Sunday, May 05, 2013

some thoughts on gathering at the table and tortilla soup recipe

Today I started a book called Bread & Wine that a friend gave me for my birthday.  In the introduction (all that I've read so far), the author said a few things that I love:

What's becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments... take place at the table.  The particular alchemy of celebration and food, of connecting people and serving what I've made with my own hands, comes together as more than the sum of their parts.  I love the sounds and smells and textures of life at the table, hands passing bowls and forks clinking against plates and bread being torn and the rhythm and energy of feeding and being fed...

It's not, actually, strictly, about food for me.  It's about what happens when we come together, slow down, open our homes, look into one another's faces, listen to one another's stories.  It happens when we leave the office and get a sitter and skip our workouts every so often..., when we break out of the normal clockwork of daily life and pop the champagne on a cold, gray Wednesday for no other reason than the fact that the faces we love are gathered around our table.... Food is the starting point, the common ground, the thing to hold and handle....

I do want you to love what you eat, and to share food with people you love, and to gather people together, for frozen pizza or filet mignon, because I think the gathering is of great significance.

I do, too.


As I mentioned (in an unfortunate biting-ish comment to Ben pre-biking), I've been sick all week.  Not so much fun, especially as the days shine clean and blooming, with near blinding light.  I've had cup after cup of tea and worked my way through a whole pot of tortilla soup.  This recipe couldn't be more simple -- think of it as the base you can add anything to:

Chicken Tortilla Soup
    adapted from Sunset magazine, December 2012

1 qt chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs chicken (rotisserie is easy, or boneless skinless thighs or breasts)
1/2 white onion, chopped
2+ large carrots thinly sliced
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (trader joe's has a great version of this)
(or plain diced tomatoes + 1/2-1 serrano chile, halved and sliced)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 t chili powder (add more for flavor if you wish)
1/4 t cayenne pepper (gives a decent kick but use more for heat)
1/4 t pepper
tortilla chips
cotija cheese
lime wedges
-> add anything else you have and wish: corn, peppers, peas, avocado, hominy

-heat broth until hot
-add chicken, tomatoes, beans, spices
can throw onions and carrots and other veggies in or saute til just soft and then add
-let simmer ~10 min to blend flavors
-stir in tortilla chips (I have yet to include these, but that's only by accident!)
-garnish with any or all of the following: crumbled cotija cheese (whole foods or Mexican market), fresh cilantro, diced avocado, lime wedges


sea said...

the excerpt on gathering to eat made me think of Iah.

sea said...

The excerpt on gathering to eat instantly made me think of Iah.