A Cushion for Your Head

Let’s be honest . . .

There are times when we just don’t have the energy to do what we should do. Times when we, or someone in our inner circle has just gone through surgery. Times when an elderly pet isn’t feeling so well.

Times when our heart simply aches.

And, that’s okay. We’re human, after all.

These are times when it is good to just stop and grieve a little. To wipe our tears and surrender to the poignancy of having a body and being alive on this earth.

No pretending. No striving. No beating ourselves up for not feeling perky or perfect. Truly, there are times when perfection sucks.

This is one of those days for me. Maybe it is for you, too.

In the words of the great Sufi master and poe,t Hafiz (translated by Daniel Ladinsky in his book The Gift):

Just sit there right now

Don’t do a thing

Just rest.

For your separation from . . .


Is the hardest work

In this


Let me bring you trays of food

And something

That you like to


You can use my soft words

As a cushion

For your


Can this be a day when you cozy into your favorite chair with some tea and a book? Perhaps thaw something comforting, a bowl of soup, from your freezer to enjoy while you rest?

Here is what I will enjoy today (along with a good healthy dose of self-care):


For 6 to 8 servings

3 (15 ounce) cans Great Northern or cannellini beans

8 cups cold water

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 sage leaves

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)

5 cloves garlic, minced

3 leaves fresh basil, rolled and thinly sliced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil)

Salt, pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine or dry Vermouth

1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I love San Marzano tomatoes)

4 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved

Drain and rinse the beans. Bring beans, water, rosemary, sage and bay leaf to boil in soup pot. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until beans are very soft, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard herbs.

Set aside 1 cup beans. Puree remaining beans in a blender (or with an immersion blender), adding broth from pot as needed. Return beans to pot and cook over low heat while you prepare the tomatoes.

For chopping garlic, I find it super-easy to use my Alligator.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onion, garlic, basil, 1-teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Add wine and cook until pan is almost dry. Add tomatoes and simmer over medium-low heat 5 minutes.

Add tomato-onion mixture to pureed beans in pot. Add reserved whole beans and cook, covered, over low heat 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with a few shavings of Parmesan cheese.

TO PREPARE IN ADVANCE: Refrigerate for up to five days, or freeze soup in single-serving containers for just the right moment.

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