Saturday, 23 November 2013

Good Karma Shrimp

The beautiful shrimp.
I have had an incredibly wonderful week. Like, of all the 1, 448 weeks I’ve lived, this is surely a Top 10.

There are several reasons for this, but it mostly has to do with the Hopes and Dreams contest I’m in, put on by CBC Radio One’s “All in A Day” show.

Most people in Ottawa know me as an advocate for women’s rights and safety in our community. But when All in A Day offered listeners a chance to tell them about a secret dream, I jumped at it. I told them that I would like to have a cooking show. As you know, the LadyGirls love to write this blog, but I’d love to showcase our recipes on television. Often, many of my blog posts come from the script I narrate to my dog as I prepare dinner (you never get too old to make-believe you’re on TV!)

My entry submission photo, courtesy of LadyGirl Kelly
The best part of this opportunity is that this is all part of CBC Ottawa’s holiday charity drive "Day Of Giving", where they raise money for a local charity, Shepherds of Good Hope. As one of the finalists, I have until midnight on Sunday, November 24th to raise as much money as I can for the Shepherds of Good Hope. CBC’s All in A Day top fundraiser will have their dreams come true- meaning for me, I’ll finally be behind the camera sharing our recipes with people!

What is truly incredible is the amount of support I've received from friends and family in this experience. I am so grateful for all the wonderfully philanthropic people I have in my life.

Shepherds does amazing work in our community. Just the other day, I was talking to a close friend of mine who slept outside for a night to raise money for another organization, and I asked him how it was. He pointed out an important fact- for him, it was just one night. He had a sleeping bag, a tent, and knew that in the morning, he would be eating a catered breakfast. Obviously, that’s not the experience of the city’s homeless. He thought the key to understanding was the concept of, and I agree, hopelessness. Shepherd’s provides Ottawa’s homeless with hope- and the secure knowledge that they have somewhere to go when times get tough. In reading some of their client stories, this was quote was particularly poignant and really resonanted with me:

I clearly think I' a chef already
Suddenly, it was Christmas Eve.  Martin asked me if I knew what was happening tonight and I shrugged my shoulders.  There in the darkness of the parking lot were burning barrels and I could hear carols being sung by a choir all bundled up for winter chill of the evening.  It was Christmas Eve Mass for the homeless complete with a huge manger scene.  I found my way across the street and stood mesmerized. Someone handed me a cup of hot chocolate and I listened to what the man in the robes was saying about not losing hope.  It was as if he was talking just to me.  I was in this crowd of the poor and the homeless together.  I heard what he said and I believed.”

So many stories start out with people who have lives much like mine or yours. But one thing can happen where it all falls apart. When I reflect on the experience of the clients of Shep’s, I can’t help but think, “That could so easily be me.” It could be any of us. 

Please consider donating to the Hopes and Dreams contest. It’s a win-win: You give, CBC gives. You win with good karma, and the Shepherds of Good Hope really wins. Please click here to make an online donation.

So here’s a lovely recipe for your holiday season.

I made this shrimp as an appetizer for our Thanksgiving meal at my father’s house. It’s taken basically directly from this recipe, and I hardly changed a thing. You need:
  •        package of frozen shrimp (ideally with no shells or tails, but if your father was the one to do the grocery shopping, cleaning frozen shrimp shells with your sisters is a fantastic bonding experience)
  •         3 tablespoons soy sauce
  •        2 tablespoons chili sauce
  •        2 teaspoons sesame oil
  •       2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  •       1 teaspoon sugar
  •        2 tablespoons olive oil
  •       4 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  •        1 pinch freshly-ground black pepper
  •       1 scallion, thinly sliced

 Mix all the ingredients, with the exception of the shrimp and the oil together. You can let this sit for as long as you need to. When you’re basically ready to eat (because this comes together quickly) fire up a big pan and get it nice and hot with the oil in it. Toss the shrimp with the sauce in a bowl and put into the hot pan. Sauté until the shrimp is pink, and serve immediately.

Season with love, warmth and hope for a year full of blessings.

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