If you are shopping for tepary beans, mesquite flour, prickly pear syrup, quinoa — or even something as exotic as dried cholla buds, the Native Seeds/SEARCH shop is the place to head. Now settled in a beautiful new store at 3061 N. Campbell, with plentiful parking, Native Seeds/SEARCH has all those foods and more. They’ll also sell you the books that will tell you how to prepare what you buy including my books Cooking the Wild Southwest: Delicious Recipes for Desert Plants and The Prickly Pear Cookbook. And of course, true to their original calling, they offer a wide selection of seeds, mostly for food, that have been adapted over the centuries to do well in the harsh growing conditions in the Southwest. They also produce a terrific catalog so folks who can’t visit the store can shop
On January 16, Janet Taylor, author of The Healthy Southwest Cookbook, and I shared the stage at the monthly Native Seeds/ SEARCH salon, demonstrating how to cook some of the healthy bounty sold in the store. I made a yummy prickly pear salad dressing with walnut oil, raspberry vinegar and prickly pear syrup. Perfect over a salad of greens, winter pears, red grapes and walnuts. I also demonstrated a snack I call Aztec Delight, after reading in a book called Chia how the Aztecs combined ground amaranth and chia seeds and moistened the mixture with black maguey syrup. I figured that modern agave syrup would do, and it is indeed delicious. Not leaving well enough alone, I rolled the balls in melted semisweet chocolate (that’s Aztec, too!) Janet cooked teparies and blue cornbread and spoke about their health properties. After the talks, we treated our guests to a real feast.