I so enjoy experimenting with food and trying new things. I’ve been trying to find “my” grocery store in New York…you know, where the baggers know your name and you’re greeted at the door as a familiar face. All of the grocery stores up here are different from the south. I think the only ones that are familiar are Walmart, Costco and Sam’s. It’s been an adventure for sure!
The first night we were in our new apartment, we realized that we desperately needed an AC unit in our apartment. New York is definitely hotter than I expected and our apartment was stuffy and humid. Another important thing…we needed food! We went where we thought we’d feel at home. Walmart. No, I don’t like Walmart, but it was the only place that we knew up here.
Walmart is interesting here. For one, it’s in a giant building on the 3rd floor. Below it is Burlington Coat Factory. Picture this for one moment. You drive up into a parking garage to park. Take an elevator down to Walmart. Grab a cart. Look madly for where this Walmart has placed things. Much to your amazement, there’s a basement. That’s right…a BASEMENT in Walmart. You ride the escalator down to find the groceries and home supplies and your cart goes down on it’s own separate conveyer. It’s amazing. But this also was 4th of July weekend and it was a madhouse.
Then there’s Stew Leonard’s…what seems to take after Splash Mountain at Disney World. There’s a singing Chiquita banana lady by the bananas, Mickey Mouse doing flips on a trapeze in one corner, and many more animal figures that make you wonder if you’re still at a grocery store. Aside from all that, this grocery store offers a beautiful array of fresh fruits, veggies, cheeses, meats…all straight from farm to store.
Ok, so finally found something that felt like home. Stop and Shop is our grocery here that most resembles Kroger back in South Carolina. I love their variety of produce all great quality! I happened on some cactus and thought, this would be fun to try. I’d had cactus before, but never cooked it for myself.
I was already planning on making some pulled pork to get away from always eating chicken and turkey, and also found a great (GREAT, GREAT, GREAT!) recipe for Plantain Waffles! They really are so good! And I’m always looking for ways to sub out gluten in a healthy and wholesome way. These waffles hit the spot.
Plantain Waffle Pulled Pork Sandwich with Sautéed Cactus
See basic plantain waffle recipe here
1 pork shoulder
2 Tbs cumin
2 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs Franks red hot or other hot sauce
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 cactus leaves
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place crockpot on steady surface in your kitchen and put pork shoulder inside. Be sure to cut off any strings around your meat before placing in crockpot if needed.
2. Mix together spices for pork until well combined. Rub all over surface of pork until well coated.
3. Drizzle hot sauce and mustard on pork and spread evenly on meat. No need to be too much of a perfectionist with this because it’ll all get combined with cooking and shredding later.
4. Set crockpot to cook on low for 8 hours and watch it do its magic
5. Once meat is done cooking, remove lid and shred pork with two forks until liquid is absorbed throughout and meat is without any chunks
6. In the meantime, prepare cactus. Be careful when dealing with cactus because those needles can be tricky. Simply cut off the edges of the cactus and scrape off spines with a knife carefully. After scraping, rinse under water to remove any unseen needles.
7. Slice cactus into thin 1-2 inch pieces, somewhat resembling green beans.
8. Warm some olive oil in your frying pan and place cactus in to cook. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper
9. Now its to the waffles…see this link for waffle recipe.
10. All that’s left is to assemble your plate; top one quarter of the waffle with pork and serve cactus on the side if desired.
Hope you enjoy this different and creative recipe and it encourages you to go out and pick up something new the next time you’re at the grocery!