Monday - Red
Tuesday - Orange
Wednesday - Yellow
Thursday - Green
Friday - Purple
Saturday - Brown
Sunday - Black and White
While an artist might undertake such a regime for "high art" and a celebrity might do so for neurotic needs-attention-itis, we did this because it sounded like fun, presented an interesting culinary and sartorial challenge, and it made a good story and an even better Instructable.
Here's how we did it, including recipes and tips for successfully navigating a monochromatic dressing- and eating-disorder.
1 Thinking in the color didn't go so well, but we did try.
Step 1: Red Pomegranate Raspberry Smoothie - Red Day Breakfast
pomegranate rooibos tea
psyllium husks (for body)
rice protein powder
cashew macadamia nut butter
Steep the tea and dissolve the chocolate in hot water for 5 minutes. Let the chocolate tea mixture cool. Mix all ingredients together and blend until smooth.
Turn on your red playlist, and drink while wearing red and holding your red sweatshirt. Get angry. Look for a red car to borrow.
Step 2: Red Day Music
- A Red Letter Day - Pet Shop Boys
- Electric Church Red House - Jimi Hendrix
- Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Little Red Corvette - Prince
- Little Red Rooster - The Rolling Stones
- Little Red Rooster - The Jesus and Mary Chain
- Not The Red Baron - Tori Amos
- Red - Sister Machine Gun
- Red All Over - Die Warzau
- Red And White - Anastasia
- Red Dust - Zero7
- Red Elephant - Sunny Day Real Estate
- Red House - Jimi Hendrix
- Red light - U2
- Red Meat Attraction - Leaether Strip
- Red Moss - Boards Of Canada
- Red Red Sun - INXS
- red right hand - Nick Cave and the bad seeds1
- Red Sector A - Rush
- Red Sensing - Three Mile Pilot
- Red Tide - Rush
- River Runs Red - Midnight Oil
- Roxanne - The Police
- Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2
- World Looks Red - Sonic Youth
Step 3: Drive to work in a red car
Step 4: Red Curry, Red Baby Octopi, and Red Tea - Red Day Lunch
Red Curry with Chicken and Vegetables
red baby octopi
red pomegranate rooibos tea
On our first day of living an aesthetic life, we had lots of explaining to do. Christy even got to tell Tim, with great joy, "No I can't eat that; it's not red."
Rachel was excited beyond belief, and upset she didn't get the memo ahead of time. Zach seemed a bit concerned, but it was his first day. Salad Club had Thai take-out, some of which was red, so they get half-points. Not bad for no warning. You might recognize Mitch's scarf from such instructables as: The instant hat and scarf from an airline blanket.
Step 5: Tomato Soup with Fish Balls and Red Wine - Red Day Dinner
It turns out there are lots of good red foods, more than we could make in one day. Some other things from our list:
spicy tuna sashimi salad (spicy tuna w/o the roll)
roasted red peppers
Cranberry sauce, pie, or cobbler
Tomato Soup with Fish Balls:
2 onions, chopped
handful garlic, chopped
2 Knorr chicken+tomato boullion cubes
6 roma/plum tomatoes, chopped
large can whole tomatoes in juice (chop into chunks with spoon or fingers)
can tomato paste
water as needed
handful mushrooms, finely chopped
1 package cuttlefish balls
- Saute onions and garlic until soft.
- Add pepper and boullion cubes, and stir until dissolved.
- Add fresh tomatoes and stir until covered in seasonings.
- Add canned tomatoes, and water as necessary to thin the paste.
- Add mushrooms, and simmer until everything has cooked down. Adjust seasonings.
- Add cuttlefish balls, and simmer until heated through.
Hit the Red playlist again (or just turn on Red Right Hand on repeat), and sit down to dinner in all of your red gear. Pretend you like drinking red wine. Serve sriracha (rooster sauce) as your only condiment.
Step 6: Sweet Potato Pancakes, Pumpkin Pie, Oranges, and Orange Juice - Orange Day Breakfast
Instructables has a ton of great pumpkin pie recipes. Pie for breakfast is always good.
Hopefully the OJ and orange segments are self-explanatory.
Step 7: Orange Day Music
- Agent Orange - Depeche Mode
- Agent Orange - Tori Amos
- Appels + Orange - The Smashing Pumpkins
- Orange Blossom Special - Cash, Johnny
- Orange Crush - R.E.M.
- orange hexagon sun - Boards Of Canada
- Orange Pony - Hilt
- Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit - Sonic Youth
- Orange Romeda - Boards Of Canada
Step 8: Ride to work in orange style
Don't get Rachel's fuzzy orange coat caught up in the spokes. It's dangerously fuzzy.
Step 9: Carrot Ginger Soup - Orange Day Lunch
Eat tangerines and dried persimmons for a snack.
Having been inspired by Red Day, more people at work joined the second day of aesthetic life week. In fact, Rachel brought in additional orange clothing and wig, which Christy wore all day - even while giving a tour to a group of web design students!
Mitch was in charge of Salad Club lunch, so he made lots of soup and everyone got to eat orange food with us.
Step 10: Paint Your Office Orange
Step 11: Salmon with Capelin Roe, Sea Scallops, and Pumpkin Pie - Orange Day Dinner
Again, there were many orange options that didn't make it:
Orange smoothies (OJ, carrot juice, ginger juice)
Spicy salmon sashimi salad
- Use this scallop recipe with red pepper, chili powder, or paprika as the primary ingredient in the seasoning mix.
- Deglaze the pan with lemon or lime juice, and use this as the base for your orange sauce. Add coconut milk for body, red curry paste for color and flavor, and some sriracha (rooster sauce) for kick. Add salt, and adjust seasonings to taste and for proper orange color.
- Meanwhile, poach a salmon fillet in white wine. Remove it when almost cooked through, as it will continue cooking on the plate.
- Cover salmon in orange sauce, and top in capelin roe. Dot the scallops with capelin roe, and settle them in on top of the orange sauce.
Turn on your orange playlist, wear your orange clothes, and eat your orange food.
Step 12: Corn and Onion Frittata and Pineapple - Yellow Day Breakfast
On yellow day, we slumped in front of our computers. Don't forget the yellow playlist, and try to surf only yellow sites. Look jaundiced.
Step 13: Yellow Day Music
- Almost Gold - The Jesus and Mary Chain
- Black Gold - Leaether Strip
- Black Sunshine (LP Version) - White Zombie
- Bloodletting (the Vampire song - CONCRETE BLONDE
- Coming Up Roses (Headcase Medipac's Red Star, Yellow Star Mix) - Curve
- Days Were Golden - Sunny Day Real Estate
- Beige Sunshine - The Dead Milkmen
- Fields Of Gold - Sting
- Lemonaid - Flip Phillips
- Gold - The SugarCubes
- Golden Boy - Primus
- Golden Playpen - INXS
- Hits of Sunshine (For Allen G) - Sonic Youth
- Lemon Crush - Prince
- Nervous Tension - Lemon Jelly
- Silver And Gold - U2
- Suicide Blonde - INXS
- Sunshine and Esctasy - Tom Tom Club
- Sunshine In The Rain - Mighty Blue Kings
- Sunshine Recorder - Boards Of Canada
- The Gold Bug - Wolfson, Parsons
- Yellow Sunshine (explosions in) - Hilt
- You Are My Sunshine - Norman Blake
- You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Stevie Wonder
Step 14: Ride to work in yellow style
Of course we all fit on Mitch's bike! Why do you ask?
Step 15: Yellow Curry - Yellow Day Lunch
Christy and I skipped our rice, because, well, it wasn't yellow. Thankfully Le Cheval is all about the yellow food.
Step 16: Talk Shop with other Yellow citizens
Step 17: Banana Macadamia Nut Muffins - Yellow Day Afternoon snack
On Yellow Day, Colin attacked with banana macadamia nut muffins he had made the night before. We determined they were yellow enough to be acceptable.
Step 18: Chicken Garbanzo Curry and Coconut Corn Soup - Yellow Day Dinner
Dinner was chicken garbanzo curry and coconut corn soup with capelin roe and chili oil.
Again, we skipped a number of great options:
Curried cauliflower with red lentils (red lentils turn yellow when cooked)
Coconut Corn Soup:
Finely chop two onions and a handful of garlic, and saute in canola oil until soft. Add two boullion cubes, two cans of sweet corn, and a dash of spicy paprika. Stir, and just when it's starting to stick add a can of coconut milk and a bit of water to dilute as necessary. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened/reduced slightly. Adjust seasonings for flavor and color, and serve hot with a scoop of capelin roe and dash of chili oil.
Chicken Garbanzo Curry:
You can start with this chicken curry recipe, just be sure to only use yellow-compatible veggies. I used two onions, a handful of garlic, curry, three cans of garbanzo beans, 1.5 lbs chicken, a chicken boullion cube, spicy paprika, and some water. Saute the onions, add the curry for a minute, then the chicken for a minute before the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until thick, and adjust seasonings.
Start up that yellow playlist again, and keep your yellow gear on for the meal.
Step 19: Green Eggs with Pesto and Green Tea - Green Day Breakfast
The eggs turned out beautifully, and 3/person was about right. We discussed whether it's appropriate to just eat the pesto with a spoon, but decided to save the rest for dinner.
Step 20: Green Day Music
- 2000 Light Years Away - Green Day
- Big Green Espace - Gesina, Pierric
- Blue in Green - Miles Davis
- Call Me (Come Back Home) - Al Green
- Christie Road - Green Day
- Crystal - DJ Greenhead
- Devil With The Green Eyes - Matthew Sweet
- From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea - The Cure
- Green - The Dandy Warhols
- Green Grass Grows All Around - Mighty Blue Kings
- Green Haze - Miles Davis
- Green Love - Hilt
- Green Man - BARDO POND
- Island In The Sun - Weezer
- Monument in Green - Big Head Todd & The Monsters
- Mr Natural - That Green Jesus - Fatboy Slim
- Shaft In Greenland - The Dead Milkmen
- Welcome To Paradise - Green Day
Step 21: Ride to work in a green car
It still counts as green, so we carpooled1 to work in green style.
1 Carpooling makes it extra green.
Step 22: Split Pea Soup, Pesto, Salad, and Guacamole Chips - Green Day Lunch
Split Pea Soup:
Chop and saute two onions, add pepper and a pair of boullion cubes, then stir in 1.5 cups of green split peas. Stir about until they're slightly toasty and starting to stick, then deglaze the pan with a bit of sherry. Add water to cover. Simmer, check, and stir periodically, adding more water as needed. Turn the heat lower as the split peas soften, as they're more likely to stick and burn. They're done when cooked through and somewhat mushy. Adjust seasonings and water to make it as thick or thin as you like.
Green Day at Salad Club:
Benji made penne with pesto, an all-green green salad (lettuce, cucumber, green apple, celery), and salsa verde (tomatillo salsa) served with some rather scary guacamole-flavored chips covered in green guac powder. The guacamole chips were as close to cheating with food coloring as we got.
Step 23: Chicken Chili Verde, Spinach Salad, Guacamole, Sesame Broccoli, and Sauted Zucchini - Green Day Dinner
Chicken Chili Verde
kiwi fruit (for dessert; halved and eaten with a spoon)
Things we didn't get to today:
All those other green veggies
one onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
5 small zucchini, cut into ~1cm cubes
two handfuls shiitake mushrooms, cut into ~1cm cubes
- Saute onion with garlic until translucent
- Add rosemary, salt, and pepper
- Add mushrooms and zucchini by handful, stirring to warm and incorporate
- Cook until both veggies are cooked through and soft, but before they go mushy.
- Adjust seasonings and serve
~3 cups chopped broccoli florets
handful garlic, coarsely chopped
2T sesame oil + 1T canola oil
1/2 lemon or one lime, juiced
salt & pepper
- Saute garlic in sesame/canola oil mix over med-high heat until it browns at the edges and starts to soften.
- Add broccoli florets, and stir quickly to coat with oil.
- Add salt and pepper, stir again, and cover for one or two minutes to let broccoli steam.
- Stir, add sesame seeds, and cook until broccoli is just cooked through.
- Add lemon or lime juice, adjust seasonings, and serve immediately.
Start with this recipe for inspiration.
We used only green toppings (cucumber, oxalis, chives, scallions) and made a basic lime vinaigrette.
Step 24: Blackberry Blueberry Smoothie - Purple Day Breakfast
Mitch made this one with blueberries, blackberries, OJ, and a couple of bananas for body.
You may notice there was no Blue Day - that's because all blue foods turn purple when cooked. We didn't want to eat an all-fresh-blueberry diet just to prove the point, so we've just lumped it in with Purple Day. We like purple, and Friday was the 22nd - perfect.
Step 25: Purple Day Music
- Gus Gus - Purple (Sasha V. The Light) - Paul Oakenfold
- Over The Electric Grapevine - Primus
- Plum Dumb - The Dead Milkmen
- Plumbicon - Monolake
- Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
- Purple Rain - Prince
- Purple Stain - Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Ultra Violet (Light My Way) - U2
- Violet - Seal
- Violetta - Miles Davis
- What do you Think of the Guy In the Purple Chicken Bunny- - Fly Ashtray
Step 26: Beets and Steak and Purple Cabbage Slaw - Purple Day Lunch
Beets and Steak:
Roasted beets, chopped (use the instructions from this beet salad recipe)
2 onions, chopped
handful garlic, chopped
1.5 lbs stew beef, chopped
beef boullion cube
2T red wine
~3T coconut cream (Or sour cream, though you'd have to add it later - just before serving.)
Salt & pepper
- Saute onions with garlic, salt, and pepper until soft
- Brown beef, and add boullion cube
- Deglaze with red wine, and add coconut milk.
- Add beets, and simmer until all is hot and cooked through.
- Adjust seasonings and serve warm.
Purple Cabbage Slaw with blue berries:
Use a food processor with grater attachment to shred a small head of purple cabbage and 1/2 a purple onion. This is your base; anything else you add is to your taste. Here's what I used.
- 1/2 cup hummous (Mayo would also work as a fat/binder, but we were out.)
- 1 beet, diced small
- 1t dijon mustard
- 2T coconut cream
- 2T sweet pickle relish
- 3T frozen blueberries
- salt & pepper
There were probably more interesting things, but I didn't write them down at the time.
Step 27: Beets and Steak, Purple Cabbage Slaw, Purple Potatoes, and Blueberry Pie - Purple Day Dinner
Mitch made mashed potatoes with purple potatoes. He may have added a bit of leftover beet juice to kick up the color, the sneaky cheater. Christy made a basic, very quick blueberry pie with frozen berries and a pre-made crust.
Here's what didn't make it:
Extremely ripe blood oranges
Purple yam (There's still a package of this stuff in the freezer!)
Eggplant doesn't count, as it loses the purple color with cooking.
- Add berries to fill pie crust.
- Add ~1T cornstarch, and toss to coat.
- Add zest and juice from one Meyer lemon, a dash of allspice, and 1T Irish Cream; toss to coat.
- Cover with topping, and bake in preheated 350F oven until just golden-brown on top.
- Cool and serve.
This is basically a cobbler/sugar cookie topping.
Beat 1 stick softened butter with 1 cup sugar until fluffy, then add a dash of vanilla. Beat in one egg, 1t baking powder, a pinch of salt, and any spices. (I used cardamom and allspice.) Beat in 2/3-1 cup flour, checking consistency as you go. It should be sticky cookie dough texture.
Pile on top of your pie, and smooth into place.
Step 28: Turn Your Urine Purple or Red by Eating Too Many Beets
Did one of us really pee in a jar and post a picture on the internet, or is this image just some beet-dyed water? We're not sayin'...
Step 29: Brown Day - We just couldn't take it anymore
We were tired of cooking without being able to eat leftovers, and had visitors to entertain.
We were scheduled to have chocolate smoothies for breakfast, but skipped breakfast altogether due to apathy and oversleeping.
Peanut sauce with chicken and mushrooms was planned for lunch, but since Christy's aunt was in town from Miami we went out to eat Ethiopian food at Cafe Colucci instead. Lots of the meat and sauces were brown, though, and the injera could be brown if you're colorblind... we'll ignore the rest. And no, you don't get a picture!
We did manage to at least dress in brown. Having brown hair helps.
Step 30: Brown Day Music
- Blue Charlie Brown - Vince Guaraldi Trio
- Brother Where Are You? - Oscar Brown, Jr.
- Brown Gargantuan - Quicksand
- Charlie Brown Theme - Vince Guaraldi Trio
- Do The Brown Nose - The Dead Milkmen
- Fly Me To The Moon - Vince Guaraldi Trio
- Funk Soul Brother - Fatboy Slim vs James Brown
- Linus and Lucy - Vince Guaraldi Trio
- Mr. Brownstone - Guns N' Roses
- Sweet Georgia Brown - Django Reinhardt
- Wynona's Big Brown Beaver - Primus
Step 31: Fennel and Celery Soup - Brown Day Dinner
Now we're back on track!
Of course, the original plan called for Meat with Caramelized Oions and baked beans, but that was scrapped in favor of family gossip and the aforementioned soup.
Other brown things we didn't eat:
Most any red meat
Step 32: Almonds - Brown Day Snack
All week he'd been craving almonds, but hadn't eaten them because they were the wrong color. (There was only a bit of whining.)
On Brown Day, we finally got to eat almonds. Yum!
Step 33: White Gazpacho and Onion and Mushroom Frittata - Black and White Day Breakfast
Breakfast started with
White Gazpacho (made from almonds, cucumbers, and asian pears)
Onion and White Mushroom Frittata
Eric wore a black-and-white houndstooth check shirt, while Christy just wore black, figuring she's white enough. Mitch wore his favorite creative commons sweatshirt and keffiyeh.
Onion and White Mushroom Frittata:
Finely chop a white onion, a handful of garlic, and white mushrooms.
Saute onion with garlic until soft, then add the mushrooms. (Of course, we forgot how brown the mushrooms can turn - removing the gills would keep them whiter.)
Turn the pan down to low, add the egg whites, and go take your shower. Come back in 15-25 minutes, and when the center has just solidified put the pan under the broiler for a few seconds to finish the top.
Turn on your black-and-white playlist (who knew there were so many versions of that Michael Jackson song in our archives?), wear your black-and-white gear, and eat your matching breakfast. Read the news, and revel in your new-found clarity on complex issues. Consider joining W's administration for a day.
Step 34: Black and White Music
- Black and White - INXS
- Black Celebration - Depeche Mode
- Black Ego - Digable Planets
- black fluid - Front Line Assembly
- Black Gold - Leaether Strip
- Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
- Black Hole Sun - Paul Anka
- Black Is Black - MC Hammer
- Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair - Nina Simone
- Black or White (Single Edit) - Michael Jackson
- Black Sun --Fat Buddha - Paul Oakenfold
- Black Sunshine (LP Version) - White Zombie
- Chemical Calisthenics - Blackalicious
- Cyberium (On Speed) - Razed In Black
- Dressed in Black - Depeche Mode
- Fade to Black - Apoptygma Berzerk
- Finally Black - Amy X Neuburg
- Harsh Stone White - Skinny Puppy
- Honey White - Morphine
- Just Let It Go - Razed In Black
- Strobelite Honey - Black Sheep
- Thin White Line - Gridlock
- WHITE HEAT - MADONNA
- White Room - The Overlords
- White Sun - NEWT
- White Trash (2nd Generation) - Bad Religion
- White Wedding (Part 1) - Billy Idol
- Winter Pains It White - Rotersand
Step 35: Go where ever you need to go in Black and White Style
When you run out of room in the wagon, switch to a roomier black and white motorcycle.
Step 36: Black Chicken, Squid Steaks, Black Beans, and more - Black and White Supper and an end to this madness
Braised Black Chicken
Black beans & Turkey (prepped separately)
Cauliflower with rice noodles and black bean paste
Glutinous rice balls with sesame seed paste
Of course, there are many more things that didn't make it:
White sesame seeds
Braised Black Chicken:
One black chicken, cut into quarters. (I made a heavily modified version inspired by these recipes.)
- Chop and saute a large onion with a handful of garlic.
- Add spices: two pieces star anise, a sprinkling of whole cloves, 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seed, 1/2 teaspoon whole brown mustard seed, several chunks of fresh ginger, a chicken boullion cube, and a generous sprinkling of allspice, cardamom, and ground black pepper.
- Add chicken, and brown lightly.
- Deglaze with ~3T soy sauce, ~2T mirin, and 1/4-1/2 c red wine, then mix in a scoop of black bean paste. Bring to a simmer, and make sure there's about an inch of liquid in the pot.
- Cover pot and turn to low.
- Cook for 60-90 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is reduced. Finish with the lid off to reduce further if necessary.
- Serve over rice noodles.
Squid needs to be seared quickly, or else cooked on low for >30 minutes. The middle ground yields rubbery squid.
Since we had all sorts of wonderful sauces, I quickly pan-seared the squid in a non-stick pan without seasoning, producing a plain white protein patty you can cut with a fork. It's a bit like tofu, chicken breast, or egg whites, really - a very simple substrate for other flavors.
Chop an onion and saute with a handful of garlic until translucent. Deglaze with a bit of white wine when necessary. Add 2 lbs ground turkey, and cook over low heat to avoid unnecessary browning. (We want to keep this as white as possible.) Add salt & white pepper to taste.
Chop an onion and saute with a handful of garlic until translucent. Add a boullion cube, then deglaze with a bit of red wine when necessary. Add two cans black beans, drained and rinsed. Stir and cook down on low as long as possible, adding a bit of water or wine as needed to keep from sticking. You really want the beans to lose their shape and break down into a tasty, pasty goo. Adjust salt & pepper, and serve when you like the taste/texture.
Cauliflower with noodles and black bean paste:
Chunk and steam the cauliflower until just fork-tender. Soak rice noodles in hot water until soft.
Chop an onion and saute with a handful of garlic until translucent. Add two scoops of black bean paste, and stir in noodles. Add a dash of soy sauce and mirin to prevent noodles from sticking, and stir in cauliflower. Add salt, pepper, and sriracha to taste. Add more bean paste or soy until it tastes good. Serve immediately.
This would have been better served separately and mixed on the plate, as it turned brown in the pot. Alas. We still counted it as black-and-white.
Glutinous rice balls with sesame paste:
I bought a frozen 10-pack for $0.99, but you can make your own - they're basically a sweet paste of ground seeds wrapped in a simple dough of rice flour. Drop the frozen rice balls into boiling water, stirring about so they don't stick to the bottom of the pan. When they float to the surface, they should be cooked and warm all the way through. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve hot.
Step 37: Lay around on a black and white floor and discuss how awesome you are for doing this
Step 38: Rainbow-colored conclusions
1) Matching clothes and food means spills go unnoticed.
2) Leftovers are awesome! We missed being able to eat leftovers.
3) Cooking new food for every meal, every day is hard work. See #2.
4) Theme days at work are fun!
5) Rachel has some pretty insane clothes. And yes, she made most of them.
6) The SF bay area has pretty awesome fresh food and ingredients available. We like eating local.
7) Blue foods turn purple when cooked, and you can't eat raw blueberries all day.
We'd been talking about doing this for a few months, and it was awesome to execute and do it. Even better was the enthusiasm of the people around us who said "that sounds kinda cool - I'm in for a day!"