Nature,Tortilla Soup and Some Time for Reflection

Nov 14


“Nature continues to amaze me”. This is something that I want remind myself…… just about every day;  just can’t help going back to it. One of the compelling facts about my need to learn about all things,especially the wonder of nature, is the connection and the chain of overwhelmingly amazing examples of how the complex systems in nature are interconnected and influence all organisms above and below. That being said,man continues with his inexcusable and continuing habit of breaking those chains without any honorable regard for those magical connections. There are a few examples of changes we have made, thanks to scientific information,but mostly too much time goes by before those changes are discovered and put into practice and we have ravaged brazil nut beeEco-systems,extinct flora and fauna and so on a global scale. Bees! Those AMAZING BEES! I have done some writing about bees in the past. I recently learned a most amazing fact about one of these remarkable species- a unique unique creature. The story also echoes a wonderful example of one of “nature’s chains” that has such a huge impact on such an important part of the world ….the rain forest of the Amazon. One can read all the information available and learn how this region impacts the whole planet in many ways. I was so fascinated about this one little insect……this Brazilian orchid bee, and the part it plays in this particular scenario.The species was curiously given the name from a catch phrase used by a popular television show’s character ( Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory“), Euglossa Bazinga.    The bee, the blossom, the tree, the nut, the agouti ….all are players in this amazing production of a sold out show; a show we have just recently figured out how to get tickets. Take one of the players out of the show without an understudy and the show closes. This sold out and long running presentation….we should want to call the producer and get in on some more such ventures. We can do our part by supporting causes all over the world that save our planet and the Eco-systems in every part of the globe,and especially the Amazon rain forest, where so much of our global atmosphere is influenced. We need all of these players and we definitely want to stop the damages. Nothing but learning can be gained from those that have already been done.

Now we have darker days coming home,maybe some rain and cold mixed in too. A delicious hot meal will be great if waiting on the table. I cook for myself almost every night,fresh and healthy most often, so an involved recipe or meal is not first on my list of things to do after changing into comfortable shoes. I could have (as has been my path in the past) stopped by for a couple of tacos and some refried beans at Taco Bell or to grab some of Harlan’s fine chicken for the easy meal when back home. Instead I think about SOUP! Fast and easy soup. I always keep Better Than Bouillon on hand….always. They make several varieties. Forget your bouillon cubes-nothing but salt. PLEASE throw them away, if you have them in your pantry! Using this super handy broth/ base(meat,fish or vegetarian), you can make 1000 types of soup in less than 20 minutes with minimum effort and cooking skills; and with just what you have in your refrigerator or your pantry. Thinking about those tacos and some of that left over Kentucky Fried Chicken -de-boned and de-breaded- here is a wonderful recipe I am so happy every time I make it. Just open a bottle or can  of your favorite beer….. or two, and enjoy!

Quick Tortilla Soup – Serves One Hungry Person

Heat in microwave or on the stove in a 3 or 4 qt. saucepan, 1 1/2 qts. to 2 qts. of water until boiling. Stir in Better Than Bouillon to taste. Or you can use canned or boxed broth like Swanson’s, if you choose,either beef or chicken. Crush tortilla chips-1/2 cup (if a bit stale,toast in 350 d. oven on cookie sheet for 5 minutes); add to the heated broth. Stir in 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa (fresh or from the jar), any left over diced and boneless chicken,beef or deli meat that may be in your refer, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1 Tbsp. chili powder, sea salt and your favorite hot sauce to taste. Put saucepan back on the stove(or heat in the microwave) on low-medium heat for 5-7 minutes.Stir until heated and mixed through.Taste ,then squeeze in some fresh lime juice…… to taste also.

Garnish with all or some of the following : chopped fresh cilantro,slices of fresh avocado,slices of radishes, grated Mexican Cotija cheese or any cheese of your choice,chopped red or green onions. Go open that beer and enjoy. I hope you stopped to put on your comfortable shoes when you got home!

Where is that recipe?I can not find my recipe for chicken liver mousse. It has lots of bacon grease,fresh saute apples and spices. Darn!

Why don’t they sell SOUR PICKLES in the west? I love them. Do I have to spend lots of shipping charges to buy some from Amazon,or drive all the way to Texas,Georgia or Alabama? Darn!

I love Irish Whiskey, not Scotch, just Irish. BUSHMILLS is the oldest distillery in the world. Looks to me like the Irish taught the Scots how to make whiskey……..except the Scots seem to be making a lot more of it than the Irish. I think the Irish just drink their whiskey ,play and write music, and write and create literature. That sounds like a good use of time to me!

Do you live close to a vineyard? In January and February, when they generally prune the vines, see if you can gather some,store them in a dry place. in the summer use them on your charcoal BBQ for a wonderful accent for those meats and vegetables you will be serving. That is a good idea!

Definition of a Real Cocktail : One or two liquors of a proper proof and lineage, familiar and that have been on the market for more than 25 years. Possibly some ice is involved, a reasonably well made and appropriate glass -preferably crystal and traditional in design…. add some citrus juice or perhaps some bitters. Maybe a familiar garnish for contrast. Anything else is just a punch or a creative experiment for a party and celebration beverage. Allow one man’s opinion,please!

“Well, the most terrible fear that anybody should have is not war,is not a disease,not cancer or heart problems or food poisoning-it is a man or a woman without a sense of humor.” Jonathan Winters



Quick Tortilla Soup

Quick Tortilla Soup



  1. Ill bet you enjoyed doing your research for this one. I must say I wish I lived close to a vineyard-I know from camping experience how wood can make such a difference!

  2. I loved doing this, you are right. I’m sure I can get some vine trimmings to use next summer on the BBQ for that extra touch.

  3. Chantal /

    Wintertime soup is the best. I like to make a big pot of chicken vegetable and eat it every day for breakfast. Nothing like a belly full of warm soup to get you ready for a November day.

  4. Agreed-Chantal! It is now prime soup time of the year. I sometimes stop by a Honey Baked Ham store and get one of their ham bones after they cut off the meat for their sandwiches; there is always lots left on for flavoring a really hearty soup like Split Pea (I like the yellow ones),Lima Bean or several others.I have never made nut soups,except peanut. I wonder how Brazil nut soup would be (as in the story)? It is a creamy and rich nutmeat…might work.

  5. cold days, hot soup: YES!
    a favorite is miso with shitakes, tofu,
    ginger and kale…
    and of course, a nice Irish, or heck, even
    Scotch whiskey, helps sooth the cold old bones
    on a dark winter’s night (with a toast to the faint
    whispers of spring yet to be heard)…
    always enjoy your perspectives… and yes,
    let’s hear it for the mighty Bees!
    may they survive all our follies.

    • Japanese broth with tofu,ginger,kale…..not only warm and satisfying on a chilly eve,but refreshing like a chilled beverage isn’t.I’m with ya,there!I can tell a story-Rex,but I am not a wordsmith as you well demonstrate. Thanks for the comments.

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