Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Apartment and Turkey Meatballs Barley and Garlic Sauce Dish

I just moved from my parents' place to an apartment closer to work and I am so happy! I've been commuting since January and the commute can be anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending on traffic. It's about 60 miles each way. My dad has been doing this commute for over 10 years now. It's very taxing and you lose 3-4 hours of your day every weekday. I gained weight because I did not exercise as much, plus I would typically get sucked into my work and end up sitting for several hours. I try to walk periodically, and take a 15-20 minute walk after lunch, but it's not enough to combat a 9-10 hour sitting session. Finally, I got a place that is steps from the beach! It is such a great deal. Pretty good price for LA, though the room is small, but can't beat being close to the beach and in this nice area. Plus, my commute is only 30 minutes each way! It's only been 1 week since moving in but I am so much happier. :)

Another reason I wanted to move out and closer to work was to get back into cooking! My mom cooks a lot at home, and she is a FANTASTIC cook, but at times I really enjoy the process of cooking and getting the chance to experiment. Now that I'm in my own place and with more time (come home at 7 instead of 9!), I can get back to cooking!

Tonight I made a turkey meatball and veggie dish over barley. We had a pint of this great garlic sauce leftover from a work lunch, and I knew it would be great on nearly anything. I finished cooking around 9:30 and was very pleased. I did not take a picture of this because I still need to figure out how to plate it best, but the dish was very delicious despite its simplicity. I am proud because the turkey meatballs turned out very juicy! Earlier in the year, I had attempted to make Swedish meatballs, followed a recipe, and it came out very dry. I brought it to work too and feel like I forever shamed myself "-_-

The garlic sauce is this delicious thick creamy white sauce from Chicken Maison, which is famous for this sauce. It's delicious. It's probably based on this Lebanese garlic sauce ("toum") recipe, but is thicker and creamier, maybe closer to this garlic recipe here. Here's what I did:

Turkey meatballs:
1/2 lb of ground lean turkey (95% lean)
1/2 large yellow onion, minced
1/2 tsp of Texas barbecue seasoning (salt, black pepper, dried garlic, dried onion, paprika, oregano)
1 large egg
4-6 crumbled Saltine crackers

Mix together and let sit 15 minutes while you prepare the vegetables. I used mushrooms and broccoli here, cooked with caramelized minced onion in avocado oil. Once cooked to a crisp tender and caramelized state, remove contents to a bowl.

Meanwhile, cook pearled barley according to packet directions. I used 1 3/4 cup of water to 1/2 cup of barley, and probably cooked it for 45-60 minutes, but it was too much water and I had to drain the excess.

Using a mini cookie scoop, shape meat mixture into tight little balls. I got 11 out of the 1/2 lb meat mix.

In the same pan that the vegetables cooked in, heat another tsp of oil. Place the meatballs gently in the pan and cook over medium until browned. Turn meatballs and cook until browned on all sides. Make sure to cover the pan at some point to allow the meatballs to cook through without losing moisture. Once browned on all sides, turn off heat and remove pan from heat.

To serve:
Scoop barley into a wide bowl. Top with meatballs and vegetables, then drizzle garlic sauce over. You can garnish with paprika and parsley, a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy!

Here's another Mediterranean garlic sauce (copied from this link)
- 4 cloves garlic minced with
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 egg white

In a food processor add garlic minced with salt, begin processor and slowly add oil and lemon juice alternating them until gone, scape down sides intermittently. Add one to two egg whites while the processor is blending until you reach mayonnaise consistency. Serve with chicken or meat and cover and refrigerate remainder. Lasts about a week refrigerated"
Till next time!

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