So, David told me I could have a regularly updated blog and conversations with all my pals on Twitter...Or I could write a book. I didn't have time for all of it, he said. He laid down the law.
He also took it upon himself to read, out loud, a passage from Steven Pressfield's wonderful "The War of Art" It was a story about Odysseus, who had sailed the oceans of the world, only to get so close to his home of Ithaca, so close he and his sailors could see the smoke billowing out of the chimneys of their houses, so close he felt compelled to take a rest. A nap, for heaven's sake.
While he slept, a bag of adverse winds in his satchel (it's a bitch carrying around those adverse winds) was released and he was forced to slip back across every league of ocean he had ever traveled, forcing him to endure his long travels and hardships all over again.
The point: The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight.
And this is, of course, why I was sleeping in, using the kids as an excuse not to write before they got up, over-analyzing my writing, telling myself I am no good and who would want to read a book I wrote anyway, all those evil things and more. I can really do a job on myself. The mind is a funny thing.
But I'm on track again, thanks to David and his guilt-inducing pep talks. I have the concept and body of the proposal done and am nearly finished with sample chapters. Lord have mercy. I am nearly done, but not so nearly done, if you get my drift.
For those of you who have e-mailed me, I will post the whole book proposal, at some point, so you can see what it looks like, in case you might be thinking of your own. And please if you are a writer, read Pressfield's "The War of Art" which is 165 pages of brilliance on how your mind stops you, insidiously and secretively, from creating what you are meant to create.
Until then, have this soup. Soup always makes your brain do the right things. It's been rainy here. Not cold exactly, we are in light jacket weather, but this soup fits the bill on a rainy day, warm or otherwise. Enjoy.
Finish the Damn Book Proposal Already Curried Lamb Meatball Soup
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
2 handfuls cilantro leaves, minced
2 handfuls basil leaves, minced
A palm full of cumin, be generous
A palm full of curry powder
1 cup of Italian style bread crumbs
1/4 pound of bacon
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into circles
2 15-ounce cans of small white beans or half a package of dry beans, cooked to make about 3 cups
Half a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of good quality chicken broth
A big handful or two of shredded spinach (or other green)
1/2 cup of Greek style plain yogurt (sour cream will work in a pinch)
A grating or two of Parmesan cheese (optional)
Break up the ground lamb in a bowl and add half the chopped cilantro and half the chopped basil. Salt the meat to taste. Give the meat a few shakes of the onion and garlic powders. Add the cumin, the curry powder. You can also add a little of your favorite grilling seasoning, but this is optional. I happened to have a little Fennel Spice Rub sitting in the cupboard and I added a dash or two of that, but not so much it over-powered the flavors.
Mix all the spices into the meat. Add the egg. Mix in bread crumbs little by little until you have a good consistency to roll a meatball. It shouldn't be eggy, but it also shouldn't be overly dry. Start rolling the meat into tiny bite-sized balls.
While you are making the meatballs, heat your stock pot on the stove over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until nearly crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Do not remove the bacon fat.
Turn up the heat. Add the meatballs. Let brown on at least two sides. Remove when they are a lovely crusty brown color, about a minute or two on each side, and remove to a separate plate.
Make the Soup
Turn the heat down to medium and add a good sized knob of butter to the pan. Add the garlic and onions. Sauté until translucent about 5 minutes. Add the sliced zucchini, the beans, the crushed tomatoes and the broth. Add the rest of the cilantro and basil.
Keep heat on medium. Let it get nice and hot. Add the meatballs back in, the bacon and the spinach. Let simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, maybe a sprinkle or two of Parmesan, if you have some, and a sprig of cilantro. Lovely.