Cooking with the Uncles: Grilled Lamb with Vegetables and Mushrooms

Spent Friday, Saturday, and this morning eating around Chapel Hill and not taking pictures of it.  Friday night was take out from Ming Garden, the better-than-usual Chinese place up the road from me that is always a good standby for lazy nights.  Didn’t take pictures because take out isn’t attractive, but we had veggie spring rolls (always good), lettuce wraps (good, the filling was well-spiced ground chicken with red and green peppers), walnut chicken (a favorite of mine, chicken and walnuts in a sweet but light sauce with brocolli, carrots, squash, peppers, etc.), and chicken pad thai, which wasn’t as good as it usually is but, whatever, carbs.

Saturday night involved a group outing to the Carolina Brewery for a 25th birthday.  I didn’t take pictures because sometimes you just need to chill and relax and socialize and not worry about taking pictures of your food.  I had a rather excellent veggie burger that was on a rather disappointing kaiser roll; you’d think they’d find something more interesting, like a toasted multigrain roll, I don’t know, maybe I am picky.  The veggie burger came with a side of ruffle-cut sweet potato chips which were excellent and liberally covered in brown sugar.

Sunday was brunch at another Chapel Hill institution, Breadmen’s, which is like a diner/greasy spoon place from which I received perfectly cooked eggs-over-easy (I can never do them perfectly, I always break the yolk), reliable if under-seasoned home fries, and a few slices of buttered wheat toast.  Also, they do breakfast all day.  Who doesn’t like breakfast all day?

Sunday evening, though, was the culinary highlight of my week: dinner at the uncles’.  My uncles live in a beautiful house way out in the country, past Hillsborough, in the little “township” of Cedar Grove.  The house is about a half an hour from my apartment, so I usually eat/mooch dinner from there once a week or so.  They always cook awesome things but Sunday’s dinner was particularly awesome: grilled lamb that had been marinated with rosemary and garlic and some other things, grilled yummy vegetables, and yummy sauteed mushrooms.  Yes, yummy is a proper culinary term.

The lamb was great, crusty on the outside, tender on the inside, especially my piece; Larry was nice enough to pull a section off the grill early for me, as I prefer my meat on the bloodier side.  My contribution to the meal was the cutting of the squash, peppers, and onions for the grilled vegetables.  Grilled vegetables should happen all the time.   Salt, pepper, and olive oil, and they are awesome.  The mushrooms rocked too, Sam added some garlic and some vermouth and I assume some salt and pepper and he used the mushroom medley that you can find at any grocery store.

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Dessert was a peach tart made with puff pastry, peaches, and a base of cream cheese mixed with almond paste.  We ate the tart at room temperature.  Larry found the almond taste to be too strong, which it was, but I didn’t mind.  It made the tart a little bitter–not really bitter, but just enough to give the sweetness some depth.

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Sam and Larry sent me home with some leftover tart, which was used for dessert after tonight’s cooking adventure.  Will post on that shortly.

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