Friendsgiving 2018

We started planning our Friendsgiving feast a month ago, almost as soon as we returned from Bali. Léna, Rachel, and I planned the menu in a Google doc, giggling like crazy at our desks and assigning dishes. The idea was to introduce Léna and her husband Diaeddine to a true American Thanksgiving since they had never quite experienced one before. But then in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we expanded the invitation to our other friends from abroad, Ezequiel and Pastora, as well as other close friends like Arya and Daniel. In total, we had 10 hungry mouths to feed!

The turkey was once again Alex’s pride and joy. We bought two huge turkeys from Costco a week ago (one for Friendsgiving, the other for actual Thanksgiving), conveniently avoiding the pre-holiday mad rush this past weekend. Two days prior, he carefully brined the bird with his special recipe, including salt, dried rosemary, thyme, and fresh oranges. When the day arrived, he spatchcocked the turkey and simmered the spine, neck, and giblets for 6+ hours to create a stock for the homemade gravy. Since the turkey was now butterflied, it only took about 2.5 hours to cook and stayed extremely moist and flavorful.

We’ve been to our fair share of disappointing potlucks so we wanted to make sure every dish was made from scratch yet still easy. I had made it a personal goal to master sourdough by Thanksgiving, and indeed, I did with a few weeks to spare! I made two loaves: one to eat fresh with brie and the other to use in sourdough stuffing. Léna also brought additional decor to deck out the table and even generously gifted us a set of wine glasses so we’d always have plenty to host with.

As our friends arrived, the kitchen island truly proved itself to be the heartbeat of our home. We’re so thankful that our open layout allows guests to move freely between the kitchen, dining room, and living room. It’s casual and comfortable, and we’re so proud of all the manual labor we put into painting the cabinets and designing it a year ago. The kitchen is our most used, and in my opinion, most loved room in the house and we’re so happy to share it with guests.

The menu:

It was a much-needed night of friendship, food, and laughter and we’re so thankful for everything this year has brought despite moments of hardship. Cheers to the official start of the holiday season!