LUNCH IN THE GARDEN

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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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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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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CHICKPEA AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH TAGINE WITH SAFFRON AND LIME

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.

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A LATE WINTER’S LUNCH

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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Autumn Entertaining | Fireside Cocktail + Lake Forest Book Store Event

Manhattan

Is autumn your favorite entertaining season? It is mine, by far! And on November 1st from 6-7pm, the Lake Forest Book Store will host a Fletcher + Fork Pop-Up where I’ll discuss everything from crafting a cohesive menu and curating a playlist to creating beautiful tablescapes and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. It will be a relaxed hour filled with tastings, tips, and recipes for a late autumn gathering. Please come! You can click here to read more about and register for the event. in the meantime, enjoy my classic, perfect-for-fall, Manhattan recipe. Continue reading “Autumn Entertaining | Fireside Cocktail + Lake Forest Book Store Event”

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”

Al Fresco | Spinach, Mushroom, and Crispy Prosciutto Frittata

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 | Spinach, Mushroom, and Crispy Prosciutto Frittata”

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”