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I Want It That Way. With Mushrooms.

I’ve mentioned before that when I first got into this blogging business I had zero intention of posting recipes.  Ever.  I originally thought that would be like Elmer Fudd writing articles on behalf of PETA, or the Backstreet Boys trying to teach us the artistry of compelling lyrics.

It just didn’t make sense.

But then this happened.  It was back when I had a full-time job and was trying to write a new post every single day.  Back before I had an awesome writing partner to relieve the pressure.

I’d wanted to reveal our finished kitchen, but the problem was, it wasn’t finished.  So in a desperate attempt to fill some space, I showed you the (burned) spinach salmon bundles I’d made for dinner that night.  They were burned, people!  I’m so not good at this.  But for some reason, some of you told me you liked the post.  And some of you even tried the recipe.  Which is pretty damn cool.

So I started showing you more of my recipe endeavors.  Not because I’m a great cook – I’m not even a very good cook.  But like I said in that first recipe post:

I’m not really a “pinch-of-this, dash-of-that” type of person, but more of a “put-the-measuring-cup-on-the-counter-and-bend-down-to-eye-level-to-make-sure-I’m-getting-just-the-right-amount” type person.

Cooking doesn’t come naturally to me.  But I can follow instructions – if I haven’t had too much wine.  (At least Erin doesn’t have to worry about that nasty business anymore, eh?)  And I guess I’ve been justifying the continuation of the recipe posts by thinking there are more of you out there, like me, who’ve been afraid of cooking well into “adulthood” and just need a little encouragement in the way of pictures and “been-there-done-that” mess-up stories.

Because I’ve finally learned that IT’S OKAY TO MESS UP IN THE KITCHEN.

At least I hope it is, because I do it all the time.  So, I’ve come to you today with another recipe.  But if these are starting to bore you and you really couldn’t give two hoots about what I’ve stuffed into my expanding waistline last night, do let me know.  It won’t hurt my feelings – they aren’t even my own recipes!

But I do feel especially compelled to share what I made last night.  It was so… different.  So out of my usual comfort zone, and it turned out delicious, so yes.  I have to share.

Aside from acquiring some of the ingredients, it was deceptively simple to make.  It contained some of my usual friendly ingredients like pasta and butter.  But it also contained a couple I’d normally shy away from, like Japanese mayonnaise and chili garlic sauce.  I stopped at a local Asian market to pick up those things, and let me just tell you – I will be back.  The food they had there was incredible!  And scary.  But mostly incredible!  Oh, the sushi I could (attempt to) make…

So the original recipe that caught my eye yesterday can be found here.  The only thing I changed was cooking up a bed of pasta for the main dish.  You know, ’cause I like to keep it light.

Portobello Shroomies with Creamy Scallop Topping

Do NOT be scared of this concept.  Beef-less as it is, this was fit for company.

To make them, you will need:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 4 large Portobello mushroom caps (My little po-dunk grocery store lets me buy these pre-packaged or in bulk, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding them.)
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 lbs. scallops (I bought the super cheap 4 oz. bags of “mini” scallops.  They were 2 bags for $3, so I bought 4 bags.  Even though that’s only 1 pound, the amount turned out to be perfect to cover the mushroom caps.)
  • 1 cup Japanese mayonnaise (I bought the recommended Kewpie brand.  It has a freaky little cartoon baby on the front.  I hope this mayo isn’t made out of babies.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce (They actually had this at the commissary on post, but I bought the jar at the Asian market.  I’m a wuss when it comes to spicy food, but I actually wish I’d added a bit more of this.  The flavor was great, and I found the mayonnaise a little overpowering.)
  • 2 Tbsp. green onions, chopped
  • 8 oz. linguine (optional)
  • Drizzle of olive oil (optional)
Portabello Mushroom Cap Dinner

*Missing from team photo:  Garlic powder and pasta.  I think they were spotted fooling around under the bleachers.


1.  Defrost your scallops (assuming you’re not lucky enough to live somewhere you can get fresh seafood and had to buy frozen) according to the package directions.  And if you decided to make a lovely bed of pasta for your shroomies, go ahead and get your water boiling.

pot of water

2.  Thoroughly rinse your Portobello mushrooms.  Don’t be scared of the gills – they actually feel kinda good to the touch.  (Is that weird??)  Divide the 3 Tbsp. of butter into 4 equal pieces.  Melt a piece in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, then add a mushroom cap and cook until soft in the center.  (This took approx. 2-3 minutes per side for me.)  Repeat with the remaining mushroom caps and butter.

Divide Butter
melt butter in pan
cook portabello caps

*I found this to be a bit meticulous.  If I make this again, I’ll probably use my large grill pan and cook all 4 caps at once.  Cooking them one at a time forced me to rinse the pan between mushrooms because the butter would begin to burn.

3.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  As the mushrooms cook, place them on the sheet gill side up, so they make little “bowls.”  Mmmmm… fungus bowls.  Generously sprinkle them with garlic powder.

line pan with foil
garlic powder

Oh, and your pasta water should be boiling by now, so salt it and add the linguine.

cook linguine

4.  Preheat your broiler and set the oven rack about 6″ away from it.  Do you use your broiler?  I do all the time.  It’s FANTASTIC.  Just remember to leave your oven door cracked open a couple inches while your food cooks.  That’s all there is to it!

5.  Melt the last tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté your scallops until they’re lightly browned.  If you’re using larger scallops, they’d probably be great seared.  But mine ended up kind of boiling in the pan because they were cheap and frozen and filled with water.  No worries, though – they still turned out great.

cook scallops

Fill each mushroom cap with the scallops.

6.  In a small bowl, mix together the cup of Japanese mayonnaise and 1/2 (or more) teaspoon of garlic chili sauce.

mayo sauce

*Be careful not to let go of the foil top of the chili sauce while you’re opening it, lest you splatter red sauce all over your counter and walls.  I’ve been putting my backsplash to good use.  But that’s probably just me.

chili sauce splatter

This Kewpie brand Japanese mayo looked strange. It came in a very flimsy plastic bottle inside a loosely wrapped plastic pouch.  But the mayo itself was very similar in consistency to the mayo we’re used to – just a bit of a different flavor and probably worth purchasing if you’re going to try this recipe.

Japanese mayonnaise

Anyway, mix the mayo and chili sauce together and spoon that mixture over your scallop-filled mushrooms.

mix mayo sauce
spoon sauce over scallops

7.  Stick the pan under the broiler until the topping turns bubbly and slightly brown (about 3-5 minutes).  WATCH CAREFULLY.  The broiler can do wonderful things, but it can also burn food in an instant.

broil portabello mushrooms

8.  When your pasta is done, drain it and add a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from getting dry and sticky.  I also added a bit of the mayo/chili sauce topping, which worked really well.

cooked pasta

9.  When your mushroom topping is nice and bubbly and starting to brown, take them out of the oven.  Chop up a green onion (or two) and sprinkle on top of the mushrooms.  I ended up only using the green part of the onion.

bubbly broiled mushrooms
portabello mushroom with scallop cream sauce

10.  Assemble!  Dish some pasta onto a plate, then use a STRONG spatula to maneuver a mushroom cap onto it.  I say this because I used a WEAK spatula for the first one, and it splattered upside-down (of course) back onto the baking sheet.

Yes, these things happen to me.

All.  the.  time.

Sorry, no picture to commemorate my humiliation.

But I do have these:

This should have some plain roasted asparagus sitting next to it.  Yum.

So think you might try it?  Or is this just a little too freaky for you?


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First of all…I love the recipes you share. I have most of them saved somewhere in my inbox, because as I sit in my office at work right before lunch, my mouth is usually watering at the delciousness that I am reading and hey…I want to try making that too. However, I have only made the mozzarella burgers…which were outstanding by the way and a huge crowd pleaser. I would love to try this recipe too…I love mushrooms but my manfriend does not, therefore, I would probably use the small portabella’s and make them into bitesize appetizers for the next shindig….they sound soooo good!


Aw, thanks Christine! Making them into bitesize appetizers is a brilliant idea. If your manfriend doesn’t like mushrooms, this topping might be tasty on something else, like tilapia…? One of my favorite sushi rolls actually has a topping that tastes very similar, except I think it’s mixed with crab. If you make the appetizers, let me know how they turn out!


Aw, I feel the love! :) By the way, after our road trip to Frederick, every Backstreet Boys song will forever remind me of you. FOREVER.

And Christine: Eddie? Picky about eating mushrooms? I *never* would’ve imagined… ;)


Holy crap. We were SO listening to N’Sync. Don’t mess that up. Marisa might start getting ideas…


ha ha Erin! I have had that debate with Eddie….

Marisa Wikramanayake


1) I protest at the insinuation that the BSB cannot write good lyrics. I have proof!

A leaked track from the album they are currently working on:
“Oh, I know it isn’t right but I don’t want to let myself care. I want a new love but I am a little scared. You never know what you are going to get and that is what scares me sometimes. Next time, love comes my way, I’m going to let it happen, happen baby. If I ever made a mistake, well, I have been a rebel too long, a rebel too long, a rebel for too long.”

From their most recent album in 2008/9:
“First off, I can’t keep a promise, I’m no one to count on at all. And on that, I’m a coward who’s too scared to return your calls. But you don’t care. You keep sticking around, while I am acting a clown. You’re bigger than me. You’re still here, your feet stuck to the ground and despite how silly it sounds, you’re bigger than me.

It’s known that I am a liar, often I am blacker than white. And on my uncanny ego: well, no one’s less humble than I. But you don’t care. You keep sticking around while I’m acting a clown. You’re bigger than me. You’re still here, your feet stuck to the ground and despite how silly it sounds, you’re bigger than me.”

From 2006ish (not sure of the date), I just want you to know (with the funniest music video ever

“I’m looking at the picture from when we first met. You gave me a smile that I could never forget. And nothing I could do, could protect me from you that night. I was wrapped around your finger, you were always on my mind. The days would blend because we would stay up all night. Yeah, you and I were everything, everything to me.I just want you to know that I’ve been fighting to let you go. Some days I make it through but then there are nights that never end. I wish that I could believe that some day you would come back to me but still I have to say that I would do it all again. I just want you to know.”

From their first album in 1998: Their altered cover of PM Dawn’s Set Adrift on Memory’s Bliss:

” Sadness overwhelms me and my mind flies carelessly, imagining that you’re happy with your life right now. I guess that’s just the way it goes. Forever’s gone so now I must place you with all the things that I can never have.”

Now that last line is absolutely heartbreaking and was never in PM Dawn’s original version.

Hence BSB are capable of writing good lyrics on a consistent basis. Mind you I hated Millennium. And that damn “I want it that way” song.

2) Thank you for pleasing the fan girl in me by posting the Rolling Stone picture. *le sigh*

3) And also mushrooms are awesome – I just had pasta with mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach sautéed in butter. Yum.


LOL Marisa, I completely forgot about your BSB fanaticism when I wrote this. Your taste in music hasn’t changed much since college, has it? ;) So I have three points in response:
1) That last verse you quoted from Set Adrift on Memory Bliss is incredibly moving.
“Sadness that overwhelmed me
My mind flies and carelessly
Imagines that you’re happy with your life right now oh
I guess that’s just the was it goes
Forever’s gone so now I must
Place you with all the things that I can never have.”
What’s not to love about that? To me, it’s really the only one of that set that really struck a chord (so to speak) – whether it’s due to originality or the amount of wine I’ve consumed so far tonight, I can’t be sure.
2) I would be shocked – SHOCKED! – if it was ever confirmed that the Backstreet Boys wrote their own lyrics. Please don’t hate me forever for saying that, but c’mon, Marisa! Do you really – really?! – think they come up with that drivel themselves? Which takes me back to point #1. Clearly not drivel (sorry to generalize), but also an obvious example of something they most likely did not come up with between bouts of fighting off adoring tweens and and flexing their pecks in front of a mirror.
3) All that is not to say they can’t sing. I’ll admit that they can sing and harmonize – unless they use one of those crap autotune machines, which is highly likely.

You know I love you. ;)

Marisa Wikramanayake

Aww Katie I love you too.

But I have to tell you that yes, they did write that line and they do write their own songs however…

They write about ten songs for each album between them and then the record label gets someone like Max Martin and a few other famous songwriters to write about ten odd songs for the album and then…

They pick the songs they want to go onto the album and the record label has about 50 to 60% say as to what songs go onto each album so there are tons of really lovely songs the guys have written that have never made it onto the album and occasionally get leaked…

…which then leads some of the guys to go off and do solo projects – Brian writes all his songs for his Christian pop albums, Nick writes his own for his solo pop work and AJ does his indie/punk songs for his Johnny No Name songs.

And when they first started singing as a group they were very firmly controlled by Lou Pearlman their manager who also managed NSYNC and they had no say in what happened. They eventually broke ties with him (just after Millennium I think) and now they run the group the way they want and they are far happier and the music is better. They still have to let the record label have a say in what songs make it onto the record but it’s amazing because they all love 80s rock and metal and you finally see that showing up in the songs that they are writing and singing now and it’s great!

And they don’t use the machines – they sing acapella stuff that will blow you away. They really do have good voices.

Compared to NSYNC, they have a lot more to offer in terms of voices and talent though yes Justin does dance well and write his own stuff now. And that’s probably why the BSB are still a group and NSYNC aren’t.

And it isn’t just tweens. The people who grew up with the BSB (over ten years!) are now getting married and having kids and they are appealing to both them and the next age group down which is amazing. They must have something really good to offer considering that none of them except for Nick is single. And I doubt that AJ and Howie’s pecs are anything to look at though they are all still fit.

Marisa Wikramanayake

PS: Also if they had never been managed by Lou Pearlman, they would have been an awesome indie rock band from the start whereas now I think they are slowly heading in that direction from beat pop though it will be a long and odd transition to make.

the other Mrs. Barstow

I think I’ll have to try this one!! I like the appetizer idea – I can always use a new one for the Wampagee gang. Thanks, Katie!! Oh, and I love your step by step instructions and pictures.


Thanks, Mrs. Barstow!! I’m not the greatest cook, so it’s a lot of effort to snap pictures while trying not to drop my camera in a pot of boiling water or splatter sauce all over my backsplash, so thanks for the encouragement. :) I hope you try the recipe – I thought it was really delicious.


YUM!!! With no one to cook for, I’ve been very, very boring these days – your superb food-tography & directions have re-inspired me :-) These look LOVELY!!! Thanks for sharing!


Have your sister over for a ladies’ night and make this for her. ;)


Looks most yummy Katie (but I am kinda partial to the’ole Mack Daddy Shrooms. Suggestions anyone for scallop substitutions (even before I went Veggi, I couldn’t stand those little slippery boogers)?


Hmm… good question! I automatically think of other seafood replacements that would be delicious, like shrimp or lump crab meat, but that doesn’t really work for vegetarians. ;) You could maybe use cauliflower if you roast it or steam it ahead of time…? Otherwise, I honestly think you could just do the mushrooms and the sauce without anything else! That could be pretty yummy, too.

Christie Lowery

Just a FYI (and a bit of an ego booster since you’re no longer here for me to do it in person), I made this dish this past weekend for a certain special someone’s birthday. It was a HUGE hit and deliciously wonderful!! I think it also a big turning point with us…so, thanks for the inspiration (and initiation)!!!!

PS…for my veggi-version, I used sun-dried tomatoes instead of scallops. WON-DER-FREAKING-AWESOME! Also, I think I’m now in love with Japanese mayo. Whooda thunk?!


Yay, I’m SO glad you (and a certain special someone) liked them!! And that sounds AMAZING with sundried tomatoes – I might have to try that! Now I wish you hadn’t made me salivate over these while I’m here in Costa Rica. I wonder if Bagaces’s grocery store carries Japanese Mayo…? Wait – they don’t even carry the mushrooms. LOL

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