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Amaranth is a food which is native to the Americas although not to the Coachella Valley. It does, however, grow well here and is a really good source for many nutrients. Check out this article from +VeggieHarvest .com. +CHERISE Everett +Meilani MacDonald .

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I have recently joined the Joshua Tree Permaculture Group and have been out gaining knowledge in leaps and bounds.
The mesquite tree in my front yard, as seen below, is flowering like crazy and soon will make pods out of which I will make mesquite flour/powder.

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4/27/18
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4/27/18
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This is a picture of some corn and acorn polenta made with queso panela, queso cotija, and queso cheddar, otherwise known as Tillamook sharp chedda cheese. I cooked the polenta with both water and a small bit of half and half and added in the cheeses and some butter twords the end of the cooking. After it cooled, I broiled it on low topped with sliced tomatos and sprinkled with more cotija cheese. It was a big hit with all my my family and friends! +Meilani MacDonald, it could be made vegan by substituting margerine for the butter and eliminating the cheese. Perhaps some sage sprinkled on top before grilling would taste good.
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It's the Holiday party pot luck season and I am going to introduce my book club members to some dishes made with acon flour. I think I will try a sort of acorn polenta with a sauce and an acorn pancake cube with a korean sauce. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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Happy Thanksgiving to All!
I am extrememely happy to be able to make my Prickly Pear-Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving dinner. It's really good!
Here's how I make it:
Put: a bag of cranberries in a pot with a cup of water, 1/3 of a cup of prickly pear juice, 1/4 cup of merlot, (optional), some small pieces of candied ginger, 3/4 - 1 cup of coconut sugar , (or whatever kind of sugar you like).
Bring to a boil and then simmer until the cranberries pop and the consitancy is as you like it. Add sugar or maple syrup if needed.
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The edible cacti here in #CoachellaValley  are mostly just starting to grow their fruits. I have planted #PricklyPear  and a columnar #Celius  . The Prickly Pears are the fruit of the Opuntia Cactus or "Tunas", as some people call them, flower on the "paddles" of the Opuntias. They are best eaten when young and green, and the prickly thorns are still tender and pliant. Beware! They can still do a lot of damage! 
I am harvesting them now and working on some new recipes.

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Here is a really great tasting recipe for cheesy, mesquite, buttermilk cornbread: the mesquite powder is available online and in some health food stores.
Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup of organic sifted flour
2 tablesoons mesquite powder, (such as Sunfood Raw Mesquite Powder).
1 tablespoon raw sugar            
2/3 cup organic cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
enough shredded Cheddar cCeese and bits of Mexican Qaueso Fresco or Cotija Cheese to sprinkle over the top to melt. (opttional).

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put butter on to melt
2 Beat eggs
 in large bowl, add sugar and mix well
3. Sift and measure flour; sift again with cornmeal, baking powder, mesquite powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk to egg-sugar mixture.
5. Stir in melted butter and pour into a buttered and floured cast iron skillet.
6. top with shredded to torn up cheeses, almost covering the batter but leaving some space for spreading during cooking.
7. Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center.comes out dry.
Serves 6-8 people
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