So I made some meatballs. It's been a long, long time since I made anything with the intention of blogging about it, but these meatballs were made for that purpose. Also: for eating. They were good meatballs -- better than average, if I do say. But I feel it's important to tell you how I got to the point of making these meatballs.
It's been a wild year. Mrs. Culinarian and I went to Australia. And then things went all to hell. Jobs were lost, jobs were found, jobs were lost again, jobs were found again. We moved (not by choice) from our suburban fortress to an apartment that is conveniently just steps from Interstate 270 and has a lovely view of a jungle gym.
And all that happened before this happened.
There he is, Kid Culinarian. The baby whose formal announcement was delayed through drunken subterfuge. He's an utter delight, and quite the meatball himself. He's also the primary reason why this space has been dormant since March. Child raising, while a rewarding and irreplaceable experience, doesn't leave a whole lot of time for recipe research or preparation. My culinary experience over the past five or six months can be pretty well encapsulated by four words: Trader Joe's freezer section.
Seriously, your whole concept of a "meal" changes when there's a baby in the picture. I've eaten half a sleeve of water crackers and called it lunch. Yesterday's rice with a couple of soy sauce packets? That's a fancy dinner right there. Undergirding it all is the constant aftertaste of coffee.
Along the way, people have asked me when I was going to fire up the blog again. That always left me a bit puzzled. What in God's name makes you think a new parent has the time and energy to cook and then write about it? "When I've slept," was my stock response to these inquiries, with its implied message of "never, shut up." I didn't mean "never," of course, but sleep-deprived and physically tired and emotionally exhausted, I probably just wasn't in the mood for questions.
But those people weren't being out of line. Far from it. They were right; it did bug me. When you spend several nights a week in the kitchen for several years and then it suddenly stops, you're left feeling incomplete, like no matter how much you got done during the day, there was something important left on the table. And I found myself slowly drawn back into things -- peeking at cookbooks while holding the baby, glancing at food blogs during (infrequent) naptimes, finding myself daydreaming about slicing a shallot.
And so it came to a head this past weekend. For reasons I can't properly explain, the idea came to me. Make meatballs.
And so, after a series of life-changing events crammed into just a few short months, after the birth of my first child, after a months-long absence from the kitchen and the realm of food blogging, after a tumultuous year that tested me and Mrs. Culinarian in pretty much every way we could be tested... I made some meatballs.
They're lamb meatballs, and they're especially good. The recipe comes from Suzanne Goin and her A.O.C. Cookbook, which had been sitting unused on my shelf for months just taunting me. It's the spice mixture that gives the meatballs character: cumin, cinnamon(!), parsley, and crushed red pepper. The meatballs are complemented fanstastically by a spicy tomato sauce that also has a few surprises: toasted cumin, fried rosemary, an arbol chile, and orange juice. Served over rice with some crumbled goat cheese and a dash of fresh minced parsley, you're looking at an excellent meal to stand up against the distressingly cooler autumn evenings.
Anyway, it's my intention to start doing this more often now that Kid Culinarian is growing up and is a bit more predictable. Posting may not be regular, but it'll happen.
Recipe after the jump.