It has been one of the great, quiet privileges of my life to be at the bedside of friends and family as they pass. This week, going back and forth from teaching a mastery intensive on breath to a dark hospice room where our beloved was taking her last breaths, gave a profound opportunity to consider her life and all that she has meant to us, while considering the breath itself: What is it to breathe? What causes the breath? What is it that departs as the breath gently winds down? In these moments, time slows completely, opening space to simply watch. It becomes a contemplation, watching her breathing in, breathing out, so ephemeral, so eternal… Even as that breath lengthens, softens, stalls, sputters, there is a sacred power. An intelligence. A knowing. Something unthreading. Something setting free.
It is the most powerful meditation ever. You can feel that we are something so much greater than this body; than this one life. And yet there is this life, so magnificent. Itself, so fully everything. We are lucky, of course, to be able to say our goodbyes, sit vigil, be present as the spirit uncoils. It doesn’t always happen that way. But each time it does, it helps heal all the times it hasn’t.
It’s been a week like that. A sort of divine harvest. As if there is a hand from heaven reaching down to gather the angels home. It began with Memorial Day. Just about every day since, another life passed. Another reason to sing, hold, love, give thanks, remember. Sometimes, you need a little comfort, or to provide comfort. In times like these, the best comfort is silent, invisible. A dish left on a porch. Hand-picked flowers in a vase. A favorite poem or a book on a door stoop. We have been the recipients of much. Hopefully we give as much.
Lately then, this has been my staple: food for our family, food for our neighbors, food for those who don’t have time or the inclination to cook, food for morning, food for those who are mourning. You will have to make this to understand its deep comfort. Soft, smooth, moist, delicious, pretty, healthy… healthy because spring’s comfort comes with a hefty dose of green. But I think healthy is comforting, especially when it is so heart-warming and good.
It grew out of these savory spinach and spring onion cakes, which our family loves. When I volunteered to bring breakfast to an event for 30, I wanted to make that, but needed it to be presentable, and spinach pancakes just aren’t. So I took the same recipe, doctored it a bit, popped it into a baking dish and what came out was even more wonderful than expected. It’s that mass of spinach that makes it so moist, so light, so comforting.
It’s easy enough to make. You could even say it is comforting to make. Importantly, it is easy to digest, which is what you need when you don’t feel like eating. I hope you enjoy it. I hope it brings comfort to you, to all. May the whole world be wrapped in the comforting embrace of love.
2 lbs fresh spinach
1 1/4 c almond flour
1 t salt
sprinkle fresh ground black pepper
1/2 t baking soda
2 1/2 T ground curry
1/2 c finely ground parmesan
1 c full fat organic yogurt
3/4 c spring onions, chopped
2 T ghee
creme fraiche for garnish
Set your oven to 375F.
Wash the spinach and place in a large pot over medium heat. Cook until wilted, then drain in a colander. Set aside.
In a bowl combine the almond flour, salt, pepper, baking soda and curry. In a separate bowl mix together the parmesan, yogurt, eggs and chopped onion. Then add to the bowl of dry ingredients.
Place spinach into a kitchen towel and squeeze out as much water as you can. Then chop the spinach and add it to the batter.
Warm your baking dish in the oven for a moment. Add the ghee and turn the pan so the ghee melts and spreads all over the bottom. Pour the batter batter into the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Like a cake, it is done when you can an inserted wooden stick comes out clean. I like to then turn the oven to broil and brown the top for 1 minute. Be careful not to over cook as it is lovely when it is moist and fresh.
Allow to cool slightly then cut into squares. Remove from pan and seer on your serving plate. Top each square with a dollop of creme fraiche. A slice of preserved lemon adds elegance, and we like it with a spot of dijon mustard.
Godspeed beloved friends.
Thank you for all that you gave us.
Your breath is with us always.