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”

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”

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”

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”

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.

Continue reading “Greens + Things | Seared Steak Salad with Blackberries and Goat Cheese”

(Mostly) Make-Ahead | Seared Salmon and Lemon Dill Sauce with Red Rice, Pistachio and Arugula Salad

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Seared salmon is a staple in our home. In fact, it’s the only fish preparation my definitively non-fish loving son will eat without complaint! Once you make it this way, I doubt you’ll ever go back. The salad is best at room temperature, so you can serve it immediately or prepare it a day in advance and set it out an hour before serving. The salmon isn’t make ahead, but it cooks in eight minutes max! By the time you set your table, the entire meal is ready. Continue reading “(Mostly) Make-Ahead | Seared Salmon and Lemon Dill Sauce with Red Rice, Pistachio and Arugula Salad”

Warm Up | Butternut Squash Soup with Pancetta and Sage

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This hearty butternut squash soup appeared in my first cooking and entertaining feature for Sheridan Road Magazine. Created for a relaxed fireside gathering, it was  served in my great grandmother’s espresso cups (shown below) as a starter. I like it best, though, ladled into big bowls and served piping hot alongside a loaf of crusty bread. Continue reading “Warm Up | Butternut Squash Soup with Pancetta and Sage”

Classic Comfort | Wild Mushroom and Pulled Chicken Risotto

Wild Mushroom and Pulled Chicken Risotto

Who doesn’t love tucking into a creamy, piping hot bowl of risotto? I love to make this on the weekends for family and friends, when the pace of our home is a bit more leisurely.  This rustic yet refined version is the ultimate comfort food on a chilly autumn evening. Choose a good, dry white wine that you love to drink for this dish. And buy an extra bottle for serving! You and your guests can sip and chat while you stir. Continue reading “Classic Comfort | Wild Mushroom and Pulled Chicken Risotto”

Grain Bowl | Quinoa Shrimp Salad with Cucumber, Tomato and Feta

Quinoa Shrimp Salad with Cucumber and Feta
Quinoa is one of my favorite ingredients. I frequently make a big pot and use it in different ways throughout the course of a week. A scoop warmed gently with almond milk, a pinch of cinnamon, dried fruit, and a generous dollop of honey and chopped nuts makes a wonderful, nourishing breakfast. A dinner side comes together in no time when you heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a sauté pan, add cooked quinoa, season well, and toss in a generous handful of chopped tender herbs and scallions. My favorite way to enjoy quinoa, though, is in a veggie and protein packed salad like the one below. Continue reading “Grain Bowl | Quinoa Shrimp Salad with Cucumber, Tomato and Feta”