Color Me Blue – or Blue-ish Green

We’ve just completed a paint job on our house.  We went whole hog (see more about whole hogs in this recent blog).  After 20 years, it was a needed, but it wasn’t a fun experience.  I have new respect for painting contractors, especially ones who routinely deal with home-owners who have seriously strong views on color.  In fact, our contractor said that some folks won’t use a color if they don’t like its given name.

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Just a few of the colors we were experimenting with

We ended up with “Silhouette” siding, “Crackled Leather” window trim, “Reid Brown” and “Warmed Cognac” on the overhang.    We needed warmed cognac – and lots of it – by the time the colors were picked.  In fact, I’d consider painting the whole house in cocktail colors and toasting with a matching stiff drink when each color went on!

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I could totally see our house in these colors – plus, we’d have fun – rather than knots in our stomachs –  seeing the paint go on.

This agonizing over colors made me think of the importance of color in food.  Andy thinks this may be an existential issue – though neither of us has a clue what existential means (see today’s Andy’s Corner).

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Not sure these yellow-ish green – but delicious – Matcha Snickerdoodles have color appeal.

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Hasta La Bye Bye is a new drink on the Tacolicious menu – with tequila, pineapple, fresh lime, rum, gin, vodka, and blue curacao.  Yummmm??????

Perhaps my thought process was precipitated by the eggplant fritters I made for our blog on North Louisiana.

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After cooling:  eggplant fritters – made with baking soda

Normally I’m fond of anything blue-ish green – or aqua – or teal – but the blue-ish green in these fritters just isn’t appetizing.  Don’t ask for a scientific explanation as to what caused the color change because I have none.  But I did experiment and figured out that using baking powder instead of baking soda cured the color change.

If blue-ish green doesn’t work for food, what colors DO make us salivate?  Red and orange are great eye candy 🙂  Dark green (especially as in overly-long-cooked green veggies) not so much.

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Long-cooked collard greens

My mother was a great believer in fancying up every color-needy dish with some sprigs of fresh parsley – definitely a bright green!  In fact, at her funeral her grandson placed a few bunches of parsley atop her casket, as the finale to the joke we all made about her unbounded affection for the green stuff.

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I must have inherited a bit of that tendency, because Andy has to constantly remind me that using cilantro (I’ve branched out) and parsley on almost every dish gets very repetitious and boring.  But I refuse to give it up totally.  Take for example our recent meal of jook, inspired by our daughter Sara’s love of all foods Asian.  Had we not enhanced it with a little cilantro, a few sliced green onions, and a dab of – yes, reddish-orange hot chile sauce, it would have been pretty sad looking.  And, might I add, that bowl of jook was a huge hit with us.  It’s incredibly simple, tasty, and healthy.

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Jook – ungarnished

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Jook – garnished

My Bestie Carolyn just introduced me to a salad which is the perfect color combination to appeal  – red beets, orange carrots,  bits of golden raisins….and even a touch of parsley to get the bright green in there too.  It is absolutely delicious and even keeps well (both taste-wise AND color-wise) for a few days.

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Carrot and Beet Slaw = Colorful!

Click on Continue Reading for the two recipes.

Best of the Besties: Carrot and Beet Slaw

It’s best to prepare this salad an hour or more ahead of serving, so it has time for the flavors to meld.  A food processor that has the julienne disc will julienne the carrots and beets in a nano-second.  Or you can use a mandoline.  Or simply grate them (the result won’t be quite as lovely) – or, as our Bestie Carolyn suggests, buy them pre-julienned at the salad bar or in the vegetable area of your well-stocked grocery store. Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar (we love the touch of sweetness, but it can be omitted)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, julienned or grated
  • 1 large beet (any color), peeled, julienned or grated
  • 1/4 c (packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 T (packed) mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 c toasted pistachios (or toast raw pistachios), chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil

Combine garlic, raisins, vinegar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl; let sit 1 hour.   Stir in the salt and sugar until they’re dissolved. Add carrots, beet, parsley, mint, red pepper flakes; season with salt (if necessary) and pepper and toss to combine. Add oil; toss gently and let sit for at least an hour before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers – which will be delicious for the next several days.

Recipe brought to you by Carolyn in Santa Rosa/SF and

Chinese Jook Chicken

This is an amazingly simple and delicious porridge – also known as congee. Fried and chopped up bacon is tasty as a garnish.  Adapted from Chowhound and Christine Gallary

  • 1 1/2 lb bone-in thighs, skin removed
  • 6 c water
  • 4 c chicken broth
  • 1 c long-grain white rice
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, skin on and sliced into 4 pieces
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • coarsely chopped roasted peanuts for garnish
  • Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Thinly sliced scallions for garnish
  • hot chile oil or sambal oelek – just a dab – for garnish (optional)

Add the chicken thighs, water, broth, rice, ginger, and salt to a large pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour.  Do not cover the pan.  The mixture should be creamy when done.

Turn off the heat and remove the chicken to a cutting board. When it’s cool enough to handle, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the bones. Return the chicken shreds to the jook. Stir to combine, taste, and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Ladle the jook into bowls and top with peanuts, cilantro and scallions – and chile oil, if you like spice.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.



  1. theRaggedys says:

    Andy here: Would you mind sharing the contact info for the painting outfit that did your Omaha place? For that price we could fly the whole crew out to California and back to Nebraska and still spend less than what we did for our paint job. Also, “Eaglet Beige” is my favorite of the colors you mentioned. It sounds perfect for a Bouverie docent’s house.


  2. Bob Carleton says:

    Love the 1-page format for recipes! The slaw will be on our menu next week. Regarding home painting… the first time we hired it done we were in Omaha… the gang of painters arrived as Gayle was leaving to run a few errands, and were departing two hours later when she returned. They did an excellent job in about 2 hours and charged 350 bucks! Nowadays we live in a townhouse and the association requires “El Rey Bamboo” for the base color and “Rustic Brown” for any exposed beams and posts, and “Eaglet Beige” for trims around doors and windows. No hassles, just comply.


  3. theRaggedys says:

    Andy here. Thanks for the comment. To show you how bad things can get, when Ann saw your reference to “Herbal Escape” she recognized it as a Benjamin Moore color. But then, they probably only have a gazillion colors to memorize. I have always wondered who gets to name these colors. There must be a specialized firm somewhere devoted to suggesting crowd-pleasing paint color names. Also, the jook tastes better than it looks, even when garnished. It is one of my new favorites.


  4. Karen says:

    Thanks for the “colorful” blog post. I, too, have recently chosen exterior and interior colors for my home. The interior living space is “Deep in Thought” and the exterior color will allow viewers a “Herbal Escape.” I like the colors and the names – very zen.

    P.S. The garnished jook looks fantastic!


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