This past Saturday was a very special day; not only was it the day of my mom's 55th birthday bash, but it also marked the first time in history that my step dad and I demanded that my mom keep away from the kitchen, out of the grocery store, and stay out of the party planning altogether. Not once had my mom not been involved in the planning and execution of a party at our house and not once had she been thrown a proper birthday party -- crazy, right?! Well, it was time for things to change.
Seven hours, a kitchen covered in all things sliced, diced and chopped, and a lot of teamwork later, we were officially ready for our 30+ guests to make the trek up our intensely-slanted and freshly ice-coated driveway to celebrate the 55th year of our favorite woman. I have to admit, my mom makes all the party preparation look easy; she's typically flawlessly covered head-to-toe with the latest Ann Taylor trend, calmly humming to Josh Groban tunes, and gracefully meandering through the kitchen. The Mom-Less Party Planning Team (aka pops, brother, cousin Joey, Dan, and moi), on the other hand, ended up with mashed potatoes in their hair (okay, that was just me), used a few choice words a little too frequently (pops), and eventually gave up altogether to succumb to the temptations of football (Dan and Brad). Cousin Joey, next time we'll leave all the planning up to you.
Despite a less-than-smooth operation in the kitchen, we accomplished everything we had hoped to prior to the arrival of our first guest. I'll give you a quick rundown of the food and beverage options:
*Bay Scallop Ceviche with Blackened Tomatillo-Truffle Sauce
*Five-Spice Diced Vegetables in Endive Leaves with Plum Sauce
*Mango and Red Pepper Tortilla Pinwheels
*Spicy Green Salad with Shaved Parmesan, Toasted Pepitas, and Pears
*Beef Stroganoff (for the meat lovers)
*Chile and Rosemary Mozzarella-Eggplant Parcels with Smokey mash (for the veg-heads)
*Martini bar to start the evening
*Selection of expertly-paired red and white wines
The party ended up being perfect, and my mom could not have been more touched by all of the time and effort that we put into making her 55th special. Each of the above dishes deserves to be showcased, so I'll be posting each recipe, along with oodles of pictures, in a separate post. Enjoy!