Thursday, October 22, 2020

MEX #WFPB 002 - Ensalada de Nopales - Cactus Salad

 I wrote about cactus salad the first time in January. When I was just hoping to start doing some cooking classes on Mexican cuisine #WFPB style. Covid came along. You know the rest.

But I've gotten back to trying to develop some recipes. And the next evolutionary step follows below:


3 good size Cactus leaves, cleaned.
1 Red Onions
15 Oz can of diced Tomato
Optional: avocado
1/2 bunch Cilantro
2 tbsp (Mexican) Oregano
some Radish or daikon, possibly pickled...
Serrano peppers and/or fresh jalapeño, or Jalapeño in vinegar
3/2/1 dressing with lemon and lime
Pepper to taste
Variations: with cubes of firm tofu, or with cevici-style marinated mushrooms


  • Cut the cactus leaves in 1" strips and cut in 1/2" chunks.
  • Cook in boiling water with some onion and garlic.
  • Let cool
  • meanwhile:
    • Cut up the red onion
    • Combine with the diced tomatoes
    • add the cilantro, Mexican Oregano
    • add in the radishes, cut fine, and/or the avocado, cut in slivers.
    • cut up the peppers (jalapeño, serrano, as the case may be)
    • add the salad dressing
    • mix and add in the nopales when cool.
    • Let it marinate in the fridge.

Serving suggestion: with tortillas, or just by itself.

Obviously, you can make this as mild or as spicy as you want.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Mex #WFPB 001 - Three Sisters Posole Remix

 Just before the Corona virus madness, the plan was to do  a series of Mexican classes in my cooking classes at St. Helena's. Hopefully, we will resume in the spring, but until then, I am going to discuss some Mexican recipes.


I will use as my guide the Mexican Recipe section on Nutrition Studies, en Español. 


Yesterday, I made a Three Sisters Posole, but a kind of derivative of the recipe on Nutrition studies. I can never stop improvising, improving (and sometimes making it worse, but learning all the time).

The recipe for Three Sisters Posole

Here are the original recipes on Nutritionstudies in English and Spanish.

So here goes with the revised instructions, but I will include the links to the original. One problem I ran into, my local Mexican grocery did not have blue corn posole, so instead I used Hominy, which is Nixtamalized Corn. Chang Li Market has hominy from the Mama Tere brand. You can get Blue Corn Posole on Amazon. I'll try that next time.



  • 2 cups dried blue corn posole, or hominy 
  • 1 cup tepary beans, or any kind of small beans 
    • Optional: you can add some summer Savory to the beans while cooking them
  • 1 cup barley (optional) 
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp Mexican Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp ground red chile
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 lime
  •  Sea Salt to taste


  • Cook posole for 2 hours until tender - or shorter if using a pressure cooker. (Hominy in Instant Pot for 15-20 mins on High pressure)
  • Cook the beans separately 1.5-2 hours until tender (Instant Pot for 7 mmins or so).
  • In a large pot, add the minced garlic, chopped onion, zucchini, oregano,, ground chile, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the cooked posole and beans as well as the barley, if you are using it.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
  • Turn off the heat. Dissolve the 2 tbsp of arrowroot into the soup last and mix in well to thicken the soup.
  • Add Seasalt to taste
  • Serve with warm tortillas, wild onions, or scallions. and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

For the most part, you can play a lot with the level of spiciness, and also bear in mind that adding the arrowroot makes it thicker, but also milder.