Little balls of success

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.

Mise en place. (Yeah, I learned a new vocab term.)

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.

Raw talent.


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.




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