Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Talk: Friendsgiving 2011

A couple of weeks ago I realized my friends and I have been getting together for our own pre-Thanksgiving dinner for 10 YEARS!!  This was our 10th annual Friendsgiving…or as we like to call it “House Thanksgiving”…previously known as “Apartment Thanksgiving”, but then I bought a house :)
I’m thrilled that we’ve kept this tradition going since junior year of college!!  (also makes me feel kinda old)
Most of my classic recipes are on the blog already, so I’ll just give you the run-down and let you know what I changed up for 2011 and what I’m already thinking for 2012!
The standards:
Turkey…but of course.  I don’t really know why but I always feel the need to get a 20+ lb turkey, regardless of my guest list.  I mean I love leftovers, but it’s just getting a little ridiculous. 
I was planning for 14 people (only 12 made it), and I bought a 21.6lb free range bird :)  Next year I am going to save some $$ and some cooking time and keep it more on the 16lb range I’m thinking.
Stuffing: Don’t expect me to ever try out a new recipe.  I love my grandmother’s recipe more than anything and my friends seem to feel the same….why mess with perfection right?  Plus I always make a HUGE batch and we barely have any leftovers.  
Mashed Potatoes:  Nothing too ground breaking here…potatoes, milk, butter, salt, pepper, and a little fresh chopped rosemary.
Green Beans: I still prefer the pancetta/sage recipe to the standard green bean casserole.  I do like the casserole but just don’t feel the need for another heavy creamy dish.
Carrots: What can I say?  I need the cooking water from these to add to the gravy :) 
Squash:  I think I’m going to take a break from the soufflé next year.  I don’t know why, but mine just never turn out as good as I’d hope.  I even took it up a notch this year and took and idea from my aunt to cook the soufflé in baked sugar pumpkins!!  Fabulous idea, lovely presentation, but my soufflé was just NOT setting up…almost 2 hours in the oven and still not ready?!  Who knows. 
(cut the tops of 3 sugar pumpkins and scraped out the inside real good)
(rubbed inside and outside with olive oil and sprinkled inside with salt, pepper, and brown sugar)
(baked at 350 for 30min…prepped and baked these the day before)
I think next year I’m going to switch it up.  I love squash, and wouldn’t mind a less-heavy recipe next year.  
Gravy:  Classic.  Drippings from the turkey, some chicken bullion, and the carrot cooking water.  Bring to boil, add flour/water mixture and simmer until thickened. 
Cranberry sauce: I always have homemade and the jelly-kind in the can.  People always have their favorite…I grew up only liking the canned kind, but now I love both!
Dessert!  This is where I have my fun each year.
I made 3 desserts:
I mentioned I was thinking about making the Milky Way Tart because it was a hit at the last party I brought it too, and it still was a crowd favorite!
Apparently I was on a tart kick!  No pies were made this year (by me anyways), but I think I like this apple tart even better than apple pie!  It’s simple, delicious, and has an impressive presentation.
Also could be made ahead of time :)
This tart dough was very different than the dough for the Milky Way Tart, but equally delectable…actually I might like this dough better.
Rolled and trimmed to a 10”x14” rectangle
Arrange the apples, sprinkle with sugar (and a little cinnamon), then dot with butter.
IMG_2156 Once finished, you brush with an apricot jam glaze.
So pretty!
The crust is still crisp and flaky today too.
The Butterscotch Pudding cups comes from my favorite butterscotch pie that my grandmother makes!  Just instead of a pie, I put the filling into little mason jars.
Then right before dessert, I whipped up the meringue and torched it with my kitchen torch (always looking for a reason to use my torch)
These were super cute, I want to make more things in mini-mason jars!
IMG_2200  (just realized I don’t have the exact recipe on the blog so I’ll fix that)
Other desserts (by others)
Pumpkin pie!
Mini pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Both were amazing.
Other notable deliciousness…CHEESE!
Don’t you love when you ask someone to bring something and you just KNOW it’s going to be good…even a cheese platter!?  I do!!  I take my cheese seriously ;)
Even I didn’t expect these masterpieces…
Seriously??  2 HUGE platters of amazing cheese, meats, grapes, dried figs, pate, flowers(!), rosemary Marcona almonds…EVERYTHING!
IMG_2172 - Copy
Oh lets not forget the baked brie, chocolate covered strawberries, and little fall shaped pieces of marzipan.
I’m also very thankful we have the leftovers of the cheese in the fridge :)
The final thing I LOVE about House-Thanksgiving is my tablescape!  Ok so it wasn’t my best work this year but I got distracted when I had some early arriving guests…
Will just call it simple.
Little pears are an easy, colorful, and edible decoration!   Also a roll of $9 burlap from Lowes makes a nice rustic table runner.
And mason jars + coffee beans+candles

(broke out the "fancy" apron)
  Phew!  That was quite the post! 
Have you hosted a Thanksgiving dinner??  Any particular recipe that you can’t live without on Thanksgiving??
Also looking for good appetizer ideas to bring to my aunts on Thursday??


  1. My friends and I do a girls thanksgiving every year. So fun! I made home made cran sauce this year too! Love the table setting here. :)

  2. I love that burlap idea! And the apple tart is stunning. And I want to make something in mini pumpkins now. I need some decorating lessons from you!

    I just made a simple turkey dinner this weekend for 4. It was fun to roast a whole turkey and come up with sides. I'm thinking I may be ready for a larger-scale friendsgiving soon!

  3. Oh, and I suggest stuffed mushrooms for an app!

  4. everything at your thanksgivings always looks totally perfect! Homemade cranberry is my absolute favorite. We make a raw variety that weve been making for ages- I'm obsessed. The apple dessert is just gorgeous and I love your outfit!

  5. I love the decor. All of your dishes look great but the French apple tart looks like perfection!

  6. Wow you went ALL out. Amazing, Bridget! The apple tart is really stunning and I love that you just "whipped up some meringue" after dinner! Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

  7. this is a serious thanksgiving feast!! amazing job, very impressed with everything.

  8. what a feast!! everything looks like it came out great :)

  9. That spread looks AMAZING. I want all of those desserts

  10. Your Friendsgiving sounds FABULOUS! I love that you prepared so many delicious things, especially that Milky Way tart which I am bummed I didn't get to try when I couldn't make it to Megan's. Oh and that cheese board looks amazing!! That would probably be my favorite part of the meal. Well, that and dessert :)

  11. Yum!! Everything looks delicious!! I love your table setting.

  12. This looks like such a great time with friends and now you will always have the memories. I hope that when I am old enough to do this sort of thing, I actually do! And by the way, the tart is beautiful!

  13. Bridget - this is INCREDIBLE!!! I am beyond impressed with every single thing from the apple tart, the mason jarred butterscotch pudding to the "simple" table settings... which btw are not simple at all. I'm so impressed. I never pay attention to this stuff and just saved this post just as a reminder to copy your setting ;) I went to a "Friendsgiving" this Sunday too and had a blast.

  14. Wow, this is insane!!! You cooked so much- seriously so impressive, everything looks delicious! YOur friends are very lucky!