Celebrating 65

ski house dinner with friends and family

Milestone birthdays, actually pretty much all birthdays, for us are usually celebrated with a family dinner, for husbands recent 65th we did two. A family and friend small party for thirteen at the ski house, and then a little more formal affair for eleven at the club. In real life I took an entire week for preparations, dark chicken stock and all. He’s our man of the hour, our man of the year, our man of the decade, our man for life. 

mise en place for dark chicken stock
oven roasting the bones and mirepoix
moving it to the center of the pan before adding to the stockpot
mirepoix times two for the Osso Bucco
prepped everything city-side and then carefully drove it all out to the ski house
early morning flour dusting and bouquet garni
shortbread cookies with rosemary garnish
5:30 am wake up call for kitchen duty
packing the cookies in style for the transport, I always save bubble wrap and reuse it
mandoline sliced red onion and an ice bath, these went into a ziplock bag with paper towels after draining
I bought small houseplants and repotted them in terra cotta pots for the table and for each guest to take one home

For the ski house dinner, I prepped pretty much the entire meal city-side and then very carefully transported all by car. For the club dinner I called the day before for a reservation and then ran all over town securing props to make it special. 

I used five burners to brown the shanks, multi-browning 🙂
ski house table set, I even brought the dishes and the linen napkins
thirteen for dinner, long benches come in handy for extra seating
we were also celebrating a 30th, so tequila shots, of course
as you know boys will be boys
I always love a mix of ages at a party
pretty cheese board, thank you Liz
fire in the front room, all the gas was turned off, we had to keep the heat on
birthday bubbles
I like to hand toss the salad
small heads of romaine instead of little gem
sliced raw golden beets and pecorino Romano
a view from above
stirring the polenta
garnishing with gremolata
cleaning up the rim
ready to serve
butterscotch pudding and scratch caramel sauce
two photos because it was so delicious
Ethan helping out with desert
Etro silk blouse, five years old, black leather jeans, wear what you have and love
whipped cream with a 1/4 cup sour cream mixed in, topped with maldove smoked sea salt

Home cooked meals you have complete control unless you have house wide gas leaks, which we did, and Niagara Mohawk shut it all down a half an hour before guests were due to arrive. A fast-hot shower, several phone calls to connected friends, a super nice company guy and a hero plumber and we were good to go. It did take several hours, and I did need to start reheating the osso Bucco on the outdoor grill, but we had faith, and we had dinner, even if it did end up being served an hour and a half late. With wine and an awesome cheese board, thank you Liz, we could all hang on. 

Maxwell gave an absolutely beautiful toast to his dad, here he is taking a minute before dinner to practice
out of focus, the thought that counts, bundled chocolate chip cookies for guests to take home
I booked a private room for dinner for eleven
champagne bottles for place cards, three pots of flowers
Bill, ‘remember gentleman, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne’
– Winston Churchill
a look from above
for groups more than six I like to do a set menu, makes things easier for everyone
the three pots at home the next day
three of the eleven champagne bottles

For special dinners out I always like to add a personalized touch, and I usually like to send guests home with a small little gift or two. Candles and flowers are also two things I almost always bring to add light and texture to the table. For this celebration I baked a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and wrapped them up in cellophane bags. I wish I had a great relationship with a florist, I guess that can be a 2020 project, as I’m always buying flowers at the grocery because it’s just easy. None of the cut flowers looked great that day so instead I bought three potted things, I was drawn in by the freshness of the blue, white, and green tones. A table for eleven is a big round, therefore the three pots to make more of an impact, one might have gotten lost.

The real pop was the half-bottles of Veuve Clicquot that served as place cards at each seat. When there are more than four people at a gathering, I think being told where to sit makes the sit-down easier and more seamless. I googled ‘quotes about champagne’ and found a fun little Town & Country piece, copied each different quote onto a small card for each guest, and attached them with two lengths of ribbon. As an icebreaker and conversation starter (not that we really needed that, it simply added some novelty) we each read our quote as we moved around the table. My kids were delighted to take home champagne and cookies. 

happy in the kitchen, silk shirt, gold leather apron, thank you Michelle

As for my personal style for both nights I wore clothes with some history from my closet, nothing really new. In fact, for most of the last several months I’ve been shopping my closet, even re-wearing certain looks on repeat for different parties, and it’s felt right, and okay. 

Alaia dress I wore for Caroline’s wedding, 8/11/18

Happy 65th dear Bill, wishing us all many returns of the day. 

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  1. Love all Bills birthday parties I can fel Love in every touch❤️

    • Thank you so very much, I absolutely love my man.

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