Thanksgiving in the Nygren family is a little less traditional than you might think. When the girls were little and their schools closed for the holiday, we’d take family trips to places like Disney World and Mexico. And when they got older, the whole family pitched in to make Thanksgiving dinner at The Farmhouse a success, often waiting until the end of the night to eat the last few shreds of turkey and dressing.
But we were together, doing what we all do best: Creating an atmosphere where people can enjoy good food … and each other.
That’s the thing about family—we’re together, even when we’re apart. This year, my daughter Kara will spend Thanksgiving with her fiancé, Micah. That’s right, I said “fiancé.” Kara is officially engaged and we will have the first Nygren wedding next fall.
I’m grateful every year for the girls, my family and Serenbe, but this year I’m especially grateful for Micah. I could not have picked a more amazing person to be my daughter’s husband or my son-in-law.
What makes Thanksgiving special isn’t the turkey or the dressing or the buttery crust under your pumpkin pie. It’s the people around the table. The people on the phone. The people sitting next to you on that beach or bench in the middle of Epcot.
When the stars and plans align and we are all around the same table again, I plan to make this arugula salad full of roasted pears, pecans, cheddar cheese and an incredibly easy white balsamic vinaigrette. And we’ll eat and talk and laugh and my heart will be full of love and gratitude. Whether it’s November 27th, December 13th or January 27th, that’s Thanksgiving to me.
Arugula with Roasted Pears, Pecans, Cheddar Cheese and White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 8 cups arugula, washed
- Roasted pears, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 4-6 oz sharp white cheddar, shaved into thin strips with vegetable peeler
White balsamic vinaigrette, recipe follows
- Roasted pears:
- 4 firm Bartlett Pears, cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place baking sheet in oven to heat. Combine butter and honey in bowl. Add pears and toss to coat.
Put pieces on heated pan, making sure each slice is flat on surface. Place in oven and roast for 10 minutes until browned. Flip slices and roast another 5- 10 until golden brown. Remove and let cool.
- Vinaigrette :
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine vinegar, honey and salt. Whisk in oil until combined.
Place arugula in a bowl. Toss greens with vinagrette. Place greens on plates. Top with roasted pears, then cheese slices and pecan pieces.