This past weekend found us celebrating our eldest son’s 50th birthday. He is the ultimate foodie so his celebration was based around all the foods and people he loves. Our small family spent 2 days together – shopping in the Union Square Greenmarket on Friday morning (for Saturday’s feast) followed by a lovely lunch at Gramercy Tavern (www.gramercytavern.com) (you can read about the restaurant in a post of mine on March 17, 2011). We then all reconvened in Mickey’s kitchen on Saturday to cook and cook and cook and eat and eat and eat and drink and drink and drink. The late morning started the festivities with champagne (Mickey’s favorite, Billecart-Salmon and Chris’ (his brother) favorite Henriot) and oysters and went on throughout the day to complete 11 courses. Each of us had assignments – mine was pizza dough and sauce (you can check those out at various pizza on the grill posts) which my beautiful daughters-in-law finished on the grill – supposedly for the teenagers, but we all had some, an apricot tart, and a tribute to Chef Michel Bras (in case you don’t know him – a much esteemed French chef who owns Restaurant Bras in Laguiole, France) which we called “homage à Bras” as it was based on his famous vegetable dish “la gargouillou.” I forgot my lovely large white ceramic tray so prepared it on Mickey’s wooden bread tray. I had gone to the Greenmarket with $200 in my pocket and was left with only a 10 spot after buying all of the pristine veggies and flowers I needed for my composition. There is no recipe – you can, if you like poach or steam some of the vegetables – I left all of mine raw as they seemed to be able to stand on their own. Made a little sauce of puréed parsley, orange zest, a bit of orange juice, and extra virgin olive oil to add just a streak or two to the tray and to dip the delicate veggies in. It was almost too beautiful to eat.