“Friendsgiving” is November’s version of summer rooftop parties: There seems to be one almost every weekend, and sometimes it’s the perfect excuse to be drunk on a Thursday evening. We aren’t complaining, in fact we like our pecan pie to come as abundantly and frequently as possible. What we don’t get is: Why has it become a phenomenon only in recent years? For example, if you think about it, the peeps on Friends were actually having “Friendsgiving” for ten seasons…they just didn’t know it yet. Then again, realism went out the window when they all lived in two-bedroom spreads in Greenwich Village on waitress/actor salaries…but we digress.
There’s something truly beautiful about spending a Thanskgiving with your friends rather than your family. You don’t have to hear questions like “Seeing anyone special?” and your friends (unlike that Grandmother) won’t judge you for eating a third slice of said pecan pie or indulging in one too many sips (actually gulps) of cranberry cocktail. The moral of the story? Friendsgiving has no doubt become the Utopian version of Thanksgiving: All the food, less of the family fuss.
We teamed up with Loft to host our own version of Friendsgiving. We’ve created the ideal menu consisting of bites like cornish hens (because many twenty-somethings in New York – unlike Monica Gellar – don’t necessarily have space in their kitchen for a 26 pound turkey), sweet and salty potatoes, and homemade rosemary crackers. Peruse the recipes below to get inspiration to host your own Friendsgiving this weekend…Who knows? We might just show up for a nibble…
Pumpkin Ricotta Dip with Rosemary Crackers
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree, canned
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Truffle Honey, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon Rosemary, minced, plus more for garnish
Stir all ingredients together well. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with truffle honey and sprinkle with rosemary.
Dip can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, garnish with truffle honey and rosemary.
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh Thyme leaves
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 teaspoons Sugar
1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted
1 cup cold Water
Sea Salt, for sprinkling
Cracked Black Pepper, for sprinkling
Roasted Cornish Hens
6 Cornish Game Hens
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
12 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 Lemons, quartered
12 Sprigs fresh Parsley
3 Sprigs fresh Sage
12 Sprigs fresh Thyme
2 Large Carrots, cut into 1” pieces
2 Large Turnips, cut into 1” pieces
1 Large Onion, cut into wedges
1/4 cup Dry White Wine
Kosher Salt, to taste
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the bottom of a roasting pan, place carrots, turnips, and onion wedges. Toss with 1/4 cup dry white wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Rinse and pat dry each bird. Season the cavity and outside of the birds generously with salt and pepper. Stuff each bird with 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 quarter of a lemon, 2 sprigs parsley, 1 sprig sage, and 2 sprigs fresh thyme. Truss each bird with butcher’s twine and place on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. Rub cornish hens with softened butter over the entire bird.
Roast the cornish hens for about 1 hour in the oven. Check occasionally to stir the vegetables or rotate the pan so that the birds brown evenly. They will be done when a thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest point of the thigh and juices run clear. Remove from the oven. Let the birds rest, covered loosely with foil, for 10 minutes before serving.
Sweet and Salty Potatoes
3 large Sweet Potatoes, rinsed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound of Baby Yellow Dutch Potatoes, rinsed and quartered
3 tablespoons Sage, minced, plus more for garnish
2 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
3 tablespoons Aged Balsamic Vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In one mixing bowl, toss together 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil with minced sage and baby potatoes. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Transfer to a small baking dish.
In another mixing bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon olive oil, maple syrup, 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, and aged balsamic vinegar. Toss with the sweet potatoes to coat. Transfer to a separate small baking dish.
Roast the potatoes side by side in the oven for 35-40 minutes until fork tender. Remove from the oven. Combine the potatoes on one serving dish so that they are evenly mixed. Garnish with sage.
Shaved Brussel Sprouts Salad with Apples and Vinaigrette Dressing
1 pound Brussel sprouts, thinly sliced with a knife or on a mandolin
2 Granny Smith Apples, rinsed, cored, and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup Pomegranate Seeds
1/4 Pumpkin Seeds, toasted
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Juice from 1/2 lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together dijon mustard, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil to form the vinaigrette.
In a mixing bowl, toss together Brussel sprouts and apples. Dress with the apple cider vinaigrette. Top with pomegranate seeds and toasted pumpkin seeds when ready to serve.
Not Your Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole
2 tablespoons Butter, unsalted
1/2 White Onion, small dice
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup dry White Wine
12 ounces Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup Milk
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 bunch Tuscan Kale, washed and torn into bite size pieces
1 pound French Green Beens, blanched and drained
1/4 cup Slivered Almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking dish.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, sweat for 5-7 minutes. Stir in kale. Sauté for 5 minutes until kale begins to wilt. Add Worcestershire sauce and white wine. Continue to sauté until white wine has reduced by half. Stir in the greek yogurt and milk. Add the green beans to the skillet, stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the the milk has thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly. Garnish with slivered almonds.
Pecan and Pumpkin Seed Pie
1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 stick Unsalted Butter, very cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3 to 4 tablespoons Ice Water
3 tablespoons Butter
3/4 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
1 cup Maple Syrup
1 tablespoon Spiced Rum
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups Pecan halves
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or your hands, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until only pea-size pieces remain. Stir in the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time to bring together the dough in a shaggy mess. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times to bring the dough together completely. Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours before rolling out.
When ready to roll out the dough, prepare a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a circular shape until it is 1/4” thick. Transfer to a greased, 9” pie pan. Fold any excess dough into a decorative shape around the edges.
Toss together the pecan halves and the pumpkin seeds and place in the pie dish. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. Set side. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in light brown sugar, maple syrup, and spiced rum. Heat until all ingredients are combined and dissolved. Remove from heat. Slowly, while whisking pour 1/3 of the hot mixture into the eggs. Whisk until combined and then slowly add the rest of the sugar mixture. Keep whisking to completely combine. Pour over the pecans and pumpkin seeds to fill the pie dish.
Bake for 50 minutes until the pie is completely set and the crust is golden brown. Let cool before serving.
Spiced Bourbon Cocktail with Cranberry and Pear Juice
12 ounces Cranberry Juice
12 ounces Pear Juice
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Star Anise pod
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
5 1/2 ounces Bourbon
In a medium pot combine cranberry juice, pear juice, cinnamon sticks, star anise pod, and ground ginger. Bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in the bourbon.
This cocktail can be served warm or shaken with ice to serve cold.
*Sponsored by Loft. Photographed by Alli Shepherd.