Tis’ the Season: Bitchin’ & Turkey

‘Tis the season for being grumpy, on edge, stressed, frustrated, and, well, just rude to those around you. It is also the season for eating …turkey…which I am not a huge fan of. Here’s my twist- an Asian-style turkey meatball that will take your mind off the giant bird you had to brine, roast, and carve.

Back to the grumpiness- it is the season for being selfish and narcissistic. Somehow the magic and frenzy of the holidays makes some believe that my driving is directed at them, than my shopping cart is purposefully in their way, and that my fumbling of the wallet as I juggle five bags, a toddler, and a giant cup of coffee (that I desperately need) is ruining their day by causing a whopping 25 second delay. At the stop light, in the parking lot, in the checkout line, on customer service phone calls, via emails, and in person, with people we know and people we’ve never seen before, December makes everything so personal!

Not long ago, I considered renting a condo in Aspen. I wasn’t dead-set on going and had no interest in spending a lot. I thought – make an offer. If they are interested great; if not, oh well. I sent maybe 10 emails out. Some of the folks replied that they were booked, others that they wouldn’t lower the price, others didn’t reply at all. And then there was this one, a man from California , who simply said I am highly insulted by your offer. I could not help but think- Seriously? You are burning energy on being highly insulted by a below-market offer on your rental condo in Aspen in the off-season??

One Monday night, at 10:30 pm, I was attempting to pick up my friend from the airport. I entered the waiting lot along with hoards grumpy picker-uppers of friends and relatives set to arrive on much delayed flights. The lot was full, and cars were moving at a snail pace each hoping that someone will leave liberating a coveted parking spot. No luck. I made myself a spot by getting my Toyota 4Runner to fit in front of a Mini Cooper- at the end of a lane. Our cars were facing and the size disparity was obvious. I turned my lights off but kept the engine running, which, in turn, kept the little orange side lights on. The middle aged woman in the Mini Cooper was not pleased with my presence: her mannerism and silent huffing was making that clear. With nowhere else to park, I figured it is best to let it go. But I could sense her frustration and see her irritation out of the corner of my eye. Flailing her arms, she was gesturing frantically that my lights were blinding her. I turned the lights on to kindly demonstrate blinding. And then I saw a parking spot open up and drove away, not ready to get in a parking lot fight.

I will not go on. Seriously, life is short, a lot of times miserable, and certainly full of things to be upset about, annoyed with, and insulted by. But this December I say ask yourself: seriously? Am I seriously upset/ annoyed/insulted? Bring it down 10 notches when the answer is no. Thanks.

December Snark-Free Turkey Meatball Wraps

Ingredients: 2 lbs ground turkey thighs; 6 small shallots, finely chopped; 6 garlic cloves, minced; 2 stalks lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, minced; 6 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus 1/2 cup for serving; 1/4 cup mint, chopped finely, plus 1/2 cup for serving; 2 teaspoons cornstarch; 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon ground pepper (or to taste); 1 cup granulated sugar; 2 heads butter lettuce heads, leaves separated; 1 red onion, peeled, halved, thinly sliced; Sriracha and rice vinegar for serving.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the ground turkey, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, chopped cilantro and mint, cornstarch, salt and pepper with your hands incorporating all ingredients well.

Spread the sugar on a large plate. Roll the meat into 1 1/2 inch meatballs and roll the meatballs in the sugar until evenly coated.

Transfer to the parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned and cooked all the way through.

Arrange the lettuce, cilantro, mint, and red onion on a plate. Top with one meatball in each lettuce leaf. Drizzle with a little rice vinegar and make it as spicy as you can handle with Sriracha sauce.

Photography by Jennifer Olson.

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  • Anonymous

    Are Mini Cooper Convertibles synonoymous with middle age? Because I really want one, and I am, unfortunately, middle aged. I just want to know that if I get one it won't be like the bald 50 year old in the red convertible. Thoughts? Btw, love the blog. XXOO.

  • A Plum By Any Other Name

    Ahh yes, tis the season, Your turkey meatballs look wonderful, a nice reminder to slow down and enjoy the meatballs this frenzied holiday season.

  • Miss Pettus

    Looks delicious sweetness!
    Hey, I would love to get together this December, yes, THIS December and cook and bake with you. How about a festive family meal? I just took a great French Pastries cooking class and I'm in love all over again–that is, with all things French. Let me know if you are interested. It will take me a good two days to prepare the French treats for us. :)

  • Monet

    These look yummy. I hate cooking whole birds (chickens or turkeys) so I'm always looking for recipes like these. This holiday season certainly does bring out the worst in people. I found myself frustrated by a lack of consideration many times today. But as you said, we need to try and let these annoyances go. Life is too short! Thank you so much for sharing! I hope you have a peace-filled day.

  • Jean

    So true, everything. I always have to make an effort not to let other people's negative behavior get to me. They do seem to come out of the woodwork this time of year.

    Your meatballs look delish.

  • Torviewtoronto

    beautiful presentation
    looks yummy

  • Evan @swEEts

    Man oh man.. those are quite a couple of situations you have yourself there. I totally would have reacted the same way though, if not more annoyed.. every time we're in Walmart (esp now)I end up getting angry at everyone for being so rude and stupid. If I had a condo in Aspen I'd rent it to you any old day :) especially if we could swap in some of these meatballs!

  • tasteofbeirut

    The presentation of these meatballs is lovely; it makes one feel so dainty eating such a hearty and rustic food!
    Happy holidays despite the grumpiness around you! :)

  • saltyseattle

    Aah- the lovely stress of the holidays! I never can wait until January rolls around- such a relief. But hey, at least we have things like fucking delicious meatballs to take our mind off things…

  • Sasa

    Thankfully so far in New Zealand it doesn't seem that December is as highly charged as where you are…Happy Holidays and I wish peace for you and yours.