Posted by: lornasass | January 5, 2009

EATING QUINOA ON MAUI

The Sweetie and I are loving Maui. It’s a major treat to be wearing shorts in January, and I have already been to three botanical gardens. In truth, the whole island is a garden in full bloom.

photo by Lorna Sass, copyright 2008

photo by Lorna Sass, copyright 2008

We have had some tasty and some just OK meals in restaurants, and it got to be time to throw together an easy dinner in the minimalist kitchen of our small rented studio in the backyard of a home in the very non-touristy, up-country village of Haiku. (A gecko is chirping as I type.)

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There is a superb healthfood store in nearby Paia and we bought some quinoa, a can of organic black beans, some good olive oil, an avocado, fresh limes, and cilantro. That I could easily buy quinoa grown in the Andes on the island of Maui was something I took for granted, an example of how small and non-locavore much of our world has become.

Andean farmers harvesting quinoa

Andean farmers harvesting quinoa

Here’s my recipe for a quick Quinoa, Black Bean, and Avocado Salad: I boiled the quinoa in lots of water (like pasta) for about 12 minutes in the one saucepan that was in the kitchen and drained it in a colander we had bought for 50 cents in a thrift shop. (You can tell that the quinoa is done when there is no opaque white dot in the center.) I tossed the drained beans with the fluffy quinoa, diced avocado, and coarsely chopped cilantro. I splashed on some olive oil and lime juice and seasoned well with salt.

The avocados sold here are big and very creamy. Aside from the large, pear-shaped Hass-type we diced for the salad, there is a large round variety that I purchased at a farmers’ market and have tucked into a brown paper bag to hasten ripening. When I asked the friendly lady who sold it to me what type of avocado it was, she told me it was the type that grows on the tree in her backyard.

Today, while strolling around the Tedeschi winery in Kula, I found an already split-open pit beneath a huge avocado tree. I am planning to plant the pit and grow an avocado tree in my Manhattan apartment. That way, if I live a long time and remember to water it regularly, I’ll be able to have as good an avocado and quinoa salad as I enjoyed tonight in Maui.

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