On Starting Over

We fall down, and we get back up. We lose, so that we may hopefully win the next time around. We love, hoping to never find reason to hate. We fail, but eventually recover and succeed. We go through the days, the motions. Week by week, month by month, and year by year.

And at the end of each one, we start over. We begin. Again.

Each and every year, we resolve to become better people – either by way of our own experiences of the previous year or by watching others. We learn from ourselves and we learn from each other, and we make promises to ourselves to change. We resolve to do things differently this time around – this year.

And as I type, I realize that I didn’t make any resolutions last year. But this year, I have 6 very specific, very ‘do-able’ resolutions:

  1. I will lose the 10 pounds that culinary school gave me. That’s easy, right? Well, for a girl who loves to eat, not so much. Especially a southern carb-loving, sweet-loving one. But I will do it. My pants are tight, and sometimes I feel my belly jiggle. I don’t like that feeling one bit. Either of them.
  2. I will send Christmas cards. I’ve got a long time to work on that one, but I will stop being a Scrooge, get over the cost of postage stamps and try to get behind this new fad of the “picture cards” and I will send them to family and friends. That way I won’t be reminded, with every card we receive, of how slack we are in not doing it ourselves.
  3. I will find a way to use my culinary degree as a source of income, without changing careers or driving myself insane in the process. I love cooking too damn much to not use that expensive degree for something besides home-cooking. Think – dinner parties, personal chef, home-made goodies. The B&B in Napa will just have to wait :).
  4. I will become a better friend. I will pick up the phone, I will email, and I’ll take trips to visit those who are far away. I’ll stop relying on facebook. I’ll continue to be honest to them and protective over them. I will love them to no end, even when it hurts – and this year, I will try harder. And when they need me, I will be there.
  5. I will be a better wife. And I’m not saying I’m a bad one by any means, but I’ve seen my fair share of separation, divorce, betrayal and unhappiness this year among friends, family, and strangers. I realize every day how lucky I am to love and to be loved right back, just as much. How lucky we both are to be so terribly in love. And I will make sure he knows it. Because I am so damn lucky and there’s just no sense in not showing it. None at all.
  6. Contrary to resolution #1, I will eat a lot of good food. I’ll get better at eating fruits and veggies, I’ll heavily consider joining a CSA and sometimes I’ll splurge on a really really good meal. Well, more than sometimes. I will also stop cooking long enough to make it to Moto, Otom, Epic, Publican, Naha, Schwa, Topolobampo, and Mercat a la Planxa at some point this year.

Now that’s not so unreasonable of a list, is it? I’m betting number six might be the trickiest since I threw all those restaurants in there. But I will push through. If nothing else, I’m sure to eat some good food no matter how many restaurants I hit up.

And if all else fails, I’ve got a kick-ass super pricey recipe that still costs less than one dinner at any of those other places on my list. Enter tender, delicate, melt-in-your-mouth veal chops. I made them for the first time last month – a definite splurge but well worth it (not to mention the hubs yelling at me for spending too much on groceries in December – he apologized after dinner). And served with one of the best, and easiest, sauces I think I’ve ever made – a rich cabernet sauce that is so decadent you could drink it out of the pot. Serve it up with some mashed potatoes and a light arugula salad, and you’ve got yourself a restaurant meal in the comfort of your home. A definite keeper, and one dish that will certainly be made in 2010.

If that ain’t starting the year off right, I don’t know what is.

Pan-Roasted Veal Chops with Cabernet Sauce
Adapted from Food & Wine, December 2009; serves 4

printable recipe

1/4 c + 2 T evoo
4 thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
4 12-oz, bone-in veal rib chops
2 c Cabernet Sauvignon
2 lg shallots, finely chopped
1 T unsalted butter
2 T ap flour*
2 c beef stock
salt and pepper

in a large, shallow dish, combine 1/4 c evoo with thyme and garlic. Add veal chops and turn to coat with marinade. refrigerate overnight

in a medium saucepan, combine wine with half of the shallots and boil until the wine has reduced to 1/2 c, about 15 minutes

in a small saucepan, melt the butter. add remaining shallot and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. stir in flour. slowly whisk in stock until smooth, then bring to a boil, whisking until thickened. whisk in reduced wine and simmer over low heat, whisking, for about 30 minutes. strain sauce into the medium saucepan. season with salt and pepper (can be made up to 3 days in advance if needed).

preheat oven to 325 F. in a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil until shimmering. remove veal chops from marinade; discard thyme and garlic. season chops with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. cook over high heat until browned, about 3 minutes per side. transfer skillet to oven and roast chops for about 10 minutes, turning once halfway through; veal should be just pink in the center. transfer to plates and spoon sauce on top.

*use GF flour if needed.

6 thoughts on “On Starting Over

  1. Dang, Heather – those chops look amazing!! And I love your resolutions – very bold, but also very actionable. I’m definitely with you on pushing down the weight just a tad – all those holiday treats have definitely added to my hips a bit, but they were Soooo worth it. 🙂

  2. Jennifer says:

    Good work on getting those resolutions written down. The hard part is remembering what they are and sticking to them. Now you have a reference!

    If you want me to make you some Christmas cards, just say the word. 🙂

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