In Like a Lion

Well, not exactly. March came in with a light drizzle, more like a kitten. But still, it is weather. We get a little rain around here and the local TV stations go on “Storm Watch.” It’s laughable.

Life perks along here on Planet Rian. We had a dinner party last night and, as usual, I did not get any photos of the food. Picture salmon with panko and parsley on it, scalloped potatoes that were oh-so divine (recipe below), and perfectly roasted asparagus. For dessert I made chocolate-dipped strawberries on a little nest of fresh raspberries. Here’s the gang:

Cliff and Barbara, left, are our next-door neighbors. They are the best neighbors ever. JJ, at the end of the table, poured some beautiful pinot noirs from his collection (and the food was designed to complement them). JJ is the best husband ever and a great host. On the right are Linda and CB, who brought me into the best golf group ever, and Linda and I play golf together nearly every Wednesday.

I learned something new! Have you ever “peeled” a mushroom? I had never heard of such a thing. But we had the best mushrooms at a neighbor’s recently and I asked her how she did them. She peeled the mushrooms! No way! Here’s how:

Here is your average button mushroom with the stem removed. There is only a tiny hole for the stuffing, and often requires two bites. I used to try to cut this off and it was fiddly and yielded a mangled end-product.

I didn’t know how to go about it, so I just tried peeling one. Look how easy the skin pulls off! Unbelievable. Mushrooms are like little sponges, so if you wash them they get soggy. And really messy to eat.

Wa-LA! A tiny, one-bite mushroom that is easy to stuff!

Did you notice the flowers on my table? I usually don’t put fresh flowers on the table because they are tall—and I didn’t have a short vase, until JJ bought me these two tiny vases (on sale!) at Pottery Barn.

And, since the theme was “Celebrate Spring,” tulips were in order. Aren’t they sweet?

Here’s the recipe for scalloped potatoes. Lordy, these were good.

SCALLOPED POTATOES (from Epicurious)
Serves 6

3 pounds (about 5) Yukon gold potatoes
3 TBS butter, cut into small bits (I used more)

Salt and pepper
1.5 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
Grated nutmeg

Peel and thinly slice potatoes. Layer in baking dish, overlapping slightly—sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper, and dot with butter.

Combine the milk and cream, and nutmeg. Pour over potatoes (I added more butter to the top). Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 1.25 hours (mine took 1.5 hours but I think my oven is slow). Remove foil and continue baking until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

This can be made a day ahead (that’s how I roll) and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.

That’s all the news for now. Today is a wee bit blustery and cold, so we’re wearing our fuzzy slippers and hunkering down.


  1. I like the look of your friends....I could fit right in I think and of course, you would make rice and beans for me and serve me good wine !!!! (altho I'd probably prefer my cheap stuff since I'm not a connoisseur....)
    Love mushrooms but haven't stuffed any in years and not likely to begin again....but great idea.
    Just changed my mind, if you invite me to dinner with your friends, skip the rice and beans, I'll eat the scalloped potatoes....!


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