Crossover Spice Blend, three ways

Last night’s surprisingly quick and easy meal: lamb chops, green beans, and spaghetti squash, all featuring the Crossover Spice Blend. I made a spice butter for the spaghetti squash, used spice to crust the lamb, and tossed green beans in the pan after deglazing.

lamb, green beans, spaghetti squash

It worked out really well. The spice blend tied all of the dishes together, but each tasted just different enough to keep things interesting: the lamb added its own strong flavor, the squash brought sweetness, and I’m sure the green beans would have spoken up except I drowned the poor things in Parmesan. Still tasty, though.

K, who is generally stingy with praise, looked up at me during dinner and said, “Honey, this is really good.” And it only took half an hour total. I’d call it a 30-minute meal, but I think that might be copyrighted.

Specific process follows.

1) spiced spaghetti squash (adapted from smitten kitchen)

1 spaghetti squash
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp spice blend
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

– Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Pierce it a couple of times with a fork just in case.
– Brush the inside flesh with olive oil and set the squash half cut-side-down on a microwave-safe dish. Microwave each half for 8 minutes.
– While microwaving, melt butter (Deb uses a half stick; I found that a little less worked just as well) in a saucepan and add two cloves of chopped garlic.
– When the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh from the halves into a bowl.
– Stir about two teaspoons of spice blend into the melted butter, and add a pinch of salt. Remove from heat.
– Toss spiced butter mixture with spaghetti squash strands.
– (If you make the other two dishes: pour in whatever tasty liquid remains from the pan after the green beans are cooked, and toss that with the squash as well.)

2) spiced lamb chops (from How to Eat Supper)

2 lamb chops, about 1 inch thick
salt and spice blend

– Heat a pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
– Sprinkle salt and spice blend on all surfaces of the lamb chops.
– Brown the lamb chops over medium-high heat, about 3 min on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees. Then remove from pan, cover, and set aside to rest.
– (I covered the resting lamb chops with an emptied spaghetti squash half. Hey, it was convenient.)
– Deglaze the pan with a splash of water (i.e., after putting in water, scrape the bottom of a pan with a spatula to loosen the tasty browned bits).

lamb chops with squash cover

3) spiced green beans (a serendipitous discovery)

about 1/2 pound of green beans
pinch of spice blend

– Blanch green beans by boiling for three minutes, then cooling under cold running water. (I imagine you could just cook raw green beans in the pan if you hadn’t blanched them previously. I’d blanched beans over the weekend to save time during the week.)
– Throw the beans into the pan where the lamb used to be, with the deglazing liquid, in order to reheat and soak up flavor.
– Remove from pan when warm. Sprinkle with extra spice blend and serve.

To serve: assemble lamb chop, spaghetti squash, and green beans on a plate in roughly equal measure. If you like, dust with an extra sprinkling of spice blend. I sprinkled Parmesan cheese on the beans even though they didn’t really need it. Juices will have collected on the plate where the lamb chops rested; pour that juice back onto the chops. They’ll be tasty.

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