Pete and I are hosting Thanksgiving this year, and while it’s not our first time, it will be our first time in our new house which makes it feel extra special. I really love entertaining, it’s fun for me, but I also know my limits and am always glad to take people up on their offers to contribute. Especially for Thanksgiving when people have such strong opinions about the dishes, it’s always nice to let guests bring the dish that is the most important part of the meal to them and know that it will be prepared to their liking.
This year, my mom will be bringing a special appetizer, gravy and rolls, Pete’s mom will do the stuffing and mashed potatoes, and Molly & Sally are in charge of dessert. That leaves me responsible for the rest of the appetizers, turkey, a salad, veggie side, and a mac n’ cheese we are trying out this year. Super manageable, which means I will be able to actually hang and enjoy time with my people. Still, this weekend Molly and I decided to host a little “Friendsgiving” with some of our coworkers to recipe-test some of the new dishes so we could feel extra confident on the big day!
We chose three recipe’s from the new Garden & Gun cookbook that I have been obsessed with lately, all of which could be made to some extent ahead of time- as well as a festive beverage from my favorite cocktail book Shake. All three recipes ended up being delightful- and I thought I would share with y’all in case anyone needs a last minute idea for their own Thanksgiving feasts!
Slice & Bake Cheese Wafers
1 stick unsalted butter, sliced
2 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon thyme leaves for garnish
-Combine butter, cheeses, salt cayenne & flour into food processor and pulse several times until crumbly. Then process for 30 seconds until a mass of dough forms.
-Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap like a tootsie-roll and refrigerate at least 1 hour to overnight.
-Preheat oven to 350 and cut chilled dough into 1/4 inch slices and arrange on parent-lined baking sheet. Top with thyme garnish and bake for 12 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
-Immediately sprinkle with salt and transfer to cooling rack.
We decided to add a little flair to the recipe and used some fall foliage cookie cutters. I didn’t think about it before, but it would have been better to roll a bigger log that was closer in size to the cookie cutter. Instead, I cut 2″ thick slices of our log and pounded it out to the correct 1/4″ thinness and cookie-cut. I recombined the scraps, and rolled into another dough ball that I did the same with. I put them into the freezer for a couple of minutes before popping them into the oven so they would chill off a little after they warmed while I worked with them. These were SO delicious! Like extra-special cheese-its. I think these are going to be a strong feature in my repertoire from now on.
12 large Grade-A Eggs
2 Tbspns white wine vinegar
1/2 cup mayo
1 1/2 tsp grainy mustard
1 tbsn sriracha
1 1/2 tbspn bacon greese
Salt & freshly ground pepper
-Hardboil your eggs (the book is very detailed about how to do this, but I’m lazy and don’t want to write it all out, and you should buy the book anyway)
-Combine egg yolks, mayo, mustard, sriracha, and bacon grease in a medium bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk ingredients until smooth.
-Pipe mixture into the egg yolk halves and garnish
Pete made these guys, and they have become his favorite party trick in the past few weeks. He garnishes with a scrumptious bacon bit. So delicious and a great southern classic.
1 cup fine-ground cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbspn brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp minced fresh sage
2 tbspn sliced fresh chives
1 10 0z block extra sharp cheddar grated
1 lb bulk spicy breakfast sausage
2 tbspn grated onion
2 tbspn buttermilk
-Preheat oven to 350 and whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, brown sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper, sage, and chives in a large bowl. Add cheese and toss with cornmeal mixture to evenly coat.
-In a separate bowl combine sausage, onion, and buttermilk. Pour cornbread and cheese mixture into the sausage and mix with your hands to thoroughly combine.
-Roll packed tablespoons of dough into 1 inch balls and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 22-25 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
The recipe says to use parchment paper, and I don’t know if it was the kind we used, but ours stuck to them and we had to tear them off. Which was a pretty huge bummer because those little crusty bits at the bottom looked delicious. These are so moist and have a much more complex flavor than your usual party balls.
Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour
Ingredients (makes 2 drinks)
3 Shots Bourbon
1 & 1/2 Shots Fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 Shot Dark Amber Maple Syrup
2 Springs of Rosemary
-Crush 1 sprig of rosemary in your hand and add it to the shaker.
-Add the bourbon, lemon juice, maple syrup, and ice to above the level of the liquid and shake for 15 seconds.
-Strain the mixture into a rocks glass over one large ice cube and garnish with rosemary sprig.
This cocktail from my favorite, Shake, has changed my whole perspective on bourbon. I had felt like I was in a tequila/margarita rut, and wanted to branch out to some other spirits because sure why not? I used to think I hated bourbon, but was feeling adventurous and tried the recipe for this cocktail. Turns out, I LOVE bourbon. Which may not be the best thing, but it’s the holidays and I’m pleased with it.
All images by Molly Miller for Peppermint Bliss