Valerie Rice On Father's Day And Great Dishes For Dad

For a natural-born hostess like Valerie Rice, putting together a menu for any party is a cinch. Based in Santa Barbara, Calif., Rice has a reputation for being quite the entertain extraordinaire on topics from gardening to cooking to party planning — all down to the last detail. Creating the ideal menu for Father's Day, however, is a task that has to be done perfectly — no one wants an unhappy father on their special day.

Luckily for us, Rice's focus is fresh and fun, while keeping things sophisticated but rarely formal and never fussy — something we think Dad will appreciate. A simple, manly meal that will leave him happy and satisfied is perfect for Father's Day.

Here's what Rice had to say about Father's Day and getting it just right:

My husband is a no muss, no fuss kind of guy. On Father's Day I like to prepare a simple, flavorful meal that still feels like a special occasion — this menu is infused with fresh Mediterranean influences that make for a delicious, satisfying dinner that showcases the best of what's in season.

When setting the table, think with a man in mind. Don't get too fussy; it can feel special and elegant in a simple way. It's June and the weather is lovely, so if you have the space, set a table outside simply: forgo a tablecloth, add a couple of large hurricanes with ivory unscented candles, heavy-duty rattan chargers, classic stemware, and a killer bottle of wine. You have set the scene to make him very happy.

A rack of lamb is a treat in our household. This special occasion protein is easy to make and delicious with an earthy red wine. 

Rösti potatoes is a traditional Swiss dish, which takes coarsely grated potatoes and pan-fries them to crispy perfection. This is a total treat for Dad — a wedge of these on his plate will be a hit, trust me.

This whipped feta sauce is lip-smacking good and takes minutes to make. It adds great zest to the sweetness of beautifully grilled eggplants. This sauce will work well with all that's on the plate. (I have yet to serve this without someone asking for the recipe!)

And the finale? A gorgeous, decadent mud pie.