A Summer Birthday Party and Family Fun

This month, my family gathered at my house to celebrate my Grandfather’s 89th birthday. As always, it was a day filled with great fun and great food! We started off with some Mediterranean-inspired appetizers, then moved on to grilled lamb and chicken with several delicious summer salads, and finally a homemade carrot cake made by my aunt and some blueberry-almond crumble bars. Hot tubbing, picture-taking, and wii boxing entertained us the rest of the time! I thought I should share with you some of the pictures.

To start: A platter of roasted peppers and artichokes, kalamata olives and stuffed grape leaves.
A creamy and delicious Roasted Garlic, Feta and Walnut Dip.
Bruschetta – no particular recipe here, I just threw together some diced summer tomatoes, minced garlic, a swirl of good olive oil, slivered basil, salt and pepper. Simple and Delicious!

This is one of my favorite new summer salads. It’s made from thinly sliced zucchini (and in this case, summer squash), pistachios, grated parmesan cheese, and a light dressing of lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. My mother-in-law found this recipe in the Boston Globe.

Zucchini-Ribbon Pistachio Salad

1/2 cup shelled green pistachio nuts
6 small zucchini
Grated rind and strained juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 small piece (about 1/4 pound) Parmesan

1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the pistachios, shaking the pan often, for 10 minutes or until they are aromatic. Let them cool slightly. Chop them coarsely.
2. Using a Swiss vegetable peeler, hold one of the zucchini lengthwise over a large bowl and work the peeler along the zucchini to make thin strips. Continue with the remaining zucchini. Or use a mandoline to cut strips.

3. In a small bowl, combine the lemon rind and juice with a large pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the zucchini and toss to coat it. Add more salt and pepper, toss again, and taste for seasoning.

4. Add the pistachios and toss again.
5. Using the peeler, shave thin slices from the piece of Parmesan. Arrange the salad on each of 4 plates, and top with thin slices of cheese.

A curried potato salad made my mother, with red potatoes, cauliflower, peas, red pepper, red onion, raisins, cilantro, and a yogurt-based dressing spiced with curry powder, cumin, and a dash of lemon juice.

Grilled Lemon-Parsley Chicken, with a quick and simple marinade of lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh chopped parsley. I love adding zest to marinades – I find it adds so much more flavor than just the juice alone, and you can get away with less time marinating. For this, I think we did about an hour and a half in the fridge, and then let the meat sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before grilling. Cook gently over low to medium-low heat on the grill to ensure juicy, tender chicken!

We also had Moroccan spiced lamb kabobs, which were delicious but did not make the photo cut.

Another new summber favorite: Moroccan couscous salad. I’ve made this twice this summer, and think it’s fantastic. Fresh, bold flavors and warm spice – you can’t go wrong.

And now, some family pictures!

My mom and me

My handsome brothers and me

Weber and White cousins

My cousins Hannah and Madison

Grandpa blowing out the candles – 89!

Ladies in the hot tub

Brothers, cousins, and hubby in the hot tub

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3 Responses to “A Summer Birthday Party and Family Fun”

  1. 1

    Shauna — September 5, 2008 @ 8:19 pm Reply

    Everything looks delicious! It looks like you guys are enjoying your new hot tub. :o) I have those same bakers from Crate & Barrel…love them!!

  2. 2

    Amber — September 7, 2008 @ 7:45 pm Reply

    That is your kitchen? Boy did I marry wrong and pick the wrong job! Lucky and deserving you. I found your blog through closet cooking. Very nice. I know my comment is late but it is heartfelt.

  3. 3

    Amber — April 5, 2011 @ 1:23 am Reply

    That is your kitchen? Boy did I marry wrong and pick the wrong job! Lucky and deserving you. I found your blog through closet cooking. Very nice. I know my comment is late but it is heartfelt.

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