Utah to Arizona #16, Sam’s Birthday Dinner and Looking for Friend Spores

My husband’s birthday request is that I cook dinner for his birthday. This year he wanted a dinner featuring lamb shank. That spelled trouble. After planning the menu, I called the three closest grocery stores. All three have the basics of this abundant food nation from rotisserie chicken to frozen pizza, but my spoiled, some say near

Not in my little corner of Arizona.

Not in my little corner of Arizona.

snooty food preferences, have not easily found some basics: Chinese Five Spice, tomato paste in a tube, or fresh bean sprouts. By phone I located a lamb shank twelve miles away.

The morning of his birthday was the first meeting of a writing critique group I wanted to join. Not because I want a critique group. They are great at the right time, but I don’t have the writing I want critiqued right now. The reason I wanted to go is I need acquaintances so in time I will have friends. I call these ventures into human stranger territory, “Collecting Friend Spores.” I left the house 75 minutes ahead of start time.

Six writers of varying age above forty were in attendance. We went around the circle until all four women and two men had their work critiqued. It was a good group which means they are excited about their work, diverse in style, and ready to improve. But the round-trip was over 120 miles. In a city of about six million, there should be people closer to me, don’t you think?

Happy birthday, Sam! I was happy to be home and turn my thoughts and action to the day’s main event of dinner.


Two Appetizers

Two Appetizers

Stuffed mushrooms / Recipe below

Grilled Scallops in Remoulade Sauce (made possible by two leftover scallops from night before)

Hearts of Palm Salad (looks too similar to scallops to be eye-appealing, but at least they were different courses)

Hearts of Palm Salad

Hearts of Palm Salad

Main Course Served with Medoc Wine

Lamb Shank

Roasted Potatoes

Carrots in Butter and Triple Sec with Pistachios / Recipe below


Bakery Eclair

Stuffed Mushrooms From George Washington Ate Here! by T. Upton Ramsey. Upton was a friend of Sam’s in a raucous group called the Salt Shakers. They were ribbon-cutting Upton Ramseyentrepreneurs who welcomed new businesses through the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.

My abridged version for two people instead of six: Mushrooms, butter, cream cheese, bleu cheese, minced onion, fine herbs.

Remove mushroom stems, melt butter, saute mushroom caps about two minutes, mince stems, and add rest of ingredients. (I used handy Italian Herb Mix.) Fill caps, broil until bubbly.

Carrots and Pistachio

Carrots and Pistachio

Pistachio Carrots From Cooking in the Nude by Debbie and Stephen Cornwell. This little sixty-one page, dog-eared recipe booklet was given to Sam and me by my mother when our son went to college.

Steam 8-10 baby carrots until crisp tender. Melt 2 T butter and saute pistachios two minutes. Add Tripe Sec, remove from heat, add carrots, toss.

Happy birthday Sam!

Birthday Eclair

Birthday Eclair

This entry was posted in Eating is for Everyone, Utah to Arizona for a Next Life and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Utah to Arizona #16, Sam’s Birthday Dinner and Looking for Friend Spores

  1. Yum, I’d skip straight to dessert if it were me, but it looks lovely! You’re a good wife. I’m glad you’ve found friends!

  2. Happy birthday, Same. Your better half went to a lot of trouble, I mean she went out of her way to make this a special meal. I’m sure you were in seventh heaven. Sounds Delish.

  3. Why thank you Ms. Cookie, I think I will read this aloud to him.

  4. Smaktakula says:

    What a spread! I’m not a lamb guy, but the mushrooms and carrots in particular sound heavenly!

  5. I’m not a lamb girl either. In fact, I don’t eat meat, well I do fish so I have my exceptions. Sam’s and my plates sometimes look very different.

  6. Hi Rebecca, what a joy it was to find you. You are quite the warm-hearted, excellent cook! As far as friends go, consider me as one, and also remember that here on WordPress, there is quite a variety of friends. 🙂

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