Braised Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon

About 6 months before we left Morocco I began to make this version of a recipe I came across on The Kitchn for spinach cooked with coconut milk and lemon and spinach. Then as now, and especially then, the focus was on making wholesome, quick, simple meals from whole food ingredients. I loved making a pot for dinner during rainy stretches; our house creaked and moaned in the wind off the Atlantic Ocean like a huge and leaky ship. Casa had weather and while we do get a bit of rain here and there in Riyadh it is nothing like those wild, drenching storms that tossed around the leaves of the palm tree in our yard and prompted the lush growth of everything from weeds to grass to banana trees to the California poppies we planted in our yard. That city challenged me for sure and I still find that I miss it; life was realer in a sense, or at least we were living in a real city. After eight years in San Francisco and two years in Casablanca the rather quieter life outside of Riyadh proper can feel surreal.

But I still make braised spinach, even when it’s hot out, and it still is delicious. Fragrant with coconut milk and garlic and finished with a good squeeze of lemon this dish fits all the dietary restrictions — it’s gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian. More important, it’s nourishing and fresh and so, so good. It’s in rotation about once per week and is always considered a highlight. When you have an active little one cooking meals that are quick to put together are key; this more than fits that requirement.

Many days feel like a lot of hurry up and go and quick make oatmeal NOW and please sit and finish your dinner and how is it bedtime already? while at the same time I almost feel as though I have my life back in a sense, the occasional terrible night’s sleep aside. And I try to enjoy it, because it will change again; inevitably, we will be moving on again, will be spending a nomadic summer in California again, will be leaving the sunny desert for, hopefully, a clime that gives us more cool and rainy months. The afternoons when I have a happily occupied toddler and can cook or bake in a more leisurely fashion feel like small victories. I tuck them under my belt and keep going.

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  1. Helen Spiridakis says:

    Nice post……hope the new clime will be in SF.

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