Color Me Good

 Football Cafe x Po-Po's for a special summer menu tasting at Refinery 29. All photos by  Yudi Ela  

Football Cafe x Po-Po's for a special summer menu tasting at Refinery 29. All photos by Yudi Ela 

We're halfway through summer and the farmer's markets are flush with vibrant fruits and veggies. Sometimes, it's even hard for me peruse the stalls without my sunglasses on, blinded by the dizzying bright colors of beets, amaranth, peaches, strawberries, squash, and more. I’m the jerk with the obnoxiously large tote bag, sunnies snug on my face, music blasting through my headphones as I get handsy with the peppers. Completely unaware of other humans. In my zone, channeling the vibe of every Chinese grandmother who has “tapped” her way to the perfect watermelon. Except I’m fondling the peppers. Yes, I’m that jerk. 

Summer’s market-fresh produce reminds me of the colorful bounty Po-Po’s garden would yield, which included sought-after Asian greens I can only pronounce in Mandarin to seasonal basics like cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplant. I loved seeing the ripe vegetables picked and pulled, with leaves still attached and soil bits speckled about. Colors and scents would fill up her kitchen. There would be stems in her hair and dirt under her nails. These were effortless moments that today, would require a a food stylist and Instagram filter to recreate. Po-Po’s gardening was #nofilter necessary. 

Hours after each harvest, she’d pull together a multi-colored, multi-course meal. Colors are an important part of the Chinese culinary tradition as they are believed to be associated with the body’s vital organs. Red, yellow, white, green and black represent the heart, spleen, lungs, liver, and kidneys respectively. To truly nourish the entire body, every meal must be balanced with a splash of each color.  Po-Po’s dinners were definitely colorful and definitely nourishing. 

Po-Po’s philosophies have not only inspired me to be a better cook, but to be a healer and an artist. After all, she was a healer who believed that food can be medicine. She was also an artist who let her dinner table become nature’s canvas upon which colorful dishes would be painted. Above all, she was always a jerk at the farmer's market, taking her sweet time to tap every melon and fondle every pepper.

 Lemony red beet chickpea hummus, avocados, sprouts, on Shewolf Bakery seeded bread. 

Lemony red beet chickpea hummus, avocados, sprouts, on Shewolf Bakery seeded bread. 

 Passion fruit and turmeric kudzu tart on a raw coconut, oat, nut crust with fresh strawberries, coconut, and bee pollen. 

Passion fruit and turmeric kudzu tart on a raw coconut, oat, nut crust with fresh strawberries, coconut, and bee pollen. 

 Matcha lassi with raw sprouted buckwheat/pumpkin seed granola, black sesame, kiwi, strawberries, and raw honey. 

Matcha lassi with raw sprouted buckwheat/pumpkin seed granola, black sesame, kiwi, strawberries, and raw honey. 

 Market fresh tiny eggplant roasted with lemon basil. Black sesame lemon dressing in the back. 

Market fresh tiny eggplant roasted with lemon basil. Black sesame lemon dressing in the back. 

 Soy and ginger poached salmon bento with edamame Arroz Verde and pickled black beets. 

Soy and ginger poached salmon bento with edamame Arroz Verde and pickled black beets. 

 Breakfast empanadas: Eggs, purple kale, and caramelized leeks wrapped in a turmeric and smoked paprika dough. Served with a carrot-tamarind spicy chutney.  

Breakfast empanadas: Eggs, purple kale, and caramelized leeks wrapped in a turmeric and smoked paprika dough. Served with a carrot-tamarind spicy chutney.  

 Rosewater chia pudding topped with fresh mangos and a pistachio, pumpkin seed tahini granola. 

Rosewater chia pudding topped with fresh mangos and a pistachio, pumpkin seed tahini granola. 

  Football Cafe's  Dr. Socrates smoothie: Avocado, raw coconut water, blueberries, coconut oil, sprouted pumpkin seeds, raw honey, and bee pollen. 

Football Cafe's Dr. Socrates smoothie: Avocado, raw coconut water, blueberries, coconut oil, sprouted pumpkin seeds, raw honey, and bee pollen. 

 The spread. 

The spread. 

Diane ChangComment