For years every Thanksgiving, Maria Hines cooked turkeys and stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes at the Seattle restaurant Earth + Ocean, where she was the executive chef. The third Thursday of November was a workday. So she'd give thanks at her own table on the Sunday after the official holiday.
That all changed early last fall when she opened Tilth, her restaurant in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood. Now she gives herself and her staff the day off on Thanksgiving. Here is her Northwest take on the holiday classics, culled from her restaurant's menu but cooked, at last, for friends and family.
INFO: In honor of her years of Sunday Thanksgivings, Hines serves both Thanksgiving-inspired and regular menus on the Sunday after the holiday at Tilth ($$$; closed Mon; 1411 N. 45th St., Seattle; 206/633-0801).
Mussels with Sausage and Thyme
Thyme adds a warm herbal note to the savory sausage and briny-sweet mussels.
At Tilth, Hines smokes the mushrooms for her vegetarian ragout (stew). We like the earthy flavor of plain mushrooms just as much.
Sweet Potatoes with Meringue
By using meringue instead of marshmallows, Hines adds a sophisticated twist to this holiday favorite.
Apple Bacon Cornbread Stuffing
This colorful stuffing gets a slight sweetness from apples and a savory depth from onion and bacon.
Juniper-and-Herb Roast Turkey
Presalting the turkey adds flavor and helps it stay moist during roasting; so does covering the breast and drumsticks with bacon.
Pine Nut Gravy
This nutty gravy is great with both the roast turkey and cornbread stuffing. Or try it with mashed potatoes.
Hazelnut Herb Salad
Tarragon, chives, and parsley temper the richness of the hazelnuts.
Black Mission Fig Tart
The clever use of familiar combinations marks Hines's cooking. If your guests can't figure out where they've tasted something like this rich, deep, spicy tart before, just utter two simple words: "Fig Newtons."