Make Turkey Kale Meatballs! (and other Good Ideas)

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Here we go with my favorite spiritual teacher again. (Richard Rohr, of course. I'm trying to figure out where I can buy a large poster of him and maybe get him to autograph it. He would be horrified since that goes against everything he's trying to teach. Sigh.)

But today I read, "Mystics [or lovers] do not love concepts. They love the concrete and the particular." For me, I immediately think of how settled, how grounded I feel in the kitchen. Yesterday, after a frustrating day of doing lots of work without much to show for it (Why does sitting the computer feel that way? I do not love coordinating sometimes.), I put on my apron at 5:30 and immediately felt better. I was going to produce something! There would be something to show for my 60 minutes of work! And it would make me and my family full and happy.

Yancey got some incredible organic meat from his co-worker and ground turkey was part of our package. I asked him to get more since I can think of about one zillion uses for it--meatloaf (drool), spaghetti sauce, burgers, taco salad (drool squared), breakfast sausage patties. It might not be sexy, but it's deliciously lean protein, especially these turkeys who were loved all their waddling little lives. 

But it was meatballs last night, this time dropped into a simple tomato sauce, served over linguine with chives from the garden and some Asiago on top. The kids have stalwartly put up with a lot of salads lately (LOVE that), so I enjoyed hearing Wyatt slurp and moan. The concrete and particular.

Here's a few other things that I do or have seen others do lately that help with this business of loving the concrete and particular:

  • I keep a tea tray ready all the time for myself or guests--teapot, tin of loose tea, sugar, small pitcher, spoon, and spoon rest. I love the ease of making myself tea when I'm overwhelmed or feeling low or being able to bring a tray out to someone sitting in my kitchen.
  • Turning phones off when going to the park with kids, being with friends, or exercising outside. Increasingly, we are so busy documenting that we're not living and noticing anymore. I recently read about Digital Burnout and how folks are now going to retreats to detox and come back to their lives.
  • I have a "gift stash" in my office, a shelf that's full of little things that most people (especially women) would like--candles, soap, chocolate, vases for flowers. I pick these things up while I'm doing other things (shopping for toiletries at Target or browsing Goodwill) and look for chances to give them away with a little card telling folks that I love or appreciate them. 
  • My friend Molly declared August "Corn Dog Month." She's got 4 boys (four!) and was tired of all the cooking and snack prep she was doing this summer and wanted to give everyone a break. She bought some huge bags of prepared food--burritos, mini corn dogs, pizza pockets--and didn't cook all month. Her kids now think she is Christ Jesus, they had a lot of fun, and she's already planning on doing it next August. (Do you see why Molly is one of my favorite people?)
  • Sending mail. Real mail. Emily and I both have boxes full of the things we've sent one another over the last dozen years. Boxes, plural. Someday we'll make a beautiful book, I hope. When I open my mailbox and see Emily's writing on an envelope, it almost doesn't matter what else has happened that day.

Happy Meatball-Making, friends! Put on that apron! (And if you don't have an apron you love? You've got to fix that.)

Turkey Kale Meatballs
You can put these in tomato sauce or do so many other things with them, and they'll freeze beautifully or keep in the fridge for a few days. Put them in pita pockets with veggies and a yogurt sauce, slice and fry them up with eggs in the morning, break them up and put them in burritos or on top of nachos, use them atop a salad with feta, pita chips, cucumbers, and tomatoes. 

2 lbs. ground turkey
2 Tb. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch kale, washed and finely chopped
1/4 lb. mushrooms, washed and finely chopped 
handful chopped fresh herbs--parsley, basil, oregano, thyme or just parsley if that's what you have
1/4 c. grated parmesan
1/2 c. bread crumbs (I just keep a bag of them in the freezer for things like this)
1 egg, slightly beaten
lots of salt and pepper

Heat oven to 425 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Heat 1 Tb. of the olive oil in a large skillet or wok. When shimmering, add garlic, kale, and mushrooms. Saute with a little salt until it's wilted down to practically nothing and all the water has evaporated. Set aside to cool a bit.

Dump the ground turkey into a large bowl. Add herbs, bread crumbs, eggs, salt, pepper, parmesan, and cooled veggies and mix with your hands very, very gently.

Form small balls (about 2 Tb.) and space out on the two cookies sheets. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tb. of olive oil and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes, until they're golden and cooked through.