I’ve finally made peace with orange. I hated the color and pretty much everything that was orange, excluding pumpkin pie, for years. Don’t ask why because I simply don’t know. The color just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t a “cool” jewel tone that every girl I grew up with picked for a favorite (deep emerald green, amethyst purple, sapphire blue, etc). Orange just didn’t fit. Or, perhaps, it was because hunter orange was so prevalent in many of the communities I lived in. Either way, I just did not like it. Period.
The leaves opened the door. I love fall. Always have. But I really did not like that orange, and worst of all, yellow, were dominant colors. Eewwww! Then one day, probably on a walk on campus when I was an undergrad, I picked up a bright orange leaf and just sat with it. I remember the day. The leaf just popped out at me from the pile on the ground.
I found my tree, the same tree I always sat under on campus, and just sat there looking at the leaf. Then I took out my sketch book (how liberal arts, I know) and began studying the veins, the shadows, the ragged edge with my 2B pencil. In this fervor of creative inspiration, I slipped out my colored pencils. I finally splurged on a good pack and the orange was rich. The yellow bright. And I was hooked.
That same weekend I bought, don’t laugh, a long-sleeved deep v-neck orange dress shirt. It was the same color as that leaf. Then I bought a pack of post-it notes for the orange a few days later. I also ate copious amounts of pumpkin chip bread from the student union and slowly made that orange shirt more like pumpkin orange rather than delicata squash orange, but that’s beside the point. I finally made peace with orange.
Since then, I haven’t exactly gone overboard and purchased everything in orange, but I have purchased some key items in this vibrant shade to add pop to rooms otherwise lack-luster. Most recently, I adopted a comforter for our bed in a beautiful rusty red-orange color. Perfect blend of the two autumn colors.
Though I haven’t obsessively collected items in orange, I have sought out orange foods: nectarines, clementines, sweet potatoes, carrots, gourds. And they are among my favorite foods. Orange foods are Jen’s friends.
I got thinking about this relationship with orange tonight as I made a new soup. Really, when I get down to it, a variation on old favorites, but it has enough changes to be considered new and distinct. Allow me to share one of the best soups I’ve made to date.
Carrot Ginger Soup with Sweet Potato
about 8 medium sized organic carrots, more or less according to how thick and carrot-y you want the soup, chopped into coins
2 medium sized organic sweet potatoes/yams, chopped into coins
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tbs. ginger, finely minced (about 1-1/2 inches of a root about the thickness of a roll of quarters)
2-3 tbs. olive oil
14 oz. coconut milk (1 can)
4 cups organic free range chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional – for those worried about the alcohol, it cooks out)
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. tumeric
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot (you’ll want to pull out the biggest pot you’ve got to give it room to simmer and get happy). When it’s heated up, add the garlic and cook until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and stir until they carmelize, about 5 minutes.
Add the potatoes, ginger, coconut milk, wine, and broth. Bring to a boil for five minutes, then turn down to low, add the spices, and simmer until the potatoes are fork-done, about 20-25 minutes.
Either in a standing blender in batches, or with a hand blender, blend until as smooth as you desire it.
I like to serve a little bit of sour cream or plain fat-free yogurt as a garnish with some strands of ginger and/or carrot. Fresh parsley or fresh basil look beautiful on top as garnishes, too.