I didn’t know this until just a few minutes ago, but apparently in the apartment complex that is home to Chez Tv Food and Drink, I now have a reputation to protect.
I was just at my front door, key in hand and two bags of groceries at my feet. A young couple I recognized as neighbors I was nearly certain I had seen before passed me on the way to the elevator. He was sporting an entirely shaved head but for a large flap of dark hair that fell forward and covered his left eye, while she was coiffed in shoulder-length bright magenta locks capturing a look that is more common than not in the Hollywood area.
As they went past, the guy recognized my door, stopped and asked, “Hey, are you the guy that cooks all the time?”
I chuckled nervously because that’s what I do around strangers, and then said, “yes.” He responded with, “Ah, man. I smell that food coming out of your apartment all the time. It’s fucking amazing!”
I thanked him with a big smile I couldn’t have wiped off if you paid me, then offered to drop some food off sometime at his front door, to which he offered to pay me back in kind with a bottle of wine. Then we went our separate ways before it dawned on me I still had no idea what their names were or where the hell they lived.
Oh well. I’s nice to know I have some fans out there amongst the masses. And it’s certainly the kind of thing you happily welcome hearing the night before having to psych yourself up for another work week.
And yes, I certainly did assume that the aroma of the food I make would slither into the hallways of my complex now and again. But as I’m the one doing the cooking, I seldom catch the actual aroma myself since it envelopes me faster than anything else. So it’s nice to get a pat on the back for something you hope other people love enjoying as much as you enjoy making it.
So, I’m the “cooks all the time” neighbor. I’ll take it. It’s much better than being the “drunk who lets all the restaurant menus pile up at their front door” neighbor, or the “doesn’t know that polite conversation needs to end well before the ten-minute mark” neighbor, or the “why the hell should I walk one flight of stairs when there’s an elevator to haul my lazy ass up to it?” neighbor.
Come to think of it, I’m sure these spicy apple lamb meatballs probably garnered me some hallway props amongst the neighbors. Aside from the spicy kick of the onions, peppers and horseradish, there’s also some earthy tones from the parsley and the mushrooms, capped off by the sweet aroma of apples and apple cider. It’s an aromatic opera! As for the taste, the heat is met straight on by the sweetness, striking a nice balance from one chew to the next. And I highly recommend letting some sit overnight in its juices for an even more concentrated taste sensation the next day!
Click through the gallery below for start-to-finish pics. Recipe follows below.
Spicy Apple Lamb Meatballs
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped and separated into two equal amounts
- ½ half jalepeno pepper, finely chopped
- 1-2 white mushrooms, finely chopped
- ¼ cup of chopped parsley leaves
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon prepared mustard
- ½ teaspoon prepared horseradish sauce
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped and separated 2 to 1
- 1 Granny Smith apple, skinned – one-half roughly chopped, the other half sliced
- 1 rosemary sprig
- ½ teaspoon of chopped rosemary
- 3 cups (24 ounces) of hard apple cider
Mix the lamb, one half of your chopped onion, one of your chopped garlic cloves, jalapeno, parsley, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, horseradish sauce and your egg in a bowl – form into small balls (15-17).
Heat olive oil on high heat and when hot, add meatballs, browning slightly for about 6 minutes total, gently turning over once during the cooking. The meatballs should cook just enough to hold together. Remove from pan and drain.
Reduce heat and in the same pan, add your finely chopped apple (reserve the sliced other half), the rest of your garlic and the other half of your chopped onion. Stir until everything begins to brown, then add in your apple juices slowly (it may splatter). Bring to a boil and add the rosemary sprig.
Reduce mixture to a simmer, add back in the meatballs. Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes. The meatballs should be covered completely in the apple cider mixture but if not, you should gently turn them several times during the simmer.
Remove meatballs from mixture and keep warm in the oven. Bring mixture to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the apple slices and the chopped rosemary. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs back in and coat with sauce for about a minute. Remove meatballs from pan and pour sauce over them. Serve immediately.