A warm quinoa salad with mashua, shallots, peppers and cubed guava paste! 

I’ve been dreaming about putting this dish together ever since I left Ecuador. The main ingredients (i.e. mashua, quinoa, and guava paste) are all from Ecuador.

Boil the quinoa with some Rapunzel vegetable bouillon, add the mashua in the last couple of minutes. You want to preserve some of the peppery bite of the mashua — it’s delicious. Strain, wash under cold water for 30 seconds. Strain further and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of balsamic and a healthy serving of a fruity olive oil. 

The sausages came from the farmers market and the chives came from my garden. 

The mashua has a very surprising bite that almost reminds me of the woody taste of turmeric but is a lot milder and more reminiscent of a black pepper. Of course the overarching theme is a potato like tuber but once cooked and softened it is similar to a nutty squash. In the second image mashua,Tropaeolum tuberosum, presented with another root (the topic of another post) from the Andes. The herbaceous plant’s roots manifest themselves in various colors purple, white and yellow, and occasionally with a variety of dots. 


From top to bottom: Oca, Lisas, Mashua. We harvested these delicious tubers from the chakras (fields) in Amaru. Oca and Mashua are very sweet and delicious, containing tons of beneficial properties, vitamins and minerals. Lisas are typically chopped up like thin little french fries and added to soups. They have a very distinct flavor. 

Sick Today, Gardening

I have a bad cold which has prevented me from going to work for two days now.  I feel like I should work tomorrow, whether I am better or not, as the pressure to work is always there.

I slept most of the day today but I did manage to get some sunshine in the afternoon.  I went out to play in the garden:

  • I harvested and thinned baby mustard greens, carrots, fava beans, and swiss chard.
  • I weeded the parsnips.
  • I planted out a few yacon and a few mashua.  Lets hope we don’t get a late frost!
  • I moved a container with berries against the fence and trellised the vines along it.
  • I potted up the pomegranate cuttings each in their own one gallon pot.  They all made it!

Its raining this week.  The new, early plantings will enjoy the water… Lets see if they do well…

Set Out Pepinos, Mashua, and Yacon

I set out the pepinos, mashua and yacon yesterday morning to begin hardening them off.  I placed them in the sunniest spot, next to the house.

This morning, when I checked on them, they looked pretty beat up (wilted, yellow leaves).  I moved them to partial shade.

I think the direct sun burned them.  The lower outside temps may have also been a shock to them.

I think they will be fine in their new location.  Lesson learned: gently expose the plants to sunlight gradually; do not do it all at once.

This photo was taken in late Fall, perhaps in late November or early December.  This is the pepino fruit, on the left, and mashua tubers, on the right.  I did not taste the mashua as I potted up each of the tubers my first and only plant gave me.  The pepino is absolutely amazing; it tastes like a mildy sweet melon.  It is very refreshing, best on a hot day or when thirsty.