There are many reasons why I love the idea of sharing meals with family and friends, and even strangers. It isn’t necessarily the meal itself but the gathering together. It can be a celebration, like a birthday, a new job, or an anniversary. Bonds can be built and strengthened around the table with old and new friends as bowls are passed, bread is torn and wine glasses clink together in a toast. It can also be a time to gather together in times of loss to feed one another not only with sustenance but with support and words of love and care.
I constantly long for the miles to be shortened between myself and my kids, but in the times of loss and heartbreak these are the times when I feel this most significantly. My daughter-in-law has been in a season this past year of sorrow and loss of dear family members that have finished their race on earth’s soil. And although we accept this as a part of life, and do the best we can, for me there is a longing to be closer and offer tangible comfort. To be able to make something that would help bring nourishment to the body and to offer words of comfort and an embrace of love.
The only way I know to bridge the gap is to pray for God himself to bring His comfort to her, this ultimately is probably best whether I’m near or far. In my devotion today I came across a few thoughts that brought encouragement and a glorious assurance when we find ourselves in times like these.
“I can have confidence that God knows ‘the way I take’- that all along this journey of life through trials, and tears, however winding, hidden, or tangled- ‘He knows!’ When the ‘furnace [is] seven times hotter than usual’ (Daniel 3:19), I can know He still lights my way. And I can have confidence that the fire will not consume but only refine. And when the refining process is complete, not a moment too soon or too late, ‘I will come forth as gold’ (Job 23:10.) When I feel God is the farthest away, He is often the nearest to me. ‘When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way’ (Psalm 142:3). Do we know of another who shines brighter than the most radiant sunlight, who meets us in our room with the first waking light, who has an infinitely and compassionate watchfulness over us throughout our day, and who ‘knows the way that [we] take’?” Streams in the Desert
In times of need, heartache and loss I know there will be comfort found at the feet of my Heavenly Father. And I know that every trial must filter through His loving hands. I can trust Him, that He will not allow the fire to destroy me. I love the promise in Romans 5:1-5 that says “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that our suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
It is in these times when the journey seems too hard, and discouragement wants to overtake our heart, that we need to keep our eyes on Him and remember that “hope does not disappoint us”. And that “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19) like an anchor holding a ship safely in position, our hope in Christ guarantees our safety. A ships anchor goes down to the ocean floor the Christian’s anchor goes up into the true, heavenly sanctuary, where he is moored to God himself.
This past month one of the recipes chosen for our cooking adventure was a Thyme-Rubbed Salmon with Shallots and Caramelized Cauliflower “Risotto”. With few ingredients I was surprised at the depth of flavor this dish offered. The trick to capturing the most flavor is in the caramelizing the cauliflower over high heat so that it browns beautifully before being tossed with a little cream. It is a meal worthy of sharing with friends and family, whether in celebration, in building relationship with new friends or old or even gathered together around the table with those closest to us in memory of those we love.-s
Thyme-Rubbed Salmon with Shallots and Caramelized Cauliflower “Risotto”
Two 6 oz. salmon fillet, skin removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp minced fresh thyme
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 shallots, minced
½ head cauliflower, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
Pat fillets dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the minced thyme over the fish and pat it lightly with your fingers so that it sticks.
Heat a 12-inch skillet with a lid over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp. of the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the salmon to the pan and cook until browned on the first side, about 2 minutes. Flip the fish with a thin-edged spatula and cook the other side until browned, another minute or so. Transfer the fish to a plate. (it will not be fully cooked at this point.)
Add the shallots to the hot pan and sauté until they begin to soften, about 30 seconds. Add the cauliflower, ¼ tsp. salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil and toss to coat the cauliflower to cook undisturbed until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the cauliflower over, scraping the bottom of the pan with the spatula, and cook, undisturbed, until the other side brown, another 3 minutes or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the cauliflower is still a little too crunchy for your taste don’t worry. Pour in the cream and give it a stir. It will boil almost immediately. Top the vegetables with the fish. Cover and cook over low heat until the fish flakes easily, about 2 minutes longer.
Mound the cauliflower “risotto” onto two warmed plates and top with the fish. Garnish the plate with additional thyme sprigs if desired. Serve hot.
In the glass: a medium bodied Pinot Noir is a classic pairing with this rich dish.
Recipe from One Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder