Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ezra's First Birthday Party: The Menu (with recipes!)

A first birthday party is a major event!  Well, at least it is for new parents . . . or, at least for new parents who like to plan parties.   Admitting that Ezra's first birthday was probably a bigger deal for us and our immediate family than anyone else - especially Ezra - we decided on a smallish dinner party as an appropriate way to celebrate.  When planning the menu, we used the same theme as the invitations and decorations, the four seasons (spring, winter, fall & summer - not Frankie Valli's band), as inspiration.  We found and created several delicious recipes for the occasion.

For spring we served an asparagus, leek and green pea risotto alla primavera cooked with a white wine and hours of stirring (thanks, Jessie).

We decided crisp, raw vegetables seemed the most like summer so we served our "house" salad.  After repeatedly serving this combination of greens, radishes, sunflower seeds, grape tomatoes, sprouts (grown in our pantry), and carrots with a roasted tomato vinaigrette, we have declared it our signature green salad.

Originally, we planned to serve a different pizza for each season, varying the toppings according to the time of year.  Autumn is the only pizza that survived.  On a homemade crust, we spread roasted butternut squash topped with mozzarella, Parmesan and fontina cheeses, caramelized onions, toasted pecans and a sage butter sauce.

For winter, we wanted something that seemed like warm, comfort food.  We settled on a simple cheese lasagna with homemade noodles and a red wine sauce.

Since Ezra's first year of eating could mostly be summed as "milk, milk, milk," the most appropriate choice seemed a tres leches (three milk) cake.  We paired this delicious cake with homemade cinnamon ice cream (neither of which, our guests will be happy to know, used breast milk).

After tasting cake for the first time, Ezra agreed that birthdays are a big deal and can't wait to turn two!

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