Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt, Eggs and Mint

fin2Look at that! Rich tangy tomato sauce, tender perfect meatballs, creamy egg yolk, cool plain yogurt and refreshing mint. I figured this dish would be fun to make with a team of friends, so I enlisted some of my fav foodies. What a blast we had cooking, sipping wine and laughing. They were all amazing helpers, which allowed me to get some good photos. Thanks to Lauren, Cathie and Stuart for all your help. You all are welcome to come cook with me anytime!

Here is what you will need.

Meatballs

2 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1″ pieces

2 1/2 tablespoons maldon salt

1/2 pound (about 2 cups) fine bread crumbs

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sauce

1 large spanish onion, finely chopped

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon maldon salt

2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and ground

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground

2 dutch or other spicy long red chilies, pierced with a sharp knife

One 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained, trimmed and squished with your hands….San Marzano’s are the best.

1/2 cup or more of whole milk greek yogurt

4 large eggs

Finishing

small handful of mint

small handful of delicate cilantro sprigs

extra virgin olive oil

You will also need a meat grinder, the attachment for the kitchen aid stand mixer works perfectly. April says grinding the meat yourself will produce a light, airy and delicate ground meat. Commercially ground meat is over worked, sticky and paste like. She was right, the meatballs came out amazingly tender and light. I will forever grind my own meat:)

First step – place cubed lamb meat into a bowl and set in freezer for an hour or so until the edges get crunchy and slightly frozen.lambcoldToss the cubed meat with salt and the bread crumbs. Grind the meat through the medium dielambgrind1Run it through again on the same medium die. Nice job Cathie! Raw meat never really photographs well, but this looks cool.lambgrind3Before you start rolling out your meatballs, sear one off to check for seasoning. At this point you could add more salt if needed. Once you’re comfortable with the seasoning, start shaping your balls.balls1Perfectly shaped balls by Stuartballs3Now its time to brown the balls. Sear them on all side, do not cook them through. Let them rest to the side while you make the sauce.spice1Toast the cumin and corianderspice2Grind in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinderspice3Grind to a fine powder, some larger bits are ok for texturesauce1Over a high heat saute the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes, then add the ground spices . Add pierced chilies (I couldn’t find long red chilies so I used green ones) and the squished tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes then add 4 cups of water, bring to boil, turn down to a low simmer for 5 minutes.sauce2

Cathie loved squishing the tomatoes 🙂sauce3Add the seared meatballs into sauce and simmer slowly for 30 minutes.sauce4After 30 minutes, add blobs of yogurt and the eggs. Simmer on low for about 10 more minutes, this will poach the eggs and leave them with firm whites and runny yolks. Check the eggs at 5 minutes to see how they’re coming along, strain them out when the eggs are the way you like them, cooked soft or hard, your choice. I like runny yolks. Sprinkle the cilantro and mint torn in small pieces over the whole stew. Finish with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.fin1Check out the eggs cooked, hard white runny yolks. perfect!fin3Make yourself a bowl and eat immediately. The recipe made a ton, easily enough for 6 people, I had doubled it so everyone got balls to take home. I had so much fun making this with my friends, its a great group effort dish. Grab your family/friends and settle in for an afternoon of cooking and great eating.cheersCheers!!!

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Carrot, Avocado and Orange Salad

Recipe 12 of 103

Avocado…Yes

Oranges…Yes

Carrots…..Meh

My history with carrots starts when my skin turned orange at the wee age of 18 months, after being fed too much carrot juice when my Mom received a juicer for Christmas. Thinking I had jaundice she took me to the doctor, he said slow down on the carrot juice. Simple mistake. Simple remedy. The next carrot drama was the shredded carrot salad with raisins. Why was this every where in the 70’s?  Most of you know raisins and me do  not get along, so this salad would never make it in my world. Maybe its the raisins fault carrots flew off my radar? As I grew older I made my peace with carrots, but sadly most carrots today taste like crap unless you get them from a friends garden or a good local organic market. I have found that roasting carrots makes them sweeter and more tolerable,  so I was thrilled to see in this recipe that were going to be roasted.

The textures and flavors in this salad are surprisingly compatible. The cumin, coriander and garlic roasted carrots become as soft and luscious as the avocado and the oranges pair well with all the players.

Here is what you will need

Preheat oven to 400°

4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

maldon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1 1/2 teaspoons pequin chilies crumbled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons

30 or so baby/young carrots, scrubbed with an inch of tops left on or scrub 10 regular sized carrots and cut into small sticks about the size of your index finger

3 oranges, try to get valencia oranges, they are lovely right now

3 ripe haas avocados or try the fuerte avocado they are amazing!

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

a handful of small cilantro sprigs

dryroastStart by toasting the spices in a small saute pan over medium high heat, careful not to burn them. When you start smelling their aroma, they’re done. Set aside and let cool.toastyspices

Add the spices to a mortar and pestle and grind until it resembles a corse powder, reserve in large mixing bowl. garlicrushWipe out the mortar and pestle, add the garlic and salt together and smash until it resembles a paste. dressingAdd the chilies, garlic and olive oil to the mixing bowl with the ground spices. Mix well. Toss the prepped carrots in the dressing and coat well while adding 3 healthy pinches of salt as you toss. Place carrots in a baking dish so they’ll all settle in a single layer. Scrap out all the spiced oil from the bowl and drip it over the carrots. Pour 1/4 cup of water into an open area of the pan so you don’t wash off all the lovely spiced oil, cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes.rawdoneafter the first 15 minutes, remove foil and continue to cook another 15-20 minutes. You want the carrots soft like the texture of an avocado but not falling apart. Let them cool a bit.segmentTime to segment the oranges, the above picture is a little visual on how to do this. Does it make sense? If not watch this, it takes practice so don’t get too discouraged on your first try, keep at it. Segment your oranges over a bowl and keep the juiceavosNow ready your avocados, slice in long pieces, add the lemon juice, the orange juice from the segmented oranges and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large mixing bowl.tossitToss the roasted carrots with the avocados, coating with the juices and the spicy mixture on the carrots, add the oranges and toss gently, careful not too break up the avocado too much. saladoneStack all the items together and top with cilantro leaves. Enjoy the color, texture and spicy kick this salad has to offer. Avocados and oranges are in full swing here in So Cal, get out to a farmers market and make this happen, you won’t regret it.