The Story of Thanksgiving
16 years ago I took a leap of faith and changed my life. I uprooted my entire life, family and friends to move across the United States. It was one of the bravest and scariest things I have ever done. With new adventures come changes, one of the biggest is how to spend holidays away from home. Thanksgiving became a holiday I spent away from the family, a time where good friends gathered and began new traditions and memories. Friendsgiving.
Friendsgiving, a concept created to describe the celebration of Thanksgiving with friends as opposed to family. I've found that living in Portland, transplants are plentiful. Many of our closest friends are away from their family during Thanksgiving and so began the tradition of spending time together instead of alone.
This year, I had the pleasure of hosting an early Friendsgiving with some of the most lovely friends. What a grand idea to gather some of the most talented home cooks for one special Friendsgiving event. My co-host LaRae Burk and I had the vision of celebrating food with those friends that enjoy food as much as we do. Taking the freshest ingredients, the most gorgeous tableware and stunning cookware to capture a picturesque Friendsgiving event. We were able to showcase our beautiful food at a local brewery, Widmer Brothers where a warm and rustic space set the mood for this special day.
The Food ~ New Seasons Market
The beauty of Friendsgiving is the shared workload! Typically the host prepares the turkey (find recipe below), sets up the space and organizes the event. But all the goodies, the side dishes and desserts come from friends. What would Friendsgiving be without everyone sharing the favorite dish? For this special event, we partnered with New Season Market to find the freshest ingredients for our main and side dishes. Local produce is in abundance and picked at their optimum to ensure the best tasting food. Our dishes for this event included incredible ideas like: Pistachio and Citrus Quinoa Salad, Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction and Cranberries, Dutch Oven Bread, Browned Butter Salted Caramel Cake, Pumpkin & Beer Cheese Bisque and Apple, Taragon Turkey Sausage Stuffing and more. So many creative and innovative ideas to prepare for your own special Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving event.
Tablescape ~ Sur La Table
You know what's funny, I never really knew what a tablescape was until I started food blogging. I mean, sure I set the table, perhaps added some cloth napkins but a TRUE tablescape is something you can't take your eyes off of, something magical. We were honored to highlight some of Sur La Table most gorgeous tableware for our Friendsgiving event. Crisp pearl white dinner plates with pops of color from adorable pumpkin plates and bowls, soft linens to drape the table, magical candles to create a romantic soft atmosphere and the most stunning wine glasses. These beautiful pieces helped to create the perfect table for our Friendsgiving gathering. Fresh florals, pumpkins and greens adorn the table arranged by the talented Shannon Garcia Shinn.
Cookware ~ Finex
Cooking! You have 10 different dishes to prepare and keep warm for this big dinner, what do you do? Cast Iron! One of the most versatile and heat conductive cookware is cast iron. We had the pleasure of cooking many of our incredible dishes in amazing Finex Cookware. Finex is a small local Portland based company that not only handcrafts cast iron cookware, but has reinvented the look, feel and design of cast iron. So, a turkey in cast iron? Yes, it is possible! I chose a smaller turkey (about 11 pounds) and decided to use the Finex Grill Pan to cook the beautiful bird. With the built in grill grates, the turkey was elevated and cooked so evenly, not to mention the most beautiful display! Whether you're preparing soup, potatoes or stuffing, Finex Cookware is the perfect vessel. Check out some of the beautiful dishes prepared at our event.
Pulling it Together
Pulling off a Friendsgiving is no easy task. It requires patience, planning and a lot of prep. But with the right tools and a vision, setting up the perfect event is possible. I hope this post inspires you to create a magical Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving this year. For more tips, don't miss out signing up for my newsletter. I'll be sending out a special edition newsletter to subscribers with a step by step guide to planning your Thanksgiving Day and exclusive recipes! As always, I love to see your creations, tag me in your Thanksgiving creations this holiday season.
Blogger attendees, please check out the attendees for more delicious inspiration:
This post and event is sponsored by New Seasons, Sur la Table and Finex Cookware. All opinions and ideas are my own.
|Prep Time||30 minutes|
|Cook Time||1 hour 45 minutes|
|Passive Time||12 hours|
- 1 10-11 lb whole turkey
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened (1 ½ sticks)
- ⅓ cup herbes de provence **see recipe notes
- 4-5 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 large onions quartered
- 2 large carrots 2" pieces
- 12 oz fingerling potatoes
- 4 whole shallots
- Prepare the turkey 1-2 days in advance.
- Remove turkey from packages, be sure to remove the giblets that are usually stuffed inside.
- Pat dry the turkey using paper towels.
- In a small bowl, mix your softened butter ¼ cup of your herbes de provence + 2 teaspoon salt.
- Use the butter mixture and place clumps of the herb butter underneath the skin. It may seem like you are over buttering but it is okay! The butter will melt into the meat and make it extremely tender.
- Take the remaining herbes and salt and generously rub the outer layer of skin with this mixture.
- Take the bird and place in fridge, do not cover. Not covering allows the skin to dry and create a crisp exterior.
- Day of baking, set your oven to 325 degrees (convection cooking) or 350 for traditional oven cooking and begin prepping your turkey. You'll want your turkey to come to room temperature so plan to leave out for at least an hour before cooking.
- Remove turkey from fridge and place your chopped onions and carrots inside the cavity. Truss legs together with cooking twine.
- Place your turkey in your roasting pan (or grill pan).
- Add your fingerling potatoes and shallots around the turkey. Coat them in olive oil and additional seasoning.
- Add 1 cup of broth or water to the pan.
- Cook turkey based on weight: 6 to 10 pounds - 1 ½ to 2 hours 10 to 18 pounds - 2 to 2 ½ hours 18 to 22 pounds - 2 ½ to 3 hours 22 to 24 pounds - 3 to 3 ½ hours
- Check your turkey at the earlier mark for temperature: The internal temperature of the turkey when an instant-read thermometer is inserted between the thigh and side of the breast without touching bone should now be 165 to 170 F
- Once your turkey is cook through, remove from oven and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Carve and enjoy!
**Make your own herbes de provence if you can't locate: