Hide me, I’m on the lam(b)!
I finally gave in and turned on the oven yesterday! Although, we technically gave in and turned on the air conditioner first. Since August has so kindly helped us see daily temperatures averaging 110-116 (and the increasingly frequent humidities of up to 70%), the house had become a private sauna of our own sweat and tears, so we just HAD to start using the air (it sure was nice to have $75 electric bills while they lasted, though!). We spent the whole day at Knott’s Soak City, and climbed the stone steps to the slides for easily 6 hours (minus all the time lazing around at the shore of the wave pool) and had worked up quite hearty appetites. To be honest, I wanted a heavy dinner that we could all eat, and then just knock out afterward. BUTTTTTT, it still had to have great flavor, and hopefully some modicum of healthiness. In the end, I opted out of any majorly healthy options and went for a good old fashioned well-rounded meal.
I found these cute little lamb loin chops at Trader Joe’s and looked up a recipe for a marinade on The Food Network. Aarti Sequeira is a chef I’ve never heard of, but her Spicy Sticky Lamb Chops seemed like the perfect meal (plus I already had most of the ingredients, which is always a bonus). During preparation, I discovered I actually DIDN’T have all the ingredients, but it was already after 6pm and I still had yet to prepare, marinate and cook the meat (plus make side dishes) so I decided to improvise a little (is that starting to get redundant? Haha, too bad).
Going through the list of how I basically completely ignored the original recipe: I had no fennel seed or anything similar (anise, etc.) so I substituted caraway seed. Totally different flavor, but it still blended into the dish nicely. I do not have a spice grinder but now I sooooo want one (hint hint, Merry Christmas to me!!), so I kind of cheated and banged on the Food Chopper a million times with the toasted coriander and caraway seeds inside the cap, and it worked!! I had literally exactly 1/4 cup of plain [vanilla] yogurt in the fridge so I used that instead of plain [plain] yogurt, and although I believed that there was tomato paste in the pantry, believing is NOT seeing. So, I used slightly less than 1/4 cup of tomato sauce instead and hoped it would thicken enough with the cooking. My ginger was still mostly alive so I simply cut off the ends first, and I always have an endless supply of garlic (we wouldn’t want any vampires to visit… unless they’re totally sexy). The light brown sugar, freshly ground black pepper, and vegetable oil were added per the recipe, and I used my salt grinder to add fresh Sea and Himalayan Salt rather than kosher salt. I must’ve gotten rid of the apple cider vinegar in the move, so I threw caution to the wind and put equal half-portions of red and white wine vinegars (again, totally different but this is MY blog so buzz off if you don’t like it). Since there are no other ingredients to mess with besides the hot sauce I put Sriracha like she said, but we like it as hot as the Devil’s armpit in summertime, so I put the 1/2 teaspoon in… and then another whole teaspoon… and then squirted a dastardly amount on top of those just for kicks. Our stomachs had already begun digesting our intestines, so I opted for the short marinade time while I cooked Ryley’s version of the meal and the two sides I wanted to make for us.By the way, this was seriously one of the best sauces I’ve had in a long time. I may have gone overboard with the ginger (even though I actually used less than the recipe wanted), so it was an extremely prominent flavor, but altogether it was still ridiculously delicious. The Trader Joe’s lamb loin chops come in a package of 5, so I had plenty of the fabulous sauce leftover for today’s lunch. Unfortunately I didn’t discover until after eating dinner/licking the spoons during cleanup last night how well the sauce went with every part of the meal. I had sauteed some zucchini and yellow squash with butter, garlic, and onion powder because I didn’t feel like eating real onions this time. I also made garlic mashed red potatoes with the skins just to bring that stinky garlic full circle. It’s highly possible I used way too much garlic – and by that I mean I could still taste it after 2 teeth-brushings and a Listerine rinse – but garlic is kind of my best friend. It scares away all my other friends when I spend too much time with it, but I’ve come to accept my Team Jacob way of cooking. But I digress. Constantly.
Speaking of something totally different, lots of the reviews mention how the sauce completely destroys people’s cookware during baking. Well my friends, you must not have very good cookware!My Pampered Chef Square Baker fared perfectly, made beautifully juicy chops, and the quick rinse and rub cleaning was seriously too easy. Anyway, since the unusual yogurt-tomato-ginger-hot-sauce adventure was apparently so good with everything, I brought it to work today with the leftover veggies and some long-grain rice. It turned out my overzealous Sriracha-ing made it a bit too spicy to simply add to rice, so I hiccuped while I ate and dreamed of times long ago when it was resting atop two lovely little lamb chops. Ah, the good ole’ [yester]days…
Try it. Seriously, try it. It’ll be our little secret.