Friendsgiving

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We have a lot to be thankful for this year. 

Friendsgiving is a recent tradition for us, and one that we get so excited for in the weeks and days leading up. The menu planning, party prep and million little details that keep us busy are so worth it when we sit down and share all of this with friends and family. Classic Thanksgiving fare was fully represented, with tweaks and adjustments along the way. Between two stuffings, a few different salads, homemade jarred cranberry sauce and herb mashed potatoes we covered all of our favorite parts of the meal. We were so inspired by the way it was done in the November issue of Bon Appetit, adapting a few of those recipes for our big feast. More than making the presentation beautiful, which of course is always important to us, it's the best feeling to have a table full of people sharing a meal that we look forward to all year round.  

Pumpkin pie is a dessert that I can live without, so my crowd favorite apple pie made an appearance. I like to leave the apple slices big, so they don't get mushy and stay just a little bit crisp. I also discovered the beautiful thing that is maple sugar, and how good it is on top of pie, and everything.

If you're a sucker for the canned cranberry sauce but want to fancy it up a little, we did a homemade jarred cranberry sauce for that reason exactly. The turkey is the star, so we decided to go for an organic one this time around, and I don't know if we'll be able to turn back. Maybe it was less about the actual bird, and more about Robert's wizard dry-rub, butter under the skin herb combo that made it the most delicious turkey I've ever had. It was likely a bit of both, but I am inclined to think the higher quality meat is worth the splurge.

some little things that helped us stay organized

shopping 
making a big list and grocery shopping a little at a time was incredibly helpful, saving all the fresh stuff, i.e. produce, meat, cheeses for the last trip before cooking began

decor
I kept it simple and mixed what we already had with new candles, dried grapevine centerpieces, and a homemade "give thanks" sign. I had dried flowers and eucalyptus, that worked pretty great as decorations once it was cut and repurposed. 

we have food covered, what should people bring?
This year we recruited Robert's mom to handle a bunch of the appetizers. Olives, cheese and fancy toasts go a long way. So do easy to make ahead dips, like hummus or roasted beet walnut dip.

Wine is always good, and it can also be helpful to be specific if you know what will go well with what you're having. We suggested French Côtes du Rhône, French White Burgundy and American Pinot Noir.

prep
We got the quick pickles going the weekend before. I made skillet cornbread 3 days out so it had time to dry out for the stuffing. The pumpkin chocolate bundt cake was made the night before, and apple pie was baked first thing in the morning before the oven got overtaken with sides and the turkey. Things like the sage powder for the deviled eggs were made ahead and stored, as well as the farro.

Thanksgiving Recipes

 

 

Challah & Kale Stuffing

1 loaf challah bread
6 cups tuscan kale, stems removed
1 large onion, diced
1 cup shitake mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup white wine
2 eggs
2 cups turkey stock
2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs fresh oregano
2 tbs fresh rosemary
1 tbs crushed red pepper
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Tear apart challah bread, divide between two baking sheets and toast bread until dried and slightly crumbly, about 25 minutes. Remove bread from oven and place in a large bowl.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until shimmering. Cook onions and mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper until they have softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and herbs, continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add kale and red pepper, stirring and folding kale until wilted. Reduce with white wine, taking care to scrape any browned bits.

Remove kale mixture from skillet and pour over challah bread. In a separate bowl, whisk together two eggs and turkey stock. Pour over kale and challah mixture, mix thoroughly to combine. If bread feels dry, add additional stock.

Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes clean. Increase oven temperature to 400°, remove foil and bake until top is crispy and browned, an additional 25 minutes.

 

 

Cider Cooked Farro Salad with Herbs Prosciutto and Pecorino
adapted from Bon Appetit

1 cup farro 
1 cups apple cider 
2 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1/3lb prosciutto (about 6 thin slices)
pecorino cheese, shaved for serving
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan bring apple cider and 2 cups water to a boil. Add farro, reduce to a simmer and cook covered until grain is cooked, about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, toss farrow with olive oil. Add arugula and herbs, season generously with salt and pepper. Roughly chop prosciutto slices and add to mixture. 

To serve, top with thin slices of pecorino cheese. 

 

 

Warm Brussels Sprout Leaves with Bacon + Sweet Potato

2 lbs brussel sprouts, cleaned and leaves removed
1/2 bacon (best in two 1/4 chunks), diced
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
salt and pepper

Place diced bacon in a cold, large skillet on the stove. Turn on burner and set to medium high heat. Cook bacon, rendering the fat, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Blanch sweet potato cubes, for approximately 2 minutes. Remove and drain, set aside to cool.

After bacon fat has rendered from the skillet, add sweet potato cubes and cook, undisturbed for about 3 minutes or until a brown crust has formed on the sweet potato. Stir once and continue cooking undisturbed for an additional 2 minutes.

Add brussel sprout leaves, working in batches as they wilt. When all leaves have been added, season generously with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook until leaves just begin to wilt, about 5 minutes.

Serve warm.
 

 

 

Fennel and Maple Dry-Brined Turkey
adapted from Bon Appetit

1 14lb turkey
3 tbs butter
2 lemons
2 stalks celery
3 stalks rosemary
2 tbs sage leaves

4 whole star anise pods
2 tbs fennel seeds
1/2 cup sea salt
1/4 cup maple sugar
1 tbs fresh tyme
1 tbs red pepper

In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, toast fennel seeds and star anise pods, stirring often until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a food processor or spice mill. Add red pepper and thyme leaves, pulse until pulverized. In a small bowl, combine blended spices with sea salt and maple sugar, set aside.

Rub turkey with dry brine and chill, uncovered on a sheet try or roasting pan for 6-10 hours.

Preheat oven to 450°. Remove turkey from refrigerator and rinse brine. Dry turkey, working carefully to separate skin from the meat and rub butter in between skin and flesh. Stuff reamining herbs under skin, and fill cavity with celery, lemons and rosemary. Tuck wing tips under turkey and truss legs together.

Roast for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue roasting for up to 2 hours additionally, or until an instant read thermometer reads 160° when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Rest, covered for 30 minutes before carving.

 

 

Herbed Mashed Potatoes

5lbs Russet potatoes, washed and peeled
4 tbs butter
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 bunch sage
2 bunches thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper

Cut potatoes into rough 2’’ chunks. Place potatoes in a large dutch oven and fill wit cold water until covered. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, or until potatoes pierce easily with a fork. Drain potatoes and set aside (do not let cool).

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm milk, butter and herbs. Let sit, covered as herbs steep in milk.

Using a potato ricer, pass potato chunks back into warm dutch oven. After all potaotes have been riced, discard herbs from milk mixture and working in small additions, stir into potatoes. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Cornbread, Sausage + Fennel Stuffing
adapted from Bon Appetit

1 skillet cornbread (recipe below)
1 lb pork breakfast sausage, casing removed
2 stalks celery, chopped
5 scallions, sliced thinly
1 bulb fennel, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 egg
2 cups turkey stock
2 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbs fresh sage, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300°. Tear cornbread into loose chunks and bake on baking sheet until dried and crumbly, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Increase oven temperature to 400°. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, cook sausage until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside. Using remaining drippings from rendered sausage, cook onions and fennel until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and scallions, herbs and salt, pepper, and cook an additional 5 minutes, Deglaze with wine, taking care to scrape the pan. Remove from heat and top cornbread with vegetables and sausage.

In a small bowl, whisk together turkey stock and egg. Pour mixture over cornbread and toss to combine. Pour into an oiled casserole dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes until top is golden brown.
 

Skillet Cornbread
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 large egg
1 cup fat-free milk
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey 

Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the egg and milks together until well blended and pour over dry ingredients. Stir to incorporate. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a 10" cast iron skillet, stirring to coat all sides. Remove from heat and pour in batter. Drizzle honey over top and bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the center is cooked through. 

 

 

Sage Powder Deviled Eggs

10 fresh eggs, hardboiled and peeled
1//3 cup greek yogurt
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tbs mayonaise
2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp smoked garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 bunch fresh sage

To make sage powder, dry sage in oven at lowest temperature for approximately 1 hour, or hang to air dry, approximately 3 days. When sage is dried, remove leaves from stems and place in a spice mill. Grind until pulverized and a fine powder is formed. Set aside.

Halve eggs and separate yolks from whites. In a bowl, mash egg yolks until broken down and mix to combine greek yogurt, mustard, mayonnaise, white pepper, smoked garlic powder and salt and pepper. Adjust consistency to taste by adding additional greek yogurt if necessary.

Pipe mixture onto egg whites and top with a sprinkling of sage powder.

 

 

 


Blackened Green Beans with Harissa + Smoked Paprika Almonds

2 lbs green beans, cleaned and ends trimmed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tbs harrisa paste
3 tbs olive oil, divided
1 tbs smoked paprika
salt and pepper

In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, warm 1 tbs olive oil until shimmering. Add almonds and smoked paprika, stirring to combine. Cook almonds in oil with spice until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain almonds on a paper towel.

In a large skillet over high heat, warm remaining 2 tbs olive oil. Cook green beans, leaving them undisturbed to blister and blacken, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir beans. After an additional 2-3 minutes, stir again and reduce heat to medium. Add almonds and harris paste. Stir to combine and distribute harrisa throughout. Serve warm.
 

 

 

My Favorite Apple Pie
adapted from Serious Eats

4 1/2 lbs Braeburn apples, or available baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into large slices, about 8 per apple
3 quarts boiling water
5 tablespoons raw sugar
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon maple sugar, for topping (or raw sugar if maple sugar is not available)
double pie crust recipe, see below

Preheat the oven to 425°. Place the apple slices in a large bowl and pour boiling water over top. Cover the bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain the apples until completely dry. Add sugars, cinnamon, corn starch and salt to the apples and mix until completely coated. 

Roll out one disk of pie dough into a circle about a 12 inches in diameter. Transfer to 9 inch pie plate and pour in the apples, spreading evenly as you go. Repeat with the remaining disk of pie dough, and transfer to cover the apples. Trim the excess pie dough so it overhangs 1/2 inch from the edge of the pie plate with a sharp knife, or kitchen shears. Crimp edges together. Brush the egg white evenly across the top of the pie and sprinkle with maple sugar. 

Bake for 20 minutes at  425°. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 375° and continue baking for 25 minutes, until the apples are bubbling and the crust is deep golden brown. Cool for 2 hours before serving. 


Buttery Pie Crust

12.5 ounces all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
4-5 tablespoons cold water

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment add flour, sugar, salt and butter to the bowl. Coat the butter with the flour, and begin mixing on low-medium speed until a coarse meal forms. Slowly add cold water to the mixture until a dough begins to gather, adding the extra water if the dough seems too dry. If you've found your dough is on the wet side, add flour, an additional tablespoon at a time until dough is easy to handle. Divide the dough in half and form each into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours before baking. 
 

 

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Bundt Cake
makes 1 bundt cake for 6 cup bundt pan

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat the butter and sugar until well blended. Add egg whites, followed by egg one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Scrape half the mixture into a separate, medium size bowl and set aside.

for the pumpkin batter
Beat the canned pumpkin into half the butter mixture until well blended. In a separate mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Fold the flour mixture into the pumpkin mix until just blended.

for the chocolate batter
Measure out your buttermilk and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup cake flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and cocoa. Slowly add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the other half of the butter mixture. Mixing until just blended.

cake assembly
Prepare a 6 cup bundt pan with butter and flour. Pour half the pumpkin batter into the prepared bundt pan. Drop half the chocolate batter by spoonfuls over (but not entirely covering) the pumpkin batter. Repeat to spoon remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters into pan. Gently run the blade of a knife around the center of the pan several times to swirl batters.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cooked through and the edges have browned. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan onto a wire rack and cool completely before serving. 

*note this batter will also work in a 9” cake pan

Dark Chocolate Drizzle
4 oz dark chocolate, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon whole milk

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the dark chocolate and butter, whisking to combine. Add whole milk and continue stirring until completely smooth. Drizzle over pumpkin chocolate bundt cake. 

 

 

Homemade Jarred Cranberry Sauce
2 cups fresh cranberries + additional for serving
1/3 cup sugar
1 meyer lemon, peeled
1 orange, peeled
1 packet gelatin

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberries, sugar, meyer lemon juice, meyer lemon peel, orange peel and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and let cook until cranberries pop and mixture becomes bright pink.

In a 12-16oz jar, bloom gelatin into 1/4 cup cold water. Stir once and let set until soft, about 1 minute. Strain cranberry mixture into jar with gelatin, taking care to scrape the strainer down and extract as much juice as possible.

Top with additional cranberries, cover and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator every 30 minutes, stirring to incorporate cranberries into gelatin (this will take about 2 hours). Once cranberries have set ingelatin, chill until set, about 6 hours additional.

To serve, run knife around the edge of the jar to release.