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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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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Crispy Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Calabrian Chili Ricotta

Crispy Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Calabrian Chili Ricotta, fletcher and fork

Gigantic, pillowy snowflakes cartwheeled from Sunday afternoon’s sky, blanketing the landscape with a quiet that reflected my mood. Hours earlier, our Thanksgiving house guests had departed, I’d dropped our children at O’Hare for their return flights to school, and my husband had scooted off for a business trip. The house echoed with emptiness.
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In Season | Roasted Buttercup Squash and Soba Noodle Salad with Creamy Miso Ginger Dressing

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This is one of my favorite summer-into-autumn dishes, when the low-slung sun and cooler nights are teasing the coming season but the days’ warmth reminds us that summer isn’t quite ready to let go. Hardy winter squash made its first appearance at the farmers’ market today, giving me serious cravings for the creamy miso and ginger laced soba noodles, crispy carrot chips, juicy tart apples, and sweet roasted squash in this recipe. Continue reading “In Season | Roasted Buttercup Squash and Soba Noodle Salad with Creamy Miso Ginger Dressing”

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”

Nibble | Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Carrot Hummus with Toasted Almond and Carrot Top Gremolata

Did you burst out of the gates with a new-year-new-you attitude on New Year’s Day? Full disclosure: I’ve lost my resolve as January comes to a close. Our family just returned from a ski trip to Telluride where we indulged in everything from an in-room dinner of beef short ribs over mushroom risotto to a mountain top lunch of cassoulet (seen below) at Bon Vivant. ‘Dry January’ came to a screeching halt as well, but I digress.

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