Last Friday I led a cooking demo at the 5th Street Community Garden in Port Angeles.  The audience was part of Growing Healthy, a project run by the Volunteers in Medicine clinic (VIMO) offering participants a chance to learn how to grow and prepare their own vegetables.  I help with a monthly cooking session that starts with a walk through the garden looking for what’s harvestable.  Last week we got: peas, broccoli, zucchini, beets kale, chives, basil and onion.  I set up a kitchen in the right in the garden and demonstrate a variety of ways to prepare the day’s harvest.  Every time I do a class, I am ecstatic.  To pluck food off the vine, prepare it and then share a meal among friends is a beautiful thing.

Following is one of the recipes we made last week. The recipe calls for Sugar Snap Peas and I realize that by the time you are reading this article, most of the sugar snap peas are going to be long-gone, victims of this fabulous summer. Never fear … just substitute another seasonal vegetable.  Something crunchy like cucumbers and carrots for example.  Other vegetables in season right now may be better lightly steamed before adding to the salad such as broccoli or green beans.  Just get out to your garden or the nearest farm market and see what looks good.

Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas               Marcia Kiesel’s recipe from Food &Wine online

Serves 6, active time 15 minutes, total time 40 minutes

1/2 pound sugar snap peas (or other crunchy seasonal vegetable of your choice)

1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds (or other roasted nut or seed if desired)

½ cup of minced chives

In a small saucepan of boiling salted water, simmer the peas until bright green and crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain and spread out on a large plate to cool, then pat dry. Cut the peas on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.

In another small saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until all of the water has evaporated and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover and fluff the quinoa, then transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature.

In a bowl, combine the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add the peas to the quinoa with the pumpkin seeds, chives and dressing; stir. Season with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a complete protein, so you can serve this salad as a complete meal, or use it as a hearty side dish with your favorite summer barbeque menu.  It is also great for potlucks and leftovers.