Of late, a trend seems to be developing of having two Thanksgiving meals. One with your family on Thanksgiving Day and a second one with just close friends sometime before or after. We decided that this was a splendid idea and had our own “Friendsgiving” on Saturday the 21st, paleo potluck style. It was an absolutely lovely time with our friends and included the most terrific piece of meat I’ve ever had the pleasure of preparing, thanks to The Organic Butcher of McLean. More on that later.
Nicole and Heather are ‘Grammin‘.
We invited our best blogger friends in the area, Nicole from Merit and Fork and Brent and Heather from Virginia Is for Hunter-Gatherers plus our live-in uncle, Andrew, and Stacy’s mom and her mom’s boyfriend, and everyone brought something great to share. Highlights included Nicole’s Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, and Sour Cream and Chives Mashed Cauliflower (from Brent & Heather, soon to be on their blog). Plus Nicole did what she does best and baked both a Pecan Pie and a Coconut Cream Pie (both of which were so good the boys may have gone all Hunger Games on one another for the last piece).
On the left, apples preparing about to be drowned. On the right, carrots about to be mashed.
We made the drink for the night, the delicious and dangerous Apple Cinnamon Sangria. It’s a simple drink to make, but it will be the thing that all your friends beg you for the recipe when it’s all over. We recommend using a prosecco for the wine for extra bubbles, and soaking your apples as long as you can and stirring them frequently while they soak. For those worried about using a whiskey: in the distilling process, all grain proteins remain in the mash and do not make it to the final product. The result of distilling should be, by definition, gluten-free since proteins won’t boil at the temperature the alcohol does. But to each their own. Perhaps you can find a cinnamon flavored tequila instead.
We also made Rosemary Carrot Mash from Beyond Bacon with these cool heirloom carrots that we found. They were huge and tasty and absolutely perfect for Stacy’s favorite side dish. Every year, this is one of Stacy’s Thanksgiving menu requests and always a big hit. For maximum flavor, definitely use fresh herbs! And may we recommend you use a clay tagine for steaming your carrots? It’s so simple and easy!
The Main Event!
The best butcher we have ever visited is The Organic Butcher of McLean. It’s also easily accessible for Stacy after work. We’ve become friends with the owner, Don, after he helped us carve up a pig head for Beyond Bacon. So this Friendsgiving was coming up and we all decided that two turkeys in one week would be too much for anyone. So we asked Don, “What should we serve for a main course for this many people?” The answer? A giant grass-fed, organic beef rib roast.
What is a rib roast, you ask? Well, it’s essentially the hunk of meat along the ribs that gives you rib eye steaks, but not cut into individual steaks yet. You roast this piece of meat, then slice it to make what is called a prime rib. It’s delicious. It’s my favorite kind of beef. But it can be a little tricky to cook this and you, like I did, may have some anxiety about screwing it up. A 13 pound, 6 rib standing rib roast is not exactly a cheap cut to buy. So here is what I did to prepare a perfectly medium rare prime rib that was certainly worth the expense, time and effort.
Medium rare prime rib. The cutting board is a family heirloom, so I can’t link you to it.
Previously, we posted a recipe for prime rib that I had roasted on my grill for Father’s Day. Of course, that was in June during grilling weather, and standing in 40 degrees next to a grill now in November isn’t my idea of a good time. So I made this one in the oven. I definitely recommend using a meat thermometer when cooking large pieces of meat just so you can be sure when you’ve reached the right degree of doneness. I use something similar to this one.
- 1 Standing Rib Roast
- Butter or ghee
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Pat roast dry with towels. Rub butter over entire surface of the roast.
- In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic. Coat surface of the roast with this mixture.
- Place roast on a rack inside a baking sheet. If using, insert thermometer probe into the center of the roast and set your alarm for 130 degrees. Roast in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn down to 325 for the rest of the cooking time.
- For our roast, the total cooking time, including the initial 20 minutes, was about 2 hours, 35 minutes, about 12 minutes per pound.
- Remove the roast when it reaches 130 degrees and cover in aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes. You'll find that the temperature continues to increase by about 5 degrees of more.
- To serve, slice vertically, then horizontally against the bone.
Note: We cook ours to medium rare. We strongly feel that this will give you the most flavor from your meat. Note: This is a roast and so your slices will be pink. They will not look like a grilled rib eye steak.
We had a wonderful day full of fun and love, and we hope we have inspired you to have your own celebration! It’s not too late to call up your friends and schedule a Friendsgiving for after the big day. We recommend pulling out board games (Cards Against Humanity is always a grown-up favorite), putting on holiday tunes, and maximizing the enjoyment of one another’s company!
Our Vegan Thanksgiving Menu
And now for our 2015 Thanksgiving menu. As we’ve said in the past, Stacy’s vegan brother always comes up for Thanksgiving and so we always have a paleo/vegan joint celebration. Wherever possible, we try to make our dishes without animal products. Other than the turkey and the (UGH!) Tofurkey, there is never a duplication of dishes, either.
Additionally, Jennifer from Predominantly Paleo is coming too and bringing some dishes, wohoo! Here is the menu we have come up with this year:
- Prosciutto Wrapped Pears, Real Life Paleo
- Spiced Nuts from the “Nut Guy” at The Eastern Market
- Cheese & grain-free Herb Crackers, Real Life Paleo
- Stuffed Mushrooms, , Real Life Paleo (VEGAN)
- Deviled Eggs from Eat Like a Dinosaur
- Egg Nog, Real Life Paleo
- Sangria, Paleo Parents (VEGAN)
- Cornbread, Our Paleo Life
- Brussel Sprouts, Eat Like a Dinosaur (VEGAN)
- Umami Gravy, Nom Nom Paleo
- Popovers, My Paleo Patisserie
- Mashed Potatoes, Paleo Takeout (VEGAN)
- Green Bean Casserole, Down South Paleo (Thanks Jennifer!) (VEGAN)
- Cranberry Sauce, Predominantly Paleo (Thanks Jennifer!)
- Paleo Bread Stuffing made with Legit Bread, Predominantly Paleo (Thanks Jennifer!)
- Pecan Bars, Without Adornment (VEGAN)
- Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie, Against All Grain
- Opera Cake, My Paleo Patisserie
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! May you be surrounded by loved ones and have an opportunity to relax and remember gratitude for all you have in life ♥