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Photography & recipes by Ashton Keefe

Girlsgiving is the new Friendsgiving. Gather your ladies and celebrate with elegant and delicious bites, perfect for all your female friends.

Toasted Barley Salad with Mushrooms and Crispy Kale SERVES 6 TO 8 This is the Thanksgiving side you take to your future mother-in-law. Super simple, doubly impressive and holds up for days. P.S. It’s perfect for post-holiday healthy (not sad) desk lunches.


1 bunch curly kale, de-stemmed and torn into large pieces 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 3 cups dried barley 1 shallot, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 lemon, juiced 2 lb. assorted mushrooms, such as cremini or shiitake, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 425° F. Place kale on a sheet tray and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for 10 Р12 minutes, until kale is crispy and dry. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot and toast barley for 2 – 3 minutes until slightly fragrant. Cover barley with water and bring to a simmer. Salt the water generously and cook until al dente, about 20 minutes.

While barley is cooking combine shallot, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil and toss with cooked barley, while warm. Add kale.


In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sear 1/4 of the mushrooms and season with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Repeat three more times, using 1 tablespoon and 1/8 teaspoon of salt with each batch. Add mushrooms to barley and toss to incorporate all ingredients. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

“Leftovers” Toasts MAKES 12 This combination of day-of and day-after is perfect for entertaining. If you’re someone who likes the leftovers (ahem…) more than the actual feast – it’s perfect.

12 slices bread, butter and toasted 1 cup cherry cranberry sauce, see below (or regular cranberry sauce) 6 slices cooked bacon 1 cup arugula 1 cup ricotta cheese 1 roasted squash, cut into bite size pieces Zest of 1 lemon 1 sprig fresh thyme Extra virgin olive oil, for serving.

Spread cranberry sauce or ricotta cheese on each toast. Top cranberry sauce with 1 slice bacon and arugula. Top ricotta cheese with squash, lemon zest and thyme. Drizzle all with olive oil.


Turkey Roulade with Boozy Dates MAKES 12 For ladies watching their waists and wallets, roasting a whole turkey breast is the way to go. Simply have your butcher “butterfly” the boob and fill with whatever you have on hand. Better yet, it cooks in an hour.

1 cup chopped pitted dates 1/2 cup cherry liqueur or brandy 1 egg 1/2 cup breadcrumbs 1 cup low sodium chicken stock 1 onion, diced 1 apple, diced 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 1 turkey breast, deboned and butterflied

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Add chopped dates to a small bowl. Gently heat liqueur to a simmer and pour over dates, allowing them to reconstitute for 5 minutes. Pour off excess liquid.


In a large bowl add egg and whisky gently, add breadcrumbs and stock, mixing until wet crumb-like mixture. Add dates, onion, apple and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Lay bird flat and season evenly with remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Stuff the inside cavity (not skin side) with “stuffing” and roll up. Tie with string and place in a roasting pan or in an oven-safe pan. Get fancy (if you please) and place over a bed of potatoes, carrots, celery or autumn fruit.

Roast for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155° F. Tent and allow the temperature to rise to 165° F. Slice and serve.

Cherry Cranberry Sauce MAKES 2 CUPS Like your favorite friend, tart and sweet at the same time. It’ll be your new favorite sauce… that also doubles perfectly for a day-after sandwich spread.


1 bag frozen cranberries 1 bag frozen sweet cherries 2 clementines, juiced 2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer over low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed and cranberries have popped.

Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts and Pomegranate Seeds SERVES 4- 6 What girl doesn’t love Brussels sprouts? If you know one, invite her over to try this.

2 lb. Brussels sprouts 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds Juice 1 lemon


Preheat oven to 425° F. Halve half the sprouts and place on a large baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and roast for 10 Р15, or until slightly charred and al dente. If needed, use the broiler.

Thinly slice the remaining sprouts and place in a large bowl. Like you would kale, “massage” the sprouts with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds and roasted sprouts to the bowl. Toss to combine with lemon juice and remaining tablespoons olive oil.

Warm White Chocolate and Frozen Berries SERVES 6 Pie can get boring. There, I said it. Instead make your holiday spread a little festive… and interactive.

4 cups assorted frozen berries 3 cups white chocolate chips 1 cup heavy cream


Place frozen berries in a large bowl. Melt chocolate and pour over berries. The chocolate will harden, creating the “interactive” part.

Whip cream to soft peaks and top berries and chocolate. Give each lady a spoon and have them “break away” pieces of chocolate, berries and cream.