Part of the spread.

I’m not really big on birthdays. Not so much because I care about getting older (I turned 30, and honestly, I’m fine with it) but because I really hate being the center of attention. I’m pretty content to let the day pass unnoticed most of the time, but with a milestone like 30, Janna and I thought we’d spend a nice day doing what we like best: cooking, gardening and spending time with friends and family.

I had to work on my actual birthday (a rainy, muggy, all around terrible day) so we decided to celebrate Sunday with an early dinner. Luckily, Sunday turned out to be the most beautiful day I can remember, and we set up in the back yard. I sourced almost everything locally – either from my own garden, the farmers market or from Central Ohio producers. And we spent almost the whole day in the kitchen and garden.

I started out with a couple different loaves of bread – Portuguese Farm Bread and Portuguese White Cornmeal Bread. I didn’t set out to be all Iberian, but I was looking for bread that would complement my mulberry and rhubarb jam. The first recipe, I subbed whole wheat flour for white flour, and added about 1/4 cup more water. Both turned out great, and not labor intensive at all with a KitchenAid mixer. I also made some lemon verbena iced tea, which was a big hit.

Janna made some bacon wrapped dates, stuffed with goat cheese – always a hit – as well as orzo salad with wilted spinach and basil, cherry tomatoes and lemon. Nice and light and flavorful.

I found some really nice baby artichokes, and roasted them simply with olive oil and salt. I also made a green salad with the arugula and most of the lettuce coming from my garden. It was rounded out with mixed greens from Becky at Honey Run Farm. I picked some peas and favas from the garden, supplemented with some more favas from Whole Foods, barely cooked them, and tossed them with torn mint, lemon, olive oil and salt. Garden fresh peas and favas are nothing like what you buy at the store or see frozen. The sweetness is incredible, and the textures are almost crisp. So delicious! This dish was a lot of work. Come to think of it, most of what I cooked took a bit of busy work – definitely not quick cooking, but so satisfying!

The peas are at their peak right now.

Some of the favas are ready!

The main event was a grilled leg of goat. I can’t recall the name of the farm, but it was local to central Ohio. I thought about making a jerk from it, but instead, I decided on simple seasonings of lemon juice and peel, garlic, and herbs from the back yard (oregano, rosemary, thyme and winter savory.) I removed the bone, trimmed and butterfly-ed the leg, marinated it overnight, and grilled it. It turned out great!

The star of the show, though, was Janna’s foraged mulberry crumble. It was incredible!

All in all, it was a great birthday!