How to: Throw the ultimate Friends-giving dinner

There are two reasons why students are looking forward to next week: three days off of school and Thanksgiving. Some students will travel by car or plane to spend the holidays with family and friends while others may celebrate Thanksgiving in Murray.

For those who will not be traveling for the holiday, there is a way to bring the spirit of good food and company to Murray. Gather friends and the best recipes around to begin your “friends-giving.”

PREPARATION:

The first step to coordinating a Thanksgiving celebration is to choose the venue for the affair. Whether at an apartment or a local meeting house, there are many ways to transform spaces to create a warm and inviting site.

DECORATIONS:

Burlap and lace are popular trends during the fall season, as well as autumn hues like gold, maroon and hunter green. Creating a bold statement piece for your event may be a conversation starter later that night.

A simple centerpiece that will be appreciated by all can be influenced by the colors of fall. Grab a few empty wine bottles or candle holders and paint them either red, yellow or orange.

Add Thanksgiving appeal by using a white paint marker to write words like give thanks, friends, feast and gratitude. To add flair to these bottles, add a few strands of decorative flowers and stems that complement the pieces.

FOOD:

Enjoy home cooked meals by having a pot-luck with friends. Each friend may be responsible for preparing an appetizer, entree, vegetable or dessert. Allowing multiple people to create the dishes spreads the responsibility of the time-consuming cooking practice and adds a personal flair to each dish.

GAMES:

No party can be complete without fun and games. For those friends who know either very little or everything about the other guests in the room, this classic twist to the popular “20 Questions” game will have everyone learning a little more about their friends.

One guest will begin by selecting another guest as the “mystery identity” but will not tell who it is out loud. Each guest will then get to ask a yes or no question about the “mystery identity” until the group has reached 20 questions. They will then have one guess to solve who the “mystery identity” is.

MOVIE:

There are many ways to end a party with friends. One of those ways is to play a movie that enhances the bonds of friendship and Thanksgiving.

Some popular movies centered around friendship and Thanksgiving include: “Son in Law,” “National Lampoon’s Thanksgiving Family Reunion” and “Home for the Holidays.”

Thanksgiving was originated to spend time with friends and give thanks and gratitude. With good food and company, any place, even if it’s not permanent, can feel like home for the holidays.

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray and The Food Network
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy

1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 lemon, scrubbed clean

12 fresh sage leaves

Large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan

1-teaspoon salt, plus more as needed

6 fresh bay leaves

4 tablespoons butter

2 boneless turkey breast halves, skin on

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¼ cup apple or regular brandy

2-3 cups apple cider

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Oil a roasting pan and set it aside.

Put the onion into the bowl of a mini food processor. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the lemon in thin strips, being careful not to cut into the bitter white pith. Add the lemon zest to the food processor and reserve the whole lemon for another use. Chop the onion and lemon zest until fine. Add the sage, parsley, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt and pulse until it forms a coarse paste.

Put 2 of the bay leaves and the butter into a small pan and heat over medium-low heat until the butter is bubbling. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the turkey breasts on a work surface. Carefully run your fingers between the skin and the flesh from 1 end, being careful not to pull it completely off, creating a pocket. Season the turkey breasts generously with salt and pepper. Stuff half of the herb paste under the skin of each breast, and spread it evenly under the skin. Transfer the breasts to the roasting pan, and slide 2 bay leaves underneath each one. (The heat of the pan will release the bay leaf oils and flavor the breast.) Using a pastry brush, baste the breasts with half of the bay butter. Place the turkey in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 400 degrees F. After 20 minutes, baste the turkey breasts with the remaining butter, and roast for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through, and a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast registers 170 degrees F.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a platter, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving while you make the gravy.

Put the roasting pan over the burner on medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the pan juices, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the apple brandy, and scrape the pan to lift the bits that are stuck to the bottom. Cook for a minute to burn off the alcohol, then, while stirring, pour in the apple cider. Bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the turkey breast on the diagonal, and serve with warm gravy.

 

Story by Tiffany WhitfillStaff writer