When I worked in Bushwick, everyday I passed a mysterious wholesale furniture business that sold things like wooden eagles with ten foot wingspans and golden camels with marble hooves. I never saw a customer go in or out, only workers sitting outside smoking and grilling, no matter the season.
I usually stayed on the other side of the street or sheepishly rushed past them. I think they were Turkish, and their rumbling chatter echoed through the warehouse-lined streets.
I left that job two years ago this month. I must have been carrying a lot of stuff back, or maybe I had a sentimental look in my eye. But on the last day, the guys outside the shop gave me an oblong-shaped meatball right off the grill. It was so flavorful, still hot enough that the juices played close to the edge, prone to drip at just the slightest pinch.
I know you're not supposed to take food from strangers. But sometimes, those bites are the best.
RECIPE: adapted (and lightened) from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottololenghi & Sami Tamimi
Finely julienne or mandoline/slice 2 zucchinis. Chop your pick of herbs -- mint, parsley, cilantro. Combine 1 lb ground turkey, 1 minced onion, zucchini, 1 whisked egg, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne. Shape into patties or balls or footballs. Fry for 4 minutes each side, or bake for 40 minutes.
Mix one cup Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon sumac, 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Serve with meatballs.