Nature: the good, the bad, the ugly. Thai pork meatballs

Frank Zappa’s Weasels Ripped My Flesh.  As one comment said, “Frank covered many genres, even Noise,”

So there we were, six old friends, conflicted with the animal-lover/gardener dilemma: after planting, watering, feeding, and coaxing fragile lettuce starts, pampering quirky peonies, and cajoling tricky Daphnies, how does a gardener stifle the urge to wring a rabbit’s neck when you see him devouring your hard work?

We were sitting outdoors after dinner at our annual Memorial Day potluck sharing stories. The Sweetie’s wildflower patch was just beginning to bloom: purple lupins, white lacey flowers, yellow poppies, towering pink foxgloves—surrounded by ragged, bare patches curated by munching bunnies. All of a sudden, the juncoes sounded their chirpy alarm and dive-bombed the flowers. Then, down the slope, shrieking and clawing, tumbled a furry, fighting ball of two small, grappling animals. Didn’t take long to see that it was a weasel with a young rabbit clenched in its jaws.

As I’m a terrible Nature photographer and forgot my camera anyway, these pictures were nicked straight from the internet.

Granted, there was general dismay over the violence and some sympathy for the bunny, but there was also an almost involuntary, overall cheer from the gardener side, “Go weasel, go!”  Mr. Google knew all about the weasel and called it a “vicious and bloodthirsty predator.” Anyways, this episode, straight out of PBS’s Nature, was brief but spectacular and over almost before we could choose sides. The fighting and wrestling ball rolled past the juncoes and through the wildflowers until it came to a stop at the base of the slope. The weasel tightened its grip, looked over its shoulder, and dragged the bunny up the slope and into the woods—probably not to attend the teddy bears’ picnic.

Before the weasel/bunny excitement, we polished off dishes from our Asian-cuisine get together: Thai asparagus & yam noodle salad, seared, stir-fried tofu with vegetables, and Korean rice bowls with pork meatballs. We’ve scaled down some: no more five-course feasts, complicated menus, or fussy food. We’ll choose the easy, the quick, and the accessible and will stick with old friends, good food, and lengthy conversations. 

Thai pork meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground pork
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Nuoc Nam sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons short grain glutinous rice, such as sushi rice
  • 4 ounces pork fat, cubed
  • Vegetable oil
  • 6 to 8 (8-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes. 

In a small bowl combine the ground pork, shallots, garlic, sugar, fish sauce and pepper. 

Place the rice in a small skillet and heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until rice is toasted, golden brown and fragrant. Transfer to a plate to cool. When cool, place rice in a coffee grinder and process to a fine powder. Measure 3 tablespoons of the powder and set aside.

Add the 3 T. rice powder to ground pork mixture. Don’t over process or the mixture will become sticky. 

Lightly oil your hands. Divide meat mixture into heaping 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls and roll each into a smooth ball. Recoat your hands with oil as necessary. Thread the meatballs onto the bamboo skewers, fitting as many as you can on each skewer.

Grill or broil the skewered meatballs, turning occasionally, until cooked through.  

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2 Responses to Nature: the good, the bad, the ugly. Thai pork meatballs

  1. Kathy says:

    The flowers are so beautiful. I hate to say it but I feel bad for the bunnies. Where in the world did a weasel come from? I have never seen one. It’s either bunnies or deer that eat my flowers. It is frustrating I know. Sounds like you had a good Memorial Day. Hope to see you both soon!

  2. Tom says:

    What a wonderful piece.
    Thank you so much for putting together
    such a well written memory we can share.
    The few I’ve told about the incident loved the
    Can’t wait to get back to them with your creation!

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