Saturday, September 18

messing with cactus

I wasn't going to mess with the cactus this year, but a friend of mine inspired me. Carol messes with cactus, I want to mess with cactus. It's like I'm two years old. I woke this morning (because of Carol - who made cookies with them...!) with visions of prickly pear fruits and jewel-colored glazes and fuchsia drinks dancing in my head and so grabbed my trusty prickly pear-hunting tongs and went gathering. I came home with two paper bags full. About sixty tunas. Oh, who am I kidding. I counted them, of course. That's what I do. There were exactly sixty-three. And remember, tunas aren't fish. They're prickly pear fruits. Fish wouldn't go as well in a margarita.

It didn't take long to process them. I martyed a new sponge and scrubbed them all carefully to get off the biggest thorns and the ants and the cochineal scale . Stuck them whole in a big pot and turned the heat on under it for a few minutes after which I squished them with a potato squasher until they were pulped. Following the squishing, I poured them through a sieve and then through another sieve lined with lots and lots of cheesecloth to strain out my old archenemies, the glochids - those nasty little spines that cover the fruits and pads of the prickly pear. Because no one wants glochids in their margaritas.  Although I have been known to assume too much.

Finally, I made half the juice into syrup (simmered about 3 cups of juice with 2 cups of sugar and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice until it was the thickness I wanted).  And froze the rest so that we can make prickly pear margaritas for the (Christmas) Cookie Party.  I'm swooning right now over the image of bright pink prickly pear beverages in pitchers  on the Cookie Table.  Nothing shrieks festive! better than prickly pear juice.  Except me, when I'm excited.  (I do a lot of shrieking when I'm excited.)

Finally, to reward myself, and because the Cookie Party is still but an ethereal and lovely dream, I made myself a prickly pear margarita.   Shriek!!

Prickly Pear Margarita
1.5 oz prickly pear syrup
0.5 oz lime juice
2 oz white tequila
1 oz triple sec

Shake with ice and pour over ice.

Gratuitous dog shot.  She would like a margarita, please.  Or a cat.


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