summer birthday party

I was honored to be asked by two close friends to cater a 70th birthday celebration for one of their fathers. It was a terrific opportunity to get creative on the menu and drink pairings for a small group. Inspired by recent cooking classes that I have attended, and through some research on the optimal wine pairings with key ingredients and flavor profiles, I came up with the following four-course menu. The menu featured vegetable ingredients fresh from our weekly farm share, and the fish was purchased from Red's Best fish market at the Boston Public Market. You just can't beat fresh ingredients at this time of year!

All the flavors were bright, and the colors of the summer fruits and vegetables really complemented one another. The bright red seared sirloin with fresh chives and a small garnish of pickled onion was a great first dish pairing with the sparkling cocktail.

The salad course was a rainbow of red tomato, pink watermelon, bright white burrata cheese, and a green basil and chili vinaigrette, paired with Albarino white wine. Albarino is a variety of white grape grown on the north Atlantic coast of Spain. It yields bright, refreshing, citrusy wines that pair well with seafood and vegetables.

The second course featured fresh, delicate tilefish cooked in parchment and served with a fresh summer vegetable couscous. Parchment paper is a terrific cooking technique if you want to seal in the freshness, flavor, and moisture of a fish. The fish bakes in the oven for 15 or 20 minutes with fresh herbs and citrus, and it comes out hot, flaky, and ready to enjoy with your favorite side dish.

The final dessert course was a bittersweet chocolate mousse, paired with contrasting textures including crispy vanilla pound cake cubes and fresh raspberries. All in all, a successful first attempt at catering for a small group. Looking forward to the next opportunity!