They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
Five years ago, I invited this guy I had been dating over for dinner, with the intent of wining and dining him and then having “the talk.”
I spent that morning grocery shopping, being sure to get the freshest pasta and the “good” tomatoes, along with plenty of red wine. Lord knows we would need it, or at least I certainly would if this didn’t go as I had planned.
The rest of the day was spent cooking – forming the perfect turkey meatballs, letting the tomato sauce simmer away on the stove, and putting the finishing touches on dessert. Yes, I was pulling out all the stops.
After an epic meal, as we lay down on my couch, bellies happy and food comas in full force, I gazed over at him and asked, “So am I your girlfriend already, what are you waiting for? Are we going to do this?” I remember he started laughing and said something along the lines of, “So that’s why you made me dinner!”
Fast-forward five years, many turkey meatballs and bottles of wine later, and I’m 60 feet below the surface, scuba diving in Grand Cayman with him, now as my boyfriend.
With just two skills left to complete my scuba certification, I turn to the left and look for my instructor’s signal to proceed. But, my instructor keeps pointing to my boyfriend, who’s on the other side of me.
I turn around completely and my boyfriend motions for me to come close to him. Not sure what is going on, I come over and he holds up his wrist, which had an underwater notepad on it.
He scrolls the notepad and it says, “Alex, I love you. I want to marry you.” Scrolls it again and it says, “Let’s do this!” Then, out of his utility belt pocket, he pulls a small, colorful turtle figurine.
I’m confused, am I being asked to marry you and with a turtle?
But then, he opens up the turtle and inside, held in with lots of fishing line, is the most beautiful diamond ring. He unwinds it, puts the ring on my finger and cuts away the excess line with his dive knife.
The hilarious thing about all of this is that I took scuba certification at the urging of my
boyfriend fiancé. He was already certified and said I would love it, even though I’ve had crazy dreams of being alone in the vast ocean. And as it turned out, I absolutely loved it.
This was by no means the first time he had pushed me way outside of my comfort zone, testing my boundaries, and at times my patience.
Ahead of our three year anniversary, I casually mentioned that I’d always wanted to go skydiving. “Surprise!” he said, “We’re going skydiving!”
Granted I wanted to kill him leading up to it all, but the minute my feet touched the ground, after jumping out of that perfectly working airplane, I ran over to him and gave him the biggest hug in the world.”Thank you,” I said into his ear.
Even in the kitchen, he seems to unintentionally be pushing my boundaries. I was never a big red meat eater and thus not as familiar with cooking things such as beef, venison or lamb. But, he is as carnivore as they get, so slowly but surely I’ve been incorporating red meat into my recipe development, most recently diving head first into lamb.
It certainly helps that recently I tried lamb and absolutely fell in love with it. Lamb chops, covered in herbs and cooked to perfection. Seriously, what had I been cheating myself out of all these years?
Over the holidays, I treated my boyfriend to a red meat lover’s meal – herb crusted rack of lamb. Yes, the girl who had never prepared lamb in her life was about to go full speed into it, no turning back.
And oh my word was it fantastic. I researched a variety of recipes, before finally coming together with this one and wow. The herb and garlic crust will create the most amazing aroma throughout your home, while the presentation itself will be worthy of oos and ahhs for days.
So, the message behind all of this rambling?
When you want to tell someone that you want him or her to be yours and only yours, cook them something special. When you want to get to know each other better, go out of your comfort zones, go on adventures. And then, when you want to spend the rest of your life with that person, take them to the bottom of the ocean and promise them you’ll find nemo ❤
Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
2 French-cut racks of lamb, trimmed (8 ribs each)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fennel seed, crushed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ cup red wine
½ cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves
Preheat the oven to 475 F.
In a bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, fennel seed, salt and pepper. Now take this aromatic herb rub and completely cover the lamb with all of it.
In a large ovenproof pan or roasting pan over medium-high heat, brown the lamb racks, about 3 minutes per side.
Take the pan off the heat, and make sure the racks are fat side up. Put the roasting pan in the oven on the center rack, for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperate of the lamb reaches 130 to 135 degrees. Transfer racks to serving platter and let rest for 10 minutes.
Place the pan back on the stove, on medium-high heat to make the sauce. Add in the wine, chicken stock and garlic and bring to a boil, being sure to scrape up the brown bits from the lamb (that’s good stuff!). Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan, cooking for another 10 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the lamb and serve with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.