Monday, April 2, 2012

“Art” and Chili-Garlic Quinoa with Shrimp

My mom recently handed me this little treasure that she found in her kitchen junk drawer:

Hard to believe such a masterpiece was relegated to the junk drawer, right? But I suppose the fact that she kept it for almost twenty-five years says something. And clearly it was used as a real live calendar, based on the fact that it is riddled with pushpin holes. (That must have been the year the free insurance company calendar didn’t come.)

But here’s the best part, the part that makes me laugh every time I look at it, and also the part that should have my sister questioning her own artistic abilities: when my mom gave it to me she asked, “Is this yours or your sister’s?” If this had been my sister’s handiwork, she would have been twelve years old at the time. Now I’m not saying that my sister is insanely talented when it comes to drawing (I’ve played too many games of Hoopla with her to know otherwise), but I sure hope she could have done a little better than this, the work of her seven-year old sibling.

After I got home with my newly acquired memorabilia, Andy and I sat and really took a good look at its contents (and had a good laugh). Here are some of the highlights:

June and August – Now here are some swimmers…fully clothed, up to their necks, but happy as can be. And in August, they even got to swim with the trees, because that’s how trees grow.

November and December – The classic elementary school pilgrim hat makes an appearance, along with the world’s largest turkey, proportionately. Also, Santa does the robot.

May and July – Here’s where Andy took exception and questioned my originality. He said these two months were too similar and asked why couldn’t I have come up with more than just two people on a hill? Um, clearly the May flowers are in full swing and the fireworks scream Fourth of July. And also, I WAS SEVEN!

That concludes my walk down memory lane, which has nothing to do with this recipe…

Chili-Garlic Quinoa with Shrimp

Serves 2 as main dish or 4 as side dish

1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided use
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
12-24 medium shrimp, peeled, tail-on*
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

*Quantity of shrimp depends on appetite and serving size…for two of us as a main dish, I used 12 shrimp.

Rinse quinoa in cold water and drain. Put quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes until broth is completely absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff with a fork and reserve.

In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and just starting to brown.  Stir in garlic, ginger and chili garlic sauce. Cook for about a minute, then add remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth. Simmer until broth is mostly reduced, then add shrimp. Cook shrimp through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in quinoa. Lightly stir in green onions and cilantro, fluffing with a fork.

I was craving something hearty but light when I made this. That may sound like a bit of a contradiction, but it’s exactly what I got. Quinoa offers a bit of bulk, but doesn’t overfill you. It was the perfect base for this dish that has tons of flavor and spice. (And don’t be creeped out by the quinoa “looking like little worms,” as Andy may or may not have been.)


  1. One of my childhood friends found a "Get Well" card I made her when we were in elementary school. We couldn't stop laughing at my artistic skill.

  2. I adore chili-garlic sauce and we have a shrimp recipe that uses it too. Good stuff!

  3. I'd actually neg45 thought of quinoa as looking like worms, but thanks for that mental image!

  4. Aww I love your little walk down memory lane, so sweet. This recipe is cool too, I love chile-garlic sauce and adding it with the quinoa really makes it. Have a wonderful dday.

  5. How wonderful to find a piece of personal history! :) Sweet....

    And this recipe is fantastic. I'm always looking for new ways to cook shrimp. We eat it often, and I tend to fall into the same ol' rut of making the same dishes over and over.
    Thanks for the recipe :)

  6. I love your fun to look at it. I remember my mom pulling out some of my old drawings from first grade how funny!

    This looks like a simple and good dish full of flavor.

  7. Mmmm, sounds delicious! There can never be enough garlic in my world :)
    And those drawings are awesome :)

  8. I don't know if I could draw much better than that even as an adult!! :)

  9. I can't get Michael to eat quinoa...I'm cutting my losses and thankful he'll eat Israeli couscous and barley! This is gorgeous...there can never be enough shrimp recipes for me!!

  10. What a way to start the day. I read this post at 6:00 this morning and have laughed every time I think about it.
    And the quinoa looks really tasty, too.

  11. I am always looking for quinoa recipes. This looks so delicious. Love all the flavors too!

  12. Oooh I love this quinoa recipe! I totally want to make this ASAP!

  13. Loved your memory lane and love this quinoa dish; I had to save it in my Pinterest board. What a great photo!

  14. How wonderful to have found a memory like that. Your shrimp and quinoa meal looks delicious - can't wait to try it.

  15. Good morning, I featured this recipe on my blog today for my weekly seafood round-up. It looks great, thanks for allowing me to share! Here is the link:

  16. We had this for dinner last night . Very yummy. Nice spicy flavor,