Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Enjoy Your Home: Friends at the Table


A mutual friend introduced me to Debi Shawcross. This is a woman who embraces food, entertaining, friendships and business with incredible style! To her they are all one big package. This is a person my clients and fellow home design groupies need to meet! We love our homes and we love opening them up to entertain our family and friends. I can make your home beautiful; Debi will make sure you enjoy it!

Here I welcome Debi as a guest blogger.

Join me in anticipation of her new book!


Ps—Debi has included one of her recipes in this blog for you to try!

Debi Shawcross: Guest Blogger

In a time where we communicate with one another by text, email, and twitter, the need for face time is more important than ever. Stay connected with your friends by forming a supper club, and invite friends “in” for dinner.

What is a supper club?

The traditional supper club was a gathering where people met and enjoyed an evening of dining (often a “surf and turf” meal), drinks and usually live musical entertainment in a semi-formal setting. “These supper clubs launched many musical careers (i.e. Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, etc.) and introduced the ‘doggie bag'” .

The resurgence of interest in supper clubs today comes from a longing to recapture a period when people made time for each other and gathered with friends who shared a mutual passion for food. We're looking for deeper connection with others, and in a way that is more affordable than an expensive night out with dinner and drinks.

A supper club is a different type of dinner party

Supper clubs aren’t merely dinner parties that happen by chance or every once in a while -- nor is the supper club just about the food. “Members of a supper club commit to meeting regularly with common goals in mind,” Shawcross explains. “This built-in element of continuity enables the supper club to grow and strengthen relationships… on a deep ongoing level.”

How to form your own supper club

Shawcross asks: Why not couple your love of food and cooking with an evening at home with friends? “Friends at the Table” will take you through each step in detail:

1. Define your group

2. Get organized

3. Decide who brings what

4. Manage the budget

5. Consider cleanup

6. Make it interesting

7. Plan your table settings

8. Test your recipes

For more supper club tips and recipes, and dinner for eight tablescapes visit my website or pick up my Friends at the Table, scheduled for release in April 2011.

Available for pre-order on

Crispy Halibut with Lemony Basil Sauce Recipe

This dish makes for an impressive entree without a lot of effort. A light dusting of panko breadcrumbs creates a crisp exterior, while maintaining the tender interior of the halibut, prized for its delicate flavor and firm white flesh.

The lemony basil sauce is a natural complement to the fish, adding a dimension of decadence. I like to dress the plate up a bit with this simple trick: grab a vegetable peeler and boost your presentation by creating beautiful zucchini ribbons that are quickly steamed in coconut milk. The flavors here are bright, lively, and fresh, making it a standout dish for your next dinner party.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

3 tablespoons minced shallots

1 cup white wine

Juice and zest from 1 lemon

3 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Zucchini Ribbons:

4 zucchinis, ends trimmed

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk


3 ounces panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

8 (6-ounce) halibut steaks (or other firm white-fleshed fish)

Salt and pepper

Canola oil


For the sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until shallots soften, about three minutes. Add the wine and lemon zest. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce by one-third. Reduce heat to medium, add the lemon juice and begin whisking in the remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to finish the sauce. Remove from heat and add the tomatoes and basil. Adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper.

For the zucchini ribbons: Using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini into very thin pieces. In a large sauté pan, bring coconut milk to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring for two minutes.

For the fish: In a food processor, pulse panko crumbs into a fine powder and transfer to a plate. In a shallow bowl, pour the milk. Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Dip each halibut steak in milk and then into the plate of panko crumbs. Press the crumbs onto both sides of fish. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add enough canola oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Heat oil, then add halibut to the pan. (Cook’s note: Be careful not to overcrowd the fish. Wipe out the pan and repeat the searing process in batches, if necessary.) Cook until a golden crust begins to form on the bottom of fish, about six minutes. Flip and cook on the other side an additional four to five minutes.

Makes 8 servings

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