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
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.