12/31/2013

Ringing in a New Year! Pass the Pickled Herring!



My father used to gather us (my eight siblings and I) all around on New Year's Eve and we'd write out our goals, our resolutions to be read aloud. I hated it. I never knew what to say, because really, I had no desire to change myself. So every year it was all more of the same. "I'll be more active", "I'll watch less junk on television and more documentaries", "I'll lose weight".  Blah blah blah. All things that should make us realize how critical we are of ourselves and how difficult it is to be happy and productive when you're so down on yourself.

But he was adamant, so every December 31st, we'd sit down and share these goals, and seal the deal by watching the ball in Time's Square drop at midnight whilst munching on pickled herring and crackers, black-eyed peas and ham hocks.

It seems counterproductive to me. Every year starts afresh with the promise of new things, of rewards and blessings and joy that can be had…if only we do something differently than we did the year before.
Do we really think we can be happy in the coming year, if we lose weight, exercise more, read more books, ask for a raise, find a better job? How is doing all these things that make us miserable going to make us happy?

How can we expect to be happier in a new year, if we plan to punish ourselves?
We probably can't.

I don't usually make resolutions for that reason, and a few others.

But I look around today, and I know things have to change. I have to work smarter, more efficiently, and more effectively. So, I have a few writing related resolutions for the coming year to share with you.

1.      Write 1K words a day.
2.      Keep a schedule. This is my "job". I should treat it as such.
3.      Connect with readers via the blog and FB regularly.
4.      More specifically: Revise, expand and republish Be A Bad Boy
5.      Complete projects 2 weeks ahead of schedule

There. That ought to be sufficient to start off with, huh? Meanwhile, I've coerced some of my fellow authors into sharing their resolutions for the upcoming year. Watch this space for posts from Hank Edwards, Laura Harner, Havan Fellows, Tina Marie Westbrook, F.E. Feeley Jr., Raven McAllan, Edmond Manning, Lisa Worral and more!

Bonus:

Pickled Herring for New Year's and ALL special occasions!
(Similar to my Dad's, but this one is from HERE)

INGREDIENTS
6 new or baby red potatoes (about 12 ounce)
⅛ tsp salt
8 oz pickled herring fillets (see note), drained
3 Tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
fresh dill for garnish
freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
1. Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Put potatoes in the basket and steam until barely tender when pierced with a skewer, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size. Slice each potato into 1/4-inch-thick slices (discard the ends). Sprinkle the potato slices with salt.
2. Cut herring fillets into pieces small enough to fit on a potato slice. Place one piece of herring on each potato slice, dollop each with about 1/8 teaspoon sour cream and sprinkle with red onion. Garnish with dill and a grinding of pepper.
Note: Pickled herring are herring that have been cured in salt, rinsed and then packed in a vinegar-based marinade that can be flavored with wine, mustard, sherry or cream—any flavor will work in the recipe. Look for it in jars or tubs in the seafood department at most supermarkets.




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To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955