The easy recipe this week is a flavorful and colorful meatball and saffron rice meal. I used ground veal, but you could substitute with hamburger or even ground lamb. The resulting dinner reminds me of a dish being served somewhere between the Carribean and the Mediteranean. While following my step by step instructions, sip on a Red Stripe or some Ouzo, and in no time you will be enjoying a fun family meal.
1 lb. ground veal
1/2 C onion – finely minced
1/4 C plain bread crumbs
2 large eggs
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro – minced for meatballs, and 2 Tbsp for sauce (and more for garnish)
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 – 5 0z package of Saffron Yellow Rice
1 bunch of asparagus
2 Tomatoes coursely diced
1/3 C beef broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 C Tequila
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl combine ground veal, onions, bread crumbs, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cilantro, salt, pepper and eggs. Mix ingredients by hand. Form into 1 inch meat balls.
Step 2; Prepare water for Saffron Yellow rice, cook per package instructions (likely around 20 minutes)
Step 3; In large fry pan heat olive oil on high, add meatballs and brown on all sides for 10 to 12 minutes. When cooked through, remove meatballs and cover with foil.
Step 4: Heat Tbsp of olive oil, add red bell pepper, beef broth, tequila, next add diced tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
Step 5: Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain water. Trim asparagus down to the head with a little stem, cover and set aside.
When rice is done, plate on serving platter or on individual plates. Add meatballs, drizzle a little sauce over the rice and meatballs, and then add the asparagus.
Oh yeh, that is going to be tasty. Maybe just a bit more Ouzo.
So here I am thinking of milestones and how one’s perception changes how an event unfolds. I can recall waiting, literally counting the days, to my 16 birthday as it was the key to my obtaining a driver’s license. It seemed as if the 16th birthday would never come.
The next milestone that took forever was the 21st birthday. Again, the years, months, days and hours passed ever so slowly. The wait made even more unbearable by the fact that friends just slightly older were regularly heading out to the bars to check out bands, girls, and beer. But the big day finally came and the joy of being able to go clubbing was a reality.
I don’t really remember the big Three O. Likely, I was to busy trying to start a career and family to make much of it. Or maybe the big Three O is more of a girl thing, worried about leaving those magical 20’s? Don’t know. But from my perspective 30 was a non-event. The 30’s were an interesting time; nothing on the horizon to impatiently wait for, almost like being in a sort of a stasis. All routine, work, focus, work, have a kid, work more, focus more.
And then, boom it’s the big Four O. Out of nowhere, you awaken from the stasis, and try to figure out how the heck you became 40. Seems like just yesterday it was college during the day, and the bars at night, with friends. Yet, now a 40 year old adult looks back from the mirror.
It is at this point the negative form of waiting kicks in. Now, rather than not being able to wait for the next milestone, you dread the approaching event. And, because it is the negative form of waiting, time seems to speed up, not crawl along as it did when the16th birthday would never arrive.
The milestone of 50 years of age arrives in the blink of an eye. But it’s not so bad, in fact the event is kind of fun. All the hard work has paid off, and you have a great party with friends. You have been working out and feel pretty good about yourself, and after all, 50 is the new 40 - no problem.
But that darn time warp occurs again. Time is speeding up as the next milestone approaches. The Big Six O is approaching very fast. Told myself, heck 56 is not so bad, and then heck, I’m having a blast at 57. But time keeps speeding by; the count down toward 60 is approaching like an old movie where the pages of a calendar are rapidly torn away one after another.
And here I am, 60 (almost). How in the heck did that happen? Where did all the time go? When I was 16 I thought anyone 60 was, or at least looked, like a great, great, great grandparent. I am not digging this whole milestone time warp thing. I guess the good news is I have been blessed with good health, and She Who Must Be Obeyed keeps me going to the gym at least three times a week. So, what the heck, 60 is the new 50; no worries.
You know what? I think I have this whole time warp thing figured out. I plan to slow time down by being giddy about turning 70! Darn, why does it have to be 10 painfully long years away! I can’t wait, oh why oh why must it take so long. Won’t be long and some of my friends will beat me to the best ever wonderful milestone (IT’S WORKING I can already feel time slowing down – I can beat this thing – all in the mind you know).
Ok, now that I have the passage of time under control, I think I’ll go skiing with my family. What a great time of life! Happy Birthday to Me and Everyone Else Turning 60. It is, as it turns out, the best milestone yet!
Good Eating and Table Talk,
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