Al Fresco | Simple Summer Meals

fletcher + fork, al fresco brunch

Who’s ready to dive into relaxation mode? Please tell me you are! Summer certainly took its sweet time arriving this year, as everyone from the Midwest to the East Coast knows. Now that the weather has turned glorious, there has hardly been a moment or a meal I’ve spent indoors, which equals heavenly summer casual. Bare feet, simple food, sunshine, the end. Continue reading “Al Fresco | Simple Summer Meals”

First Course | Chilled Spring Asparagus Soup with Crème Fraîche and Chives

Eight more days! I can’t believe the dinner we’re hosting for Ragdale is almost here. Last week I shared the article from Forest & Bluff highlighting the evening’s menu, and I promised to share the recipes. This will be my first course, a chilled soup that heralds the arrival of spring.

Chilled Spring Asparagus Soup with Crème Fraîche and Chives, Fletcher + Fork

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Forest and Bluff Feature + Setting an Elegant Table

April 2018 Issue of Forest & Bluff

Landing on the April 2018 cover of Forest and Bluff was an absolute honor! Magazine editor Sherry Thomas and photographer Monica Kass Rogers recently spent the day in our home, highlighting the dinner Tim and I are hosting for Ragdale’s cornerstone benefit, Novel Affair (we’re thrilled to have Novel Affair guests, including acclaimed authors Curtis Sittenfeld and Megan Stielstra, in our home for the April 28th event!). It was such a fun day and I feel incredibly lucky to have met and worked with these two extraordinary women. Additional photos and the full article where we discuss the dinner and much more, can be found hereContinue reading “Forest and Bluff Feature + Setting an Elegant Table”

Sweets | Old School Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares, fletcher + fork

Are you looking for an incredibly simple, crowd pleasing dessert for Easter Sunday? Operating under the theory that just about everyone loves lemon, I often make these for big gatherings. Having just returned from Key Largo last night and scrambling to get ready for tomorrow’s holiday brunch, I plan to serve these, my grandmother’s lemon squares. Continue reading “Sweets | Old School Lemon Squares”

Guinness Braised Beef, Fletcher + Fork

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner | Guinness Braised Beef with Colcannon

Chicagoans take St. Patrick’s Day seriously. Irish, until recently, was estimated to be the top ancestry of our great city. Tomorrow morning the Chicago River will be dyed green and 800,000 people will gather to observe the famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade (fun fact: Harrison Ford running through the parade as Dr. Kimble in The Fugitive was entirely unscripted and shot with a hand-held cam – with the mayor’s permission, of course). Continue reading “St. Patrick’s Day Dinner | Guinness Braised Beef with Colcannon”

Sheridan Road Magazine Interview

The March issue of Sheridan Road hit mail boxes today, and I’m thrilled to be the subject of this month’s The Interview column. Answering interview questions in my kitchen while having photos taken was great fun (and more challenging than you’d think!). I’ve included the full interview below – I hope you’ll enjoy reading about a few fun things I have up my sleeve, which famous people I’d love to host at a dinner party, and what my last meal would be.

THE INTERVIEW

Sheridan Road sits down with Lake Forest Foodie WENDY FRANZEN to share her entertaining secrets in her own words.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN BRIGGS / HAIR AND MAKEUP BY BECKY GASPARD

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Care Package | Dorie Greenspan’s Lucky Charm Brownies

fullsizeoutput_5b1Have you ever loved an experience so much that you mourn the ending long before said experience is over? A few weekends ago, our daughter Hannah flew home from boarding school for a long weekend. Not to celebrate a birthday or a holiday, but to just be home. We spent our time as most mothers and teenage daughters do, in much the same way we did but took for granted before she went away to school. We went out to lunch, we shopped a bit, we went to the movies. But we also stayed up late talking and watching tv, spending long stretches in our pjs lazing about and enjoying the nearness of one another.   Continue reading “Care Package | Dorie Greenspan’s Lucky Charm Brownies”

Taco Night | Southwestern Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa and Avocado Lime Crema

Southwestern Fish Tacos, Fletcher + Fork

Be honest. Don’t you think most fish tacos are bland, bland, bland? Do you consistently order them at your local Mexican joint, then scan the table, coveting your companion’s dinner three bites in? I can’t be the only one!

I’ve come up with a solution for all of us. A fast, easy, and economical one to boot! These ancho-rubbed fish fillets broil in five minutes, becoming a perfectly spiced base for your mango salsa and avocado crema laced tacos. The margarita is up to you.  Continue reading “Taco Night | Southwestern Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa and Avocado Lime Crema”

Sweets | Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Parfaits

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When I was growing up, my mother cooked almost every night. Going out was reserved for special occasions and the rare evenings when she was too exhausted to think about putting food on the table. On those nights when we sensed a crack in her resolve, my sister and I would lobby for KFC, where I loved not only the crispy, salty fried chicken but also the whipped cream laden dessert parfaits. Kath always picked the one with chocolate pudding and I, the one that riffed on strawberry shortcake with those unnaturally red, gelatinous strawberries and too sweet vanilla cake. While you couldn’t pay me to come near one of those peel-the-foil-off-the-plastic-container confections now (or KFC for that matter), I still get a child-like thrill when excavating my way through parfait layers with a long spoon.  Continue reading “Sweets | Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Parfaits”

Greens + Things | Seared Steak Salad with Blackberries and Goat Cheese

Whenever I gather friends for lunch, salad is the number one request. It feels virtuous and leaves room for dessert, allowing us to linger in conversation without a food coma. Certain boxes need to be checked though, before I’ll put it on the table. Will it delight their tastebuds in a new way? Is it visually delicious? Will it carry them to dinner without hunger pangs striking at 4pm?  Check. Check. Check.

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