Learn how to pick, process, prepare and preserve the juicy, seasonal fruits of the Sonoran Desert as Boyce Thompson Arboretum offers a class Aug. 18 taught by “Chef Eric” and Terri of Tall Order Catering. After the informal 10:30 a.m. class you’ll have a chance to sample goodies such as sautéed nopal (cactus pads) with a garlic, lemon and dill butter sauce. Expect prickly pear pico de gallo, and a cactus fruit cooler as well.
Can’t attend on the 18th? This class repeats Sept. 2, and with AJ author Jean Groen as the presenter – sharing her own unique cactus cuisine.
Cactus – A Challenging Ingredient
“Prickly pear cactus fruit is an icon of the Sonoran Desert,” said Gilbert resident and chef Eric Naddy, of Tall Order Catering, “and as a chef I’m always looking for locally sourced ingredients that offer something to challenge myself as a cook – and you, too, as my customer and consumer.” “Items with a taste, color and texture so distinctive and unique that I’ll be as thrilled to cook with it as you are when you see the entrée delivered on your plate. Or in your glass, for that matter; the vivid magenta-fuchsia of prickly pear extract adds a killer color to margaritas, smoothies – and even the perfect-for-summer IPA made by my beer-brewing buddy Greg,” he said. Eric added that, “Greg is over at the Brew Your Own Brew home-brewers store right here in Gilbert. I’m totally stoked to share a few new recipes, and tasty samples, of southwestern cactus cuisine with Arboretum visitors Sunday, Aug. 18.”
Included With Admission
Class begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Arboretum’s visitor center lobby, and is included with daily admission of $10; no pre-registration needed. For details check out ag.arizona.edu/bta, call 520-689-2723, or connect at facebook.com/boycethompsonarboretum.
Mark your calendar for the town of Superior’s Second Annual Prickly Pear Festival on Aug. 24, complete with beer and wine-making classes. That event, held in downtown Superior (about three miles east of the Arboretum) features speakers, vendors selling prickly pear foods, arts and crafts – and special prickly pear menu items at local restaurants all day long. The event will begin with a guided hike in the desert at 6 a.m.; for the complete list of events check out superiorazchamber.net/.