Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Birthday Bash

I am an event coordinator at heart. From inspiration boards, menu planning, research, and spreadsheets, I love everything that goes into planning and pulling off an event.
And so I have finally slipped into birthday planning mode over here at casa de dspence.
The past two years held big birthdays: 29 and 30. For my 29th, R and I went to Florida to visit my folks. It was a four-day trip filled with food, fun, and restoration. For my 30th, two parties were held. The first was an early celebration in Texas while the whole family was together for my sister’s wedding. The second was just R and I over a five-course meal, complete with my milestone Tiffany necklace.
But this year is special, too. Yes, I am happy to say that my upcoming birthday is my birth-date birthday - as in, dspence is turning 31 on the 31st. Woot!
Living away from family makes it hard to put together what I feel is a real birthday celebration. With just R and I for the adults, a teenage boy, and a picky six year old, putting together my kind of menu while still hoping people will eat it is, well, frustrating. But I have finally begun making the kind of friendships that I want to nurture, both for me and for our family. Although the proposed guest list is small, I finally feel like I have a group to cook for and a real celebration in mind.
Here is where I plan to work out all the intricate bits and pieces for the big day. Let’s get started!
When it comes to birthdays, the first thing I go to is dessert. I still remember my mother and sister’s birthday in Hawaii when my grandfather made them two cakes – one lemon and one strawberry. It has remained my favorite birthday cake profile since that day.
In the past, I have made boxed strawberry cakes with jarred lemon curd filling and white icing. And they have been very good, with the sour lemon curd playing off the overly sweet frosting and cushioned by a mid-range moist cake. But this year calls for the real thing.
This year, I will be preparing Smitten Kitchen’s Pink Lady Cake and Lemon Curd filling with White Chocolate Buttercream frosting.
And so, with early season strawberries and lemons in hand, a theme is born: Spring Celebration.
Hors d’oeuvres
·         Lemon-Garlic Steamed Artichokes
·         Gouda Robusto
·         Columbus Artisan Salame (Truffled, if I can get my hands on it.)
Main Course
·         Grilled Balsamic Chicken
·         Grilled Lemon-Zucchini Filled Portobello Mushrooms (For my vegi-guest)
·         Grilled Spring Asparagus
·         Lemon-Pea Risotto
·         Conundrum
Kid’s Menu
·         Mommy’s Homemade Chicken Nuggets (featuring California Citrus Rub)
·         Grilled Spring Asparagus
·         Mac-and-Cheese
The theme trips through each course with a combination of fresh spring produce and acidity. With any luck we will be blessed with a beautiful morning to gather produce and flowers (pink, yellow, and green, naturally) at the Farmer’s Market before heading home to enjoy our meal on the deck. Or, you know, at least enough for the kids to play in the backyard while the grownups sip and grill.
Oh! And in case any family is snooping about, I’ll share my magical birthday wish list:
·         Wine Glasses
·         Wine/Ice Bucket
·         Tea Cup Collection (which deserves a post all its own!)
So, there we have it – the rough plan for dspence’s 31-on-31 Birthday Party. Let’s see what unfolds!

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