A couple of weeks ago, we did the big pilgrimage to Augusta to see David’s parents for Mother’s Day. Although he’s been to Birmingham on several occasions to meet my folks, I had yet to meet his; and to be honest, although I was really excited to finally meet them, I was a little nervous, too. Not that I had any concerns about them being awesome – his mom and I were already FB friends, so I’d interacted with her a lot to this point and found her to be incredibly sharp, funny and sweet. My biggest worry was in making a good impression on them, after all, I hadn’t met anyone’s parents since oh, say, the Reagan administration, so my parental etiquette skills had to have some serious rust. David is very close to his family, so I felt there was a lot riding on this.
Of course, my fears were groundless (or they covered well), and because they were so truly warm and welcoming, I got over my angst pretty fast and had a marvelous time.
We arrived around 5 p.m. that Saturday, just in time for the TV airing of the Kentucky Derby. David’s parents were quick to get into the spirit, grabbing an assortment of hats (de rigeur for Derby watching) while I mixed up some Mint Juleps for the guys.
We had a blast watching the Derby (yay, Animal Kingdom! Congrats on your win!), but even more fun trying on the Strohman’s vast collection of chapeaus and head gear and taking a bunch of goofy pics. Wow, did I ever luck out! My boyfriend is not only wonderful, but his parents are fantastic as well; and hey, they like to dress up too! Truly, a match made in heaven (or somewhere in a tropical climate with boat drinks, since I hear heaven may be booked up after this weekend.)
1 scant ounce minted simple syrup
2 cups crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon (such as Woodford Reserve)
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish
To highball glass or silver Julep cup, add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon, and splash of water. Add enough of remaining ice to almost fill glass. Stir well and garnish with mint sprig.
Naturally, David had a special dinner planned for us; so after the races, he got to work on the grill, building the coals and whipping up all the ingredients for his famous Grilled Leg of Lamb with Chimichurri, something he learned to make during his many travels to Buenos Aires. I’m not a big lamb fan, as a rule, but there was so much hype around this, I put on my big girl pants and braved up for yet another culinary adventure.
Grilled Leg of Lamb
4-6 lb leg of lamb – boned and butter flied
red wine vinegar
2-3 med garlic cloves
Let lamb come to room temperature. Open flat with inside facing up.
Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Let stand until meat absorbs salt and
it begins to ‘sweat’. Drizzle with olive oil (enough to cover surface with
a thin layer of oil). Liberally coat with course cracked pepper corns.
Drizzle with 1 Tbls red wine vinegar. Thinly slice garlic cloves and add to
lamb spread evenly.
Roll up leg of lamb and tie with kitchen string. Sprinkle out side of lamb
with kosher salt. Let stand at room temp until coals are ready on grill
Light charcoal in chimney starter. When coals are white pour into grill in
an even pile along back of grill. Add olive wood or oak wood chips. Close
grill cover to allow head to build up. When wood chips become smoldering
and a full bed of coals has formed, grill ready. Place leg of lamb on rack
over and near parallel with coals but not directly on top of entire mound.
Partially close grill lid so it remains half open. Let lamb slow roast for
30-40 min. Turn over and let roast for additional 30-40 min or until
internal temp reads 130 degrees.
Remove lamb from grill and let rest for 10-15 before slicing. Slice and
serve. Drizzle with chimichurri sauce if desired
1/4 C hot water
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/13 C loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
2/3 C loosely packed cilantro
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 2 TBLS)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
Can make the chimichurri up to 3 days in advance.
Combine hot water, oregano and salt in small bowl; let stand 5 min to soften
oregano. Pulse parsley, cilantro, garlic and red pepper flakes in food
processor until coarsely chopped, about 10 1-sec pulses. Add water mixture
and vinegar to med bowl and slowly whisk in oil until incorporated and
mixture is emulsified. Cover and let stand in room temp for at least an
hour before serving. If preparing in advance refrigerate and bring to room
temp before using.
Wow, the lamb was spectacular! None of the gamey taste I always associate with lamb, and perfectly cooked with a nice char on the edges, contrasting perfectly with the cool, vinegary chimichurri sauce. Delicious. Will definitely be on my request list for future grilling (Note to David: Lamb is noms).
After dinner, the Strohmans entertained me with several original productions (read: family flicks) featuring David as a teen-aged movie star, which were, of course, not only massively enjoyable to watch (heh), but gave me some wicked amo for future boyfriend mental abuse. I even got to meet one of his sisters, Vicky, who came by the next morning with her family for Mother’s Day breakfast. What a bunch of really gorgeous, incredibly well-mannered kids! We sat out on the patio enjoying the sun, while the young’uns dashed around chasing bugs and playing with Max, the Golden Retriever, who kept jumping in the pool to attack the cleaning robot. Pretty funny stuff, but you’d probably have had to have been there. David and I even managed to cut out for a few minutes and walk down to the neighborhood lake, before heading back to the house to pack up.
When 4 p.m. rolled around, I was truly sad to leave. The Strohmans were so incredibly kind and hospitable, and I had such a great time, but we both had busy Mondays and needed to get back to town. I definitely look forward to visiting again! (and of course, I’ll bring my hat collection next time–Woot!)