Lamb meatballs over cucumber salad; tomatoes; pear – 23 Sept 2012

I chose this recipe from the Pinxtos book b/c it used ground lamb, which I had had D buy on spec, and also breadcrumbs, which would use up the bread I felt guilty about abandoning when I made the pizza Friday night.

D had bought an English cucumber, and R kindly picked up a bunch of mint when he went to the Bowl last night for supplies. The meatballs begin with a shallot and two small garlic cloves, minced, and a Tbsp of red pepper flakes, cooked for a minute or so in hot olive oil, then removed to a bowl. Ground fennel and cumin seeds (this took ages – thanks to D who did the grinding!) – and I left out the coriander seed b/c I couldn’t find it – two eggs, and 3/4 lb ground lamb. Also 2 tsp salt, which is at least double what it should be. These are mixed gently with the hands and made into golf balls – about 16, and I got 17, so I guess I did ok. the mixture at this point was very wet. Could consider cutting the red pepper a bit. Definitely cut the salt, at least in half.
The meatballs are cooked back in the pan that held the shallot mix, with added grapeseed or canola oil (we don’t have grapeseed oil except with garlic in it so I used canola). Something approaching 3 mins on a side, for a total of about 10 mins – I didn’t clock it, though. Suggestion is to turn the meatballs with tongs, and that worked very well.

All this goes over a cucumber salad, and there was not enough of this. I had perhaps a scant half an English cucumber left from some serious pilfering (as in: had for meal) so I cut the recipe in half. The cucumber is cut with the benriner, and tossed in 2 Tbsp kosher salt. I used a scant 1 Tbsp. Then it is left to drain in a colander, and squeezed dry. I tried a piece after this and it was all salt, so I rinsed the cucumber with the spray setting on the faucet, and squeezed it dry again. I don’t particularly know that I’d reduce the salt here, but it definitely should be considered. Other elements in the half-recipe: 1/8 tsp lemon zest, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and about 2 tsp of a balsamic reduction since I did not have the vinegar called for. I’d say overall that the dish needed more cucumber relative to the lamb balls.

I almost opened an avocado but realized it seemed a bit too hard, so I didn’t. I cut up two small tomatoes – one from our friend J and the other might also have been, but also might have been a Dirty Girl early girl.

I bought a pear at the Center Street farmers’ market on Saturday, and we had that for dessert. It was delicious.

D had brought up a Fatto a Mano 2009 Primitivo last night, but R showed up with that wonderful wine, so we had the FaM tonight instead. We got this at a Berkeley Bowl wine tasting, back when they had those. They were fun and we learned about some great new wines. Tonight, I thought the red pepper hotness would fight with this good wine, so I mostly left mine until I had finished eating dinner. After wine we ate a pear I got at the Farmers’ market on Saturday for an exorbitant amount approaching $2 (ok, it was a big pear). It was really excellent, so I was happy.

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