Friday, May 6, 2011

Turkey Meatballs with Honey Couscous and Roasted Carrots

I'm having a bit of an "off" week.  Not even for any particular reason or anything...I've just been....grumpy.  Or "lumpy" as my sister-in-law (and now my entire extended family) calls it.

The "lumpy" story has nothing to do with turkey meatballs or roasted carrots, but I feel like telling it and its my blog.  So I'll go on random tangents as I see fit.  You don't have to read it if you don't want to.  Well, actually, you kind of do.  If you follow this blog, I have to assume that you kind of like me, and therefore you're required to read my stupid stories.


I get my tendency to be grumpy from my older brother.  We're typically prone to act like curmudgeons if we are hungry, tired, annoyed, stressed, in need of a cocktail, or even if someone looks at us funny or uses poor grammar.  Our spouses and family find this trait extremely charming.  So charming in fact, that my brother's wife termed his behavior "lumping around" or "being lumpy".  When my sister and I went to visit while they were living in London a couple of years ago, we started using the term "lumpy" too.  Around dinnertime every day, my brother would start pacing around the house, grumbling things under his breath, and in unison, we'd all say, "Looks like SOMEONE is getting a little LUMPY!", and then we'd eat and everyone was happy.  When I returned home, I told my husband all about it and he thought it was hilarious that I learned something worthwhile in London and we started referring to my own offensive behavior as "being lumpy" as well.  We still do.

The other term I learned from my sister-in-law (also while visiting in London) was "making leeps", which means sleeping (in her language).  I don't know where this comes from, but we quickly picked up on this lingo as well and used it often.  I was not uncommon for someone to mention that that if my brother was "lumpy" because he was tired, he should go "make some leeps" and he'd feel better.  My husband also found THIS term hilarious (another gem learned in London!) and we still use it all the time.

Fast forward 2 years.  We're on our honeymoon in St. Lucia.  Its lovely.  One fine day, my husband and the guy who serves drinks on the beach saved an old British dude (former rugby player!!) from drowning.  They ran down the beach, dove in, swam to him, and then held him up in the water until the boat could pull him in. My husband even had a bloody cut on his chest to show what a manly hero he was.  I was so proud.  Anyway, later that night, the British dude and his wife find us at the bar and offered to buy us drinks as a thank you for my husband saving the British dude's life.  This is curious since it was an all-inclusive resort and the drinks were free anyway, but it was a nice gesture.  British dude brings my husband glass after glass of some concoction resembling whisky and it started going down a little too easy.  Tipsy, my husband "whispers" to me (have you ever heard a drunk person whisper?  SO discreet) that he's going to ask our new British friends if they know the British slang words "lumpy" and "making leeps".  I choke on my wine and gently tell my husband that those words are not BRITISH slang, they are made up words that my sister-in-law uses to make fun of my brother and that NO ONE, NOT EVEN BRITISH PEOPLE, knows what they mean.  He was like, "No Ann, you learned those words in London, they are British slang words.  I'm going to ask our new friends if they use them, too".  Um, okay.  Knock yourself out.  So he does.  Completely seriously, with a straight face, my husband saunters up to the old British folks and ask them if they frequently use the British slang terms, "lumpy" and "making leeps".  Shockingly, they look at him as if he's just given birth to a llama.  So he decides, instead of being like, "just kidding, haha!", to explain the MEANING of each word.  Like, "oh come on, YOU KNOW!  MAKING LEEPS MEANS SLEEPING IN ENGLAND, RIGHT?  RIGHT!?!?".  No dice.  They thought he was nuts and didn't offer to buy us any more drinks.  Bugger.

So, you are welcome to use the term "lumpy" for being in a bad mood, or "making leeps" for taking a nice cat nap.  Just know that they are made up words whose meanings are only known within my particular family.  You can't use them in London without getting a lot of crazy stares.  I'm just saying.

Anyway, thinking of that story kind of makes me feel less lumpy because I laugh out loud every time I think of the look on this couple's faces when my husband attempts to convince them that these crazy made-up words originated in their homeland.  Ha!

So, time to talk about food.  This meal came together wonderfully...I was totally impressed with myself.  I made some changes to the recipe since I was too cheap to buy a ginormous bag of pine nuts at Trader Joe's the other day.  No one needs $12 worth of nuts.  No one. 


Turkey Meatballs with Lemon-Garlic Yogurt Sauce
Source: Adapted from One Perfect Bite

1-1/4 pound ground turkey thigh meat
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1 large egg
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (I used dried Italian seasoning)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (I used chopped walnuts)
1/2 cup cup golden raisins (chopped if large)
1/3 cup fine bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil

Lemon-Garlic Sauce (I didn't do the sauce because I forgot, but I'm sure its good!)
1 cup plain yogurt (Greek-style if possible)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

To make meatballs: Combine turkey, onion, egg, cilantro, nuts, raisins, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and cumin in a large bowl. Mix just until ingredients are combined and evenly mixed. With wet hands form the mixture into 1 to 1-1/2-inch balls. Set on a tray. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill until ready to sauté.

To make sauce: Combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt in a small bowl. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

To cook: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, and sauté meatballs in batches, so as not to crowd them. As they begin to color, turn them regularly so that they are golden on all sides. They should be done when they are evenly browned and feel medium firm, but not hard when touched. Place on a paper towel to catch excess oil. Serve hot, warm, or cold with yogurt sauce.

Whole Wheat Couscous with Honey and Walnuts
Source: My own genius brain

1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
garlic powder
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
salt and pepper to taste

Cook couscous in chicken broth and oil, according to package instructions.  Fluff with a fork.  Add garlic powder, honey, walnuts, and salt and pepper.  Mix well and serve.

Thyme Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese

2lbs whole carrots
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400. Peel the carrots and cut diagonally into thirds. If the carrots are large, half or quarter the pieces (aiming for uniform so the pieces will cook evenly). Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and the leaves stripped from the thyme sprigs. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Crumble goat cheese over the warm carrots and serve.


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