Do you have a favorite summertime potluck dish? I do and you are looking at it!
I’ve been making quinoa salad in one form or another for years. I like to play with the beans, veggies, and herbs I add based on what I have in the house/what’s in season. Black beans are definitely my preferred bean, and as soon as fresh local corn starts to make an appearance in markets around here, corn is pretty much a must. I’ve added basil on occasion but cilantro is definitely a better fit with the other elements in this particular salad.
If you are as yet unfamiliar with quinoa, it’s a seed that’s native to the Andes region of South America. I ate it several times when I was recently in Peru, cooked in a stew. While it behaves like a grain, quinoa is actually more nutritious than most grains because it is high in protein, iron, and calcium. Quinoa is also gluten-free.
Quinoa seeds are coated with a bitter substance so you need to rinse quinoa very thorough before cooking. Moreover, quinoa benefits from a several hours-long soak in water in order to deactivate the naturally-present enzymes that bind up the nutrients within. For this reason, on days when I am planning to cook quinoa, I like to place it in a large bowl and cover it with water for 2-3 hours. Then I pour off the water, and rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer before proceeding to cook it.
As you can probably imagine, I took a lot of photos when I was in Peru. Rather than share them all in one incredibly unwieldy post, I think I’ll space them out into at least 3 posts. Let’s start with a glimpse of Lima.
Lima was not all what I expected! A few friends told me it wasn’t worth spending much time in Lima, but I am very happy that we had 2 days there. I found Lima to be a surprisingly lovely and vibrant city.
My trusty travel companion (my 11 year old daughter Maddie) and I stayed in a neighborhood called Miraflores. It was very easy to get around on foot: we enjoyed strolling around the waterfront and the various parks, as well as shopping and eating there. We also had a guide take us to see many other parts of the city, including the funky Barranco: a bohemian neighborhood set high on a cliff.
Though fog typically covers the city of Lima most days this time of year (it is currently winter in Peru), we lucked into sunny blue skies for part of our visit. And even though the humidity in Lima is crazy high (98%!), I thought the weather during our stay was perfect. It was in the 60′s: a wonderful respite from summer weather here in New York. Maddie and I wore jeans and tee-shirts (but most of the locals were bundled in jackets and scarves!).
Apparently the climate in Lima is also perfect for many types of plants. It rarely rains, but it also doesn’t ever get very cold or very hot. For this reason, we saw many different flowers. Beautiful bougainvillaeas spill off terraces just about everywhere in Lima, and everything from orchids to roses absolutely thrives there.
We visited several museums in Lima. I found the artifacts housed within to be endlessly fascinating.
We also got our first peak at pre-Incan ruins.
I tasted my first (and second) “Pisco Sour” in Lima. I found them to be tasty, but very strong. I also sampled the local fish and seafood for which Lima (with its cold waters) is famous: ceviche is a specialty there.
If you go to Lima with kids, make sure you don’t miss the Parque de la Reserva. There you will find the Magic Water Tour, a series of giant fountains that are brightly lit with all different colors. It’s a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike, and particularly memorable if you go at night. We really loved it.
I booked our trip through a tour company. They did a fantastic job with our accommodations and itinerary in Lima and everywhere else we traveled. If you thinking about going to Peru, I’d be happy to share more details with you…just shoot me an email. In my next post, I will share my photos of the magical city of Cuzco!
This is a quick post to say I am home from Peru! The trip exceeded my expectations in each and every way and I will remember it always (even more so since I was able to share the experience with my daughter Maddie). I’ve been swamped with tons of things to do since I got back so I have not yet had a chance to edit my many photos. I promise that as soon as I do, I will share them with you here.
I was traveling for nearly 9 days: the longest I’ve been away from home in many, many years. Upon my return, I was astounded by the volume of weeds in my garden, so I immediately got to work clearing them out. After a couple of hours, I could actually see my vegetables (and my flowers!), and I realized everything’s really looking pretty great.
By the time I finished weeding, I was more than ready to eat. So I grabbed some lettuces, my one ripe tomato, a few radishes, a pattypan squash, some herbs (basil, mint, and lemon balm) and a couple of young onions, and chopped everything up. I added some hard boiled egg (from my chickens) and dressed the whole shebang with an awesome sesame herbal vinaigrette I made (I will share that recipe soon…I promise). Some sourdough bread completed the meal.
So while it was certainly great to be away, it’s great to be home, too :)
ps I was recently interviewed by the lovely people from Ethical Foods. You can read the interview here!