Monday, July 27, 2015

Grilled Cheese, Two Ways

Today, my friends, I bring you two ooey-gooey variations on grilled cheese. Behind Door #1 we have a Peach Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella and Brie. Initially I was planning to do a caprese grilled cheese, but the peach festival had me still in the mood for peaches, and peaches and basil go well together, so I swapped out the tomatoes for peaches. And then I threw some brie into the mix, because when is brie not a good idea? And the second time I made it, I added a drizzle of lavender balsamic vinegar.


But after making the Peach Grilled Cheese twice, I was out of peaches, so I went searching the internets for ideas to use up the rest of the brie, mozzarella, and sourdough bread. Which brings us to the sandwich behind Door #2—Avocado and Tomato Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella and Brie. I actually liked this one better! The original recipe called for sundried tomatoes, which would have been lovely on this sandwich . . . but the sundried tomatoes in my fridge tasted a little past their prime, and I had a perfectly good fresh tomato on my counter, so that’s what I went with.


Both of these grilled cheese combinations were cheese-drippin’-down-your-chin good! The avocado one especially was very rich, and the peach one offered a lovely sweet vs. creamy contrast, though I wish I’d used more peaches because their flavor almost got lost. Red onion would probably be a great addition to either or both of these sandwiches. And if prosciutto was more my thing, I think it’d be a perfect addition as well. 

Grilled Cheese, Two Ways
Yield: However many sandwiches you make
Avocado variation adapted from Serious Eats

Ingredients
Sourdough bread (or other bread of choice)
Olive oil spray
Fresh mozzarella
Brie
Fresh basil

Peach Variation
Fresh peach
Balsamic vinegar or lavender balsamic vinegar (optional)

Avocado Variation
Avocado 
Fresh tomato or sundried tomatoes
Salt and pepper

Directions
Lightly spray one side of each slice of bread (what will be the outside of the sandwich) with olive oil. On the inside of the sandwich, arrange slices of brie on one slice of bread and slices of mozzarella on the other side.

Slice your peaches or your avocado and tomato, and layer them on top of the mozzarella. If desired, grill the peaches to get a bit of caramelization (I did this but don’t think it was necessary). If using fresh tomatoes, seed them so your sandwich doesn’t get too watery. Add a drizzle of balsamic or a sprinkling of salt and pepper

Sprinkle thinly sliced basil over the top. Now, if you press the brie into the bread a bit, it’ll stay put while you flip that slice of bread over to place on top of the sandwich. 

Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. Carefully slide the sandwich into the skillet, and cook for a few minutes on each side, until the bread is nicely toasted and the cheeses are gooey. I usually cover it for half the cooking time to help the sandwich get warm throughout. Move the sandwich to a cutting board and carefully slice in half before serving.

Notes
  • It would have felt weird to put measurements in a grilled cheese recipe, but just to give you an idea of some of the quantities: For each sandwich, I used less than half of a medium peach, just under half a regular (not hass) avocado, and about a third of a roma tomato. My bread slices were bigger than a slice of standard sandwich bread. 
  • For the cheeses, I bought a pretty small wedge of brie and a fist-sized ball of mozzarella (sorry I threw away the wrappers and transferred them to zip bags before thinking to write down how many ounces I bought of each cheese!). I've made three sandwiches and have enough brie for one more, and would have enough mozzarella for probably two more sandwiches if I hadn't nibbled so much of it. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A First Time for Everything

Last Sunday, I got to preach for the first time. I’ve been wanting to write about the experience but have struggled with how to write about it and what to say. Because there is such a tangle of thoughts and feelings tumbling around in my heart and head, it’s hard to pull them apart and identify each one in a coherent way. But having the opportunity to preach for the first time is a significant milestone for this egalitarian, CofC-raised girl, so it’s worth trying. So here are some reflections, which may or may not be cohesive, but they are reflections nonetheless.

After being told (explicitly and implicitly) for 30 years that I would never preach—or at best being told that I should be able to preach in theory, but would never actually have the opportunity—it was terrifying and affirming and exciting to suddenly be asked, “Would you like to preach next week?”

At times, I felt a bit like an imposter. I don’t know how to write or deliver a sermon. I’m not a preacher. I’d never done this before. I didn’t know what I was doing. And yet, there I was, doing it. My sermon-writing training consisted of an invaluable 10-minute conversation with a friend, where he shared his own sermon-writing process and a few tips on study resources and sermon construction. Beforehand, I told virtually no one outside my house church that I was preaching, because I was a little afraid that one of my friends would show up that morning to support me, and I’d do a bad job in front of them. And the morning of, I was afraid to tell anyone I’d never preached before, because I was afraid they’d be disappointed in me.

And yet, this community of people embraced me as their preacher for the day. One woman, Wanda, introduced me to as many people as she could, and every time, it was, “This is Karissa, our preacher.” Not, “This is Karissa, who led our service today,” or even, “She preached for us today,” but, “She’s our preacher.” It still feels weird and special to me that, for many of the people who met me that day, my primary identity was that of a preacher.

It was good to have some of my assumptions about people challenged. I generally assume that the older people are, the more conservative they are. And the more conservative they are, the more they oppose women having an equal voice and equal opportunities to serve the church. And yet, the elderly folks at a retirement center were the first people who allowed me to preach.

The lectionary is a wonderful thing! There is basically an infinite number of possible sermon texts, topics, and combinations thereof. So having that infinite number narrowed down to just four texts was a glorious thing.

My sermon focused on God as our Shepherd and on our responsibility to shepherd and care for one another. Wanda perfectly embodies the “shepherd one another” part! She is very clearly a shepherd within her community—she gathered up people to come to the church service instead of going back to bed after breakfast, she greeted everyone we passed in the hallways, she invited me to join her for lunch in the cafeteria and welcomed me into her apartment for coffee and dessert, she talked with and encouraged people as we stood around waiting for the cafeteria to open for lunch. After spending several days thinking intentionally about this shepherding theme in order to prepare a sermon about it, it was especially cool to see Wanda living out this role in such meaningful ways.

Several people have asked how preaching went, and I think it went well. There are definitely some things I wish I’d done differently or done better, but I think it was pretty good for being my first time. My prayer going into it was that something I said would be meaningful to at least one person. And a couple people came up to me later and shared some ways that something I said resonated with something in their lives.

Though the experience as a whole was a little terrifying and made me feel like an imposter, it also made me feel victorious for marginalized women everywhere. Because preaching is a role that is off-limits to so many of us, even in churches that are at least somewhat gender-inclusive. So it was meaningful to join the growing ranks of CofC women who’ve had the opportunity to preach, and to be a small part of continuing to normalize the idea of having both women and men in the pulpit.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Peach Salsa with Spiced Black Beans and Corn


The summer I lived in Georgia, the couple I stayed with kept the kitchen fully stocked with fresh, juicy peaches all summer long. These were not your run-of-the-mill grocery store peaches. Rather, I'm pretty sure she bought most of them from local growers and fruit stands. Jann even knew the names of the different varieties, when each variety would come into season, and the unique flavors of each variety. Many evenings that summer, Jann and I would stand side by side at the kitchen sink, peeling and slicing peaches, our hands dripping with juice while we told each other about our day.

Though I liked peaches before then, it was that summer that really solidified my love for peaches--especially juice-running-down-your-chin, just-picked-that day peaches. So when Google showed me recently that there's an annual peach festival in Weatherford, Texas (of all places), I convinced a couple of my peach-loving and/or festival-loving friends to take a trip to Weatherford for some peach love. Food highlights for me included the Caribbean jerk chicken sandwich for lunch, the homemade peach ice cream for dessert, and the bottle of lavender balsamic vinegar I brought home with me.


One of my goals for our trip to the festival was to get some peach salsa. I'd made it once before and really liked it, so I was interested in trying someone else's version. Unfortunately, though, by the time we got there and ate lunch (and ice cream) and got serious about browsing the manymany vendor booths, the jarred peach salsa was sold out everywhere we looked and asked. But no worries! Because I was already planning to buy a bunch of fresh peaches from the fresh produce stand (which we all did), and I still had that trusted peach salsa recipe from before, so I just made my own again tonight.

Rather than do something the same way twice, though, I took the peach salsa from before, and served it over the corn and black beans from these lettuce wraps. The lettuce wraps recipe also included a guacamole which sounded lovely, but I didn't feel like making three different components, so I just cubed an avocado, and that was simple and perfect. The black bean/corn part of the dish has so many warm flavors going on, the peach salsa pretty much tastes like summer, and the avocado added this creaminess that brought all the flavors into harmony.

If you wanted to bulk this up or make it stretch to more servings, you could easily add some cooked quinoa or millet. Originally I had planned to do that, but I decided to keep it simple tonight, and I didn't miss the grain at all.


Peach Salsa with Spiced Black Beans and Corn

Peach salsa adapted from A Couple Cooks and posted previously on my blog hereblack beans and corn adapted from A Couple Cooks.

Yield: About 3 servings. I know that's weird, and I'm sorry. I was planning to do 2 servings but got too excited about peaches once I started cutting into them, so I ended up with 2-3 generous servings of peach salsa and 3-4 servings of the black beans and corn.

Peach Salsa Ingredients
3 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1/2 medium red onion (or 1/4 large red onion), finely chopped
Just under 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced (more or less to taste)
Juice of 1/2 lime
Small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste

Everything Else
1/4 to 1/2 large red onion
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
Dried chipotle powder, to taste (or chopped, canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, to taste)
Black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup water
1 avocado, cut into cubes

Directions
For the salsa, combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl. Toss to combine. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion, green pepper, and corn; saute until veggies are slightly browned, about 5 minutes, stirring only very occasionally. Add the black beans, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, chipotle, and water. Give it a good stir, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has cooked down.

To serve, spoon some of the black bean and corn mixture into a bowl. Top with avocado and peach salsa, and give it a good stir. Then add some more peach salsa on top because it's hard to resist adding just a bit more.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sparkling Cucumber Limeade


Confession: summery drinks are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. In the fall and winter I go head-over-heels for winter quash, cozy casseroles and soups, and all things roasted. But when summer rolls around, it's all about the fresh herbs and refreshing drinks!

Yes, I know they're full of sugar and empty calories. But when it's 100 degrees and I want my air conditioning bill (some people call it an electric bill) to not be exorbitant, a tasty cold beverage becomes almost a necessity.

And what's more refreshing than lightly bubbly limeade infused with cucumber and fresh mint? Not much, my friends!


Sparkling Cucumber Limeade
Adapted from Rachael Ray, as seen on Taste and Tell
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
1 cup lime juice (I use bottled)
1 medium cucumber, sliced (peeled if the skin is bitter)
Additional mint leaves (optional)
2 cups sparkling water, chilled (see notes)

Directions
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the mint leaves. Let sit, for 10-30 minutes.

Remove and discard the mint leaves, which will probably now be dark brown and less appealing-looking. Combine the sugar water with the lime juice and cucumber. Add more fresh mint leaves, if desired. Refrigerate for at least an hour. (I actually like to let mine chill for about 30 minutes before adding the cucumbers--I'm afraid of cooking them slightly if the sugar water is too warm.)

Right before serving, add the sparkling water (see notes) and serve over ice.

Notes
Since I live by myself, I usually eat and drink by myself. Which poses a problem with fizzy beverages like this, because I can either 1) drink a reasonable amount in one sitting, but then the rest of it goes flat before I drink it, or 2) drink the entire pitcher, but be sick because that's ridiculous. So here's what I do:
  • Make the recipe, minus the sparkling water. Store this in the fridge for use as needed.
  • Buy the skinny cans of Perrier (250 mL each) and keep those in the fridge.
  • When I'm ready to partake, I use a pint-sized mason jar, add 3-4 ice cubes and almost a whole can of Perrier, and fill the rest with the limeade concentrate. That ratio is just about perfect for me, but you may find that you like more or less of the concentrate.
Also, for the record, I don't like sparkling water on its own (even the flavored stuff), so I'm usually skeptical about recipes that call for it. But it's great in this drink!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Summer Squash Refrigerator Pickles


‘Tis the season for gardens bursting with zucchini and yellow squash! Which means ‘tis also the season for those with gardens to become especially earnest in sharing squash with their friends and neighbors. Which means that, whether we’re growing them ourselves or receiving them from a friend, ‘tis the season to find many ways to prepare squash beyond zucchini bread and simple sautés.

So last week I tried my hand at pickling some squash! And I must say that I rather like the result. These are refrigerator pickles, also called quick pickles, which I think just means that 1) you don’t have to go through the extra step of sealing the jars to make them shelf stable and 2) therefore they go straight into the fridge rather than into the pantry. This was perfect for me since I wanted to go ahead and eat them, and canning still scares me.


I looked at lots of recipes for quick pickles, and learned that there are so many variations you can do. You definitely need salt, squash (or other veggies), and some sort of vinegar. Most of the recipes I looked at called for peppercorns. But from there, you can add various fresh herbs, ground spices, onions, other veggies like red bell pepper, or sweeteners to adjust the flavor to your liking. 

I tried a couple different variations—one more basic, and one more flavored—and made a quart jar of each. And I can’t quite decide which one I like better. The basic version (below) tastes very clean and un-fussy, while the slightly spicy variation (see notes) has a more complex flavor. As far as squash quantity, I had one mammoth zucchini plus two smallish yellow squash, which I sliced and split evenly between the two quart jars.


Summer Squash Refrigerator Pickles
Yield: 1 quart

Ingredients
4-5 sprigs fresh cilantro
1-1/2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1-1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
3/4 lbs. yellow squash and/or zucchini, sliced into rounds
1/4 cup sliced yellow onion
1-1/4 cup white vinegar
1-1/4 cup water
1 tsp. kosher salt

Directions
To a clean, quart-sized mason jar, add the first seven ingredients (through onion). I put my garlic, peppercorns, and coriander at the bottom, and tried to sort of layer the onion and squash. In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, water, and salt to a boil. Pour over the contents of the jar, pressing down the vegetables so they’re submerged. Gently tap the jar on the counter to release air bubbles. 

Allow the jar to cool on the counter, then put a lid on the jar and let it chill in the fridge at least overnight. After mine was cooled and was lidded, I gave it a good swish (that’s gentler than a full-blown shake) every so often to help the flavors permeate the liquid and, therefore, the veggies.

Notes
  • For the variation I’m calling Slightly Spicy Summer Squash Pickles, add 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes to the jar, and use cider vinegar instead of basic white. 
  • I’ve only just made these so can’t testify personally, but most of the refrigerator pickle recipes I’ve seen say that these will keep for about a month in your fridge.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Most West Texas Meal Ever

Today I'm thrilled to introduce a guest post from Josh, my second older brother (you get to figure out what that means). There are two recipes below, with results at the end of the post. You may remember Josh from my trip to visit him in New Zealand, from his blog To Insanity and Beyond, or from actually knowing him in real life. Or you may have absolutely no idea who this redheaded dude is. Either way, you're in for a treat today, because not only is he good at playing army men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with you when you're little, but he's also an excellent writer.

--

At various points in my life, I’ve held the following jobs:
  • Working at a chicken factory.
  • Hauling furniture.
  • Doing the grunt work that no one else wanted on a construction site.
  • Scraping up bird poop.
  • Running a hostel…which required scraping up human poop.
  • Taking inventory in various warehouses.
  • Unpaid youth minister at a church that never realized I possessed actual skills.
  • Painting houses…in the Texas summer.
  • Cashier at a fish and chips shop in an Aboriginal war zone.
Among the very worst of my occupational episodes, though, was that phase I spent working part time as a landscaper.  I hate mowing lawns.  It’s hot, it’s boring, it’s loud, and next week you have to do the exact same thing again because the grass is too stupid to stay down.  Sometimes we’d get a specialty assignment, like laying sod or trimming a tree.  This would take several hours, and of course we still had to get all the regular mowing accounts in too.  I hated that job so much.  I hit rock bottom the day I was assigned to trim a yucca plant.  If you’ve never had the pleasure, you’ll probably die happy, but let me explain what you’ve missed out on.  Imagine a six foot bouquet of spears, controlled by a subtle but intelligent mind that is sadistic and predatory.  Yucca plants bathe in the blood of living things, draining the souls of their victims along with their life force.  They don’t do this for their own sustenance, like a Venus fly trap.  No, they do it because they’re jerks.  Yucca plants are hostile, and they refuse to negotiate.

So when Karissa suggested we include yucca in our gourmet feast, I couldn’t have been happier.  (That is, once a quick Google search confirmed people actually eat yucca and she wasn’t just trolling me.)   This would be my revenge.  This would right an ancient wrong, rebalancing the scales of justice in favor of the downtrodden.  Yucca did me dirty; now, yucca would be my lunch.

The yucca would just be a side dish, though.  Initially, Karissa wanted to make prickly pear barbecue sauce, which sounded rad to me.  Of course, what good is barbecue sauce without meat to go under it?  Most people, when faced with this scenario, would content themselves with a pork roast.  Not us.  Karissa said, “I have some wild boar in the freezer.”  Yes.  Yes.

So our feast would be wild boar with prickly pear barbecue sauce and a side of yucca.  This is also known as the most west Texas meal ever.



Wild Boar with Prickly Pear Tequila Barbecue Sauce

Wild Boar Directions:
  • Eat a pineapple for breakfast.
  • Vertically slice up 1 red onion and spread it around the bottom of the crockpot.
  • If you have a kitchen slave or a butler, have them gently and methodically massage salt and pepper deep into the boar meat.  Lacking either, simply salt and pepper the surface of the meat, then place it in a skillet on high heat to get a good sear on all sides. 
  • Place the wild boar meat inside the crockpot on top of the onion layer.  Then add 1 whole red onion (peeled) to let it bask in the glorious essence of the wild boar.  If you are cooking the boar’s head, place the onion inside the boar’s mouth.
  • Add 1 cup of hot water.
  • Lay the entire pineapple core from breakfast lengthwise inside the crockpot against the boar meat.  Scatter additional pineapple fragments around the meat surface.  Cook on high for four hours.
Pro tips:
  • If pressed for time, you may cut the meat into two or three chunks so as to expedite the cooking process.  As an added bonus, this creates ideal cavities for the pineapple core and fragments.
  • Don’t be a n00b – coat the inside of the crockpot with canola oil so your butler won’t have to spend an hour cleaning it.  He needs to be answering the door.
Sauce Ingredients:
3 medium red onions (two of these are already cooking in the crock pot with the boar)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1-1/2 cups prickly pear juice
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Scant 1/2 tsp. ground coriander (or 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds, ground)
Scant 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin (or 1-1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, ground)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 jalapeno chilies, minced, ribs and seeds removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. lime zest*
1/2 cup white Worcestershire sauce**
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. lime juice***
2 tsp. kosher salt

*For the n00bs, that’s when you shave off the green stuff from the lime peel but not the white stuff.  It’s a pretty thin layer, so don’t go nuts.
**We didn’t have white Worcestershire sauce, because West Texas, so we substituted with the following: 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. white wine, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 tsp. sugar.
***I juiced the lime I used for the zest and it came out to exactly 2 Tbsp.  Boo yah!

Sauce Directions:
  • Remove onions from crockpot, both whole and sliced, discarding any charred bits. Place in blender with prickly pear juice and blend at high speed until completely smooth.
  • Mince remaining red onion.  Pro tip: Light a candle and keep it near the chopping station.  It’s the sulfur in the onion that irritates your eyes, and the open flame burns the sulfur away.  Your butler will thank you; your kitchen slave won’t, as they have not been granted permission to speak.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp. of butter in a saucepan or large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté minced onions until lightly caramelized (about 5 minutes).  Add coriander, cumin, pepper flakes, jalapeno, garlic, and lime zest.  Cook until fragrant.  Pro tip: The recipe recommends “cooking until fragrant” for two minutes, but we say a minute should do.  Garlic burns easily, and you don’t want to burn your garlic.  That would be sad.
  • Add Worcestershire, tequila, cider vinegar, and lime juice.  Cook over medium-high heat until volume is reduced by half.
  • Stir in the onion/prickly pear blend and salt, bringing to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat and swirl in the remaining butter.
These are yucca roots

Yuca con Mojo (Yucca with Garlic Sauce)

Ingredients:
4 yucca roots (we did 2 yuccas and ended up with twice as much sauce as we needed.)
1 tsp. salt
Juice from 1 lime
6 garlic cloves, mashed
1 tsp. salt, doesn’t have to be kosher.  Anarchy!
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 chopped red onion

Directions:
  • Peel and cube yucca.  Cubes must be the exact size of gaming dice, complete with rounded edges and dots etched into each face.  Otherwise you fail at dinner.  And life.  All your loved ones will abandon you.  You will be Gollum.
  • Be sure to remove woody fibers that may be running down the middle of the yucca.
  • Place yucca in saucepan and cover in water.  Add salt and lime juice, then bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender (approximately 30 minutes).
  • Drain and keep warm.
  • Fire your butler; he’s doing a terrible job.
  • Mash garlic.  Add garlic, lemon juice, and onions, and oil in the same pan you used for boiling.  Because you no longer have a butler to wash extraneous pans.  
  • Heat until bubbling, then add the yucca to the pan, sautéing over medium heat until barely brown – but not CRISP!  (Note: the recipe was very adamant about this.  The all-caps crisp came straight from off the recipe page.  If the yucca gets crispy, I can only assume the apocalypse is upon us.)  

Results

Expectations were astronomical.  Could the reality of this meal live up to the hype?  In a word, yes.

For those of you who grew up in the jungle, yucca reminded us both of taro, a tuber that serves as a staple in the Papua New Guinean diet.  (If you didn’t grow up in the jungle, I’m not going to clarify that; you just get to feel left out.  Look, just cook up some yucca and try it for yourself.)  The sauce was a unique blend of flavors unlike anything I’ve tasted before – and it packed a late kick.  We both agreed that next time we might cut back on the pepper flakes and/or jalapeno to make it a bit less spicy.  It wasn’t too spicy to be enjoyable though; not by a long shot.  We’re just white.  And the wild boar was wild boar.  Enough said.

Most importantly, I established my dominance over the yucca.  I remain at the top of the food chain, with the yucca holding company with the likes of chicken and sushi.  Actually, sushi is higher than yucca.  Sushi eats yucca.  It’s science.

Here’s a picture of Karissa’s cat.  I think that’s how we do it on her blog.

LATER EDIT: Karissa fried up some leftover yucca a couple days later, which left it a little crispy on one or two sides.  She declared it better this way.  Pro tip: Never believe the recipe.

Recipe credit: This recipe served as the guide for the boar and sauce, and this one for the yuca/yucca.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Prickly Pear Lemonade (or Limeade)



There are few beverages that feel as summery as lemonade. So in honor of the weather warming up (thank you, Texas, for the gloriously cool May!) and because there’s still a whole lot of prickly pear juice in my freezer (oops, didn’t mean to hoard it so stingily) I bring you prickly pear lemonade.

If you aren’t into harvesting prickly pear fruit, just use some other fruit juice. Maybe some peach nectar or pureed/mashed blackberries?

And for the record, I use the bottled Real Lemon and Real Lime juices. Because really, who has time—and wrist strength—to juice that many lemons?



Prickly Pear Lemonade (or Limeade)
Yield: 1/2 gallon

Ingredients
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1 cup prickly pear juice
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
Water and ice

Directions
In a glass measuring cup, combine sugar with some water. Microwave for about a minute, so the water gets warm enough to dissolve the sugar. Then pour sugar water into a half-gallon pitcher or mason jar, along with the prickly pear juice, lemon juice, and lime juice. Fill the pitcher the rest of the way with ice and cold water.

To make limeade: Simply switch the lemon and lime juice measurements. I like the limeade slightly better with 3/4 cup sugar and the lemonade slightly better with 1 cup sugar.