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:

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. 

Fletcher’s Harvest

Greet guests at your next gathering with a festive drink. Fletcher’s Harvest is an autumnal, cider-based cocktail that can be spiked with spiced rum or served with sparkling water for an alcohol-free alternative.

makes one

3 ounces apple cider
½ ounce freshly squeezed clementine juice
1 ½ ounces spiced rum (I use Kraken)
½ ounce autumn spiced simple syrup (recipe follows)
cinnamon stick, clementine peel, or apple slice for garnish

Add ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, twist of clementine peel, or a paper thin slice of apple.

For an alcohol free version, increase simple syrup amount to ¾ ounce omit rum After shaking and straining, top with 2 ounces of sparkling water.

Autumn Spiced Simple Syrup

makes approximately 1 ½ cups

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 cinnamon sticks
2 cloves
2 allspice
1 strip clementine zest

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to cool completely. Strain into a jar with a tight fitting lid and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.


fullsizeoutput_75c.jpegBraised Hoisin Short Rib Crostini with Kimchi Blue Cheese Remoulade

makes 20 crostini

It sounds like a wild flavor profile, but I promise the blue cheese/kimchi combo is positively addictive. You may have leftover short ribs after making the crostini, and they will make a divine next day sandwich. Short ribs can be made up to three days ahead of time. In fact, they’ll taste even better if you do!

2 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large carrots, topped, peeled, and cut into large chunks
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 ¼ cups dry red wine
½ cup beef broth
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce, divided
2 teaspoons gochuchang
Blue Cheese Kimchi Remoulade (recipe follows)
crostini/toasted baguette slices (recipe follows)
20 cilantro leaves, for garnish

make the short ribs:
Spread short rib chunks in a single layer and pat dry with paper toweling, then season evenly with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add short rib pieces and brown on all sides, about 10-15 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside. Tip: do not crowd pan, or ribs will not brown – I promise. Work in batches if you need to.

Add carrots, onion, garlic, and thyme to dutch oven. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften and brown, 4-5 minutes. Add bay leaf, wine, beef broth, two tablespoons hoisin and the gochuchang to pan, stirring well to incorporate. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Add meat and collected juices back to pan, stirring to coat. Cover with lid, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 2 ½ hours, until meat is completely tender and pulls apart easily with two forks. Transfer meat only to a large bowl.

Remove large chunks and herbs from dutch oven and discard. Strain sauce through a sieve into a bowl, spoon fat from surface and discard. Add sauce back to pan over medium heat, whisk in last tablespoon hoisin sauce, and bring to a simmer. Allow sauce to reduce by half and test for seasoning.
Shred ribs well with two forks then stir in enough sauce to coat well. Set aside for crostini assembly or cool, cover, and store in fridge for up to three days.

assemble the crostini:
Place a dollop of remoulade on each crostini. Top with a spoonful of short ribs and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Blue Cheese Kimchi Remoulade

¼ cup good quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
pinch kosher salt
1/3 cup kimchi, minced
3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (not creamy)
small pinch kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir in kimchi and blue cheese. Test for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

Crostini/Bruschetta/Toasted Baguette Slices

These are a snap to make, but there is no shame in store bought. When time and oven space are at a premium, short cuts that don’t sacrifice flavor are encouraged!

2 thin baguettes, cut diagonally into twenty ¼ inch thick slices (you may have leftover, depending on baguette size)
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of baguette slices with olive oil and season with kosher salt. Lay slices evenly on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 5 minutes, flipping slices over half way through bake time.



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