For the first time in my life, I’m not spending Thanksgiving with my own family. Instead, I’m driving across the country with my boyfriend and our dog to spend it with his family. It’s a strange and weirdly grown-up feeling to not be “home for the holiday,” but I’ll still be with people I love and I’m thankful for that.
Spending Thanksgiving elsewhere got me thinking about other Thanksgiving traditions, namely Friendsgiving.
Friendsgiving is the celebration of Thanksgiving with your friends, in lieu of a family gathering — or in addition to one.
Friendsgiving is an opportunity to use up leftovers, to uphold your tolerance for a hearty feast (Christmas is right around the corner), to keep the cheerful holiday momentum going, and to try out new recipes for upcoming holiday parties.
First thing is first: dealing with the leftovers. Gobbler sandwiches are the obvious post-dinner snack. But if you have enough sandwich fixings for more sandwiches than you’ll ever eat, consider these options. Mashed potatoes make great potato pancakes, just shape them into patties and fry them ’til golden brown. Use the turkey carcass in a stock for turkey gumbo or turkey noodle soup.
For an all-in-one dish try this turkey broccoli stir-fry modified from Rick Rodgers’s “Thanksgiving 101″ cookbook.
All of your turkey day leftover veggies such as: broccoli florets, scallions, red pepper, garlic, spinach, corn etc.
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 Tbs. shredded fresh ginger (use the large holes of a box grater)
1 lb. cooked turkey, cut into 1/2-by-2-inch strips
1 1/2 cups turkey broth (did you save the carcass? use homemade! canned works too, though)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Scotch whiskey or dry sherry
2 Tbs. dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp. crushed peppercorns
1/2 tsp. crushed hot red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. cornstarch
Hot cooked rice, for serving
Add oil to a large, non-stick skillet. Heat until very hot. Add scallions, garlic, ginger and any other veggies you are using. Stir for about 30 seconds, until the mixture is fragrant. Add the turkey strips and 1/2 cup of stock. Cover and cook until the turkey is heated through, about 2 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix the remaining cup of stock with soy sauce, Scotch, sesame oil, peppercorns and red pepper flakes. Add the cornstarch and whisk until dissolved, stir into skillet, cook until boiling and thickened. Serve the turkey stir-fry immediately over bowls of rice.
Who doesn’t like mac and cheese? And who doesn’t like bite-sized snacks? These mac and cheese bites will be a hit with your pint-sized guests and adults alike.
1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese use pepper jack, sharp cheddar, white cheddar or a combo of each
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling on top
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter or spray a nonstick mini muffin pan (you may need multiple pans). Set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Add the milk and simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes, until thickened. Add all the cheeses and stir together to melt. Remove from heat and stir in the egg yolks, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the cooked macaroni.
3. Spoon the macaroni and cheese into the prepared mini muffin pan, filling each cup to the top. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then use a butter knife to carefully loosen and pop out the bites from the pan. They should pop out very easily. Transfer the mac and cheese bites to a platter and serve warm.
What would a gathering of friends be without a cocktail? Incomplete. So here is an idea. Food and Wine Magazine suggests this punch for a crowd.
2 oranges, thinly sliced
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 lime, thinly sliced
1/2 pint raspberries
1 cup fresh pineapple, cubed
1 bottle gin (F&W magazine suggests Dorothy Parker, but you can also try Hendricks, which has a refreshing cucumber flavor, Tanqueray, or Bombay)
1 3/4 cups fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups simple syrup
1 cup framboise liqueur (such as Chambord)
1 bottle Prosecco chilled
1 block of ice
1. In a large punch bowl, combine the fruit, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and framboise liqueur.
2. Refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours.
3. Just before serving, stir in the chilled Prosecco and add a large ice block.
However and wherever you’re celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving!
Stop the press! Pizza delivery on Martha’s Vineyard? Yes. Porto Pizza in Vineyard Haven is doing a trial run of pizza deliveries. They will deliver within a five-mile radius of the shop (across from the Steamship Authority in Vineyard Haven) with a $1 charge per pizza in Vineyard Haven and $2 in Oak Bluffs. They might go farther depending on how busy they are.
Call 508-693-6200 for information. But remember, this is a trial run and Porto is closing for the season on December 2. Go ahead and support pizza delivery so they can establish it next season.
Your friendly pizza delivery man, Chris McMahon, also happens to be the sous chef at the Park Corner Bistro. And aside from delivery man he’s also adding master pie-maker to his résumé. Mr. McMahon is now taking orders for apple, apple crumb, blueberry, blueberry crumb, maple walnut, pumpkin, and banana chocolate pies for your holiday and Christmas parties. He’s also baking “cup-pies” for a bite sized treat and is taking custom orders. Place your order at Park Corner or call them at 508-696-9922.