|The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear
for newer and richer experience.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
|Dragonfly by Gene Sasse
Saturday, the patio thermometer waggled its way up into the danger zone: 105 point who cares. Outside, dragonflies hovered about the water features we keep for wildlife.
Many cultures view the dragonfly as symbolic of transformation. Several Native American cultures believe that dragonflies hold the souls of people who have died. Perhaps this is how in the United States, dragonflies symbolize rebirth and renewal after trauma and loss.
Asians have brought to our country a likewise high respect for the expert hover-matics. I am told that Japanese view the dragonfly as the embodiment of joy as well as a symbol of courage and strength. I read that in Japan and China. dragonflies are harnessed for medical purposes. I have read the Vietnamese use these insects to aid in forecasting the weather. This makes sense as when I see ants on the kitchen counter I know one of two things his about to happen: rain or extreme heat.
When I see dragonflies, I think of the quote at the top by a great former first lady.
Days like these are when I like to scan leftovers and canned goods like they are sea shells and I am a child at the beach. For Sunday Supper, I assembled the makings of Tortilla Soup, feeling every bit like I was a Mexican Mama.
Lydia's Tortilla Soup
More often than not, in the freezer there are parts of a chicken that were used to create a broth. Sometime in the past few weeks, the remains of what was not used in a formal recipe were simmered with an onion, celery, carrots and spices (black and white peppers, salt, parsley and and thyme) in water and white wine.
This was pulled from the freezer, defrosted and strained of all but the broth, which was boosted with a gluten free chicken broth to fill the medium- large pot 2/3's way full.
As the pot came to a simmer, vegetables were layered in. A few peeled and chopped russet potatoes, a carrot that was peeled and cut more to resemble chunks than slices. One stalk of celery is sliced and a handful of chopped sweet onions fall into the broth as easily as a teenager falls in love.
From the freezer I pulled some chicken meat, cooked and diced for ravioli. The Italian dish can spare the meat without giving away the secret that a portion of a cup was stolen from the stash. Dirt was scrubbed off a A Mexican summer squash before its slices were split in two half moons.
A cup of corn kernels should take about the same amount of time to go from starch to sweet- so in to the brew they go to finish while I go out to the pantry to gather the rest.
These don't need to cook, they just need to warm: An average sized can each of white hominy and black beans drained. Also opened and drained were a (4 ounce) can chopped hot green chili peppers and sliced olives. A can of chopped tomatoes made the broth rich and added inviting color. 3 crushed garlic cloves and a spoonful of chicken flavor enhancer- anticipation now floated throughout the house.
As the flavors simmered together, it gave me time to fill the baby fryer with corn oil to heat. A stack of tortillas sliced into thin slivers was offered to the bubbling oil until it turned them golden crisp. Drained and lavished with garlic salt- they are offered as a condiment to serve.
Besides these slivered homemade chips-a tray crowded with bowls of green onions finely sliced, cilantro chiffonade, jack or Mexican cheeses finely shredded and a plate of avocado slices was at the ready.
As we stood at the counter, ladling out bowls full, we forgot how hot the day was. This is the kind of food that encourages words without fear- conversation. A nice way to end the Sabbath.
We almost didn't notice the scorpion scampering across the kitchen floor at bedtime. May he rest in peace.