Company’s Coming

When folks come to visit, I like to have the first night’s dinner well underway when they arrive so they can settle in and relax after what has probably been a long day of travel.  Maine is not the easiest place to get to!

tablescapeAlready on the breakfast room table are these wonderful antique beer bottles, but instead of being filled with beer, they hold a stem or two of near season’s end hydrangeas.  I love how the bloom changes from white to green as it matures.

tablescapeDinner is a casual affair, so I’m going for comfort with simple black square plates from Ikea  on these placemats of many colors.  I love the flared top of the placemat which creates just enough space for a glass.

tablescapeHmmm, there are salad plates to match the larger ones, but now seems a good time to use the black and white ones scored at Goodwill last week.  I’m beginning to like shopping there for new treasures!

wine bottle holderThe wine bottle holder is one that I brought back from a spring trip to Vietnam, and it is a definite conversation piece as everyone is intrigued by how it stays balanced!

tablescapeAdded to the mix are the much used King’s Crown thumbprint glasses and flatware from TJ Maxx, another of my favorite shopping haunts.

Now, it’s to the kitchen to start dinner which features very fresh scallops.  I promise you this dish is what we call a real moaner as moans of appreciation replace words at the table!

scallops/mushroom couscous risottoCarmelized Scallops with Mushroom Couscous Risotto


2 T. olive oil

2 T. finely diced yellow onion

1 t. minced garlic

1 c. Israeli couscous (I like the tricolored)

1 1/4 c. water

2 t. sea salt

In a 3-4 quart saucepan, saute onions in olive oil over medium high heat.  When they start to brown, add garlic, stir for 1 minute, then add water, couscous and sea salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir gently.

Mushroom Risotto

1 T. unsalted butter

4 T. diced yellow onion

4 t. minced garlic

2 c. oyster mushrooms cut in 1/2″ pieces

1 c. heavy cream

prepared couscous

2 T. chopped parsley

2 T. chopped chives

Preheat large saute pan over medium high heat.  Melt butter and saute onions, garlic and mushrooms until they start to brown around the edges.   Add cream and salt.  Bring to a boil, add couscous, breaking up any clumps.  Cook until most of the cream has soaked into the mixture.  Gently fold in herbs and adjust salt and pepper.


1 T. canola oil

1 1/2 lbs.  sea scallops

1/2 c. sweet Vermouth

1 c. heavy cream

Preheat saute pan over high heat.  When hot, add oil and immediately add scallops with a flat side down.  Sear only one side until you see a light brown caramelization coming up the sides.  Remove from heat and add vermouth.  Gently remove scallops from pan to a room temperature casserole dish.  Add cream to pan and return to high heat.  Bring to a boil, then immediately pour over scallops and let rest for 2-3 minutes to finish cooking scallops.

To serve place a serving of “risotto” in the center of a bowl or rimmed plate.  Place scallops around the risotto and pour 3-4 T. of sauce over the scallops.  Garnish with parsley and chives.  Makes 4 servings.

This dish is just as good as it looks and is quite easy to prepare.  Using couscous for the risotto takes the pain out of making it and yields a surefire success.  As with any seafood dish, the real key is having good and fresh seafood.  To complete this dinner, all you need is a green salad and some crusty bread to “sop” up the sauce.  No one will leave the table unhappy!

By the way, this recipe is inspired by one in a beautiful cookbook Fresh From Maine.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


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27 thoughts on “Company’s Coming

  1. Having had the pleasure to have had an enjoyable meal at your table, I know that your guests enjoyed this meal.

  2. The dinner looks wonderful and you are such a gracious hostess…and I have that wine holder…my son gave it to me…he purchased it in San Francisco at a “foodie tradeshow”….Love it..

  3. Linda, My mouth is watering and I have no doubt this meal is a moaner! Love the idea of mushroom couscous risotto, I’m going to have to try it! Your placemats are such a fun shape, leave it to Ikea to marry form & function!

  4. These might be your best ever table photos! Well done! Maybe the class paid off? 😉 xo!

  5. So appetizing and lovely. You have created a beautiful table with an amazing menu to go with it.

  6. Oh your lucky lucky guests! That is probably my favorite meal, a creamy risotto with broiled scallops! Yours looks divine and the table is set for relaxation, and an invitation to unwind!

  7. Oh my, I can imagine the moans of delight!

  8. Hi Lulu,
    Your table looks so pretty, I just love all the light dancing around the table. Those scallops look delicious, we would just love this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  9. Graciousness… scallops and coscous, my type of food. Very healthy (not much calories) and very friendly recipe.

    Thumbs UP in your presentation.

    Happy weekend.

    Greetings from D´Box in Stockholm,
    /CC girl

  10. Oh My Word, dinner looks delicious! I am drooling all over my keyboard. Great table. I love the vintage beer bottles, and what great plates from GW. After seeing these, I think all placemats should flare at the top. So many placemats don’t leave room for the glass, and that is where a placemat is most needed. What a great wine holder. I can see how it could cause interesting discussions at the table. Hope you have a good weekend. laurie

  11. Your table is lovely! Love the repurpose of the beer bottles! And your scallops look delicious!

  12. This table is lovely! Love those placemats and glasses…

  13. Your lucky guests! The scallops and couscous dish looks wonderful! Is this your peak foliage weekend by any chance? Love the table!

  14. Just to add, it is 22:55 at night, he isn’t at College right now, nor is he making it … 😀

  15. My son (21) is at College learning to be a sous chef, he likes this and has stolen it 😀
    I am starving now also. 😦

  16. Love how you put them together, looks so elegant. Who would know you picked b&w from the Goodwell 🙂 Beautiful wine holder!

  17. Lulu, the antique beer bottles are beautiful – so rustic! I don’t blame you for using the new salad plates. 😉 We have to justify new purchases by using them, don’t we? Lovely table!

  18. Lulu – I really like your table, especially those placemats – they look like they would go with so many dishes. I am already moaning, about your recipe – wow, does that look good!!

  19. Is the glassware also known as Cranberry Glass?

  20. Your table setting is beautiful…very eclectic! I love that. And I so appreciate the recipe, not only do I love the presentation, I’m like your way of cooking the scallops.


  21. re-blogged and so worth the effort isn’t it

    Love scallops!

  22. Reblogged this on Living and Lovin.

  23. Oh my gosh, Linda, the scallops and couscous dish looks delicious!!! It’s true that so much of Maine is hard to get to. I’m headed to Lewiston/Auburn tomorrow, but that’s pretty easy. There is a fabulous antiques store there (not my real destination but something to look forward to!!). I’m hoping the leaves have started changing up there. We really don’t have any color to speak of yet here in southern CT. Linda

  24. I most especially love you couscous presentation and recipe

  25. Enjoy your company Linda.. and I love your wine bottle holder.. very special indeed! Your table does look inviting and relaxing! Wish I was coming for dinner tonight – x j

  26. Just plain YUMMY! !

  27. Looks deelish! I especially love The Prisoner wine- one of my favs!!!

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