The idea for this recipe came from the former Piccolo Teatro Restaurant in Sausalito, California. Include colorful sweet peppers—orange, red, and/or yellow—to make this soup. Or you may find gypsy peppers—light yellow sweet peppers with an orange blush—available in farmer’s markets in late June.
When buying fresh herbs such as basil and mint, remember if you don’t use them all at once, you can make pesto by adding some lightly-toasted nuts such as pine nuts or walnuts, garlic, and a little olive oil and salt. I mix leftover fresh herbs with parsley too for an endless array of flavor-packed toppings for soups or polenta, or to mix with pasta.

Makes 3 servings or 3 to 3½ cups

Corn & Chive Relish:
Makes about ¾ cup
Kernels from 1 ear fresh yellow corn, boiled with cob in water to cover for 5 minutes; water saved for soup broth
1 tablespoon lime juice or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or honey
1 teaspoon chives, chopped to size of corn kernels

Soup:
Kuzu or arrowroot are healthy thickeners. In Japan, kuzu is known as “the king of alkaline foods.”

2 teaspoons high-heat olive oil blend (equal parts EVOO and Spectrum walnut oil)
1 large clove garlic, pressed or chopped
1 pound sweet peppers (1 each orange, red and yellow peppers), 3½ to 4 cups, diced
1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt OR ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt and 1 tablespoon white or chickpea miso, dissolved in a little hot soup
2 cups corn cooking broth
1 large bay leaf
3-inch piece kombu seaweed
Thickener: ¾ cup whole grain sourdough bread, crumbled OR 1 tablespoon kuzu root starch or arrowroot powder, dissolved in cool water to cover
1 tablespoon each basil and mint, minced
1/2 teaspoon each chili powder and cumin (add chili powder gradually to taste as strength varies)

1. To prepare relish, drain corn, discard cob, and keep broth for use in soup. Mix corn, lime juice or vinegar, and sweetener and set aside. Add chives just before serving.

2. To prepare soup, heat oil in a 3-quart pot. Sauté garlic briefly, add peppers and sprinkle with salt. Stir, then cover to cook for a minute or two. Add corn broth with bay leaf and kombu. Bring to boil to cook until peppers are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and kombu. Transfer solids to food processor with bread (unless you choose to thicken with kuzu or arrowroot), basil and mint, chili powder and cumin. Blend until smooth. Return to soup pot to heat through.

3. To thicken with kuzu or arrowroot, stir either with water to dissolve, and add to hot soup. Stir until mixture thickens and no white color remains, signifying the starch is cooked.

4. Drain relish and mix with chives. Serve individual bowls of soup topped with heaping tablespoons of relish in the center.

Variation: Stir into soup 1/4 cup watercress, or another cress variety such as ancho, curly, etc.

For 3 servings, per serving:
Calories: 198 Protein: 6gm Saturated Fat: 0.5gm Fiber: 7gm Carbohydrates: 34gm Fat: 4gm Cholesterol: 0 Sodium: 353mg
Calories from Protein: 12% Calories from Fats: 20% Calories from Carbohydrates: 68%