Asian Meatballs and the Education System

Mind boggling.  That is how I felt last night when we were talking about school.  Both kids had tests yesterday.  Both mentioned how they had to finish them today.  I asked what they meant finishing it a day later.  Apparently that is the norm in our school system.  If you don’t finish it in time that is ok.  This just blew my mind.  Growing up if I didn’t finish a test in the set amount of time that was on me.

This really concerns me because as a parent I want the best education for our kids.  I don’t want education to be a limiting factor to whatever progress our kids make.  Last year the US was ranked 14th in the world when it came to education.  The past couple of years think tanks have mucked about with different ways the kids should be taught without really vetting the programs.  Common core has been a nightmare.  I’m sorry 2+2 does not equal 5!  I get that kids should learn to think through the process and understand how they got to the answer but it is not ok if the answer is wrong.

It is hard for me to understand the overall disconnect between what I see our teachers doing locally and how our students stand vs other countries.  The teachers our kids have, bar one, have been amazing.  They are dedicated to our kids, they work long hours, they work to try to tailor lessons for each student, and communicate with us.  So I have to think our system is held back at the higher level.  For example there is an OK senator who wants to cut funding to the AP History classes because it “teaches students what is bad about America”  It doesn’t promote “exceptionalism”.   Constantly chanting “We’re #1” isn’t leadership, it’s insecurity.

To rise back up the ranks, kids need to have positive learning experiences while being prepared for the real world.  They need to stop being let down by those who forget separation of church and state actually exists, to be allowed to actually learn science and the truth about history, and to know that 2 + 2 doesn’t equal 5.

We are fortunate that our kids love to learn and seek out ways to learn new things.  But not all kids have that support.

We did have a nice meal to go along with the enlightening conversation.  I was in the mood for meatballs and wanted an Asian flair.  And guess what my husband found at the co-op?

Asian meatballs 1 2015

Galangal!  How cool is that?  In a bowl I mixed up a half pound of beef with a few tablespoons of freshly grated galangal.  I found it to be very dry and flaky.  I also added chopped chives and couple of teaspoons of amino acids.  Otherwise known as gluten free soy sauce.  Then roll the meat into meatballs about an inch to an inch in a half in diameter.  In a skillet heat up a few tablespoons of peanut oil.

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Brown the sides of the meatballs then finish off in an oven heated to 350F/175C.  Meanwhile, saute chopped veg of your choice.  I did up peppers, scallions, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms.

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I messed up on the portion of sauce vs the portion of rice noodle.  I made enough sauce for two people but enough noodles for 4.  So I would double what I’m putting here.  Otherwise the dish ends up bland and trust me, the sauce wasn’t bland!  I added 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, a couple of teaspoons of amino acids, a few splashes of fresh lime juice, and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  Bring to a simmer and add a cup of homemade chicken stock.  Reduce down a bit then add the meatballs.

Asian meatballs 5 2015

Cook the rice noodles per the directions then serve with the meatball sauce.

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Next time I make this I will definitely increase the sauce because the flavour was amazing.  Just wish the rice noodles hadn’t dulled it down.

Meatballs! With a Chance of Clouds

My kids loved the book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  How they have enough to do a sequel to the movie I don’t know but the book was great.  Yesterday afternoon was definitely overcast and surprisingly cool and it was time for some comfort food.  We had some tortellini stuffed with cheese and prosciutto that I wanted to use and we needed to use some of the store bought tomato sauce we got for the homemade pizzas we made earlier in the week.  But I wanted to create something and it’s been a long time since I made any sort of meatballs.  Fortunately we had some ground beef on hand from a local farm.

This is a simple recipe which is perfect now the kids are back in school.  The summer just flew by.  Both are happy with the teachers they got and while they would prefer to still be on holiday it isn’t to tortuous heading off to school in the morning. 🙂

In a medium bowl I added the beef, one egg, 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped, fresh thyme from the garden and salt and pepper to taste.

Meatballs 1 2013

As you hand mix this be careful not to manhandle it too much.  My mixture was quite moist so I added a bit of panko bread crumbs to bring it together better.

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To really give it some flavour I drizzled some real balsamic vinegar onto the mixture and incorporated it.

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Form into smallish balls keeping them somewhat uniform in size.  In a skillet with hot oil oil brown both sides.

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Once both sides have been browned I finish them off in the oven at 400F/205C.  This will only take a few minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.  I add them to the sauce and pasta towards the end to make sure they are warm.  You don’t want to overcook them as they will dry out.  In the skillet I sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms, added the sauce and balsamic vinegar.  To finish I added some fresh basil.  Once the pasta is cooked I tossed it in the sauce and added the meatballs.

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Grate some fresh parmesan over it and enjoy!  We had a lovely Merlot from Chile to pair with this dish.