I'm back. After quite the hiatis: a week in Peru, five days in Minnesota's Boundary Waters and a week of finishing up things at Home & Away and getting ready for school and a part-time job. I do not feel prepared at all, but classes will not wait. Life pushes me on, and Culinary Foundations is tomorrow from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. I'm still breathing and actually not that stressed.
My two-week vacation was amazing. I couldn't stop staring at the mountains in Peru. I even got to hike up one of them. The people were fantastic, especially in the little Andean villages. And the food, lord the food. The Incans are apparently the source of everything good and tasty in the world--so said our overly proud guide. I don't disagree when it comes to ceviche, savory sauces and quinoa. I've had quinoa a couple times before, but this trip to Peru put the wholesome grain on my short list. This recipe is directly inspired by some quinoa salads that we were served--and I made it without a recipe.
I just love the texture of that quinoa--it's soft like rice but has this barely-detectable crunch to it. And here's the big draw: It's the only complete source of protein in the natural world that does not come from meat. Take note all you vegetarian friends. Supposedly, you could live on quinoa alone--plus it's a really fun word to say. This salad barely made it to a Labor Day party--my friend Liz and I could have downed the entire thing without a little self control.
Peruvian Quinoa Salad:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
1 large tomato
1 bunch of cilantro
juice from 1/2 a lemon
Cook the quinoa according to directions in salted water. One cup of dry quinoa makes about four cups cooked. It cooks like rice, so you don't have to drain it.
Place cooked quinoa in a serving bowl. In a saute pan, heat olive oil. Cook diced garlic for a couple minutes until lightly golden brown. Pour over quinoa. Dice Tomato and cilantro. Toss with the grain. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.