“Entertaining is not about perfection; it’s about connection.”
Sometimes a table comes together on its own, drawing its inspiration from what is already there.
The runner that was under the centerpiece is replaced with loosely woven placemats in a fiery orange, a perfect complement to those same tones in the arrangement. I love their randomness which remind me of an unfinished bird nest.
Staying right with the developing color scheme are these napkins tucked into pewter napkin rings. I have longed for sterling silver figureals, but they have gotten very pricey, so these much less expensive ones are a good substitute. Each of the eight I have is a different shape which makes them a very fun addition to the table.
I had thought to use black dishes, but when I opened the cabinet, these wonderful plates jumped right out. They are so right for a fall table, and I am reminded of the special thoughtfulness of the friend who brought them.
With the table appearing so warm, comfort food is a natural for the evening meal. I had gotten lobster from my lobster guy earlier, so I decided to make a new version of the lobster pot pie that you can find here. It is such fun to see how many different ways lobster can be used as a main ingredient, and I can tell you anything with lobster is good. See how you think this sounds.
4 T unsalted butter
1/2 pound mushrooms (I combine several types)
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup sherry
2 T flour
1 1/2 cups seafood stock
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 t salt
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 T Herbes de Provence
1 pound cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-size pieces
2 T chopped chives
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten and mixed with 2 tablespoons water
In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add the sherry and cook until it is almost completely evaporated. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the mushrooms and shallots, stir to combine well, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the seafood stock and milk, and whisk until smooth. Continue to cook until thickened. Add the heavy cream, green peas, salt, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and Herbes de Provence and cook for 15 minutes, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and the flavors have come together. Set aside until cooled. Add the lobster meat and chives. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, then divide lobster mixture evenly among four 12-ounce ramekins or 6″ skillets.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll puff pastry to a thickness of 1/8-inch. Cut the pastry into circles 3/4-inch larger than the diameter of the ramekins. Transfer the dough rounds to the top of the ramekins and press the edges around the top of the dishes. Lightly brush the top of the pastry with some of the egg yolk mixture. Cut slits in the center of the pastry to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown and sauce is bubbling hot.
I like using individual serving dishes for this, but it works just as well to use a regular baking dish or casserole. Believe it or not, it doesn’t take long to put the lobster pot pie together, especially if you are using prepared lobster. If you don’t have easy access to lobster as I do here in Maine, shrimp or crabmeat would work just as well. No matter what your seafood choice, the result is sure to be tasty.