A Friendsgiving Feast with Mara Ferreira

For the past few years I’ve wanted to throw a holiday party with my girlfriends—the holidays are such a hectic and busy time and we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. Matthew and I always plan a Christmas party but it includes significant others, plus it’s at the end of December!

So I decided to throw a little get together with some of my favorite girlfriends before the madness of the season really gets into gear. It was the perfect opportunity to sit back and catch up while drinking fall cocktails and eating comfort food! It was such a fun afternoon and I loved being able to catch up with my favorite girls over yummy food and drinks. Hopefully this will provide you with some inspiration for your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving dinners!

There are a few recipes I’ve wanted to experiment with that seem perfect for the Thanksgiving season! One included an Autumn Sangria (who says Sangria is just for the summertime?), a Butternut Squash Soup served in pumpkins, and mini apple pie heart hand pieces for dessert.

Autumn Sangria

1 bottle of Prosecco {I used one from Santa Margarita}
2 cups sparling apple cider
½ cup bourbon
4 cinnamon sticks
2 apples, diced
2 pears, diced
¼ cup pomegranate seeds

DIRECTIONS
Combine the above in a large pitcher with a lid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight. Transfer to a pitcher before serving. Serve in glasses with ice.

Apple Pie Hand Pies

1 14 oz all butter puff pastry
1 pound apples (about 2 to 3 apples)
1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons white sugar
6 store bought soft caramels, roughly chopped
large flake sea salt, like Maldon
egg wash (1 egg lightly whisked with 1 Tablespoon water)
crystal sanding sugar, optional
whipped cream, optional

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the puff pastry and allow to thaw for about 20 minutes until it easily unfolds. Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine the apples, orange juice, cinnamon, and sugars, stirring until combined. Set aside. Once dough has thawed, on a lightly floured work surface, roll the puff pastry to a 14 ½ inch square, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a heart cookie cutter, cut out as many hearts as possible. Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting hearts until you run out of dough. Make sure you have an even number. Place the hearts on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Spoon a small portion of the apple filling into the center of each heart, leaving a little bit of a border. Top with a piece pieces of chopped caramels and a pink of sea salt. Place the second heart on top and use a fork to crimp the edges shut, sealing each pie. Brush the top of each hand pie with the egg wash and using a sharp knife, cut some vents on top of the dough. Sprinkle with crystal sanding sugar. Bake the pies for about 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream.

Butternut Squash Soup Served in Roasted Pumpkins

4 small sugar pie pumpkins
3 Tablespoons butter, divided
4 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cut, cored and diced
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced carrot
1 ½ medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic
8 sage leaves
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
2 ½ cups water
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
spicy toasted pumpkin seeds and crème fraiche on top

DIRECTIONS
Make the soup:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash halves cut-side up on the baking sheet. Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter and brush on the tops and insides of the squash halves. Season with salt and pepper and roast until tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Melt 1 Tablespoon of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the apple, celery, carrot, garlic, onion, sage, salt and pepper and cook stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add some salt and pepper if you like. When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop out the flesh and add to the saucepan with the apples and onion mixture. Discard the skins. Add the broth, water, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Using a blender, puree the soup in batched until smooth. Make sure to remove the small blender cap and cover with a towel so that the steam can escape without the blender lid coming off. You can also use an immersion blender. Serve in the pumpkin bowls, or regular bowl, and garnish with spicy pumpkin seeds and a little crème fraiche.

Make the pumpkins:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a paring knife, cut a large circle around the stem of each pumpkin. Remove the lid and scoop out the seeds and as much of the fibers as you can. Brush 1 Tablespoon of melted butter on the inside and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkins and lids on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on their size.

Make the pumpkin seeds:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the ½ cup pumpkin seeds, ½ teaspoon chili powder, a pink of cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon lime juice. Toss to coat evenly. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until puffed and browned, about 10 minutes.

GREAT IDEAS FOR SIDES

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gorgonzola and Pomegranate Seeds
Potato Gratin with Herbs: gluten free and dairy free! It’s relatively easy to make and really impressive!
Roasted Carrots with Rosemary
Fall Salad with Apples and Persimmons: the sherry thyme dressing makes this salad beyond delicious!

 

SOURCES:
Flowers by Seed Floral
Props by Lulu & Georgia
Calligraphy by POPPYjack Shop

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