I’M NOT A fan of New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that I’m averse to promises of self-improvement. It’s just that the easiest promises to break are the ones we make to ourselves. Resolutions I make are usually made on a basis of need rather than time.
Were I to change my mind I think it would be easier to make resolutions to not do something than it is to commit to do something. Abstinence is built into the fabric of the culturally distinct and mostly Christian Deep South. The New Year rolls into the 46-day Lenten season rather quickly. Accounting for a two week break for most Carnival mayhem, where one can legally lose one’s mind, there’s a whole lot of time for promises made and promises broken. Easter is April 21st—almost four months into the year and well beyond any reasonable expectation of good behavior for an extended period.
If you feel you must make resolutions then avoid lofty, overly ambitious goals. If you resolve to lose a target weight; it may take years—be happy losing any weight. I remember a comic saying that she had been on a diet for two weeks and all she lost was 14 days. If you resolve to learn a foreign language, be happy if you only learn how to say ‘Hello!,’ ‘Goodbye,’ ‘Where’s the bathroom?’ and ‘How much is that beer?’ Good luck with those commitments to piano lessons. Note: It’s best to rent the piano.
Consider modest expectations. Instead of a regimen of getting up earlier for a workout just give yourself new cross trainers for Christmas and use them. Move, walk, stretch, repeat. Don’t starve yourself to lose weight quickly and instead eat smaller portions and don’t eat late. Unless it’s a bank, avoid a drivethru and don’t order anything with the word ‘combo’ in it. Controlling bad habits are easier than fulfilling self-improvement goals. Eat at home as often as you can. Resolve to cook at home more often and try to burn more calories than you eat. Sleep more, read more, breathe deeply, be mindful.
I’ve given up on ever learning a Romance language and I’ll limit my piano lessons to listening to Bill Evans recordings. I just might adopt my wife’s annual resolute focus to be kind to other motorists or at the very least I may learn a few curse words in Spanish.
Enjoy my flavorful recipe for Shrimp and Ravioli and remember to always be good to yourself. I’ll leave you with this phrase borrowed from Joey Adams—‘May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.’
New Era Shrimp and Ravioli
1 pound store-bought vegetable and cheese ravioli
2 pounds large shrimp tails
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, skim off the milk solids
3 cloves garlic sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large shallot, minced
1 cup sliced leek, white part
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 cup snow peas, sliced in thirds
1 yellow summer squash, sliced small
1 cup sliced red or orange bell pepper
1 small bok choy, sliced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
1 sprig of fresh basil
1 cup shrimp, vegetable or chicken stock
1. Add 3 tablespoons kosher salt and 2 tablespoons sugar to hot water and dissolve. Add 3 cups of
cold water and ice. Place shrimp in the cold brine for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, pat dry and season.
2. Boil ravioli according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Handle ravioli carefully.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter in a large pan on medium/high. Add garlic and red pepper flakes for 30 seconds. Sauté’ shallots and leeks a couple of minutes until clear. Remove the base from the pan.
4. Cook shrimp in 1 tablespoon olive oil until pink. Set aside.
5. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the thyme, basil and carrots for 2 minutes. Add the peas, squash and peppers. Stir for 2 minutes. Add the bok choy and cook for 2 minutes
6. Re-add the garlic/onion base and the shrimp stirring gently until fully cooked for 2 or 3 minutes.
7. Add the shrimp stock, vegetable or chicken stock. Cook veggies to desired doneness allowing liquid to evaporate a bit to increase flavor.
8. Serve over the ravioli and enjoy!