adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Richard Goes Crazy and a Shrimp-Quinoa Salad

Before I get into today's recipe, I just have to share a few thoughts on last night's episode of  Top Chef, which is obviously one of my favorite shows.  I've seen every season (including Top Chef Masters) except for the D.C. season.  I love, love, love Richard Blais.  I think he is the best chef who has ever been on the show, period.  Game Over.  When you think about what makes someone a "Top Chef", Richard has it all:  skills, creativity, vision, leadership qualities and respect.  Sure he is super competitive, but he wants to win, and that's the whole point of the experience so I don't fault him for that.  He remains a team player, always helping his fellow contestants try out his techniques like cooking sous-vide or using the nitrogen tank. But here's the thing.  Richard is crazy.  He's insanely neurotic.  And when he gets down to the finals, he starts losing his shit.  When he advanced to the finals in his original season, he got so worked up that he couldn't get out of his own way.  He totally choked.  And after last night's episode, I'm beginning to worry that he is headed down the same path.  His neuroses were in full force and he has started to lose a bit of his charming personality.  For the first time in any competition I've seen him in, he was trying to psyche out his competitors.  He's also losing his confidence again by repeatedly saying he "hates everything he does."   He's becoming a sore sport.  BUT.  I still believe he is the best contender in Top Chef history.  Out of anyone who has ever been on the show, I would choose him to cook for me.  He deserves the title.  Actually what I'd really like to see is a battle of culinary wits between Richard and Mike Voltaggio.  But I digress. Now that I have that off my chest, I can tell you about the Shrimp & Quinoa Salad I made last night. This salad is nothing super special, but it was so quick, simple and different that I felt I had to share it with you.  Plus it tasted awesome.  Here's what you do: You’ll Need (serves 2):
  • 1/2 cup Quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 lb. shrimp, rinsed, peeled and deveined
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2-1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a press
  • Red pepper flakes, salt & pepper to taste
  • A salad  - whatever you want!!  I used spring greens, grape tomatoes and diced red peppers
  • Yummy Dressing
  1. Toss the shrimp with the juice of 1 lemon, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse quinoa and drain. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. When it shimmers, add quinoa and juice of one lemon.   Stir frequently until moisture evaporates and it makes a popping noise, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add water (or chicken broth) and 1 tsp salt, stir briefly and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa absorbs liquid and grains are tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Allow quinoa to cool to room temperature.  I actually just put it in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Heat remaining oil in a pan over medium heat.  When it shimmers, add the shrimp and cook about 2 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp turn a light pink and start to curl.  Do not overcook!
  6. Toss all ingredients together with the salad, adding in a generous amount of dressing to allow the quinoa to soak up the flavor.  I used a housemade Dijon-Tarragon dressing from Whole Foods.



and now cooked! only takes a few minutes


By the way, I'm absolutely appalled that Tiffany is in the finals.

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