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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Slow and Steady

Here's the good news.  On the heels of yesterday's successful zucchini bread, I actually had a little hankering to flip through a cookbook.  This may not sound like a big deal to you, but as we have discussed, I haven't been much in the mood for cookbook perusing.

It's amazing what you can come up with when you look at a cookbook that you haven't looked at in a long time.  It's almost as rewarding as pulling on a pair of jeans that you haven't worn in a while only to find they're loose.  Things like that just put you in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Such was the case as I paged my way through Weeknights with Giada.  I'm not sure I've ever made anything from this cookbook, despite having owned it for several years.  In fact, I'm not even sure I've ever spent the time to really consider what was inside because everything, and I mean everything, sounded really good to me.  Go figure.

But I digress.  I am a big fan of meatballs.  I just love them.  I'm especially fond of the little ones, kind of the size of Swedish meatballs.  (In my opinion, the only reason to ever go to an Ikea is because they have those cute little meatballs.  Otherwise, who really needs a Durg or an Iptu?)

But enough with Ikea.  Back to the meatballs.

These are little balls of heaven.  First of all, they're lamb, and who doesn't love lamb?  Secondly, they're packed full of all those delicious Greek flavors: cumin, oregano... You have the idea.  They're lightly fried and then simmered in a jar of marinara sauce.  What could be easier?  What could be tastier?

So things appear to be looking up on the dinner front.  I cooked and it was good.  I didn't even mind getting my hands dirty and rolling those cute little meatballs.

All in all, I think the slump is lifting.  Let's see what tomorrow brings, shall we?

Recipe:  Sweet and Spicy Greek Meatballs (Keftedes Me Saltsa Domata)
(Giada DeLaurentiis)


1 pound ground lamb, or 20-percent fat ground beef
1 cup cooked and cooled couscous
3 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg, at room temperature, beaten
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons dried mint
1 ½ tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sauce and Finish Meatballs:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 (25-ounce) jar marinara sauce
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


In a large bowl, mix together the lamb, couscous, scallions, garlic, egg, parsley, olive oil, mint, oregano, salt, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Form the mixture into 15 to 16 (2-inch diameter) meatballs.
To make 1 cup cooked couscous, bring 1/2 cup water or stock to a boil. Add 1/3 cup uncooked couscous and cover the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and a

Sauce and Finish Meatballs:
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook until brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Add the marinara sauce, cinnamon sticks, and ground cinnamon. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, turning occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Discard the cinnamon sticks. Transfer the meatballs and sauce to a large bowl and serve.

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