This year, my best friend Heather and I hosted our 9th Birthday Fiesta o’ Fun. Our first BFoF was held in 2003, and it was nothing like the all-out smorgasbords we do now. We started simply by wanting to make a few things we found in Heather’s various cookbooks. We settled on about a half-dozen dishes and found that they fit into one of two categories: Appetizer or Dessert. And because it was just us, we went ahead and did them all anyway.

The next year, it was Seafood & Chocolate. Then Fondue. Then Tarts. Yes, just tarts. All tarts. That one got a little out of control in the execution. It was the first year we actually invited guests, and by the time they all arrived, we only had one tart ready. It was chaos.

After that, we decided to pick a single ingredient, Iron Chef style, and make all the dishes in accordance with that ingredient. The first time, we chose Strawberry. A success! Since then, we’ve done Sweet Potato, Mint, and Apple. This year, we chose Zucchini.

The Birthday Fiesta o’ Fun is a two-day process, but the first day generally just involves planning, shopping, and prep work. The next day, we cook and bake. All day long. We stop briefly to greet guests and serve appetizers, but then it’s back to getting the main course ready to go. We don’t stop until the main meal is served, and then we get to sit down with our guests and enjoy what we’ve created.

It’s possibly my favorite day of the year.

In the past, we’ve done gift exchanges, but that was mostly when we did the BFoF on our actual birthdays. Since I left Florida in 2008, we’ve held the BFoF in July, which is when I’m in the state for family gatherings and such. Also, our birthdays fall just before school starts in Florida, which meant it was always a crazy week for Heather anyway, seeing as how she has two girls to get ready for school. And, back when she was teaching, she had herself to get ready too. So July has just been more convenient.

But, if we were following true birthday tradition, then this weekend would be the big BFoF celebration. I turn 32 today. Heather’s birthday is tomorrow. I figured today was a good day to share all the wonderful dishes we made for this year’s BFoF. It was an incredibly successful dinner, possibly our best BFoF to date.

Party Favor: Mini Zucchini Loaves

Party Favor: Mini Zucchini Loaves

Appetizer: Zucchini Disks with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Appetizer: Zucchini Disks with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Appetizer: Oven-Fried Zucchini with Ranch Dip

Appetizer: Oven-Fried Zucchini with Ranch Dip

Soup: Creamy Zucchini & Potato Soup

Soup: Creamy Zucchini & Potato Soup

Main Course: Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini with Homemade Marinara

Main Course: Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini with Homemade Marinara

Salad: Zucchini, Corn, & Tomato Salad

Salad: Zucchini, Corn, & Tomato Salad

Side Dish: Zucchini Barley Risotto

Side Dish: Zucchini Barley Risotto

Desserts: Zucchini Cake and Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Desserts: Zucchini Cake and Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Advertisements