Friday, January 20, 2012

in which I discover that the flavor of turkey is not my favorite

One aspect of returning to Iowa City and a new semester that I had been looking forward to was having my kitchen back. My kitchen is quite large, with vast counter space and two tables available for prepping purposes; I also have a dishwasher. Furthermore, because it has been a working kitchen for over six months, and because many of my cooking staples (such as spices and other 'baking needs' type things like bread crumbs and sesame oil)travelled with me from my old apartment, I simply have more 'on hand,' you might say, than R did in his modest studio.

Once upon a time, for my last one and a half years of college, I began to really enjoy cooking. I hunted for recipes like it was my job. I tried everything that sounded good, even if it required breaking the bank a little with regards to groceries, or spending more time on prep than I could responsibly afford to spare on a weeknight between homework and frisbee practice. I even braved a cockroach-ridden kitchen. But in graduate school I have found that I have both monumentally less money and time. Spending hours on a meal is difficult to justify, and then subsequently facing the mass of dirty dishes by the sink is simply dispiriting. Just thinking about making some of the recipes I so loved as an undergrad is enough to exhaust me after classes on a weekday evening.

But I want to perservere.

Thus, on my first day of classes, I prepared the following dinner: turkey-apple-rosemary meatballs with roasted sweet potatoes and a green salad with a homemade vinaigrette. I adapted the recipe from this Brokeass Gourmet version.

For the meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1/4 medium yellow onion, diced finely (about 1/4 cup diced)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, lightly-beaten
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp honey
6 fresh rosemary needles, chopped very finely
3/4 tsp each salt and pepper


-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet and set aside.
-Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
-Using hands, form mixture into meatballs and arrange on the oiled baking sheet.
-Bake for about 20 minutes, or until meatballs are lightly-browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside.

(Because the sweet potatoes take longer to roast, you'd want to stick them in the oven, having cut one medium sweet potato into bite sized pieces subsequent to peeling it, about 40 minutes before the meatballs. Put the salad together when the potatoes and meatballs have about 15 minutes left--I say this because it takes me an inordinately long time to chop carrot sticks into little carrot discs).

The meatballs were fine. I didn't love them. I feel like I used too little rosemary, not being sure of how much to mix in. I couldn't taste the spices at all; I just felt like I was eating plain turkey meatballs with a slightly sweet edge to them. And just plain ground turkey meatballs? Not delicious--or at least, not to me. I think it is a personal taste thing, though. And having had them heated up for dinner with another salad two nights ago, I can say that they do reheat well, and that knowing what to expect I didn't mind them as much. In the future, I would use a generous amount of the fresh rosemary, and add more pepper.

Although the lighting in my office is not the best, I did try to take a few photos of my first-day-of-classes outfit:

sweater: JCrew
belt: Ruche
dress: vintage
tights: Sock Dreams
socks: gifted Target
boots: gifted Clark's
necklace: antique, from street vendor in Notting Hill

I love this JCrew sweater. Why did I never think of wearing crew-neck sweaters over dresses before? Unfortunately, this is the only one that I own. Now that I have students I have to try to make sure I don't wear it too many times each week, as I had a habit of doing while I was in Austin.

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