Dear Home Cooks,
This Thanksgiving, we are thinking small. Really small. As in, just the two of us (well, and our 2 cats). We will not be visiting family, and we will not be hosting anyone. It’s the only responsible way to have Thanksgiving dinner this year, and rather than feeling despondent about something we can’t change, we are leaning into it. We’re going to cook and eat what we want, what feels right in this upside-down year. We might munch appetizers with my far-away family over Zoom. We might build a fire in our fireplace. We are definitely going to raise our glasses in celebration of surviving this year, as we all should.
Our menu is a little non-traditional, with comforting nods to seasonal ingredients. But mostly it’s just what we want to eat right now. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have the luxury of enjoying really great salmon, so it seems a shame to miss an opportunity to celebrate that (while giving thanks to indigenous communities for centuries, if not millennia, of responsible stewardship of salmon fisheries). There is more than one good way to cook salmon, but we turn time and time again to slow-roasting—a low-stress, fool-resistant technique. We like to pair gloriously fatty Chinook with a piquant green sauce like Italian salsa verde. Things just taste better when there’s contrast.
We’re skipping mashed potatoes and gravy this year (I know, I know) in favor of fresh-tasting green beans with home-fried crispy shallots and roasted winter squash on a tangy, creamy bed of whipped feta. To finish the meal, I’m making a cranberry chess pie, because pie is the best Thanksgiving food. I love how the eye-squinting tartness of the cranberries is tempered by the sweet, simple richness of a classic chess pie filling.
We will probably drink just a little too much pinot noir and conk out before doing the dishes. They can wait, and there won’t be quite so many as in years past. That, at least, is something we can all be thankful for.
Megan & John