My most taciturn friend said this meal was "a...

My most taciturn friend said this meal was "absolutely delicious"

Most people want to know what it is you are feeding them before putting a food-laden forkful in their mouths. Since moving to not-so-sunny California earlier this month, I have been mourning the loss of my dear poker night friends, who trust me enough to blindly eat pretty much anything I put in front of them.

Thankfully, my fiancee’s best friend will eat most anything a-n-y-o-n-e puts in front of him…as long as it is good. I know my cooking has already passed the “good” test, but when he went out of his way to tell me this meal was “absolutely delicious,” I knew I was onto something special.

Though I am not usually a meat cooking (or eating) person, there is a very good reason I have been cooking so much lamb lately. And no, it is not because I am now living with my meat-loving man. Or that lamb is synonymous with spring (as far as seasonal-focused carnivores are concerned). Since I know that we eat mostly New Zealand lamb and it isn’t spring in the Southern Hemisphere right now, that rationale is slightly precarious.

Really, it is because this is the meal that I wanted to make for Easter. Spiced lamb chops and couscous. Something simple, but international and interesting, made with little stress and lots of love: my favorite type of cooking.

What really brings this meal together for me is the cross use of ingredients. It is great to feel like there is no waste from your preparations. The green tops from the spring onions for the meat sauce get chopped and added to the couscous and the garlic from the lamb basting is sauteed with red onions to add more flavor and color to the grains.

“Absolutely Delicious” Spring Dinner Menu

Active time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-6

It is best to serve the salad on a separate plate to keep the dressing from intermingling with the lamb and couscous. Dessert should be very simple and light: clementines or some other serve-yourself fresh fruit or some light cookies, like Italian cantucci.

  • min 1: Heat up the grill and boil water for the couscous.
  • mins 2-3: Prepare the spice mixture and olive oil basting for the lamb.
  • mins 4-5: Add couscous, chopped carrot, and a cinnamon stick to the boiling water.
  • min 6-8: Coat the lamb chops with the olive oil mixture on both sides then dip each side into the spices and pop on the grill.
  • min 9: Saute chopped red onion with the remaining garlic and some olive oil.
  • mins 10-11: Chop vegetables for the salad and arrange on individual plates.
  • mins 12: Remove the couscous from heat and drain (but do not rinse).
  • min 13: Flip the lamb chops.
  • min 14-15: Add the vegetables, nuts, and spices to the couscous and mix well.
  • mins 16-18: Prepare the mint-mango sauce.
  • min 19: Take the lamb chops off the grill and top with sauce.
  • min 20: Dress the salad and serve.