Sip | Aperol Spritz

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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 “Sip | Aperol Spritz”

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 “Weekend Kitchen | Shrimp and Sweet Corn Risotto”

The Breakfast Table | Gomasio Soft-Boiled Eggs + New Tableware Feature

Seaweed Gomasio Soft Boiled Eggs, Fletcher + ForkThere was almost no greater treat when I was a kid than spending the night at my grandparents’ house. I lived for digging in their massive organic garden, listening to Danny Kaye’s magical Hans Christian Anderson recordings, and the creamy, homemade honey ice cream they churned! When breakfast time rolled around, I’d slide into the big booth in their kitchen while my “health food”- (as it was dubbed in the 70’s) loving grandmother made soft-boiled eggs seasoned with savory, nutrient-packed sea kelp served in bright fiestaware bowls.   Continue reading “The Breakfast Table | Gomasio Soft-Boiled Eggs + New Tableware Feature”

Farmers’ Market | Shaved Zucchini and Fresh Apricot Salad with Basil and Goat Cheese

Shaved Zucchini and Fresh Apricot Salad with Goat Cheese and Basil, fletcher + fork

I know what you’re thinking. Zucchini? Apricots?? Please, please hear me out.

Something magical happens when you shave vegetables rather than chop them. Zucchini, which can be bland as cardboard if left to its own devices, will fall into crisp-tender ribbons and soak up whatever you choose to drizzle over it. Continue reading “Farmers’ Market | Shaved Zucchini and Fresh Apricot Salad with Basil and Goat Cheese”

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

Continue reading “First Course | Chilled Spring Asparagus Soup with Crème Fraîche and Chives”

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.

Interview_Cover

PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN BRIGGS / HAIR AND MAKEUP BY BECKY GASPARD

Continue reading “Sheridan Road Magazine Interview”