CREAMY LAMB MEATBALLS // the local food report

If you have a few minutes today, give a listen to my dad sharing his recipe for creamy lamb meatballs on this week's Local Food Report. They are so good, and along with a spring salad and a plate of hot cross buns (!) would make a great Easter meal. 


This recipe comes originally from the book 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer, but my dad has tweaked it a bit to make it his own. Whatever you do, don't try to skip the half and half—buy some pastured cream and embrace the fat! That's why it's so good.

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 half-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced very small
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 ounces ground lamb
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon garam masala

Pulse the fennel and cumin seeds in a spice grinder until they are mostly ground but still have a bit of texture to them. Add this mix to a large bowl along with the ginger, onion, garlic, lamb, and salt and mix well. Use your hands to form roughly ten golf-ball size meatballs.

Warm the oil and butter over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet. Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook, turning frequently, until browned all over—about 5-8 minutes. Pour in the half and half and sprinkle the garam masala around, trying to aim mostly at the half and half and avoid the meatballs. (So you don't get any big clumps.) Raise the heat to medium high and simmer vigorously, uncovered, spooning the mixture over the meatballs every minute or so. The meatballs are ready when they are barely pink inside and the sauce has thickened, after about 8-10 minutes. Scoop out and serve hot, with spoonfuls of sauce, over rice.



I am just here to say CRIKEY ! the ricotta berry cake was good and gosh, geez so was the chicken. (Made one rather important change: used a jar of rose hip jelly someone gave us instead of the apricot jam. Seems to me you could also use orange marmalade or some sort of rhubarb jelly.)

That is all. Happy Tuesday—cake recipe below! Have a good one, friends.


This is adapted from Standard Baking Co.'s new cookbook, Pastries. The big changes I made were to cut down on the sugar (it started at a cup and a quarter—yikes!) and swap in whole wheat flour for all purpose. The result is more of a snacking/breakfast bread than a cake, which is what I prefer. We also used homemade ricotta, which was dead simple to make and absolutely delicious.

1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
10 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup ricotta
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries (I used a mix of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a standard 9" by 5" loaf pan. Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Scrap down the sides and add the maple syrup and ricotta and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla, again scraping down the sides and beating until just combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, and finally fold in the berries. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until just set. Let the cake cool in its pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out and cool another few minutes before serving, if you have that much restraint.


SUNDAY, MARCH 20 // elspeth

Hi there. Three things I'd like to cover today:

1. I've been missing you. Some small people with strong wills and messy hands have been keeping me busy. Ok, fine, and Outlander. Eeeyoow ! Jamie Fraser. Ahem.

2. I am hoping will ! be back in the very near future with a post on keeping a sustainable kitchen. It's something I think about a lot but don't talk about in detail much, but I've been thinking lately I really should. So, more soon.

3. Finally, last but not least, I just finished our meal plan for the week and thought I'd stop by and share. Deviled eggs, anyone?

Here's the plan:

This veggie-laden coconut curry bowl from Pinch of Yum. We've still got a bit of cabbage kicking around from our winter CSA, and my mom just brought some carrots down from her winter farmers market in Maine. Hooray!

Stuffed shells with homemade ricotta and last summer's tomato sauce. Enough said.

—With one of Drew's chickens, the apricot chicken dish my sister has been making OBSESSIVELY for the past six months. This'll be my first time, but I have 100 percent faith in her judgement...I mean, we can't even go shopping together without buying the same striped shirt. So, it's gonna be a hit. 

—In an ode to Easter: a lamb and veggie soup from Olives, Lemon & Za'atar. So far, it doesn't seem to be on the web, but if it's good, I promise to share. 

Friday Fish Fry ! We try to avoid canola oil (or more accurately, all new fangled vegetable oils) which means fish fried out is basically a no. But ! that doesn't mean we can't pull out a chunk of the tallow I made (which came out beautifully, using this tutorial and suet from Seawind Meadows Farm at the Orleans Winter Farmers Market) and some fluke and sit down to a treat that's going to nourish and please. Bonus: the slaw is another way to use up our winter cabbage and carrots, and we can make our own sweet potato fries, too.  

—Finally, because we all need a slice of breakfast/snack/after dinner cake sometimes, we're going to try a Blueberry Ricotta Custard Cake from Standard Baking Co.'s new cookbook. If the Linzer cookies my mom's friend Rebecca made from it over Christmas were any indication, it's going to be a winner. 

Happy Spring, friends.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.