Cousin Steve’s 65th birthday provided an excellent opportunity to have a feast! Since he moves with the nimbleness and energy of a 45 year old and his parents are 91, we anticipate several more decades of celebrations, but that didn’t make this any less special.
Steve’s wife, Becky, and I dreamed up the idea of surprising Steve with a festive lunch the day before his birthday. That way, a) he wouldn’t suspect it, and b) he wouldn’t be too full the next day to enjoy his evening birthday dinner. Since the weather was nothing short of fabulous, we planned for an outdoor soiree. I pulled together 3 small bunches of flowers — yellow lilies, rosy lilies, and dutch iris in a simple vase and decided to go with tropical charger plates, rather than placemats, in case the wind started blowing.
I chose yellow patterned dishes and plain yellow napkins because they seemed suitably masculine. The pink bowls for the salads went with the set, but I figured the pink was outshone by the lime green and the yellow, so the table would not look girly.
I was really liking the way it was looking…
Becky brought her wonderful napa cabbage salad with toasted sesame seeds and almonds.
Even though it’s still March and tomatoes in the stores typically taste like cardboard, I found some Kumato brown tomatoes at Whole Foods and topped slices of fresh mozzarella with them, along with salt, pepper, Essential Vinaigrette, and lots of basil. They were amazing.
We grilled marinated pinwheel steaks, topped with radish micro-greens. In individual casserole dishes, I baked George Stella’s Cauliflower Mac ‘n Cheese. It is always such a hit!
Becky also supplied Grand Old Flag Strawberries stuffed with sweetened cream cheese. They were a perfect ending to a lovely meal.
The amazing thing was that we pulled off the surprise. Steve was totally preoccupied with an account issue in the office upstairs and was oblivious to the frantic preparations in the kitchen and outside. The result was a very happy birthday boy — which was exactly what we were striving for!