Create a Gourd-geous Thanksgiving

It’s November, and we’re serving up inspiration for your Thanksgiving table, complete with a side of soul. Take a gander at this festive flower-tower in a kaleidoscope of fall colors, cool modern copper pieces, and pumpkin-themed dishes all set out on Grandma’s heirloom table. This Thanksgiving, gather; give thanks; show gratitude; and then, well, stuff yourself (until you have to loosen that belt a notch) with a delicious purely pumpkin menu from apps and soups to sweets.

Autumn Elegance 

My grandmother Nettie’s antique dining table is the perfect canvas for a memorable Thanksgiving. To freshen up the look, I added modern, copper-hued placemats, containers, and star lights in tall glass vases, then created a stunning flower-tower with a woodland vibe. The flowers are all sourced from local flower farms via Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. (And those Bird House gourds and tiny Tennessee Dancing gourds … are everything).

Make a Simple Flower-Tower 

Pack a low copper container with approximately 10-inch tall, vertical bricks of floral wet foam that have been thoroughly soaked in water. (I used a 4-inch-tall by 8-inch-diameter container.) Create more height with tall branches and floral stems. Cover the foam with an assortment of fall leaves and blooms. Wrap tiny gourds with floral wire, adhered in place with clear adhesive dots, and tuck them into the arrangement. 

Mini Rosemary Wreaths

Create mini rosemary wreaths to top each place setting. Use floral wire to secure the circle, and tuck in a fresh bloom or two. Handmade notes of thanks are ready to be written. (I used a stamp and copper ink to make these.)

Roasted Garlic 101

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and remove papery outer layers of a whole garlic bulb. Cut a 1/2 inch from tops of garlic cloves. Place in small, ovenproof container with a cover. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 35 minutes, until the cloves begin to caramelize and are soft and squeezable.

Break the Ice with a Kumquat Martini 

Makes one cocktail

Ok; this fabulously festive, fragrant, and slightly citrusy sweet martini is shaken, not stirred. It’s such an easy breezy party starter! The kumquat and rosemary stir sticks only take seconds to make, and c’mon; they are incredibly cute.

Ingredients

4 ounces vodka

¾ ounce vermouth

Rosemary sprigs

Kumquats

Kumquat simple syrup (See recipe below.)

Method

Fill a cocktail shaker three-fourths full of ice. Add vodka, vermouth, and a splash of kumquat simple syrup. Shake until the shaker becomes good and frosty. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a Kumquat on a rosemary stalk stir-stick.

Kumquat Simple Syrup

Ingredients

Store-bought simple syrup, or your own

2 kumquats, cut into slices

Method

Place ½ cup syrup in a stove-top pan. Add kumquat slices, and simmer for 10 minutes. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

Easy Pumpkin Hummus with Rosemary and Cumin

If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and yummy Thanksgiving appetizer, we’ve got you!

Ingredients

1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree

1 can chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon

2 cloves roasted garlic (See recipe below.)

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground
white pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped herbs (rosemary
and thyme) 

1 tablespoon honey

Lavash wrap

Method

Spread pumpkin puree in a dry skillet, and toast it on the stove until it dries out a bit and begins to caramelize. Then cool. Place the cooled pumpkin, and all of the ingredients in the list up to the pepper, in a food processor. Pulse until combined. With the machine running, add the olive oil. Stir in the fresh chopped herbs. Scoop into a serving bowl, and drizzle with honey. Serve with Lavash wrap.

Savory Sweet Potato Cake with Rosemary Butter

The potatoes in this sweet potato side dish are roasted, fried, smashed, and then baked to perfection. Pop the “cake” on a low stand, slice into wedges, and serve!

Ingredients

6 medium sweet potatoes

Cumin

Salt and pepper

Butter

Shaved Parmesan

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

Method

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut them into 5/8th thick rounds. Place the rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with cumin and salt and pepper. 

Roast in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender but not mushy and begin to caramelize. Place the roasted potatoes in a single layer in a cast-iron skillet. Lightly fry potatoes in bits of butter, browning on both sides. Top each potato with shaved Parmesan. Layer the fried potatoes in a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Using a potato masher, very lightly smash the potato rounds together. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in small pan, and add the chopped rosemary. Drizzle the rosemary butter over the potatoes, and bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until heated through and the flavors come together. Release the springform pan, and serve on a low cake stand.

Coconut and Curry Pumpkin Soup with Pepita Brittle 

Makes 4 servings

This delicious savory and sweet pumpkin soup is a festive Thanksgiving feast starter! I top it with crunchy pepita brittle, tangy sour cream, and a burst of freshness from pomegranate seeds. It’s so good.

Ingredients

3 shallots, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves roasted garlic

1 teaspoon curry powder

3 tablespoons coconut cream

4 cups organic veggie broth

15 ounces canned pumpkin

1/2 cup sour cream (plus additional sour cream for soup-topper)

1/3 cup maple syrup

Salt and pepper

1 pomegranate, seeds removed 

*Pumpkin Seed Brittle (See
recipe below.)

Method

In a soup pot, sauté the shallots in the olive oil until tender. Add the remaining ingredients — through the salt and pepper — to the pot, and simmer and stir until combined. Turn the heat to low. Cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh pomegranate seeds and pepita brittle. 

Pepita Brittle

2 cups raw pepita seeds

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon chili pepper

1 teaspoon salt 

Method

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stir together all the ingredients in a bowl. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until the pepitas caramelize and become brittle-like. Take care not to burn.

Pumpkin Cheesecake 

This creamy, glistening, pumpkin cheesecake just might give your regular Thanksgiving pumpkin pie a run for its money.

Biscotti Crust Ingredients

7 almond biscotti

1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and cardamom

1 cup butter, softened

Zest of ½ a small orange

Method

Pulse the biscotti in a food processor until it has a rough, crumb-like texture.

Add the spices, butter, and zest. Pulse until combined. Press crust mixture into the base of a buttered, 9-inch springform baking pan, and run it 1/4-inch up the sides. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes, and cool completely.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling Ingredients

24 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup vanilla bean sugar

3 tablespoons all-
purpose flour

15 ounces pumpkin puree

1/4 cup crème fraîche

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Zest of 1/2 an orange

1/2 vanilla bean scraped

4 eggs at room temp

Method

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, pumpkin, crème fraîche, spices, zest, and vanilla bean. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Pour the filling into the springform pan. Cover the outside of the pan with aluminum foil, and place the pan in a large ovenproof pan. Fill the larger pan with enough water to run halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Cook for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 30 minutes. 

Chill in the fridge until ready to use. Release the springform, and place cheesecake, along with metal bottom disk, on a cake stand. 

Top with a mini rosemary wreath.

See Monica Hart’s design, recipe, and entertaining ideas in every issue of 425 magazine, and at lafamigliadesignllc.com. 

Copper-like floral container, round drink tray, placemats, star lights, pen, tall glass vases, and place-setting dishware – Anko in Lynnwood.

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