My favorite part of being Editor in Chief of Forest & Bluff Magazine is concepting our entertaining pieces, then collaborating with others to make the ideas come to life. This story originally appeared in the House & Garden section of our July 2020 issue and was shot in my backyard on a beautiful day in late May of last year. Though summer has not officially arrived, I thought it would be the perfect time to share this piece with warm weather predicted for the upcoming weekend and Memorial Day just around the bend.

words and styling by Wendy Franzen / photography by Monica Kass Rogers / recipes by Elizabeth Brown / cocktail recipe by the Deer Path Inn

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fletcher & fork + arch pop up shop and a tulip update

What a week! I am thrilled to share that I have partnered with the extraordinary Laura White in a Winnetka pop-up shop where we have put together a highly curated mix of art, vintage and new home decor, garden pieces and books, tabletop, apothecary, and curiosities. I love how we have melded our collective pieces into what feels like a happy, fresh space to inhabit rather than a store.

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bon week-end!

Is anyone else getting excited for tulip season?! Not to rush the daffodils—whom I love very much—but last fall I planted an ambitious number of bulbs (plenty for me and for the hungry woodland critters) and the buds are finally beginning to peek out of the leaves. Checking their progress each morning makes me giddy.

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Happy Easter

Happy Easter weekend, all! Right now I am fluffing the house, excitedly awaiting the arrival of our son and daughter to celebrate both the holiday and our daughter’s acceptance to NYU / Tisch School of the Arts. It is a dream come true for her and we could not be happier.

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sip | the last word

If I am out to dinner (yes, I vaguely remember what going out was like) and a cocktail with green Chartreuse is on the menu, I will, without fail, order it. This delightfully herbaceous, naturally green liqueur is made by French monks from a secret, 400-year-old recipe. The process is shrouded in mystery as well, though it is known that Chartreuse is made with 130 botanicals aged for years in oak casks and placed in the world’s longest liquor cellar until mature. Oh, and it is deceptively strong. 110 proof … which I was not aware of the first time I tried it.

The Last Word, fletcher + fork
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hyacinth + vintage vessel = chic, simple arrangement

Flowering bulbs are the great harbingers of spring, beginning with small-but-mighty crocuses and snowdrops pushing through the last vestiges of snow, hinting at what’s to come. As the season progresses and the soil warms, muscari, hyacinth, daffodils, and tulips follow in their footsteps. I’ve spied the last three in local markets recently, all vying for the attention of shoppers seeking a shot of spring of color.

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This week’s winter wallop, with its thick blanket of snow and subzero temperatures, brought serious cravings for a body-and-soul warming dish. Tagines are deeply spiced North African stews, traditionally slow-cooked in a clay vessel also called a tagine (the stew is named for the vessel in which it is cooked, but a Dutch oven works well as a replacement). Lamb, fish, chicken, and beef often take center stage in tagines, but the dish is endlessly adaptable. My nourishing vegetarian version is anchored by hearty chickpeas and butternut squash, and layered with warming ginger, earthy-sweet saffron, and the Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout.



Spode flower plates + anemones + Deborah Madison’s Black Rice with Mixed Beets Salad

I fell hard for these vintage Spode plates while antiquing in Three Oaks, Michigan last fall … but in a rare move, I reined in my impetuousness and did not buy them. Thanksgiving was around the corner and another set of plates by Wedgwood—equally beautiful but decidedly autumnal in a mustard, brown, and aubergine palette—felt like the better choice. So I left with those, reminding myself that I have almost as many floral motif plates as I do striped shirts and sweaters. But I could not stop thinking of the Spode beauties, with their modern feeling, oversized florals and simple rims, each depicting a different flower.

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fletcher + fork Goes to Elawa Farm | Pan Seared Cauliflower Steaks with Caper, Orange and Sage Brown Butter Sauce

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.

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