What’s Hot This Weekend: Friendsgiving

Friday, November 22nd, 2013 | What's Hot this Weekend

I can name at least 5 girlfriends that will be skyping or facetiming into their family’s Thanksgiving dinner. It can be expensive (and hard to get vacation time) to go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re going to be away from home this Thanksgiving, but are craving a nice home cooked meal, that can be quite a dillemma…

Let’s be honest: can you really cook a turkey? (As Carrie once said, “I keep sweaters in my stove.”) So what now? Fear not. Grab the girls, dust off the oven, and follow these tips to host a fabulous friendsgiving.

Playlist: Friendsgiving is an awesome free playlist on Spotify. No dinner party is complete without music and these tracks will keep you and your guest chatting and nibbling for hours.

Sips: I recommend making a festive punch because it will not only look beautiful in a glass bowl, but it makes it easy for guests to refill their drinks at their leisure.(Susy can go ahead and pour her own 5th drink, you’ve got something borderline burning in the oven.)

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch

2 oranges, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
3/4 cup late-harvest white wine, such as late-harvest Riesling, chilled
Ice cubes, for serving
2 750-milliliter bottles sparkling wine, chilled
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup diced fresh pineapple (1/2 inch)
1 cup pomegranate juice

1.In a punch bowl, dissolve the sugar in the pomegranate juice, stirring vigorously. Add the sparkling wine and late-harvest white wine, then add the orange slices, diced pineapple and pomegranate seeds. Serve the sparkling pomegranate punch over ice cubes.

Appetizers: Make an appetizer like this delicious foccacia that can easily be shared and eaten with one hand. (Keep the other hand free for a cocktail obviously.) Keep the sweet and savory theme going by also making baked brie with caramel sauce.

Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pear and Blue Cheese

1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 large Bosc pear, cored and sliced
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1.In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the oil; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour and the salt and knead until smooth. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let stand for 1 hour.

2.Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 minutes.

3.Preheat the oven to 450°. Oil a 9-by-13 inch rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the sheet and press it down to fit. Dimple the dough all over with your fingers and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let the dough rise until puffed, about 20 minutes.

4.Scatter the onions over the dough. Arrange the pear over the onions and sprinkle with the blue cheese. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the focaccia and bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve.

Main Course: Have each guest bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish. I’m assuming you don’t have enough pots and pans to make one-third of the dishes you’ve pinned on Pinterest in anticipation for your big soiree? (That’s what I thought.) Plus, everyone will feel happy to contribute to this special day with a recipe that makes them feel back at home. As the host, I’d make a hearty meat dish like this:

Prosciutto-Wrapped Turkey Roulade

Feel no shame in skipping the traditional bronzed bird and instead try this speedy (and only seemingly difficult) prosciutto-wrapped turkey roulade. This recipe includes awesomely convenient step-by-step pictures.

Dessert: No meal is complete without a dessert, or seven.

Pumpkin Pie Cake (Secret family recipe, don’t tell my mother. It’s TO DIE FOR.)

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 box yellow cake mix or spice cake mix (or you can make your own cake if you’re feeling fancy)
1 ½ cups chopped pecans or walnuts
¾ cup butter, melted
Whipped cream, if desired
Additional pumpkin pie spice, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease or spray bottom and sides of 13×9-inch pan. In medium bowl, beat pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar and 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice with wire whisk until smooth. Pour into pan.

2. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with pecans. Pour melted butter evenly over top.

3. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes.

4. To serve, cut dessert into 4 rows by 3 rows. Serve warm or chilled with dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice. Store covered in refrigerator.

Note: Use canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix, for this dessert. Pumpkin pie mix contains sugar and spices, not just pumpkin.

From our table to yours, have a fabulous friendsgiving….

Love & Travel,
The Escape Artists

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