Red, without question, my favorite color. Last week in the operating room I arrived at a robust hypothesis as to why I have always been irrevocably drawn to red. I think, evolutionarily, it has something to do with blood. In surgery, no matter how hard I try, I cannot fully repress my physical alarm to bleeders, a term which describes cut vessels, not people who bleed. The first time a small geyser of red erupted in the operating field, I do believe I shrieked (a disparaging sign of weakness in surgical culture). Now, when an artery is nicked in my presence, I remain quiet and steady-handed, but inside, my heart gallops like a hoof trying to pound itself right out of my chest. It has occurred to me that perhaps this adrenaline response to blood, and therewith, to the color red itself is caught up in the fabric of biochemical instinct present in every human being. When we were animals, red meant either killing being killed—both situations that require substantial physiologic response. Now, it’s no wonder red is one of the colors for love. For the alarm of joy and fear. For wildness. For emotional survival in the blase Midwestern Midwinter snowdrifts.
It has been said that red is the color of anger, or power, but I think it is more raw than that; red, I posit, is the color of adrenaline. And THAT is why I, a seeker of thrills, love it.
Sun Dried Tomato Soup (because it’s red)
Adapted from My Favourite Pastime
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped (I used one small onion because I didn’t want to make a trip to the store)
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained, and chopped
1 1/2 can (19 oz) diced tomatoes (I used the spicy fire-roasted kind)
2½ cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste, mixed with 3 tablespoons of water
1 cup cream (I mixed heavy whipping cream with 2% milk, again, didn’t want to go to the store)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chives, cilantro or parsley to garnish
Melt butter in a pan (pot). Add shallots and sauté 5 minutes until soft.
Return the soup to the pan, add tomato paste, heat gently until piping hot. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream and brown sugar, adjust seasoning and heat without boiling.
Serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese or croutons. Garnish with chives, cilantro or parsley.
This was incredible soup, perfect for days like this Minnesota Saturday, our land once again blanketed in a near-foot of powder snow overnight. Fabulous for extreme frolicking with a snow-loving bulldog–whose frisbee is also red.