Usually I am not one to post pictures of our stylized dinners, because truth be told, we usually don’t eat until I’ve lost the day’s natural light, and photographing food with the orangish hue of our kitchen lights is not a pretty sight. I don’t have a studio with fancy artificial light, and besides, I prefer natural light. But these summer days . . . man, they give you more than enough natural light to work with! It is almost as if they are encouraging you to eat late AND to take pretty pictures of your meals. At least, maybe that’s just how I’m interpreting it. Maybe it is actually trying to communicate that I should get outside and enjoy a more active, longer day? Maybe. But I worked out in my backyard earlier, thank you very much, and I’d rather take advantage of a few longer days to shoot my dinners.
Does that make me boring or awesome? You decide.
I am loving the vibrancy of this meal! You can simply look at it, and just know that once you eat it, you will start to glow from the insides. I made these meatballs last week (remember my meal inspiration post? You may have seen them alongside the cabbage rolls & cauli-rice), and I loved them so much I knew they needed to make another appearance. I changed up the recipe quite a bit from the original and added a few of my own twists.
As a side note, I am currently on Day #17 of my sugar detox! Not going to lie, I thought I was actually going to give up by now. But I’m learning that sometimes I give up on things that I fear I can’t complete, so instead of letting it get the best of me, I will quit before it overcomes me. Not this time! It helps if you have an awesome, patient person on your side who is encouraging you and not letting you quit. Someone who hasn’t had homemade pizza night for quite some time, misses the occasion brownies & ice cream or cookies & milk nights, and someone who hasn’t even hinted that he would kill for a pasta night or a taco night. Someone who has endured my crazy brain and smiled with each new, random recipe I make for dinner. Thanks, Bug.
That picture is from our honeymoon in Maui. As you can see, we kinda like each other. ;)
Enjoy your weekend, folks! xx
Ginger Mustard Meatballs & Broccoli with Cucumber Carrot Salad
for the meatballs:
450g lean ground pork (you can also substitute beef, turkey, or chicken if you choose)
1 medium onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. minced ginger
3/4-1 Tbsp. bacon fat (you can also use duck fat, coconut oil, or butter)
1-2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
few drops of fish sauce
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. Braggs Liquid Soy Seasoning or coconut aminos
1/2 tsp. sea salt
pinch chili flakes
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. sesame seeds
In a medium skillet, melt the bacon fat; add the onion and saute on medium until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; saute for 3 minutes. Add the pinch of chili flakes. Turn the heat to low and let the mixture soften, about 6-8 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the onion mixture is softening, in a medium bowl, place the ground pork. Add the dijon mustard, few drops of fish sauce, 1 Tbsp. Braggs, and salt. Using your hands, mix thoroughly. When the onions are soft, add them to the pork (you may want to wait a few minutes if the onion mixture is a too hot for you to handle). Continue mixing with your hands until everything is distributed evenly.
At this point you want to preheat the oven to 425 and shape the meat balls. I prefer lil’ tiny meatballs (because they are simply adorable . . . is that weird?), but you can make them however big you like. Just keep in mind that whatever size you shape them to, the size will affect the cooking time. I use approximately 1/2 Tbsp of the mixture per meatball. Shape in your hands, lightly pressing together and rolling into a ball. Set the meatballs on a cookie sheet (you can use parchment if you like; I forgot to, so I had to use a thin spatula to retrieve them. So parchment might be smart here, but it’s not a big deal if you don’t have any on hand).
Bake for 15-22 minutes, depending on size of the meatball. When done, let cool for a couple minutes on sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining tsp. Braggs with the sesame oil. Pour over the cooked meatballs & sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Toss to evenly combine.
->While those are cooking, prepare the broccoli & the cucumber salad.
for the broccoli & the cucumber carrot salad:
1 med. crown broccoli
1 tsp. bacon fat
few drops-1/4 tsp. your favorite hot sauce (I used Frank’s because it fit within the 21 DSD requirements)
3 med. carrots
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2-1 tsp. finely minced ginger
small pinch of red chili flakes
sea salt & ground pepper, to taste
1/2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, to top the dish
Using a julienne peeler, slice the cucumber and carrots into long strips and place in a medium sized bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, lime juice, ginger, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Pour over the cucumber and carrots, then sprinkle sesame seeds on tops. Gentle toss together using tongs (or your hands, to each his own) and place in fridge to chill until ready to be served.
Fill a large pot with an inch of lightly salted water. Chop the florets off the broccoli crown, and place in the steamer basket; place on high heat. Once the water is boiling, cover with a tightly fitting lid and steam for about 5-7 minutes, or until tender with a small crunch. At this point, move broccoli to a large saute pan (I re-used the pan I sauteed onions in earlier-huzzah less dishes!). Add the bacon fat and hot sauce and toss for 3-5 minutes, then move to your plates or to your family-style serving dish.
Serve broccoli with the meatballs, adding the cucumber carrot salad as a side.
Listening to: Patty Griffin (these rainy days bring out the bluegrass in a girl . . . )