My favorite birthdays are always those spent with family and close friends.
This year, I enjoyed a most wonderful celebration at Skylands, my summer home on Mount Desert Island in Maine. My friend, Chef Pierre Schaedelin from PS Tailored Events, and I, planned a delicious menu that included gougeres, red beet borscht, cranberry, bean and beets salad, grilled King salmon with shallot tomato beurre blanc, artichokes, baby carrots and herbed red Camargue rice. For dessert, we had a delectable genoise with lemon curd filling and toasted Italian meringue frosting - one of my favorite cakes.
The day was perfect, and the food was superb. Enjoy these photos.
And, if you click on each photo, you can see it in a larger, more detailed view. Let me know what you think, and thank you so much for all your patience as we work through these changes.
The weather on the night of my birthday was very comfortable, so we dined al fresco under the shade of Skyland’s tall trees.
The long table was set for 14-guests just outside the back entrance of my home. Blankets were placed on each chair in case it got too breezy.
I made place cards out of white birch bark we removed from fallen branches.
Birch bark is easy to cut and bend, which makes it a wonderful material for projects.
This is called the Council Circle and was designed by Danish-born landscape expert, Jens Jensen.
I love using the Council Circle during summer – it is a fun place for toasting marshmallows and even telling ghost stories.
Inside, in my kitchen, Rylee and sous-chef, Aron, prepare the borscht.
We had a wonderful birthday borscht made from garden beets, onions, white beans, and cucumbers. It was so delicious.
Every bowl was filled with garden fresh vegetables – everyone loved it!
Our main course was cooked using the Big Green Egg, a ceramic kamado-style charcoal grill – have you ever used one? This one is from Charles Department Store in Katonah, New York. http://www.charlesdeptstore.com http://biggreenegg.com/
We had delicious King Salmon from my friend, Dan Hinkley.
There are many benefits of using the Big Green Egg – it’s a complete outdoor cooker that works for both high heat and low heat foods, it’s easy to start up, and uses absolutely no gas.
And, the Big Green Egg comes in seven different sizes to fit any family’s cooking needs. Chef Pierre was able to fit all the salmon filets on the Egg at one time.
I was so amazed at how well the salmon was cooked – every piece was absolutely perfect!
It is a little difficult to see the salmon here; however it was grilled to perfection – so juicy and browned just right.
Here I am being presented with my birthday cake!
It was genoise with lemon curd filling and toasted meringue frosting – it was so beautiful.
Here is a top view of the gorgeous Italian frosting. The cake is covered with toasted swirls – so pretty.
The cake was then brought indoors to be cut and plated.
Genoise, or French sponge cake, differs from regular sponge cake because it’s made with butter, which makes it more tender and flavorful.
I love genoise cake – each piece of light, elegant sponge cake, was served with a scoop of homemade peach sorbet.
It was a very delicious and memorable celebration.