Friendsgiving 2015

Friendsgiving. Like Thanksgiving, but with friends, obvi.  

Jarry Magazine, an awesome new food and culture magazine for gay bros and queers alike, asked some of us food bloggers to help celebrate Thanksgiving with a virtual "Friendsgiving" celebration.  Ok, so look girls, I'm not trying to show my raging emotional side or whatever, but for LGBTQ people, sometimes friends come to replace family during the holidays, so events such as Friendsgivings can serve as really important times of emotional and spiritual healing, and community building.  It would be super chill and important for us all to remember those among us--particularly our trans* and gender non-conforming bbs--who may not have families to spend this time with.

I've been fortunate enough to have a super amazing and supportive family, and Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, because food and booze.  My mom (luv u, girl) usually cooks this dope pork loin with prunes and onions in addition to a big turkey and sometimes there's even baked macaroni and cheese and a bed waiting for my double-stuffed body to fall into.  So, yeah, I love me some Thanksgiving. This week we started off the season by having over our favorite double-date partners, Phil and Randy, and their cute pup, Ponce.  Our gin-guzzling older sister/bffl Morgan came by with her dog, Edie, and the whole house turned into a puppy playground.  

Randy took pretty much all of the photos that you see from the evening, and if you're in New Orleans (or want to fly him to Milan, Paris, or Tokyo) check out his site to see his awesome event and portrait photography. 

So, the only real rule of a Friendsgiving is that everyone contribute in some way, whether it's a side dish, or a drink, or a post-meal joint (kidding?).  Matt gave us a cocktail and wine pairing for the evening, starting us off with an Aparetif-heavy Americano variation we're calling "The Basic American," to get our stomachs ready for the loads of pork. He picked a Beaujolais to pair with the meal, which has a nice, light fruitiness that echoed the fruits in the main dish without overpowering the flavor of the meat. Bolder wines like zinfandels or cabernet sauvignons would've upstaged the lighter flavors.

Phil made the main dish of the night, which was an orange and fennel pork loin with apples and honey.  It was crispy and fatty on the outside while still juicy and succulent on the inside and it was like really really fucking phenomenal. I went ahead and made an oyster & andouille sausage cornbread dressing, as well as some simple Parmesan roasted potatoes.  We decided to forego a traditional dessert and instead finished off the meal with a Late Harvest Riesling (deliciously sweet dessert wine) Matt and I picked up in Anderson Valley, which is actually a pretty kick ass way to end a meal. Oh and Morgan contributed her good looks and general grace and elegance. You can find recipes for all of this stuff below.  Happy Friendsgiving, cuties!  

Make the Menu!

"The Basic American"

Makes 1 cocktail

  • 3/4 oz Gran Classico Bitter
  • 3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Peychauds bitters
  • 1-1.5 OZ club soda or sparkling water

You can build this cocktail in the glass you serve it in. Simply combine the Gran Classico, Vermouth, and bitters in an up cocktail glass, and top with soda.  

Fennel, Orange, and Apple Pork Loin

Serves 4 - 6

  • 1.5 - 2 lbs pork tenderloin, boneless
  • 4 T salt
  • 3 T fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 T thyme
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 2 t cayenne
  • 1 bulb fennel, plus greens, chopped
  • 3 apples
  • 3 oranges, one juiced, one chopped, and one sliced for garnish
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the salt, pepper, brown sugar, thyme, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl and rub it evenly onto the pork loin, leaving about two tablespoons of rub set aside for later.  
  3. Melt the butter and oil together in a large cast iron skillet (or non-stick skillet if necessary) over high heat.  Once the butter has melted completely, add one sprig of rosemary to the pan and place the pork loin into the skillet and lower the heat to medium.  Sear the loin for about two minutes on each side, or until evenly browned.
  4. Remove pork from the pan and set aside. 
  5. Keep the heat at medium and add the chopped fennel to the skillet, sauteing for about 5 minutes, until slightly translucent.  Add the sliced apples and oranges and saute for an additional few minutes. Mix in the apple cider vinegar and place the pork loin on top of the sauteed fruit and vegetables.
  6. Drizzle the pork loin with honey and remaining rub, and roast for 25 - 35 minutes, until no longer pink in the center.  The easiest way to test this is to remove it from the oven at the 25 minute mark and cut into the center with a knife to check the color.  
  7. Once the pork is done, remove the skillet from the oven and place the loin on a cutting board the rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Slide the pork and place back on top of the sauteed fruits and vegetables, squeeze an orange on top of it, and garnish with rosemary and orange slices.  Serve immediately. 

Oyster & Andouille Sausage Cornbread Dressing

Serves 4  - 6

  • 8 oz andouille sausage
  • 1 pint fresh shucked oysters, in their natural liquid (you'll need 1 cup of this liquid for the recipe!)
  • 3 cups crumbled cornbread (I used Jiffy cornbread mix for this)
  • 2 cups crumbled French bread
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a large casserole dish with butter.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the stick of butter and add the onion, celery, jalapeno, garlic, and andouille sausage.   Sautee for about ten minutes, until the sausage is slightly browned and the onions are soft and translucent. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cornbread, French bread, parsley, sautéed vegetables and sausage, chicken broth, oyster juice, eggs, oysters, salt, and pepper. 
  4. Pour into the prepared dish and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, until set in the center.  To create a crispy top, turn the broiler on high for the last five minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.  Top with extra parsley for garnish.  

Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

Serves 4 - 6

  • 3 lbs mixed baby potatoes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil + 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 5 sprigs rosemary
  • 12 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit
  2. Rinse and dry your potatoes before using.  In a large bowl, toss the potatoes in the olive oil, sherry vinegar, and leaves of three rosemary stalks and give a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  
  3. Place the potatoes in a roasting pan and roast for about half an hour, until a fork is easily inserted into the center.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the oven and set aside to cool.
  5. Once cooled, slice the potatoes in half and add back to the pan. Set your broiler to High heat.
  6. Once the broiler is ready, cover the potatoes with the Parmesan cheese and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, watching carefully so that it doesn't burn.  The cheese should be melty and golden brown.  Remove from the oven, garnish with remaining rosemary sprigs, and serve immediately.