The Nontraditional Thanksgiving

Looking for some alternative-to-the-norm recipes for Thanksgiving this year? Or do you celebrate Friendsgiving and you want to shake it up a little? Or are there just the two of you this year and you don’t want to cook an entire turkey for two people. Here are some non-traditional Thanksgiving recipes that your friends and family will love so much they won’t miss that turkey thing….

I’ve never been a big fan of Thanksgiving foods, or Thanksgiving as a holiday, to be honest.  I feel like Chandler Bing over here, but I don’t even have a good reason like he had. I love the idea of Thanksgiving – family and friends gathered, just spending time with one another, eating great food, laughing too much, drinking too much. But growing up, I never had any cousins the same age as me and it always just felt like this boring event that people tolerated until they could start putting up Christmas decorations. And it seems like people don’t even wait to do that anymore…everyone in my neighborhood seems to have skipped right over Thanksgiving and is decorating for the holidays already.

But I have my own family now and I want to create new Thanksgiving traditions. I want to love this holiday and I want Cora to create good memories as well. And now, I’m old enough to choose the menu myself, which means I don’t have to sit through one more dinner with DRY turkey.  And I’ve had it all ways – deep fried too – that bird is always dry.

And Thanksgiving decor does NOT have to include faux leaves or pilgrim hats or turkey centerpieces with accordion paper tails.  It also doesn’t have to include Christmas decor – it can be a stand-alone, gorgeous holiday with whatever kind of color scheme you like.

The Decor

I think Anthropologie is one of the best places to get MOST things..but especially dinnerware because they have so many unique and unexpected pieces. You can supplement your everyday white dinnerware with gorgeous and colorful items that really give your table a curated look. A blush, gold and white color scheme still looks very festive without incorporating the traditional Thanksgiving colors. Another good, non-traditional color scheme option would be off-white, navy blue and either silver or gold.

 

Colors associated with Thanksgiving are typically, orange, yellow, brown and red.  These colors don’t do much for me, so I wanted to introduce some different fall colors into our table. I asked Rose Bredl to make us a floral arrangement that was free form, with greens, white, blush colors and some good dark purples – fall with some life breathed into it. They created this gorgeous arrangement that I couldn’t have been happier with. If you’re in Columbus – definitely check out their website and their shop located in the Short North.

The Recipes

Rack of Lamb with Dijon and Rosemary Crust

This lamb will blow your mind. BLOW YOUR MIND. And even though they look daunting, they’re actually quite easy to make. And eat. Seriously, forget the forks and knives – these are like savory lollipops that people will want more of. So maybe double this recipe.

Makes 4 servings

2 racks of lamb (trimmed), about 2 or 2.5 lbs each
4-6 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste (about 5 or 6 tsp of each)
1 cup breadcrumbs
5 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
2 Tablespoons butter

 

Take meat out of refrigerator, blot dry with a paper towel and cover with salt and pepper (I eyeball this but about 3 tsp of each), and cover the meat (not the trimmed bones) with the dijon mustard. Cover and let sit on the counter for about an hour. You want the meat to be room temperature when you cook it.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix breadcrumbs, garlic, 2 tsp salt and 2 tsp pepper, and the chopped rosemary. Using your fingers, (because it’s more fun and easier and what is Thanksgiving without mom’s hands in everything), cover the meat (again, not the exposed bones), with the breadcrumb mixture. Coat generously and evenly.

Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a skillet over high heat. Sear one rack at a time until all sides of the meat are crispy and brown – about 3 minutes per side.

Place a wire baking rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.  Place the racks of lamb on top of the baking rack and bake until the meat is lightly warm through – for medium rare – about 20-25 minutes in the oven.

Let rest about 10 minutes before cutting and then serve.

 

Ruby Red Potatoes with Parmesan and Black Truffle Oil

These potatoes are an easy way to bring color to the table outside of/in addition to the cranberry sauce that widely goes uneaten.  I promise – you will not have any leftovers of these babies.

Makes 2-4 servings

1 bag small round red potatoes, sometimes called ruby potatoes, about 1.5 – 2 lbs.
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons good quality black truffle oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (we like to grate it ourselves off a block of parm)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chive (fresh rosemary or flat-leaf parsley would work great in this recipe as well)
salt and pepper to taste
Malden sea salt flakes

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add potatoes to a large bowl and coat with 5 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, about one tablespoon of each. Arrange in a flat layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

Place in the oven on the bottom rack and cook for 35-40 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.

Once cooked through, remove from oven, let cool for 3-5 minutes and add to a large bowl. Add truffle oil, parmesan cheese, chive and a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt, to taste and mix gently.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

pull apart butter and rosemary roll recipe

Butter Rosemary Rolls

Sometimes called skillet rolls or pull-apart rolls, I call them Smith and Wollensky rolls because that’s what they taste like and I LOVE those babies. I don’t need to order anything else at that place…just those glorious little balls of butter-covered heaven. (Please note: this recipe is NOT Smith and Wollensky’s…just as close and I can get it at my own house – unless this IS the exact recipe and in that case…MWUAH HAH HAH – I figured it out!)

Makes 10-12 rolls

2 packets of dry yeast (.25 oz packets)
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup melted butter plus another 1/4 cup for brushing
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3 cups of flour
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
sprinkle of Maldon sea salt

Combine yeast packets and warm water in a bowl. Mix with a fork until frothy and let sit about 5 minutes.  Using the fork, mix in the honey.

Add yeast mixture into a stand mixer and add 1/4 cup melted butter, 1tsp salt, and the egg. Slowly add the flour cup-by-cup until fully incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Add more flour if it is too sticky.

Portion the dough into approximately 10-12 equal size balls. I used two cast-iron skillets, but you could use round baking dishes as well. Be sure to brush the skillets or your baking dishes with a little melted butter before you add the dough.

Cover the skillet(s) containing the dough with a cloth and let rise for about 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Once rolls have raised, brush them with melted butter, sprinkle with chopped, fresh rosemary, brush with more melted butter and then sprinkle with flakes of Maldon sea salt.

Bake rolls for 23-25 minutes. 23 minutes seemed to be the sweet spot for our oven, but to stay on the safe side I’d turn on the oven light and start checking them around 20 minutes or so – you want them golden brown.

 

Happy Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving to all!

XOXO – Em

 

*Thank you SO much to Rose Bredl for the beautiful floral arrangement.

 

 

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