Date Meatballs with Orange Mint Yogurt Sauce

I have made these a few times and they deserve to be made more often. The first time I followed the recipe below and they were delicious. I made them again with ground beef instead of turkey and used sour cream as I didn’t have any yogurt; not as perfect but still delicious, particularly with roasted cauliflower (picture at below).

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound ground turkey
  2. 2 cups fresh bread crumbs (I used 1 cup dry)
  3. 6 dates, pitted and finely chopped
  4. 2 large eggs, beaten
  5. 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  6. 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 cup French green lentils
  9. 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  10. 2 thyme sprigs
  11. 1 cinnamon stick
  12. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  13. 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  14. 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  15. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I used fresh orange juice)
  16. 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  17. 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (I used orange zest)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey with the bread crumbs, dates, eggs, sesame seeds, sesame oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the lentils, garlic, thyme and cinnamon stick with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer to a bowl; pick out and discard the seasonings. Stir the olive oil and vinegar into the lentils and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Form the turkey mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Spread the meatballs on a lightly oiled large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned on the bottom and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, blend the yogurt with the lemon juice, mint and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the meatballs with the lentils and yogurt.
    ~Food & Wine, 2004

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Fresh Corn

Cucumber Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt plus 1/4 cup water
  • 2 small whole scallions, trimmed and 1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, deveined and chopped
  • ½ cup packed mixed fresh herbs (like mint, parsley, dill, tarragon, basil and cilantro)
  • ½ teaspoon sherry or white wine vinegar, more to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 ear of corn, cooked, shucked, kernels sliced off

Preparation

  1. In a food processor, combine cucumber, yogurt and water, garlic, scallions, jalapeño, fresh herbs, sherry vinegar and salt. Blend until smooth and adjust seasoning as needed. Chill.
  2. Distribute soup between 4 bowls and garnish with corn kernels and a drizzle of olive oil.