Asparations

So, I make dinner for someone on the daily.  I tend to do a big grocery run on the weekend for all the fruits, veggies, baking supplies, etc.  But every day I decide on a protein and go buy it fresh from the butcher.  Today, the lamb shoulder chop was looking quite scrumptious so I picked one up.  Not a ton of meat [as the bones in it give it extra weight and size] but a dang good looking piece.  Lamb shoulder is fatty & a bit tougher then other parts but super tasty & versatile.  So, I picked one up along with some fresh green beans, mushrooms [ick], grape tomatoes and fresh basil leaves [I’m THIS-CLOSE to starting a small herb garden…]  Then I saw this adorable little bunch of Asparations.  A trade-marked name of what it says is an asparagus / broccoli hybrid.  But what we all know as broccolini is really a broccoli / Chinese broccoli [kale] hybrid.  Not sure why they put asparagus, other then how it definitely has an asparagus-like stem and taste.  But it’s… not.  Oh broccolini, how you confuse me so.  😛  But the name Asparation is just too cute to pass up, so I bought a good sized stalk.

Anyways – I get home and set out on tuning my green beans, chopping up some veggies and heating up my steamer.  I steamed up green beans, carrots, a mixture of bell peppers, the Asparations and some egg plant.  Then I decided to attempt a stir-fry like dish and used the remaining green beans, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, capers, garlic, basil and crushed hot peppers with a ridiculously tiny amount of oil.  For the lamb – someone prefers either an Italian marinade or my own spicy sauce mixture marinade.  But, I felt like branching out today [and I was out of some of the main components for the other two].  So I saw my basalmic and immediately got to work.  In the same skillet the stir-fry had been in, I added a bit of lemon juice and balsamic along with a sprig of fresh spearmint, garlic and more crushed red peppers.  I cooked the lamb for about 20min til it hit temp and then pulled it to rest.  The balsamic had reduced down into a sweet but tangy sauce and throw in the mint with the spices and it was the perfect mix of sweet & spicy without being over-bearing.  The mint had a nice undertone too which lingered for a quick second.  Looked pretty dang good once plated too.

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