Sunday, July 4, 2010

The non-holiday feast

Evident in my late post, party #44 was squeezed into an overly booked week.  However, as with most last minute gatherings, we had the makings of a fantastic evening.
Prep began early in the morning, but was interrupted by a grocery trip gone array. My husband, the grill master, was on mission lamb chops as he perused the grocery store munching on various samples.  After engaging in a ten minute phone conversation at the butcher’s counter, I was certain that the grocery trip would be a success.  I later received a call from a horrified husband as he headed back to his car sans lamb chops. It seemed that the seat of his J Crew summer shorts were ripped in route to the store, and he had completed the above mentioned tasks with his behind in full view... or as he said, "butt ass naked.”  Truly dedicated, he found a pair of replacement pants in the car and returned to the butcher's counter to retrieve $50 worth of lamb chops. 
Hours later when our Guests arrived, the food was prepared and the table set, but the over all feel was certainly family-friendly.  The youngest set up various dolls covered with blankets making the living room some sort of homage to the Jonestown massacre, my husband was completing an online test, and the moody preteen arrived for a mere hello and pita bread munch before disappearing upstairs to contemplate Team Edward and Team Jacob. Thankfully, relatives were happy to sip wine and munch on the tzatziki (which was delicious) as we caught up on all things life.  When finally joined by the studious griller, the lamb was prepared as I put finishing touches on our side dishes and salad. 
What a meal! The lamb chops were my favorite protein prepared thus far, and that is hard for me to admit because I’m a roasted chicken girl. With a salt pepper and mint rub, these chops were nothing short of fantastic.  Complemented with the grilled eggplant and feta mixture, this meal was well balanced with flavors so well matched, it was hard to believe it came from three cookbooks and an email from Van at the Wood Duck Farm.   
As we moved on to dessert, everyone began to feel the effects of both a long week a few glasses of wine.  Though enjoyed, it was clear that this simple dessert stood in the shadow of the overall meal.  There were many reasons to not host a family gathering last weekend: everyone was busy, allergies were in over drive, and the weather was wretched.  However, as we sat together, laughing, and wishing each other well for the upcoming week, it seemed the perfect event hosted at the perfect time. 
Cooking Notes:
Tzatziki: Though easy to assemble, this dish demands the freshest ingredients available.  I recommend a trip to the farmer’s market before whipping up this crowd pleaser.  Add warm pita bread, and you have a light yet substantial appetizer. 
Fresh mint and red chilies: Not since chocolate and peanut butter has a more perfect combination existed. Throw some on your next BBQ for an instant Mediterranean flair. 
The Party In Numbers:
Parties Completed: 44
Weeks Before Deadline: 9
Bottles Consumed: 2
Justified Purchases: Replacement shorts

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