Quinoa Soup Recipe

Hey, everyone!

Google alerted me of an absolutely lovely new review of The Indigo Notebook today! It's from Six Boxes of Books blog, and here's an excerpt:

This first book in the series takes place in Ecuador, and the first sign that I wasn't in Babysitters Club territory was the richness of setting. It's obvious that Resau knows her Ecuador, but it comes out of her naturally, without delving into travelogue territory. The last two days I felt like I WAS in Ecuador, and so the only possible thing I could have for dinner last night was Ecuadorean quinoa vegetable soup from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes--you may think you've never been that interested in going to Ecuador, but after reading this book, I predict you'll be looking up plane fares. -- Wendy, Six Boxes of Books

Isn't that cool? I actually have that same Moosewood book and have made that same recipe! Here's the recipe that my friend Maria Virginia (co-author of The Queen of Water, coming spring 2011) uses. We led a Whole Foods cooking class together a couple years ago, and this is one of the scrumptious dishes we made. (Hmm... maybe I'll post the side dishes over the next few days so you can cook yourself a complete Ecuadorian meal after you read the book!)

Be aware that quantities are approximate-- Maria just eyeballs the ingredients, so she had a tough time quantifying them when we wrote down the recipe ... ;-)

Quinoa Soup (sopa de pobres in Spanish and sopa de pubri gendipa api in Quichua) (Serves four)

¼ pound dry quinoa

3 medium red potatoes (cut into one-inch cubes)

10 green onions (white parts only, finely chopped)

About 1 tablespoon salt (to taste)

½ tsp. cumin
3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

1 medium carrot (cut into ¼ inch cubes)

1 tsp. olive oil
¼ bunch of fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
¼ tsp black pepper

1 cup milk

1 pound of mozerella (or similar) cheese

About 3 liters of water or broth

½ teaspoon achiote (optional for natural red color)

In a large soup pot, boil the quinoa with the salt and water for 45 minutes. When the quinoa is soft and creamy, add potatoes and carrots and garlic. Let simmer until potatoes and carrots are soft. In another pan, heat the oil and sauté the green onions with the cilantro for about one minute. Add the milk, achiote, cumin, and let boil for three minutes, stirring constantly. Add this milk mixture to the quinoa mixture. Bring to a boil and let boil for three minutes. You can either put the cheese cubes into the soup and let melt, or, you can add the cheese cubes to individual bowls of soup.
Buen provecho!

the beautiful Maria Virginia

Back to the Six Boxes of Books review, again! I just want to include the last paragraph of the review--

I think your bright middle-schoolers and maybe high-schoolers will love this series. I was desperate to travel when I was that age, and it seems like something even more teens aspire to now. Zeeta is both a real girl (multiracial, by the way) and a wish-fulfillment fantasy, something YA can never have enough of.

I'm so happy for that comment-- it's what I was going for with this book, and I'm really pleased the blend of reality and "fantasy" worked for this reviewer. (And to answer Wendy's question about how many books will be in the series, I'm planning on three, which I suppose will make it a trilogy...)

Outside view of a bread oven attached to a house in a Quichua community

Thanks for reading! Be sure to read my next blog tour interview at Becky's Book Reviews on October 6!