I have not been having the easiest time with life lately. It has been a huge struggle just to get about my daily activities. That is why I haven’t posted in awhile. I haven’t been cooking much, let alone writing about it. The good news is that thanks to a recent “family dinner” with Chris and Andrew, I found a newfound motivation to cook.
This dinner (which took place a little over a week ago on Memorial Day) featured spicy meatballs and the spinach ricotta pie Chris had made a couple months ago. This torta rustica involves spinach, chard, and dandelion greens, and of course a healthy amount of ricotta.
Chris’s pie turned out just as good (if not even better) as the first time. He was able to source rainbow chard this time, bringing even more color to this dish. I can see this dish being a summer staple.
He also picked out a recipe for spicy meatballs from his Central Asian cookbook, and I took the reigns on cooking this dish. This meatball recipe starts out much like my recipe, combining ground beef and ground pork. However, the spices used in this recipe vary greatly, using cloves, sumac, cayenne, and coriander. This mix of spices is certainly what comes to mind when I think of this region.
I consider myself to be a bit of a meatball connoisseur, especially given my Italian roots. I make a really mean Italian meatball. While I enjoy meatballs of all varieties, Italian meatballs will always be my favorite. I can’t think of a meatball that could beat a good Italian meatball. Though I must say, these spicy meatballs give Italian meatballs a good run for their money.
Similar to my meatballs, these spicy meatballs are so juicy thanks to the presence of ground pork. The fat that renders from cooking the pork also adds a depth of flavor. The spices used give these meatballs so much flavor.
The meatballs were served with adjika, which Chris made. Adjika is a Central Asian (primarily Georgian) dip or salsa made with tomatoes, chiles, garlic, and a number of herbs and spices. When it was sitting in the blender, this dip was not the most pleasing dish I have ever seen. However, it was absolutely delicious.
In addition to the adjika, the meatballs were served with a side of Greek yogurt. The adjika added another burst of flavor, while the yogurt added a cooling element. When both were combined with the meatballs, the end result was a fantastic bite with varying degrees of flavor.
This meal was packed full of flavor. The pie gave us the more savory notes, while the meatballs gave the spicier ones. We sat and ate our dinner while watching Beyonce’s digital album, “Lemonade.”
No family dinner would be complete without dessert. This week’s dessert was brought to us by pound cake from Whole Foods with some macerated strawberries and whipped cream. This may be a simple dessert to prepare, but it has long been one of my favorite summer desserts, which was a staple in my house in my youth.
What I learned from making this meal with my friends is how taking the time to cook, even when I feel like I’d rather lay in bed is invigorating and refueling. Sure, it takes some energy out of your body, but generally cooking then gives you that energy back (plus some) by providing fuel for your body.
Since making this meal, I have made a variety of dishes, from burrito bowls to pasta dishes. I have been on a cooking streak, and I want to keep cooking as much as possible over the next month before I formally quit my job. Then, who knows what food adventures are in store for my month and a half off before moving to Boston.