Kañiwa (pronounced ka-nyi-wa) is a species of goosefoot (flowering plant),
similar to quinoa, grown in the highlands of the Andes mountains. Use it as you would any grain, cold or hot Kañiwa is gluten free and adds protein, calcium and iron to any meal. No need to soak Kañiwa because unlike quinoa, it isn't coated in bitter tasting saponins.
This delicious recipe was developed by our friend, Sandra Gray at Food for Thought. Aji Amarillo Chile Rellenos
Salty cheese and delicate egg batter highlight the spicy yet floral character of these lovely chiles from Peru.
Makes about five.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 can diced tomatoes with juice (15 oz)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
Here's a great new recipe to get your morning started out right. Plenty of protein with just enough sweetness to rival any brand.
Mesquite - Peanut Butter Granola, Gluten Free
2 cups gluten free rolled oats
3/4 cups peanuts (raw or roasted)
1/4 ground flax seed
3 Tbsp Mesquite flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 peanut butter (no added sugar, and very soft)
1/2 tsp salt
Step 1: preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet lightly with vegetable oil. Step 2: In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients except the salt (oats, flax, mesquite, peanuts) and stir well. Step 3: In a small bowl, mix maple syrup and peanut butter and stir until quite liquid. Add the salt and mix well. Step 4: add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture. Use your hands or a spoon to knead the moisture thoroughly into the dry mixture. Step 5: spread the granola onto the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir to break up the mixture. Let cool before putting into a container.
Start your mornings out right with this easy pancake recipe:
1 cup Zócalo sweet potato flour 1/3 cup all purpose gluten free flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp fine sea salt 1/2 tsp cinnamon 2 eggs 1/2 cup almond milk (or other type of milk) 2 Tbsp olive oil
Whisk together all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Combine the two and whisk until smooth. Add more milk if necessary to keep the mixture pourable. On a medium-hot griddle, ladle out pancakes in large spoon sizes. When bubbling, flip. Let cook thoroughly as the sweet potato is denser than other flours and takes a few more seconds.
was cold and dark at 4:30 a.m. I was told it was best to travel this early to
avoid the terrorists. The native bean producers I was on route to visit were
only 60 miles from Huancayo, but in the Peruvian Andes this equated to a
butt-numbing 3 hour ride on some of the worse roads I have ever felt.
the 14,000 foot pass, the sun started to rise and bring the blood back to my
extremities, but it also shed light on the frightening precipice to my left as
we crawled along, clinging to the side of mountains.
is my third trip to Peru in search of native sustainably produced foods. And I
have fallen in love - with the country, its people, and especially its food. In
the last three weeks I have visited an organic trout
cooperative in a lake neighboring Lago Titicaca, producers of kañiwaand quinoa in
the high altiplano, a community of farmers who grow maize and native beans
using the corn stalks as beanpoles, a family of native potato farmers, a cooperative of gooseberry producers, a community of
Quechua women who harvest sauco (elderberry)
from their wild trees to supplement the family income, a community of fair
trade cacao producers in the fringes of the Amazonian jungle, and an
association of mesquite producers who jointly
manage an organic native mesquite forest.
In every case, the producers are either certified organic or working towards
certification, in a country that places no value on organic produce. It is a
leap of faith for these producers to go against the norm and they look to the
outside world to keep this faith alive. In many of my visits, I am the first
and only Gringa that has ever visited their farm, town, or community. As in the
outskirts of Huancayo, where the tiny village of Dos de Mayo received me with a
heartfelt speech and the ceremonial Pachamanca
– a traditional meal cooked in the ground for three hours. Layers of native
potatoes, whole chickens, homemade sweet tamales (humitas), and fresh lima
beans in their pods, intermixed with hot stones, covered in cloth and earth.
When it is time to eat everyone starts digging to uncover the wonders that the
earth has provided. It was perhaps the most amazing meals I have ever
The Andean region is home to one of the most important centers of
genetic diversity in the world. Peru alone has over 35 species of corn, 2500 varieties of
potatoes, 3000 varieties of sweet potato, and 650 native species of fruit. Because
of Peru’s unique geography, its pre-Incan heritage, Spanish conquerors, and
influences from a plethora of immigrants ranging from African to Japanese,
Peruvian cuisine combines the flavors of four continents.
In many of the surrounding countries, native
cuisine was lost to outside influences, but in the high Andes and the low jungles, the
native people fought to preserve their cultural and culinary customs.In recent years, the western world has
begun to benefit from this foresight with such unique and highly nutritious grains
as amaranth and
quinoa (known as the “mother grain” to the
Incas), tropical fruits like the gooseberry,
and enervating supplements such as maca. But
have you heard of kañiwa, tarwi,lucuma, panca chili, camu camu,
huacatay or pussac punay beans?
Considering the amount of energy it takes to reach these producers, it is not
difficult to understand why some of these foods have never made it out of their
immediate region, let alone the county. And why it is extremely rare for these
communities to receive outside visitors, especially a blue-eyed, freckled
Sauco (Elderberry tree)
despite the rough roads (the threat of terrorists, the lung-collapsing
altitudes or smothering jungle heat, the bugs, the latrines, and at times
questionable hygiene), rooting out these foods is well worth the effort. It is
inspiring to meet farmers dedicated to producing native products in ways that
are restorative to their environment. I have learned so much about the food
that we import and that I eat on a regular basis – did you know that mesquite trees can grow to 40 meters in height, with
a similar depth under ground? Or that cacao trees are polygamous, producing
many different varieties of pods on the same branch? I have a notebook full of
information and a hard drive overwhelmed with pictures and videos. And I will
be sharing all of this in subsequent blogs as I continue to write of my travels
and travails, seeking out foods that are truly rooted
in their communities.
We are starting the new year out with some wonderful new relationships with other bloggers. This recipe from The Roxx Box is is a great example of incorporating healthy eating with a beautiful presentation.
If you're one of those people who wait until December 24th to buy your gifts, you'll fit right in with Peruvian customs. A huge market is held in the Plaza de Armas on 24th December called
Santurantikuy or the buying of saints. You can purchase your gifts as well as a nativity scene to display in your home. Churches and homes begin decorating on December 24th and exhibit the nativity scenes until the La Bjeda de los Reyes, the arrival of the three wise men on January 6th.
Peruvians celebrate Christmas Eve (la Noche Buena) with a huge family dinner followed by gifts and fireworks at midnight. The traditional Christmas meal is turkey, and in the weeks leading up to Christmas the typical treat is hot chocolate with sweet bread called panettone.
Panettone is an Italian sweet bread, but is much more popular in Peru than in Italy these days. Made from currants, apricots and cherries, pantettone uses yeast to rise several times giving it a unique texture and flavor.
celebrations in Peru still have some of the traditional Andean culture; church altars
are adorned with gold and the baby Jesus is often depicted as a traditional
the week preceding Christmas, many communities, churches or organizations hold chocolatadas where a Christmas gesture
is made to the poor children by offering them a cup of hot chocolate and a
small gift. The lines for chocolatadas
are a distinct feature of Christmas in Cusco, Peru.
at Zócalo Gourmet wish you and yours a very happy and sweet filled holiday.