro), which was a great success. I creditthat largely to the mangoes — Manila mangoes. I had never seen these before, but if I ever do again I will buy a dozen. Yum.