We are being pressed to secure all those gifts with the starting gun firing even before the leftovers have cooled with the pathetic frenzy of Black Friday and anonymous click through of Cyber Monday. This is no longer the season celebrating the birth of a messenger of love, but loving what is hidden within tissue paper stuffed, bow adorned box. Receiving pretty, shiny objects are great, just not sure I trust it as a measure of how much one is loved.
Personally, I will admit to never really loving getting gifts, perhaps it is a reflection of my insecurities coupled with my love of control. I have gotten better at saying, how wonderful, thank you. It is the gift of ritual, and a shared life that cannot get parceled and shipped overnight express, which really brings me to my knees with gratitude.
I am a few years into my marriage and this time of year prompts me to reflect on the copious amount of gifts I have already received: my marriage is recognized by family, friends and the IRS; a honey-do list is generated every weekend as we personalize the new homestead, and sweet treats are plated as reward for work well done. There is an agreed perspective that we have what we need, and as for want --- it is gotten with reason. Our dining table is where gifts are laid out. Birthdays produce slices of moist, gooey-coated carrot cake; Sunday nights is for wings and Christmas, well for my Swedish husband, gravlax must be made. Participating in these traditions is the best gift of any season.
Gravlax – yields approx. 10 servings
2-pounds salmon fillet (skin still attached)
¼-cup kosher salt
1-teaspoon minced lemon zest
1-teaspoon ground coriander seed
1-packed cup dill (stems and leaves)
Cut the salmon fillet into 2 pieces of equal length.
In a small work bowl mix the salt, sugar, lemon zest and coriander to fully combine.
In an 8-inch long glass or ceramic dish lay a quarter the dill down, and place a fillet skin side down. Sprinkle half the salt mixture over the fillet and another quarter of the dill. Sprinkle the other salmon fillet with the remaining salt mixture, and carefully place on top of the salmon in the dish, skin side up. Distribute the remaining dill over the salmon. Cover with plastic wrap, and put a 6-inch sauté on top of the covered salmon. Put in the refrigerator, and after 24-hours remove the sauté pan. Flip the salmon and return to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for another 24 to 48 hours. Every 12 hours spoon the liquid that collects in the bottom of the dish over the salmon.
After 2 to 3 days remove the salmon, and discard the dill. Carefully slice the salmon vert thinly from the skin. Serve with Dill Mustard or Sour Cream.