ginger and salt

dinner party: friendsgiving.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAphoto 3I know some people love Halloween, but for me it’s always been an obstacle on the path to the holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, Halloween can be fun, especially if you dress up like Romy and Michele and pass out Post-it notes all night as my friend Cammie and I did this year, but I’m always champing at the bit when November rolls around and it’s officially acceptable to freak out about the holidays. Now I’m not the type to snap a picture of my red Starbucks holiday cup, but if you don’t think I’m digging out Justin Bieber’s Christmas album from the dark recesses of my car and blasting ‘Mistletoe’ on November 1st, you have gravely misjudged me.

I know Friendsgiving is not a new concept, but I have yet to partake in one at this level. Our friends really don’t know any other way. After finally settling on a date that avoided scheduling conflicts and football games, the preparations began. And by preparations I mean endless emails, Google docs, Pinterest boards, multiple calls and trips to the butcher by Ryan…you get the picture. Our dear friend Kelsey generously offered her family’s beautiful cabin in Cle Elum, a couple of hours outside of Seattle, which set the scene for a weekend that felt like it was out of a magazine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA photo 2 copy 2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA photo 1 copy 2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA photo 1 copyphoto 5OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ryan set the stage with the perfect turkey that was not only difficult to procure a few weeks in advance of Thanksgiving weekend, but one that was also brined in a fraternity cooler from his days at Clemson. Dylan, our wonderful friend who happens to also be a cheesemaker, brought the most incredible assortment of cheeses (including the not-yet-in-stores ‘Holiday Cheer’ cider-washed cheese from Mt. Townsend!) with homemade jam. Connor made sharp cheddar biscuits from scratch and Jessica made what she calls cheddar-chilli crackers and what I call the best-effing-Cheez-its I’ve ever eaten. Katie and Curran made a delicious Brussels sprouts and bacon salad along with mashed potatoes, John was on mulled wine duty (after we ran out of Ry’s hot toddies), and Cam and Colleen made a much-needed refreshing arugula salad.

It doesn’t end there…Kelsey did delicious green beans with almonds and chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, and Dylan blew all of our minds with a cauliflower dish served with bechamel sauce that literally was better than mac and cheese.  Nathan made this amazing charred broccoli on the grill that would convince any kid that broccoli is the greatest vegetable ever. Connor also did this incredible cranberry dish with ginger and pinot noir that was insane with the turkey.

I made a butternut squash soup with prosciutto that we snacked on during the day, along with my family’s fave caramelized onion and goat cheese spread on baguette.  And it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes and marshmallows so I made Martha’s version of those as well.  Last but not least, Jessica brought our favorite macarons from Bakery Nouveau (where she works as a pastry chef).  There were pumpkin ones, pistachio ones, and even a new flavor, margarita, that is made with tequila. So, yeah.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA photo 2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA photo 1photo 2 copyphoto 3 copy 2 photo 3 copy photo 4 copy 2 photo 4 copy photo 4photo 5 copy 2 photo 5 copy

Prior to hitting the road on Friday night, my mom (Drindy) told a few of us that we needed to constantly take ‘freeze frames’ throughout the weekend to let all of the sensory details sink in.  In true Drindy spirit, all of us tried our best to really be in the moment while we were there. For the most part, phones stayed piled up in a bowl at the end of the counter and we got to really be with each other. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but some of the freeze frames from the weekend were particularly special. The quiet of the kitchen in the morning as Ryan brewed freshly ground coffee and a few of us got started on our dishes. Jessica and I sneaking bites mouthfuls of her amazing stuffing throughout the day. The crackle of the fire behind Connor doing an incredible Amanda Bynes charade for our team in a rousing game of Celebrity. All of our red wine-stained lips and teeth on display as we laughed and talked late into the night.

Other notable moments from the weekend included finding what I thought was a dead falcon (according to Dylan it was a grouse) and giving it a proper river burial, walks in the wood with mulled wine in hand, John and Nathan chopping firewood in the backyard, and excellent dinner table conversation.  As we packed the cars on Sunday, we were all feeling more proud than ashamed that there were barely any leftovers or wine to take home. We may be gluttons, but at least we stop to enjoy it.

photo

19 comments

  1. wheatfield

    gingerandsalt girl I think you might have outdone yourself with this post.
    I have only one word for the whole shebang . . .
    SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS
    (for any of you who are not Poppins savvy – definition: extraordinarily good; wonderful)
    And to honor your love for the Holidays, a little double meaning referring also to the new coming this Christmas, can’t wait to see it, Mary Poppins Movie (although I’m sure I didn’t even need to say this to you cuz you get all of these subtleties).
    Well, anyway, just a superb rendition of this fabulous affair . . . you are breathing new life into this holiday for all of those ‘so tired’ mama’s who have cooked perhaps a few too many . . . time to be renewed . . . so thank you, thank you!

  2. Con

    Aww I enjoyed your comment wheatfield! My reaction is similar. I just really felt the joy and friendship in your writing T, especially so in this post. It takes someone truly special to conceive of this idea, follow through with it, and execute flawlessly. Still having serious withdrawals and the leftovers I’m eating at work aren’t helping! Thanks for reminding us what’s important around the holidays–friendship, good food, great wine, and of a course having a moment for freeze frames.

  3. alexaseidl

    hard to read this without being overcome with jealousy at the tastes, sights and company! photos look beautiful, too. i’m with you on the holiday spirit, tay — i’ve already finished 80% of my shopping and started listening the bieb’s ‘mistletoe’ first thing in the morning on november 1st. counting down the days until our home video fest at christmas. xxoo lex

  4. porser@comcast.net

    T – send me every recipe instantly, especially the cheez-its! I want to know how that turkey was brined and give me the number of the cheese man. Great post and pictures. xoxo L

    • L– sent the turkey recipe and getting you the cheez-it recipe ASAP! The Orser clan would love them. Maybe in a bowl right next to your signature pistachios? 🙂 If you aren’t buying it already, Dylan is the head cheesemaker at Mt. Townsend Creamery and all of their cheese are incredible. You can find them at any Whole Foods and at most QFCs. Would be so fun if you could meet him at some point! He’s the best—and his favorite variety is Seastack.

    • Thank you so much, Chlo! So nice of you. And yes, you’re absolutely correct. My team was ahead (obviously) but someone threw the score sheet in the fire before the game was over…CRUEL.

  5. katie

    in the words of wheatfield, you really have outdone yourself! take me back and i promise to fulfill tarte tatin duties… can’t wait to plan another extravaganza!

  6. Lisa Greer

    Taylor, Katie shared your post with me. AAAAmazing. Love that you all have these talents and could share this special weekend. 🙂

  7. Tina Mills

    Is this blog of yours some kind of new torture device? I wish that I were 30 years younger and one of your best friends. I’ve never seen such an incredible place, yummy food, and such beautiful people all together at once in my life! The photos are FANTASTIC. If you ever have your own TV show (which you should) my DVR will be set to RECORD ALL.

  8. Pingback: dinner party: friendsgiving, take two. | ginger and salt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Alice and Louise

Butter, Sugar, and Mishaps: Adventures in Baking

vanessagayle

a collection of beautiful places, spaces and ideas

PornBurger

Burger Perverts Welcome

From Belly to Bacon

Curing Meats & Other DIY Food Projects

the ulterior epicure

i live and travel to eat

Tupp Ups

A Blog About Leftovers

hilarymcmullen.wordpress.com/

Food and Still life Photographer

PROJECT GIRL CRUSH

adventures in eating, from ballard to brooklyn and beyond.

%d bloggers like this: