A lot has changed since the last time I hosted my family's Thanksgiving dinner in my tiny studio apartment. Not only did I upgrade to a larger space since then, but I moved in with my friend Derrick and his two cats Greyson and Pepper. I've spent the last year focusing on cultivating my friendships, so it only seemed fitting that my apartment would be the backdrop for a Friendsgiving full of small bites and spirits. The following recipes are ones that my friends (Carly, Sami and Myles) and I used for our seasonal soirée.
winter spritz RECIPE
- 1 shot Campari
- 1 shot freshly squeezed blood orange juice
- 1 shot hard apple cider, or more to taste
- 1 slice blood or Cara Cara orange
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Have a clean martini or coupe-style glass ready.
- Pour the Campari and blood orange juice into the shaker. Place the lid on and shake away. Remove the lid and strain the liquid into the glass. Top with cider to taste. Garnish with blood orange slice and enjoy.
- 4 ounces gorgonzola, room temperature
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
- 20 fresh sage leaves, washed and patted dry
- Olive oil
- 1 ciabatta loaf, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- Kosher salt or fine sea salt
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- Combine gorgonzola, cream, walnuts and parmesan in a medium sized bowl. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until a creamy spread forms.
- Pour olive oil into a heavy saute pan, about a 1/4 inch full. Heat over medium high heat, but not smoking. Place sage leaves in oil and fry on each side about two to three minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all sage leaves have been fried. Once cooled, crumble fried sage leaves.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ciabatta slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Slice garlic in half. Rub each slice of crostini with garlic. Spread a layer of gorgonzola walnut mixture on to each crostini. Sprinkle the top of each crostini with fried sage leaves and serve. Gorgonzola walnut mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
cranberry brie bites RECIPE
- 1 package of crescent dough
- Cooking spray, for pan
- Flour, for rolling out dough
- 8 oz. wheel Brie
- 1 c. whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1/2 c. chopped pecans
- 6 sprigs of rosemary, cut into 1" pieces.
- Preheat oven to 375° and grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll out crescent dough, and pinch seams together. Cut into 24 squares. Place squares into muffin tin slots.
- Cut brie into small pieces and place inside the crescent dough. Top with a spoonful of cranberry sauce, some chopped pecans, and one little sprig of rosemary.
- Bake until the crescent is golden, about 15 minutes.
- Serve warm.
prosciutto-wrapped asparagus RECIPE
- 3/4 lb. prosciutto
- 1 lb. asparagus
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Cut off the woody ends of the asparagus spears.
- Wrap a slice of prosciutto tightly around an asparagus spear from bottom to tip. Repeat with all spears.
- Coat the bottom of a large nonstick skillet with olive oil.
- Cook spears on all sides until prosciutto is slightly browned and crisp, 2-3 minutes.
I was instantly inspired by the Hearth & Hand with Magnolia collection designed by Chip and Joanna Gaines when creating my own holiday tablescape. The collection of home decor combines nostalgic tradition with clean, modern design, which is exactly the kind of look I was hoping to materialize. A black and white aesthetic provided the perfect backdrop for a pop of rich emerald color.
Having a solid centerpiece serving as the focal point for my table was important, and a Hearth & Hand green vase easily fit the bill. I filled the vase with cotton and eucalyptus procured from Glasswing, my favorite design shop in Capitol Hill. To add texture and saturate the space around the vase, I placed Hearth & Hand pillar candles and nesting wood houses in a staggered formation. The rest of the tablescape came together quite simply by complementing IKEA värdera plates with West Elm matte black flatware and grey linen napkins. Svelte wine glasses from Crate & Barrel were an essential addition to each place setting.
Simple recipes and a warm atmosphere are all that's needed to throw a successful soirée in the wintertime. And remember, a bottle (or two) of bubbly never fails to keep the party going!