Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Finding Heat

Orange is a color that I like to sneak peeks at. It is powerful, all-consuming and like gazing at the sun, it is best not to look too long or hard without interruption. For a young child so newly cooked- this portion of the rainbow is unbearably caustic, the stuff of nightmares and capable of reducing a tender one to tears. Yet I at the ripe steady age of twelve, caught amid fire engine red and lemon drop yellow, halfway between weirdness and wonder managed to sputter and streak about town small flame on my tangerine colored bike. This electricity was born to seep into my skin, innervate my system and jumpstart my heart and tongue for life, speed and brilliance.

Still I largely steered away from this side of the light spectrum in favor for those colors wedded to water and earth, for the calm contemplation of cerulean, the live briskness of viridian green and the slow majesty of umber. They were the balance to the sizzle and singe of fire and I sought refuge in them until I became crucible enough to hold even a sliver or a ray.

But now uncomfortably boxed in the brutal corners of winter where everything is pinched inward, glacial and monochromatic, something expansive and flowery is needed- say something unapologetically orange. And it dawned on me that while color is an influence that I respond to in every aspect of my experience; it tends to be an ancillary part of my cooking and eating process. I appreciate the beauty of my ingredients which color certainly is a part of, but I have yet to firmly announce it as primary importance.

“I will eat orange foods!”
This week I noticed how much I wanted to peel back slices of sun and become intoxicated by its warmth. I caught myself staring at snatches of this fiery color in the broken shards scattered throughout my room. In a strange way color became a flavor, its own character that I suddenly felt deficient in and needed to fill. So this week my contribution to those who suffer from seasonal affect disorder or just need a little solar levity with a jocular one-two punch of Vitamin A and C is...

Sun in a Bowl: Serves more than one and less than ten

The beauty and fun in this recipe is that it is infinitely variable and supremely fast and easy. The basic foundation is the tomato, chicken stock, peanut butter and cayenne- but the other ingredients give great flavor and color. The amounts are entirely dependent upon how much sun (intensity, color and heat) you like and/or need.

1 Red Bell Pepper cored, seeded and sliced
1 Orange Bell Pepper cored, seeded and sliced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper cored, seeded and sliced
1 Sweet Onion roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
Olive oil
1 28 oz. can of plum tomatoes or 6 fresh plum tomatoes halved
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup coconut milk
A few gobs of crunchy peanut butter (to taste)
1/8 tsp. of cayenne pepper or parts of a jalapeno pepper (to taste)
Possible choices: Slivers of basil leaf, Sprigs of cilantro, and/or Mint (for example, I used about 5 mint leaves). But don’t add too much or you’ll take away from the pure orange experience.

Directions: Combine all peppers, onions and garlic (tomatoes too if using fresh ones) in an oven proof pan with a splash of olive oil to coat. Roast until vegetables soften and begin to take on good color. Throw this and all other ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Be careful not to fill the blender too high- I try to stay below 2/3rds full. Adjust ingredients to taste. Serve soup with more chopped herbs as garnish.


Ivonne said...


I want a tangerine-coloured bike! And a bowl of this salad!

blatta said...

I think I remember a friend o-so-many years ago wrapping glasses of ordinary water in transluscent orange mylar to animate the liquid within. I'm not sure she ever articulated it as such, but I believe she would have loved your color-infused sense of language.

Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure SHE had a tangerine-colored bike as well.

D-man said...

I really dig all the colorful language you squozed into this one. Damn girl, that's some purty stuff. I geeked out on color in a past post, so when I saw this I had carotenoids on the brain. All of it got me thinking about that range so I started working up a list: beets, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, oranges/tangerines, apricots, plums, persimmons, peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, raspberry hybrids, watermelon hybrids, pumpkin, butternut, nasturium, chard stems.....I'm thinking that orange is the color of a cold soup in my future. Maybe beet, carrot, persimmon and pepper during these winter months would work well together, or a nice gazpacho when we enter tomato times......Really though, looking at the list makes me think that we all could benefit from paying more attention to the 620 nanometer section of our food world. Thanks for bringing all that to mind....

And thanks for dropping by lately.

Gattina said...

Callipygia, it's a fun recipe! And that coconut milk acts as sun-block =)

Callipygia said...

Ivonne- At the time I was pretty embarrassed by the color of that bike. They always say if you wait long enough,__ will be in fashion.

Blatta- I also admit to using color therapy (which was different colored mylars held in a frame in front of a plain light source)before to absorb the benefit of each wavelength...and she had a tangerine colored bike as well?!

D-man- I think you're already humming at that vibration. And haven't your worms gotten the rest of those squishy persimmons? If they make it into soup with beets- I will bow down to you as the ultimate fruit-veggie mixmaster.

Gattina- You're brilliant, that's so true. Since we're well covered, I think we should kick up the heat even more.

HipWriterMama said...

How do you remember all these details from childhood? This colorful post is just perfect for this icy weather. I want a cool pair of sunglasses, tangerine colored scarf tied around my head, and some fun Caribbean music to listen to while I savor this soup!

Lis said...

Pure sunshine in a bowl! This soup is absolutely perfect to ward off the nasties going on outside my window. =)

There is nothing I like more than that spectrum of earthy and sun-shiny colors.. I'd kill to have that tangerine bike today!

jbird said...

perfect soup for a grey cold day....when your belly is fiery with turbo orange soup, what are you not capable of handling?
ps. i am now a proud owner of an
orange mad bomber, a chuckle when this week's ode was posted. soul sistah. i think back also, of the roasted pepper tomato anchovie number that can bring the taste of summer even in the middle of feb.

Callipygia said...

hipwritermama- I hope that you don on your scarf and glasses. You can dance the lambada too while you are at it.

Lis- I think we get similar freezing weather...a bit to difficult to pedal through snow.

jbird- send me a jpeg of the hat! You are the original pepper-tomato queen. Only a true character can embellish that sun sensation with anchovy!

sher said...

Oh, I like the way that reads! :) And the painting is fabulous too. As soon as I hit coconut milk and peanut butter, I knew this was for me. I'm very fond of those two together. Anyone would feel better after eating this.

D-man said...

AH, ha ha ha.....It's alive.....ALIVE!

I think I pulled it off. The persimmons made it into soup (they were not fresh, I "found" some in my freezer from x-mas time). It was anchored with roasted carrots and beets, had a mild curry-esque spicing, and even managed to showcase some oranges. So far the working title for the upcoming recipe is: winter roots and fruits. I'll get it posted soon.

miragee said...

That is very sweet Calli. Personally I can't live without the orange color. As you know, I am an inveterate summer person. And I love oranges and tangerines!

Callipygia said...

Sher- I know what you mean, stir a little coconut milk into peanut butter and you could eat it by the spoonful.

D-man- I'm bowing down as I type- I'll look forward to reading about this concoction.

Miragee- Yes and after Bali, I should send a bowlful of this to you.

D-man said...

I've been working on linking and giving credit where it is most certainly due......check it out, and thanks again.

Ellie said...

I think I have spent about the last 15 minutes reading this post over and over, the eloquence of your words is utterly mesmerising! The salad is aptly named, with all that colour it would be a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth!