The New Year for me brings with it a fresh start, a clean slate and an optimistic outlook on small opportunities that hold the promise of great enterprise. It can also stir within me a bit more fortitude in taking new territory and braving uncertainty. The challenge lies in marching forward with constancy, that quality of faithfulness and commitment, being resolute. I looked up the definition for resolution, it is 'a firm decision to do or not to do something; to be intent; to plan; to aim'
I love that last descriptor in the definition of resolution, to aim. To aim is to have the intention of achieving something for a desired outcome. Many times over the years I have set goals and made resolutions and I've had mixed results on the outcome. There have been successes and there have been failures. But this past year I think I have found a secret in making a resolution and seeing it come to fruition.
At the beginning of 2015 I gathered around myself some like-minded people who had the same desires and goals as I did. The one example of this is Bible memory. There were about 15 of us committed to memorizing a verse of the Bible every two weeks, and at the end of the year we would have memorized 24 verses from God's precious word. Every couple of weeks I would send out an email to this little band of women, hoping to encourage them (and myself) along the way. I am beyond excited to share with you that we did in fact see this goal realized, we crossed the finish line!
I think the secret of success for this particular goal was surrounding myself with others on that same path. The accountability, and encouragement to press forward intertwined itself in a strengthening of bonds and deepened friendships. There is a universal truth in the Bible found in Ecclesiastes 4:12 that says "...a cord of three strands is not easily broken." On our own we can easily be defeated, but when joined with others we're not only are made stronger, we are also used to strengthen.
As I look at this year ahead, my aim is to invest more deeply in established as well as new relationships, to have a greater love for others, and to fill the chairs around my table more consistently with family, friends and even strangers.
This recipe of Oysters with Champagne Granita is a beautiful start to the New Year, and is lovely shared with one or many. While there is no food more seductive or delicious on its own than a freshly shucked raw oyster, anointing them with a simple combination of Champagne, vinegar and shallots frozen together into an icy flavor bomb is not to be missed. This is perhaps (in my opinion) the best way to bring in the New Year!-s
Oysters with Champagne Granita
2 cups Champagne (or Prosecco)
1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. piment d'Espelette (or crushed red pepper)
2 cups rock salt for plating (optional)
Combine all of the ingredients, except the oysters, in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until all of the sugar and salt have dissolved.
Pour the mixture into a wide flat dish and put it in the freezer. As the mixture begins to freeze, drag a fork through it to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this process every 15 minutes or so until the mixture is completely frozen. When done it will look like ice shards, kind of slushy but a bit more frozen.
Scrub the outside of the oysters to remove any sand or grit. If using, spread the rock salt out on a serving dish. Shuck the oysters and lay them on the rock salt. Top each oyster with the granita and serve immediately.