December 2011


I usually try to have something good on New Year’s Eve, but this year I wasn’t feeling all that inspired until a friend made meatballs a few days ago. So simple, but so delicious. I realized that I have never made meatballs, so I thought I’d give it a try for my New Year’s Eve treat. I looked over a few recipes and cobbled them together in the following recipe:

1 pound ground pork sausage (Hornbacher’s store-brand from the meat department)
1 pound ground turkey
24 crushed saltine crackers
Half of a white onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 eggs

The onion and garlic were grated directly into the mixing bowl. Basil, oregano and pepper were added. {NOTE: I didn’t actually measure the basil, oregano or pepper, I just estimated what looked like about the right amount. Was it half a teaspoon? No idea, that’s as good a guess as anything.} The meats were added and everything was thoroughly mixed by hand. Once the mixture was fairly uniform, the crushed crackers were added and the mixture was once again mixed by hand. The eggs were added and again mixed by hand. The mixture was quite loose and sticky. The mixture was formed into 24 balls and placed on a rack in a drip pan. The oven was preheated to 425degF, the meatballs were put in the oven and the temperature was reduced to 375degF. They’re still baking right now.

I cavalierly disregarded the common instruction of forming the balls with wet hands. Arg. This meatball mix was sticky and loose, it would have been easier to form better and more uniform balls if I had cleaned my hands before forming the balls and wet them occasionally.

After 20 minutes the meatballs were done, but I prefer them a little crispy, so I’ll leave them in the another ~10 minutes. Flavor and texture are pretty good. They might be a little heavy on the garlic for some, but I like a nice garlicky meatball. I think that if they were used in a pasta sauce they might be just about right, a good little garlic accent to a mild sauce and a plate of pasta. They might also be good in a barbeque or sweet-and-sour sauce, or with a splash of marinara on a hoagie roll with some melted mozzarella. Mmmm… meatballs…

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Another semester is in the books and I once again feel a bit… lost? Especially at the end of the semester, everything is going so fast. There’s grading, exam writing, meetings to squeeze in before the end of the semester… it all piles up and you get used to shouldering a heavy load while running a marathon. Then it ends, and for a few days I always feel a little lost. Fortunately, it only takes a couple days to adjust and realize that it’s time to get ready for the next semester. It starts in just a couple weeks. Eep.

I just read an article in Men’s Health about some of the side effects of finasteride. {http://www.menshealth.com/health/sex-life-after-propecia} I found myself thinking “Dang, is going bald really that bad?” I’m fortunate to still have a full head of hair, but I think between my disdain for pharmaceuticals and my frugality I would probably just accept baldness if it were to come my way. Although I’m not balding, I have been getting an occasionally disturbing amount of gray creeping into my mane, and when I think about the effort and expense that would be required to dye my hair, I can’t imagine being sufficiently bothered to do anything about it. Is this a sign of confidence? A lack of vanity? A perfect storm of frugality, laziness and apathy? Probably an overpowering dose of the last option.
If you’re one of the millions who are balding and it’s something that you just can’t accept right now, then perhaps it’s worth the risks. The rates are very low. But for the entire field of “vanity pharmaceuticals”, what really is an acceptably low risk? That’s a personal decision for every individual, in my case “low” would have to be vanishingly close to zero.