I really resolve to be resolute in my resolution-keeping this year.
No, that’s not true. I shouldn’t make promises I really have no intention of keeping. Nor should I make resolutions that will only make me (pick one or more of the following):
B. Bummed out
C. Destined for failure
D. Laugh out loud
E. Did I mention grumpy?
I know, I know, it’s January 1. A shiny brand new year. Lots of resolution-making going on out there, I can feel it. Lots of possibilities. Lots of hope. Lots of self-aggrandizing exclamation points hitting Twitter posts like night moths to a patio bug light.
And lots of days lined up ahead of a resolute me during which I’ll either be successful . . . or not. No thanks.
To me, the whole making-resolutions-thing is like the whole give-up-something-decadent-for-lent-thing. What’s the purpose? To prove that you can do almost anything for a short period of time? I can prove I have that talent every day — without giving up something I really enjoy, such as chocolate or wine or a sedentary lifestyle.
Like, not losing my temper while typing the same freakin’ sentence over and over and over again, as the neighbor’s dog barked incessantly at absolutely nothing for what felt like a day and a half.
Or, putting aside my frustration for a little while to go outside and visit through the fence with the aforementioned activity-challenged canine who we all know is really not the one at fault here.
Yeah, I can do uncomfortable for a short period of time to prove I have the intestinal fortitude, the mettle, the annoying shove from bragging Facebook friends who try to make the rest of us look bad by starting their New Year’s resolutions on New Year’s Eve. Way to set off a flurry of unfriending activity, you eager beavers.
Yes, I could do uncomfortable, but I won’t. No, this year, I’ll not make any New Year’s resolutions. Oh, I might do some things differently, maybe some things nevermore, but I’ll call them “lifestyle changes” instead of resolutions, to cast a more positive light on them.
Because let’s face it — this whole reinvention journey I’ve been on for more than two years now has about used up all the resolve I can wring out of this rapidly-aging mind, body and soul. Negativity, I’ve had plenty. Positive is where it’s at for me these days.
And since I tore into the chocolate-drizzled kettle corn instead of something healthier for lunch today, I’ll start with a better choice for dinner, like steamed broccoli (which, if the truth be known, I really love, so it isn’t a stretch) and some leftover chilled shrimp from last night’s New Years Eve party buffet table.
Talk about reinventions! When my mother used to make cold shrimp cocktail for dinner parties or other get-togethers, she dropped those small, gray, slug-like characters into a big pot of rapidly boiling water — unsalted and unflavored. (Or, even easier for the busy 1970’s homemaker, she bought them already cooked. But that usually meant a bit tougher, less sweet, and sort of overall not-so-fresh-tasting end result.) From the boiling water bath, they then hit the fridge for several hours or overnight, before getting the ceremonial dunk into a pool of bright red dipping sauce.
Fast forward to a new century, to the days of the Barefoot Contessa, and we have a delightfully easy way to prepare delicious chilled shrimp or prawns — sans the rubbery texture and fishy taste. I started with the basics of her recipe, and added my own spin to it. With some lemon zest, a sprinkling of your favorite herb concoction, and a strict adherence to the roasting time, you’ll happily up your seafood intake.
Resolve to try this recipe today. I think you’ll find it’s a much better choice than chocolate-drizzled popcorn — and one of the easiest resolutions to keep!
Ina Garten’s (the Barefoot Contessa of Food Network fame) roasted shrimp will change your mind about a boring old shrimp cocktail. Dust off those pretty, retro martini glasses and use them as individual serving dishes for this recipe of hers (that I’ve tweaked a bit). Pretty enough to eat, healthy enough to be good for you. Happy New Year!
- About 1 pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact (I usually buy somewhere between 16-25 count shrimp)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs (I’ve used Italian blend and Herbs deProvence)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 clove finely-chopped garlic (optional)
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees; rinse shrimp, thoroughly dry with paper towels, and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss with the olive oil, herbs, zest, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and place in a flat, even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 6 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque and just firm to the touch. But be mindful — you don’t want to overcook shrimp. If you do, you might as well chew on the thick, white butcher paper they came wrapped in. They will be that tough and tasteless. A perfectly-cooked shrimp can be delectable; an overcooked one, not so much.
Serve them straight out of the oven over just-cooked pasta, or immediately chill thoroughly before serving with wedges of fresh cut lemon and your favorite ketchup-based cocktail sauce, Thousand Island dressing (my personal favorite), or a spoonful of thick, green pesto. Garlicky but yummy!