fletcher + fork Goes to Elawa Farm (and a Holiday Recipe for your Favorite Vegetarian)

image via Elawa Farm

It was a pinch myself moment. Yesterday I taught my first class at Elawa Farm, the beloved and beautifully restored gentleman’s farm and garden in the heart of Lake Forest. Elawa’s mission is to enrich our community as a unique center for hands-on learning, and to inspire an appreciation for gardening, healthy living and historic preservation.

Continue reading

Sip | Julia’s Martini + Wild and Wonderful Travel in 2019

Still Life with Fruit, oil on panel , 1675, by JACOB VAN WALSCAPELLE
Dutch, 1644-1727
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

TRAVEL MORE. That was my main 2019 resolution. It was a wise one, it turns out, as this has been one miserable winter in Chicago! Though we’ve barely entered March, I’ve been out of town more than I’ve been home. In the last four weeks alone I’ve spent long stretches in Colorado, the Keys, and Washington D.C. All regular haunts for me, but OH MY is that about to change.

Beaver Creek with the birthday boy
Ocean Reef antics
Rye Manhattans and cat bingo…Saturday night with my sister and three-year-old nephew
Continue reading

Small Bite Dessert | Chocolate Hazelnut Tassies

Every Christmas I couldn’t wait for my mother to make her Pecan Tassies, the bite-sized pecan tartlets with a simple cream cheese pastry crust. For my pop-up event at the Lake Forest Bookstore, I put a spin on her traditional recipe, swapping hazelnuts for pecans, and adding chocolate and hazelnut liqueur to the filling. The next step was creating a chocolate pastry crust to up the chocolate ante. If you’re looking for something to take along to a Thanksgiving feast, these little gems make a great addition to the dessert buffet. With or without the dollop of Nutella and toasted hazelnut crown, guests too stuffed for another piece of pumpkin pie will appreciate this sweet little nibble with a cup of coffee. Continue reading

Sip and Nibble | Recipes from Lake Forest Bookstore Event

fullsizeoutput_763Last Thursday evening, I was delighted to share a few of my favorite recipes and tips for an autumn cocktail party at the Lake Forest Book Store’s fletcher + fork pop-up event. Guests sipped Fletcher’s Harvest cocktails and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres I’d prepared while we chatted about all things entertaining. The menu, below:

Cocktail
Fletcher’s Harvest

Hors d’oeuvres
Parmesan Polenta Stacks with Oven Dried Tomatoes
Braised Hoisin Short Rib Crostini with Kimchi Blue Cheese Remoulade
Roasted Rosemary Shrimp with Creamy Lemon Garlic Dipping Sauce
Chocolate Hazelnut Tassies
Spiced Pear Cakelets

Party Favor
S’Mores Cookies

Thank you to all who attended! I loved your questions and look forward to your visits here at fletcher + fork. As promised, I am sharing the recipes here. Seven recipes in one post would leave you scrolling for miles, so you’ll find two in today’s post and the remaining over the following weeks.

The cocktail, below, works beautifully for Thanksgiving, and was created for serving with or without alcohol so all will feel festive and included.  Continue reading

Autumn Entertaining | Fireside Cocktail + Lake Forest Book Store Event

Manhattan

Is autumn your favorite entertaining season? It is mine, by far! And on November 1st from 6-7pm, the Lake Forest Book Store will host a Fletcher + Fork Pop-Up where I’ll discuss everything from crafting a cohesive menu and curating a playlist to creating beautiful tablescapes and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. It will be a relaxed hour filled with tastings, tips, and recipes for a late autumn gathering. Please come! You can click here to read more about and register for the event. in the meantime, enjoy my classic, perfect-for-fall, Manhattan recipe. Continue reading

In Season | Roasted Buttercup Squash and Soba Noodle Salad with Creamy Miso Ginger Dressing

img_02271

DSC_0222

This is one of my favorite summer-into-autumn dishes, when the low-slung sun and cooler nights are teasing the coming season but the days’ warmth reminds us that summer isn’t quite ready to let go. Hardy winter squash made its first appearance at the farmers’ market today, giving me serious cravings for the creamy miso and ginger laced soba noodles, crispy carrot chips, juicy tart apples, and sweet roasted squash in this recipe. Continue reading

Sip | Aperol Spritz

fullsizeoutput_6db

It’s no mystery why spritzes are the darlings of Italian aperitivo (similar to American happy hour). With their effervescent nature and low-alcohol content, merrymakers can enjoy a spritz or two and feel refreshed and relaxed without stumbling into the dinner hour. I mentioned in last week’s post that we mixed up a batch of Aperol spritzes for recent guests before sitting down to a summery risotto, so this week I thought I’d share the recipe with you. Continue reading

Weekend Kitchen | Shrimp and Sweet Corn Risotto

Shrimp and Corn Risotto, fletcher + fork

Summer entertaining doesn’t have to be a grilling occasion. A few weekends ago we invited friends for a casual dinner on the porch, where we skipped the open flames for a light, creamy risotto. And if you want the full truth…I was dying to set the table with my hand-painted shellfish bowls. So this time I let the table setting dictate the main course, and I knew my summery shrimp and corn-studded risotto would be a match made in heaven.  Continue reading