I’ve always been under this weird impression that making meatballs is fairly complex. Staying true to my word and trying something new, I chose a recipe for some ginger meatballs for dinner last night. A couple of nights ago, I chopped an onion perfectly (yay!) so I was on a confidence high when prep time arrived. I managed to get all of my ingredients prepped and ready before I began, which is usually my first roadblock whenever I set out to cook a meal. Huge accomplishment. If only you knew.
As I said, I had thought meatballs were complicated to make. Then again, I tend to believe anything I haven’t ever cooked is complicated. Bacon, for instance. I still need to tackle bacon. But imagine my surprise when I discovered there is nothing more to meatballs than: 1) Mix ingredients and 2) Roll mixture into balls and bake. As I began to shape the meat into balls, I second-guessed myself. I thought, There’s no way it can be this easy. I have to be missing something vital. But a triple review of the steps told me otherwise, so I crossed my fingers and slid the pan into the oven.
The recipe for these meatballs included steps for rice noodles with stir-fried veggies. If there’s one thing I know I can handle in the kitchen, it’s stir-frying veggies. The rice noodles, on the other hand–they’re a whole new species to me. I’ve eaten my fair share at Thai restaurants, but I’ve never cooked with them. Hell, I had trouble finding them in the grocery store. When the time came to prepare them, I became stuck. The recipe says, “Cook noodles according to package directions.” Out of four brands of rice noodles on the store shelves, I picked the package that didn’t have any directions on how to cook them. Go figure. But thank goodness for Google, right?
Wrong! After a Google search for “how to cook rice noodles,” I’d gathered a melting pot of methods and no idea which one to choose. One was to boil them like you would any other noodle. Another was to place the noodles in a bowl and soak them in boiling-hot water. A third option was to soak the noodles in water of any temperature. All of these methods seemed to carry the risk of gooey, sticky, clumpy noodles. From what I read, it seemed like no matter how you choose to cook rice noodles, they’re easy to screw up. I debated the methods and finally chose to try the method of pouring boiling-hot water over a bowl of dry noodles. Ten minutes later, they were still stiff and crunchy and the water had become cool. Talk about disheartening. So, I went with my gut instinct. I tossed the noodles and the water into a pot and boiled them like I would spaghetti. After a few minutes they were nice and soft. I rinsed them in cold water and tossed them into the pan with the veggies, and although they were slightly gooey, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared.