a birthday picnic

we rounded up some of our favorite folks for a birthday picnic at the lake in pully this weekend and it turned out to be a wonderful day. as i've previously written about, growing up my family didn't have to look far to find a reason to celebrate and more importantly to eat. birthdays and holidays throughout the warmer months were always the best though as it gave my pop pop a reason to turn on the grill and our family a reason to gather on the back deck. these memories are what i had in mind when i proclaimed that i wanted a good old fashioned american cookout for my birthday. my grandparents didn't just go the regular hot dogs and hamburgers route and neither would i. we bought bratwurst from the boucherie and friends brought veggie and meat kebabs. we made potato salad and coleslaw, cut up fresh watermelon, i made a lemon verbena tea and we headed to the lake with our new bodum mini grill. the weather forecast was threatening rain but it held out long enough for us to enjoy the food, for kenya to go for a swim, and for us all to walk away with a bit of sunburn.
now you know i would never forget dessert...
it is a tradition in my family that on your birthday you get to choose what kind of cake you want my mom to make for you. as a kid i hated cake (probably because at the time my experience with it was the boxed kind you got at kroger with that sugary sweet icing) nevertheless, i always asked for "fruit pizza" instead. "fruit pizza" is simple and delicious with a sugar cookie crust, cream cheese frosting, and sliced fresh fruit. wanting to make a grown up interpretation of "fruit pizza" as our picnic dessert i made individual cheesecakes with a sugar cookie crust and topped with fresh fruit. i was a bit uncertain how it would turn out so i whipped up a batch of lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, you know, just in case. to my surprise and delight they turned out just as i had envisioned them and just as tasty.

individual cheesecakes