On Shrimp and Fate {shrimp marinade}

I believe that some people are dropped into the middle of your life by a higher power. Maybe it’s God. Maybe it’s your mom. Who knows? But one such person was placed in my path four years ago and she changed my life. For one, without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today professionally. She gave me that chance everyone hopes for – the one where you know you can make the jump to something tougher, but you just need someone to trust that you can do it. Then she made sure I moved up again. And again.

I remember meeting Barbara for the first time when I interviewed to work for her. She talked through most of my interview, which I loved, and said things like “old hoobie toes” when she couldn’t think of someone’s name. As we got to know one another better, we found out we were kindred spirits in the sad club of motherless daughters – both having lost our moms when we were in college.

Barbara is one of the funniest people I know. I’d often come home from work with a story about weeping walls from plumbing leaks, awkward run-ins at Publix and joy rides in the Tomato (her Audi). She’s fearless in everything she does and has more integrity than anyone I know. She is a superb judge of character and has single-handedly attempted to feed, nurture, capture, spay and release all of the stray cats in her neighborhood. I wouldn’t do this for everyone, but when Barbara called upset because the neighbors want to have the cats exterminated, I put on my best cat-catching clothes, and headed over for some feline fun.

So it is with much respect and a good bit of humbleness that I share this recipe with you today. This is a special one to Barbara – one that she has kept for years – in her dad’s handwriting, reminiscent of the food she says he would make “trying to take care of me after my mom died.” It’s not hard. It’s not fancy. But it’s delicious and it’s special to her, so it’s special to me.

Shrimp Marinade

  • 1 cup peanut oil
  • 1 cup garlic wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • avocado slices
  • 1 lb. cooked shrimp
  • 1 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced

First things first. I had to make a couple changes for things I didn’t have or couldn’t find. I opted to use white wine vinegar with a couple cloves of smashed garlic in lieu of the garlic wine vinegar since I had those things on hand. I added a pinch of red pepper flakes because I do that with almost everything I cook and eat and I used an orange bell pepper instead of green because for some reason green ones give me indigestion but the other colors don’t. And I didn’t realize it until the end but I didn’t have any sugar at home. I definitely could have used that.

You can serve this as an appetizer for a group, as a cold dinner salad (over arugula or lettuce if you’re so inclined). It would make a great luncheon treat too. Bottom line is it’s delicious and super versatile.

Let’s get started. Prep your shrimp by peeling and deveining them and dropping them in salted boiling water for about 90 seconds – just until they’re pink. They’ll continue to cook in the marinade and you don’t want rubber crustaceans.

Before you get to chopping, prepare the marinade. Grab the first nine ingredients (from peanut oil to sugar) and mix in a large bowl. Add your garlic cloves if you need them and drop the shrimp in.

Prep your veggies. The recipe calls for slicing the onions and bell pepper in rings. I went rogue.

Don’t forget your avocado.

Add your veggies to the shrimp and marinade and give a good stir. Pop in the fridge and let everything come together for 2-3 hours.

Bryan wanted his on some lettuce. I ate mine straight up (with baguette, of course). Y’all are going to love this.

Thanks for everything, Barbara!

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