Thanks to the invitation from Misereor, an international NGO, I was honored to speak at a workshop in Cochabamba, Bolivia that brought together agro-ecologists from various countries. For years, they have been farming in ways to improve soil to grow healthy produce, without the need to apply artificial pesticides and fertilizers. However, the organizers realized that the last step in the food chain has been missing in their movement, EATING. It is what I´ve been promoting for decades: healthy, delicious eating based on healthy plants, coming from healthy soils. Thus, my contribution was several participatory sessions with the objective that the various smaller NGOs incorporate the last step in their organizations´ strategic planning. Given that consumption be added to the organizations´ work plans, farmers would begin to understand the importance that they eat what they grow locally.
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As I read through this recipe, it´s hard to imagine how truly wonderfully it comes out. Some kind of magic happens between the unique flavor and texture of amaranth when it is united with the deep, richness of dried mushrooms. Here in the Andes where those valuable mushrooms grow under the newly-planted pine forests, they are extremely inexpensive, too!
I do hope you will try this special recipe that is surprisingly both light and filling. Turns out to be almost vegan – but I must admit, I especially appreciate this scrumptious risotto with butter, not a lot, just enough.
All of my flavorful life, my work has been to turn people on to how eating and cooking healthy food is also extremely delicious and fun to share with others. For decades, I have facilitated cooking and consumption workshops to help people change their eating habits and to question where their foods comes from and how it is grown.
We are learning how important it is to eat fish thanks to the healthy kind of fat it has, BUT I´ve noticed that in the Andes few people prepare it on a regular basis. Thus, I want to present you with a very simple recipe. It is fascinating because it´s “breaded” with wonderful amaranth. (If you can´t find black, the regular cream-colored one works beautifully, too.) Either amaranth provides an incredible crunch, as well as plenty of fiber. And as a special feature, the amaranth seeds look like lovely, miniscule pearls.
As the earth rocked under me, I ran to a doorframe to wait out what I have now come to recognize as tremors. Never, in all of the forty-some years I´ve lived in the Andes, have I experience such deep, long movements of the earth.
Soon I came to know that there had been tremendous devastation in cities on the Coast. At the time I write this, over 530 deaths are accounted for.
The unique texture of this sweet bread makes it a winning favorite – both firm and at the same time magnificently moist; I love it. It´s completely gluten free and even without the black amaranth seeds, it´s delicious. For those of you who may not have access to goldenberries, any other dried fruit is fine (cranberries, cherries, etc.).
This is quite an incredible recipe. Made all in one bowl, it is quick and completely fool-proof.
As a public health nutritionist, I was excited to work with amaranth because many people were asking for my advice on how to cook with this “newly-discovered” superfood. After all, it is gluten free!! My first try was quite disappointing. Amaranth looked so much like miniature quinoa that I tried to cook it like other grains. What I ended up with was a gluey mess.
As a child, every year of my life my father made me his chocolate cake for my birthday. Now that he is no longer with us, I decided to try my hand at an Andean version, with quinoa. I must admit that objectively this recipe is even better than my dear father´s. This one comes out wonderfully moist.
I love visiting new and fascinating places, especially when I am asked to come and share my expertise on delicious local foods and eating habits that can improve the health of individuals, farmers and the planet.
So, I was thrilled when Ekorural invited Ana Deaconu and me to facilitate a 2½ day workshop, bringing together community leaders from the department of Meta (amazingly, about as large as the entire country of Ecuador).
I want to share with you more about the beautiful place, the beautiful people, and the unique ways we worked together.
I grew up, decades ago in the Midwestern United States, in the midst of horrendous food doldrums. And then at a nice young age, I was sent to the Philippines where my life of flavor began. Fresh fruits, greens, sauces, seafood with shells, roasts over toasty coconut husks – I was in heaven. Since then, day by day, from country to country, now in South America, beautiful Ecuador to be precise, I LOVE eating, creating new flavor combinations and thinking food, food, food.
I like to recycle in my kitchen, to make good use of all the flavors, nutrients and energy the universe has already given me.
When preparing meals with vegetables, there are always skins, stalks, and scraps that get thrown away in the garbage, or hopefully in the compost. Please, don’t throw them away! I want to show you how you can use these scraps to make a delicious vegetable broth.
What a treat it is to eat a soup in a traditional style, but with a new twist! Even without the “patas”, this potage is filling, but it´s also quick and healthy. After all of those sweets and meat during the holiday season, it is refreshing to have a dish that both fills us up and is good for our bodies. Since hominy comes with the textured germ, it helps with our digestion. The traditional belief that peanuts are heavy on the stomach no longer is true, since the peanuts used in the commercial products of peanut butter and ground peanuts have been toasted all the way through and are not “chamuschados”.
Galletas de almidón are so famous, that anyone traveling to the province of Manabí, Ecuador cannot return home without bringing some. The ones sold there tend to be a bit hard; this recipe I cooked with a fabulous cook/hacienda owner, Yolanda Martínez and her cookies are so light, delicate and pure white that I call them Snow Cookies. Oh, and of course they are completely gluten free.
This recipe is taken from my most recently published cookbook “Un Mundo de Comida con Los Ingredientes del Ecuador.” Available at all major bookstores in Ecuador and on Amazon.com.