Yesterday I finally checked out the Conservatory Garden in Central Park. It’s tucked away at 105th St and 5th Ave, and it reminds me of the book, The Secret Garden. This place is somewhat magical in the sense it’s quiet, secluded, and you hear nothing but birds chirping. You wouldn’t even know you’re surrounded by honking taxi cabs and police sirens racing down the street. I was really impressed with the scenery. I am really looking forward to coming back in the fall when the leaves start to change. I actually prefer it over the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Obviously the Botanical Gardens are filled with more attractions, but the Conservatory is free, and it’s right in my backyard.
The very first time I had a purple potato was at a dinner I went to at the Beard House. It was a purple potato appetizer made by Zac Posen. Yes that Zac Posen, the fashion designer, and it was quite delicious.
This quinoa with purple potatoes dish is unique in every way from the ingredients to the flavor to the way it looks. Whole Foods carries small bags of mixed baby potatoes which are filled with the purple Peruvian, red, and white creamer potatoes. I’m sure you can find purple potatoes at any farmers market too. I pick out the purple potatoes from the bag which gives me about 12 to 14 of them depending on the bag. Quinoa is an ancient grain that is high in protein, iron, and fiber. Since olives add a nice salty bite to the dressing, season to taste with just a pinch of salt. The dressing should still be chunky with bits of olives after processing.
Quinoa with Purple Potatoes and Peas
adapted from Weeknights with Giada
12 to 14 purple potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 cup quinoa
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
juice of 2 limes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook 12 to 15 minutes until tender. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water and the garlic clove to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa and cover with a tight fitted lid. Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to steam covered for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and discard the garlic. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. All of the water should have absorbed. Transfer the quinoa to a large serving bowl. Add the potatoes and peas. Set aside.
In a bowl of a food processor, add the olives, oregano, olive oil, honey, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Process until chunky. There should still be bits of olives in the dressing.
Pour the dressing over the quinoa. Toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.