Care Package | Dorie Greenspan’s Lucky Charm Brownies

fullsizeoutput_5b1Have you ever loved an experience so much that you mourn the ending long before said experience is over? A few weekends ago, our daughter Hannah flew home from boarding school for a long weekend. Not to celebrate a birthday or a holiday, but to just be home. We spent our time as most mothers and teenage daughters do, in much the same way we did but took for granted before she went away to school. We went out to lunch, we shopped a bit, we went to the movies. But we also stayed up late talking and watching tv, spending long stretches in our pjs lazing about and enjoying the nearness of one another.   Continue reading “Care Package | Dorie Greenspan’s Lucky Charm Brownies”

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”

Sweets | Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Parfaits

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When I was growing up, my mother cooked almost every night. Going out was reserved for special occasions and the rare evenings when she was too exhausted to think about putting food on the table. On those nights when we sensed a crack in her resolve, my sister and I would lobby for KFC, where I loved not only the crispy, salty fried chicken but also the whipped cream laden dessert parfaits. Kath always picked the one with chocolate pudding and I, the one that riffed on strawberry shortcake with those unnaturally red, gelatinous strawberries and too sweet vanilla cake. While you couldn’t pay me to come near one of those peel-the-foil-off-the-plastic-container confections now (or KFC for that matter), I still get a child-like thrill when excavating my way through parfait layers with a long spoon.  Continue reading “Sweets | Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Parfaits”

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”

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.

Continue reading “Nibble | Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Carrot Hummus with Toasted Almond and Carrot Top Gremolata”

(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”

Celebrate | Coconut & Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

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Dessert heaven. Tender vanilla cake mingles with sweet tart lemon curd and an irresistible cream cheese frosting to become the ultimate indulge-worthy dessert. You will have frosting left over and this is a very good thing – refrigerate and use sandwiched between graham crackers or wafer cookies, or dollop onto raspberry laced weekend pancakes. Continue reading “Celebrate | Coconut & Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting”

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”

Sip | Rum Old Fashioned

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Evening temperatures have begun to dip into the forties, and the vines climbing our home’s stone and brick facade have shifted from dark green to shades of burgundy and blazing orange. It finally feels like autumn. Why not enjoy your first fire of the season with fall cocktails and close friends? It’s a simple and comforting way to usher in the season, where cozy sweaters and spirited conversation are the only requirements for guests. Continue reading “Sip | Rum Old Fashioned”