sesame-spiced turkey meatballs and smashed chickpea salad
Since we moved our bookcase into the bedroom, I’ve been staring at it guiltily realizing I’ve amassed this wonderful collection of cookbooks that for some reason I never use. It started when we first moved into the apartment and Borders happened to be closing down at the same time. In my world, this is serendipity defined. I obviously bought the two largest Martha Stewart books I could find, the two oldest Julia Child books they had (did I mention I had just seen Julie and Julia? Perfect Storm.), and the five most random baking, caking, and ingredient books out there. Since then, I continue to swoon over new cookbooks I see and my wonderful family fulfills all my cookbook desires for birthdays, Christmases and regular old weekends (I know, how great are they!).
For my last birthday, after Brian’s sisters must have heard me blab about Smitten Kitchen all summer long, they bought me the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Like every other cookbook I’ve gotten, the first few days after I received it I turned the pages slowly, anticipating all the new and wonderful things she would teach me and we would eat. I mentally checked off the ones I would start immediately and the ones that would become favorites. Then I found the perfect place for it on the bookshelf. And it stayed.
Smitten Kitchen is by far my favorite blogger. I think you’d see an overwhelmingly large portion of my recipes coming from her if I didn’t plan to force myself to explore some other blogs and books. This meal came to be like most of our dinners. I had neatly (and somewhat unrealistically) planned out our meals for the week, but was seriously pressed for time. My next step would usually be googling my dinner stream of consciousness or staring blankly into the cabinet waiting for a recipe to smack me in the head, but in my dinner frenzy the other night, I finally grabbed the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook off the shelf and started madly flipping for something that looked quick- something that looked like I had most of the ingredients- and I settled on this.
It turned out I was missing one of the title ingredients (I swear had sesame seeds at some point), but that was a quick fix since I added some strong sesame oil to the mix. The smashed chickpea salad was great too- I’ll definitely make a few more tweaks next time, but served on a bed of greens with a few sprinkles of feta… mm! These were quick (40min from book to table), healthy, and super easy. Add ’em to the rotation. I know they’ll become regulars around here.
Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
yield: about 15 meatballs
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup dry, seasoned bread crumbs
1 pinch flaky salt
1 large egg
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tsp sesame oil
Olive oil, to coat pan
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all meatball ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Like a good Italian I use my hands, but if you’ve got a lot of patience and time, feel free to use a fork. If it’s too dry add some water, if it’s too wet add some breadcrumbs. Form them into 1 inch meatballs.
Heat olive oil in a medium sized pan. Brown the meatballs, moving them around so they get an even color. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until a thermometer reads an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees.
Smashed Chickpea Salad
yield: two cups of salad
15oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 red onion (confession: I didn’t add this because I didn’t feel like crying, but it’s totally necessary)
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
3 tsp rice wine vinegar (you can use any lighter vinegar- white wine would be good here)
2 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
Mix everything except for the olive oil in a medium bowl. Smash (or squish) some of the chickpeas against the side of the bowl. You want a mix of whole chickpeas and smashed chickpeas. Add a little olive oil to taste.
Putting It All Together
Mound some greens on a plate, plop on some chickpea salad, top with a few meatballs, and sprinkle with a little feta. Voila… dinner in 40 minutes! And cheers to actually using one of my cookbooks.