Simmered in a lemon-scented sauce, these Tunisian meatballs are far from your same ole, same ole meatballs.
During the summer time my mind doesn't normally think, "Eureka! Let's make meatballs."I normally think of them as a heavier meal. But then what the heck? It's good to live dangerously sometimes.With that in mind those delicious little Italian spheres will share the spotlight in Ybor this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the inaugural Happy Bald Day at Centennial Park during the weekly Ybor City Saturday Market.The event will include a bald-is-beautiful contest and a "meat-bald" cooking-and-eating contest to honor those battling cancer. It should be lots of fun.When I make meatballs at home, I take a few liberties.I've used anything from turkey to tofu; pureed rice, breadcrumbs, cheese, an egg or two or cream for binders; and fried, baked or braised them.A quick way to skip the hassle of mixing meat is to take links of your favorite sausage and cut away the casing. Mix the meat with breadcrumbs, spices, etc. Most sausages already have the requisite amount of fat.This week's recipe for spicy meatballs is an amalgam of several recipes that I found on my bookshelf. They're packed with flavor and oh-so juicy.For me, the onset of summer is complete when I receive one, much-anticipated email. It signals summer's start and causes my mouth to water at the same time.The Ruskin Woman's Club is selling it's annual watermelon rind pickles! This year's delicious batch - about 230 jars - will sell for $5 and $8 depending on the size of the jar.If you'd like to purchase a jar, call Juanita Sehorne at (813) 645-5598 or Wilma Wood at (813) 645-3211.And finally, let me share a cool drink idea before I head to the beach.When the weather is scorching I enjoy a slightly chilled glass of wine. If there's no time to pop a bottle in the refrigerator long enough to cool it down, try chilling individual glasses of wine by adding a few frozen grapes. It's much quicker.Unsurprisingly, red grapes are perfect for red wines, and white grapes go well with white wines. The chilled fruit won't dilute the wine or release much flavor. Plus once you're done drinking, you have a delicious snack waiting for you at the bottom of the glass.Looks like it's going to be a tasty summer!Lynn Kessel is a freelance food columnist and blogger. For more of her recipes, visit southshore.tbo.com and enter the search words Lynn Kessel or look for her blog at www.lynnkessel.blogspot.com.SPICY TUNISIAN MEATBALLS2 pounds ground lamb, beef or veal (or a mixture)1 teaspoon turmeric1 teaspoon coriander1 teaspoon cumin1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped1 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes1 whole organic lemon, peel only1 chili pepperMix first seven ingredients together, cover and chill for an hour.Meanwhile, simmer the tomato with lemon peel; season if needed. Add sliced chili. Shape meat into balls and add to the tomato sauce. Cook gently until juice is reduced to half. Garnish with mint leaves.