Thursday evening, to celebrate Winter Solstice, my youngest daughter and I drove out to a lovely farming community in Central Oregon. Our friends Jai Hari Kaur and Jai Hari Singh have a beautiful home and yoga center there. The view of the Cascade mountains, any time of year is stunning, with the Three Sisters, Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson seemingly in the backyard of this desert life.
The yoga center was laid out with a white Christmas light labyrinth. As we entered we walked the labyrinth, and then took our place on the floor to tune in and begin our meditation; the sound of voices chanting, soft smell of incense, candlelight reflecting off of crystals and amethyst geodes. The sun is down, the new moon is dark in her long night, as we womb in the mother, in the feminine energy of winter solstice.
After the meditation we walked over to the house to prepare Potent Potatoes. We all lent a hand slicing, dicing, stirring and stuffing. The aromas of ginger, garlic, onions and cardamom filled the air; the golden, rich color of turmeric stimulating the senses. The table was laid; a large bowl of young mixed greens and glistening colored peppers, platters laden with Potent Potatoes and mugs of hot holiday spiced tea. Plates of sweets appeared on the table with baked pears and more tea. The food passed around and the conversation flowed and smiles and stories enriched the meal far beyond its abundant sustenance.
A delightful Solstice. New and familiar faces. Exchanges of “what is new with you?” and “what is your name again?” Smiles and laughter. Thank you to the Jai Hari’s for not only their generosity and hospitality, but for being an enduring and constant Khalsa presence in Central Oregon for over 30 years. They are a light which has held way here through yoga classes, healing practices, workshops, Solstices, New Year Celebrations, sadhanas and the Guru, which sits within the sacred space of their home.
Happy Solstice to one and all.
4 russet baking potatoes
1/2 c. oil
3 onions, chopped
1/4 c. ginger, minced
1 bulb garlic, minced
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. crushed red chiles or cayene
8 whole cloves
seeds of 3 cardamon pods
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/2 pint cottage cheese
4 slices cheese, cut in half
1 bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 c. pineapple, chopped and drained
* Bake potates about 1 hr., until nice and soft on the inside and crispy outside. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet and add onions and ginger. Saute until onions are well done, then add garlic and spices. If spices are sticking to pan, add more oil. Cook until browned. Add soy sauce. Cut baked potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides and combine with the onion mixture. Add cottage cheese. Refill potato sells forming mounded tops. Cover with slices of cheese and broil until melted and golden. Garnish with bell peppers and pineapple. Serves: 4-8
**Recipe from the book: Foods for Health and Healing by Yogi Bhajan