Bliss Ridge is "the balls" as some would say. Actually the person who enthusiastically refers to this place as "the balls" really says "the bawwlls" with an unmistakeable New Hampshah accent. His name is Darryl and he drives a huge-ass truck filled with (organic-approved; remember we keep it clean & green up here!) potash. He shows up around the beginning of July and dumps enormous "Ash Mountain" right at the bottom of where the meadows begin (see distant black lump in photo below)
Then he heads on down the road with his "bible on bowahd" (Darryl's response when my husband directed him to maneuver his monster truck via the goatpath-esque route to the interstate, was "don't worry, I've got a bible on bowahhd"((onboard))).
He thinks Bliss Ridge is "wicked pissah". We think Darryl is wicked pissah. His wife's name is Sherry and he thinks she is wicked pissah too. And it is wicked pissah when he talks about how wicked pissah she is. We hope she rides up with him next time.
Serendipitously, having not had "wicked pissah" or monster trucks or potash or Darryl enter my mind prior to typing the word "balls," which phonetically, mind you, is pronounced "bawwllz", I have now dedicated this post about wicked pissah spiced meatballs, to Darryl. We can thank him for some great new vocab words and some seriously good-looking, red-clover-rich grass (the hayfields up here were in dire need of rejuvenation by the time I finally moved back home... for 17 years they had been hayed and manicured religiously however not a smidgen of fertilizer was applied... so Ash Mountain deliveries a few times per summer are a necessity, until these guys can get the fertilization regime under control.)
They are good at mowing. And they are delicious. And they mowed down my winter carrot crop. So we took down their ring leader.
Remember ole Skippy, the untrustworthy horned ginger guy there in the middle? Well... he got shipped off to Kermit LaBounty's place, in four pieces, shortly after the massacre of the carrot patch. He crossed the line one too many times ole Skip...
At least he won't be making the same mistake twice
(No, I didn't really shoot Skippy on Sunday Gunday, but I whacked two clay pigeons out of five. And if you do the math... you might just conclude there is a possibility I could be a sharpshooter; stay tuned; I've only ever fired seven bullets but we'll see... the next time my carrots are threatened we. will. see.)
What I did do, was spend a day wrapping meat with John the Butcher. He rocks. I'll tell the tale of that classic day next time I write about cow meat!
Meanwhile, back to the bawlls.
Skippy and his high-tonnage team of beasts with an affinity for escaping and munching my garden, make for some exciting dinner. These are also lovely as an appetizer though I don't recommend serving them on toothpicks as the sauce is too delicious and you'll want to eat more of it than can be soaked up by a ball on a miniature stick.
Spiced Lamb and/or Beef Meatballs ("Wicked pissah bawlls")
(makes approx. 36 1.5-inch diameter balls)
1.5 lbs ground meat (I have made these with all-lamb, all-beef and a combination of the two... DELICIOUS each time)
1 medium onion, finely diced (I prefer red)
3 very large garlic cloves (or 5 small ones...)
2 tsps salt
1/8 cup (packed) finely diced fennel (can use the fronds and stalks here)
1.5 tsps cumin
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fennel seeds (toasted = better)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/8 cup (heaping) raisins, chopped up–or use currants to save time!)
1/8 cup (loosely packed) fresh mint leaves, chopped–or use 1 scant tsp dried mint
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
*optional: 1/2 - 1 cup finely smashed fresh breadcrumbs (I didn't use them last time and the balls stayed together just fine and were equally as delicious. If you anticipate random dinner drop-ins or you want to "stretch the meat" add some crumbs!
1.5 tbsps olive oil
2-3 cups puréed tomatoes (hopefully frozen from your summer garden; canned will also work just fine if you are stuck in the middle of a yankee winter and have exhausted your supply, for example)
dash of salt
1 cup tomato purée
1 tsp toasted ground coriander
1 tsp salt
*whisk ingredients together in a saucepan while heating for about 10 mins to combine the flavors. Set aside.
2 cups plain yogurt (see above threat regarding what type of yogurt to use... hint: WHOLE milk)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (I like Meyer lemons)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
dash of salt & dash or ground cumin (to taste)
1. Prepare both "serving sauces" and set aside - they can both be made a day or so ahead of time and refrigerated if you're the organized type.
2. Place all meat ball ingredients in a large bowl and stir/toss with a burly fork to combine everything so that it ends up in an evenly distributed manner. (This can also be done hours or a day ahead of time and refrigerated, which will allow the meat to imbibe the spices = yum)
2. Form your balls in whatever size you please! (I usually do about 1.5-inch diameter)
3. Pour "cooking sauce" ingredients into large heavy-bottom skillet, to the level of about an inch deep – enough so that it ends up being 3/4 the way up the balls (I used a LeCreuset braising dish here...please excuse the horrendous photo, I was in a hurry and it gets dark at 4pm here in the tundra!)
4. Place balls in tomato sauce and cook about 10 mins then flip over and cook 5-10 more mins (depending on how rare you like your meatballs. TASTE them and decide if they need to cook longer.
5. Prepare large flat-bottom serving platter with sides (I like to use this yellow one, it is about 12-inch diam.)
(yes the table is still decked out holiday-style thanks to my mom and sister)
Pour some yogurt sauce slowly into one side of the platter and some tomato sauce slowly onto the other side of the platter. Now you can swirl the two if you like to be fancy (I like fancy).
6. Place finished meat balls into the sauce in the same manner as you did when cooking them (but you can squeeze them in a bit closer to each other)
7. Garnish with fresh cilantro (some thinly sliced scallions would be a nice addition as well) and provide size-appropriate serving utensil so that sauces can be scooped up with each ball.
OOh ooh here is an idea; you could serve these beautes aside/atop this Israeli couscous... or as an app on their own, or you could hastily put them in a glass container, throw them in your backpack and ski into the woods to a cabin with 7 friends and have a ragingly fabulous New Years Eve, pairing said meat balls with whiskey. Predecessed by fondue. And other delicious items.
I apologize that there are no photos of the finished dish (yet)... but here are us meat ball recipients, (minus one brave soul who was already teaching small children to ski at the time this photo was taken) who, take note, still appear rather gleeful on New Year's Day, regardless of the staggeringly disproportionate sleep:whiskey ratio emblematic of the previous evening...
I recommend whipping up some bawlls and heading into the woods for a wicked pissah time!