I’d probably never tried quinoa in any fashion when Kasey and I first started dating. Kasey would (and does) frequently prepare it as a side dish for many meals as a substitute for grains or rice. Prior to meeting Kasey, I had never so much as heard of this awesome grain. And if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend picking it up from your market: it is delicious, highly nutritious, easy to prepare and works as a great side or substitute for rice and other grains. However, I think I only realized quinoa’s true potential and versatility when visiting Peru in 2007 with my friend Angela. Quinoa originated in the Andes and was an extremely important food for the Incas. So while hiking the Inca trail, it was fitting that my group ate quinoa as a cereal-like side with dinner and again as a relatively sweet, tasty drinkable porridge for breakfast. For this reason, there could be no better pairing for this quinoa recipe than Peru Negro – Sangre de un Don.
Peru Negro is an Afro-Peruvian group formed by Ronaldo Campos (now led by his son Rony Campos) in 1969 to preserve Peru’s música criolla. Sangre de un Don is their debut album, which was recorded in 2001. Prior to this time, the ensemble’s music had only been recorded for inclusion on a compilation prepared by David Byrne. The album is fun, upbeat, and unique. Chock full of catchy rhythms that are never offbeat, this is an album that is definitely worth repeated listens. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that most of these songs fall into categories of styles of Afro-Peruvian music which have associated dances. One of these dances, the flirty “alcatraz,” is a dance where the woman ties a handkerchief behind her and dances while a man attempts to catch her handkerchief on fire with a candle. The sashaying of the woman’s dress frequently blows out the candle, and the man is forced to frequently re-light his candle. However, if the man succeeds in lighting the woman’s fire, she becomes his. I haven’t tried this yet with Kasey, but I’ll report back with the results in the near future 😉 You can get your copy of Sangre de un Don at Amazon.
And if you are still craving a little old-fashioned rock n roll, you can check out this video I recorded at Kamikaze bar in Cusco, Peru of an awesome local Door’s coverband named The Backdoormen: