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Meatballs that will freak your taste buds

You know that scene in “Elf,” when Miles Finch (you know the writer they hire to give them a good idea) says, “It’s just one of those ideas, I’m just psyched out of my mind about…ya’ know, it’s just one of those ideas where you’re like, YES!” that’s kind of how I’m feeling right now about a few pieces that I’m working on. I’m freaking psyched out of my mind about the potential they have for being published. I hope that at some point I can report to you with a link to follow and read.

As a writer, every so often you get a really great idea. You treasure the moment, because so much time is spent weeding through loads of crap to get to the good. I can spend weeks typing pages of rubbish that gets filed away in unused folders. They rarely find their way back to my eyes unless I somehow remember a line or a paragraph that I loved, and I’ll trace back to find it. So when something really good comes along, I don’t want to let it out of my grasp until I can’t stand to look at it anymore.

I think that is the best feeling that a writer can achieve – maybe other than the gratification of being published. But that feeling of accomplishment that you get every now and then, that’s what keeps you writing; what brings you back to the laptop with a cup of coffee in hand every morning – for the possibility that genius might strike again.

I’ve always believed that telling people your story takes away the desire to tell it, so I am often mum when it comes to telling people what I’m working on. A few days ago, a gentleman was inquiring about my writing while I was in the tasting room, and was quite persistent about getting something out of me. I skirted around the topic, sharing tidbits until it was time for him to go.

You can call it superstition if you want; I do. I’ve had a few things that I’ve always done for the sake of superstition: when I was growing up and playing basketball, I had my rituals that I made sure to attend to before every game, before every possession, and after every basket. Even now, when I sit down to write, I need things to be in a certain order before starting or I feel like everything gets thrown off its axis. I guess you can call it OCD as well.

Call it want you want, but until the day that I can offer you tasty morsels of my tales, I thought I’d share with you a recipe that is just totally freaking my taste buds! It was one of those recipes that when I first saw it, I was like, YES! And with a little tweaking and my own adaptations, here it is for you to get excited about!

Thai Meatballs with Coconut-Peanut Sauce

Adapted from Michelle Anna Jordan recipe: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120111/lifestyle/120109555?p=3&tc=pg

I rarely do Asian food. But these meatballs sounded too good to pass up! These may be one of the most flavorful meatballs I’ve ever tasted. The sauce can be used for dipping the meatballs, or you can do what I did, and toss it with some soba noodles and veg, and make a little Asian spaghetti and meatballs.

Makes 2-3 servings

Meatball ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 serrano pepper, minced

1 teaspoon grated ginger

8 ounces ground pork

1/4 cup cilantro, washed, trimmed and chopped

1 teaspoon lime zest

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 Pinch of salt

1/2 Cup panko breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Put the oil into a small saute pan set over medium low heat, add the shallot and saute until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and serrano and saute 2 minutes more. Stir in the ginger, season with salt, remove from the heat and let cool.

Put the pork, cilantro, lime zest and soy sauce into a bowl and mix well. Add the shallot mixture and the eggs, bread crumbs, and mix again. Form meatballs and put onto parchment-lined plate and refrigerate until ready for cooking.

Make sauce while meatballs are in fridge.

Coconut-Peanut Sauce

1 tablespoon oil

1 serrano pepper, minced

3 scallions, very thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 ounces shelled roasted peanuts, crushed

1 cup thick coconut milk

1 tablespoon sugar, plus more to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

Juice of 1/2 lime (or entire lime if not very juicy)

3 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves

Pour the oil into a saucepan set over medium heat. Add the serranos, scallions and garlic and saute, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are soft and fragrant. Add the peanuts, reduce the heat to low and stir in the coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, lime zest and lime juice. Stir and heat through but do not let boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sugar and more as needed for balance. Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the cilantro and keep hot until ready to serve.

Cook meatballs:

Put the flour into a small bowl and dust your hands with it. Drop the meatballs into the flour and coat them thoroughly and transfer it to a baking sheet or a sheet of wax paper.

Pour oil into a saucepan set over medium high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Carefully place meatballs in pan, turning once or twice, until they are lightly and evenly browned. Transfer the cooked meatballs to the absorbent paper to drain.

If serving meatballs as an appetizer, arrange on platter with sauce for dipping. If part of a meal, cook soba noodles in boiling water 4-6 mins, until done. Toss noodles in sauce. Add any cooked vegetables to your liking. Top with meatballs and garnish with cilantro, mint, and lime.

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4 responses to “Meatballs that will freak your taste buds

  1. These were some of the greatest things I have ever put in my mouth–even as leftovers. We gotta make these again!!!!!!! And I can’t wait to read your great ideas. 🙂

  2. Hey! I like the idea of Thai meatballs…QUESTION: Which is the “sauce” you intend to use in the meat mixture? The ingredients lineup states: “2T of SOY SAUCE”…The directions state: “Put the pork (and) FISH SAUCE”. Let us know, please…

    • the amused bouche blog

      Oops! Thanks for catching that. The original recipe used fish sauce, but I used soy because I rarely have fish sauce on hand.

  3. I appreciate your quick ‘come back’!! And, I was hoping for the answer to be fish sauce, since I just purchased my first additive-free bottle! I do have good soy, too! Thanks.

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