As usual, I’m lovin’ the puns. I’m also lovin’ soup right now. As in I-eat-soup-at-least-once-a-day type of lovin’. I’ve never been much of a soup girl, but since visiting Peru and returning from the trip, I’ve really been into soup. Why? I’m not sure-maybe it has something to do with the fact that I go through food phases (hence the outrageous amount of spaghetti squash, then popcorn, then Greek Yogurt, then sweet potatoes that I’ve eaten in the past few months..). So no matter the reason, I’m a big fan of soup right now. And I’ve got some soup stories and recipes up my sleeve that will soup-ersede your expectations.
A story about soup-erstars. Yes, real live superstars. In Peru we went to a small developing village called El Salvador where the people really have to work together as a community in order to survive. This really special lady named Maria Alexandra recognized that the people of the village weren’t getting good meals for themselves and their families so she did something about it. She transformed half of her house into a soup kitchen. She works every single day except for Sundays with a couple of rotating volunteers chopping and peeling and cleaning the food that goes into the soup that is doled out to any villager who pays a couple of soles to get a meal. The work that one person has put into ensuring that the rest of her community is well-fed was incredible to see. It made me evaluate my own life and think about ways that I could help others. What would the world look like if each of us opened half of our homes (literally or metaphorically) to help our neighbors, family, and friends? I have a feeling that there would be a lot more smiles in the world. Every single person that we passed on the street of the village of El Salvador had the hugest smile on their face. It was an incredible place. Now, don’t you agree that they’re soup-erstars?
Fact: the soups in Peru are soup-erior to most. Cream of asparagus, creole soup, quinoa soup, chicken noodle soup, cream of mushroom, potato stew…you name it-they’ve got it. I think my favorite soup was a traditional potato stew or the quinoa soup made for us during our homestay on the island of Amantani on Lake Titicaca. Our sweet homestay host cooked over a fire all day with cast iron pans to make us the potato stew one night and the quinoa soup another. After a long day of learning how to plow potato fields and hiking, I never thought I’d want to come home to a bowl of steaming soup-but it was perfect. Accompanied by a light Italian-esque bread for dipping, I inhaled both bowls of soup in a matter of minutes.
Homemade chicken noodle soup is soup-erb and my grandma passed down her recipe to me. I even learned how to make homemade noodles from a family recipe that has been passed down for four generations. Something else that’s been passed down? A cutting board that my great-great-great grandpa made for my great-great-great grandma that she used to cut noodles on. How special is that? So special that I’m not going to share that recipe with you because I cherish it too much. And half of the recipe is actually standing in the kitchen with my grandma watching her work like a pro with the sensitive dough. Even though the ingredients are simple, the technique is what’s hard to learn. The past few weeks I’ve been feeling sick so she froze chicken noodle soup for me to bring home to my apartment. What could be more comforting than that? Thanks, Mammie!
Alright, since I won’t share the chicken noodle soup recipe, I’ll give you a soup-erpowered, protein-packed, quinoa-filled soup that’ll give you a taste of Peru and an awesome nutritional boost. So, without further ado (and without anymore fun soup puns) I’ll leave you with this quinoa soup recipe. I made it for my mom and grandparents and even though the quinoa looked remarkably similar to my grandpa’s grass seed, the soup was had and enjoyed by all. I hope you love it too.
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
1 white onion
A handful of carrots
A handful of small, white potatoes (peeled)
Rosemary (to taste)
Mint (to taste)
1 Garlic clove
1. This recipe is really easy. First, cook the quinoa according to package directions. Then put everything into one pot and let it simmer and warm up for 30-40 minutes. Serve with some bread and enjoy!
(Note: this is my simplified version of the soup and reflects what I tasted in the soup in Peru. There are many varieties out there and this is just my take on it. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy!)