Thursday, November 19, 2009

9 of Wands, the Flu, the Spider Bite, and Soup

Maybe I'm just a big baby, but when those several days ambush me all at once while I'm just trying to take one at a time, my Inner Child starts to whine. I like a little inspiration and the 9 of Wands helps. In the RWS (that's Rider-Waite-Smith) tradition, Pamela Colman Smith's depiction of the guy who's really been through the wringer but is bandaged and still going helps me whine AND get through it all.

My husband and I have followed the latest California fashion and have had at least two kinds of flu viruses, 2 flu shots and all the fun that goes with that. A few years ago, that would mean everyone was buying stock in tissues and cold remedies and the market would soar. Now, with everyone just getting by (or not), we're just looking for those tissues and cold remedies, period. We're both sadly getting used to making noises with our throats and noses we didn't think we could make. The train whistle thing has been especially entertaining. Inner Child: [sniffs]

To make matters worse, some sneaky spider had a quarrel with my foot on Halloween and scuttled off, leaving me with the trick instead of the treat. I'm still fighting that infection with an arsenal of traditional and not so traditional means. Inner Child whines: I even kind of LIKE spiders as long as they aren't on my face, so why me??

Rather than post photos of the mountain of tissues or my really ooky foot (Inner Child does NOT win this one), I thought I would post a 9 of Wands "hang in there, kids, you're going to make it after all" soup recipe that I created from things we had in the freezer and cupboards. My husband likes to call these "rareback" recipes because you "'rare' back and toss things in." It's a little more than that but not much.

Chicken Doodle Soup

My husband said there was nothing to eat in the house. I took this as a personal challenge and created this soup from what we had on hand. Because it was the “soup without a plan,” I called it Chicken “Doodle” for its spontaneous ingestion and because Mr. 9 of Wands looks a little like Yankee Doodle Dandy!

2 frozen boneless chicken breasts
2 14 oz. cans chopped stewed tomatoes
½ small bag frozen corn kernals
2 cups dry small pasta (I used tiny shells but use what you have)
5 small cans chicken broth, Italian seasoning (if you just have plain broth, add a little Italian seasoning)
½ red onion, chopped fine
2 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl kalonji (from your local Indian or Asian food store)
Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
Dash of Jamaica Me Crazy
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp celery seed

Thaw chicken breasts (I used the microwave) until frosty instead of frozen (it’s easier to cut when still frosty), cube and cover generously with Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb and a dash of salt and pepper. Let sit for just a minute or so while you heat the oil (but no longer than that; please observe safe food handling practices).

In a large pot, heat oil, add kalonji, and heat until the seeds begin to sizzle. Add the seasoned chicken and onion. Brown until the chicken is cooked and the onion has started to carmelize. This is really important because the carmelized onion makes it just a little sweet.

Add broth, tomatoes, corn, dash of Jamaica, dry mustard, celery seed and pasta. (This is the "raring back" part.) Bring to a boil, then let simmer for at least 10 minutes or longer. Just don't let all the liquid boil off or it isn't soup.

Easy to freeze in freezer bags and reheat for lunch. Good with crackers or a sourdough roll. And, it is “good for what ails you.”

Note: The kalonji is the only unusual ingredient here and strictly speaking could be optional or substituted with dry onion. I happen to love kalonji as a companion with browning chicken, though, so try to find it, either in a small packet or by bulk. It is very inexpensive.

It is often called “black onion seed” and sometimes confused with black sesame seed. It is neither; instead, it is actually the seed of a lovely flower called Nigella or “Love in a Mist.”

Kalonji has a long history of being a healing agent:

Nigella sativa has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, both as a herb and pressed into oil, in Asia, Middle East, and Africa. It has been traditionally used for a variety of conditions and treatments related to respiratory health, stomach and intestinal health, kidney and liver function, circulatory and immune system support, and for general well-being.

“In Islam, it is regarded as one of the greatest forms of healing medicine available.”

For further information on this quote and nigella seed, visit:
Best wishes and best dishes!

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