Good morning. It has been a long and terrible week for many of us — in California, especially, still burning, smoky, grieving, raw. The nation hurts for those who lost their lives, their homes, their animals, their sense of community, their communities themselves. Whatever you cook this weekend in advance of the coming Thanksgiving feast, whatever you do to bring lightness into your life at a time when darkness abounds, please keep in mind those who are or have been in harm’s way. Here is what you can do to help.
But cook you should. The labor is a kind of therapy and a kind of reward as well, a way to occupy the mind while bringing others joy. And with the holiday coming there is certainly plenty to do. This is going to be the weekend to secure your turkey and, if it’s frozen, to work out your defrosting plan. (In a refrigerator, a frozen bird will thaw at a rate of about five pounds every 24 hours.) It would also be good this weekend to make cranberry sauce, not to mention stock, pie dough, maybe some cornbread for stuffing.
You might take a look at your platters and bowls, see that you have enough to handle what you’re going to serve. (I’m digging this Williams Sonoma game bird platter, to tell you the truth.) You could go to the wine store, remembering the teachings of our Eric Asimov, as well as his wine panel’s recommendations for wines to buy this year. And of course you should lay in what dry goods you need as well, along with your squashes and apples for pie.
For dinner this weekend? I love the idea of making Ina Garten’s 50-year-old recipe for coquilles St.-Jacques (above), which is a dead-simple preparation that punches well above its weight in terms of sophistication and flavor. The dish is fantastic with the fat sea scallops we get in New York from the Shinnecock fleet on the South Shore of Long Island, but it becomes transcendent if you can make it with the tender little bay scallops that flit through the grasses of Peconic Bay, between the forks at the eastern end of the island. It’ll be splendid with whatever scallops you can find.
Sunday I might make gravlax, so there’s something to eat that’s not turkey for Friday lunch (that’s planning ahead, huh?), after Thanksgiving. And I’d like to cook Jamaican oxtail stew for dinner that night, to serve over rice, just because it’s so crazily delicious.
More cooking ahead: Granola. Yogurt. Corn muffin mix. These will all make the non-Thanksgiving meals of next week go more easily, and you will write to thank me.
Thousands and thousands more ideas for what to cook this weekend are on NYT Cooking. Go see what piques your interest there. (Yes, you will need a subscription to do so, just as you need a Costco membership to enjoy deep savings on Utz original pub mix snacks. Worth it!)
Please get in touch with us should anything go wrong while you’re browsing, or while you’re cooking. We stand at the ready, like the men and women of Mountain Rescue. Just write: [email protected] We are on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as well. Come visit.
And you can get in touch with me, if you like, at [email protected] I’m open for hearts and darts alike. (I’ll shoot the first one myself, right into my foot: Last week in this space I put cranberries in David Tanis’s recipe for a Jell-O-style Thanksgiving mold. Nope. There are only pomegranate seeds and clementines. Apologies, though I think the cranberries would work.)
Now, it has nothing whatsoever to do with oyster bisque, rabbits or gratin, but my friend Bruce Headlam’s podcast with Malcolm Gladwell, “Broken Record,” has launched. It’s about music and musicians of note, and he describes it as liner notes for a digital age. It begins with a conversation with Rick Rubin. Go listen!
Ali Carr Troxell has a mystery story in Outside you ought to read, about her father at sea on a trip around the world, and the messages he started sending about pirates boarding his boat, and what happened or didn’t after that.
Will you be in London soon? A Gainsborough exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery opens next week and it looks pretty great: family portraits from across his career, some never before exhibited.
Finally, I’m late to it, but I’m liking this Julien Baker single and video, “Appointments.” Play that loud and have a great weekend. I’ll see you on Sunday.
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