Monday, March 30, 2015

What to Do With All That Orange Peel

Remember how I said I like wintertime oranges...every time I peel one, I want to save the rind for orangette. Yummy, sweet, tart-with-just-a-hint-of-bitterness orangette, a.k.a candied orange peel.

I taught a few girls a class on knife skills last week (and promptly cut my finger for the first time in EONS not 24 hours later, but that is another story for another time. My fingernail took more of the damage than I did, but STILL. Embarrassing...I digress.), and one of the things I showed them how to do is to "supreme" an orange, cutting the sections away from the membrane of the fruit. That left me with a bowl full of orange rinds and led me to a short little lecture on how I don't like to waste things in the kitchen...So I took all that orange goodness home and within an hour's time of cooking (with another few hours of drying), I had these little orange gems of GOOD.

Readers, I give you....orangette.

Peel oranges, removing all flesh, but leaving white pith. Cut orange peels into 1/4-inch wide strips.

Place rinds in saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to boil. Drain. Repeat this two more times.

Leave drained rinds in saucepan. Add 4 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to simmer and cook 45 minutes. 

Use slotted spoon to remove rinds, letting syrup drain back into saucepan, and place rinds into sugar. 

Toss until coated, then place rinds onto cooling rack for 4 to 5 hours. Store in sugar in airtight container in refrigerator (especially if you live in a humid climate...)

If you really want to gild the lily, dip half of each candied peel into melted dark chocolate. Let excess chocolate drain back into melted chocolate and place dipped peel onto wax or parchment paper. Cool until chocolate is hardened.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

10 Delicious Things to Eat (Or Drink) for Less Than $10

Simple Pleasures: Shortbread

Two days ago, I walked into an office and spied a bowl filled with wintergreen Lifesaver mints, each in its own little wrapper. The scent hit me before I finished signing in at the visitor's book. I snagged one and went off on my merry way to see an art show. I snagged another on my way out...take two, they're small, I said to myself. I had not had a wintergreen lifesaver in ages. I remembered ducking into dark closets to chew these candies, mouths wide open, so whatever friend ducked into that closet with me could see the sparks. "Your turn now!" I don't know why that happens, and I don't care. I like that it happens. And I love me some wintergreen Lifesavers. Which got me thinking...what other of life's little food pleasures can be had for less than $10.

Here's my list...give me yours...

1. Wintergreen Lifesavers--see intro!

2. Shortbread. You can sometimes buy just little packages of two fingers of Walker's Pure Butter Shortbread. This is perfect dessert--I call shortbread butter and sugar held together by juuuuust enough flour.

3. A glass of red wine on a cool evening, a glass of good white on a hot summer's evening. I would rather have one glass of wine a day than all the sweets in the world. Just one. It is about savoring, good company, relaxing and ever such a little bit of a buzz. I like a glass of wine.

4. Good coffee in the morning. I prefer my own espresso with hot milk, my own little cafe au lait home--so much that I've been know to pack the espresso machine (an old, very basic Krups model) for vacations. Good coffee, whether at home or out, is kind of like the glass of wine. Time to relax, savor, make conversation, enjoy.

5. One plain croissant, baked dark, not overproofed and all fluffy. I like plain, what can I say. Like shortbread, this is just pure goodness. Sometimes I like a little marmalade on that croissant, too...but not often...

6. Good, true bread (I sense a trend), like the bread at Tartine in San Francisco. So know, I have not actually VISITED Tartine, but I've worked on the bread at home from the book, and I knew Chad when he was a youngster doing his culinary school rotation in Philadelphia, Pa. I would happily spend every cent of that $10 on a loaf of this bread.

7. Mamoun's Falafel in NYC (and in Connecticut...)--This is one of those things I crave. More than 20 years have passed since I lived a short walk from Mamoun's, but when I get to Manhattan, I still try to get to there.

8. Plain, old-fashioned doughnuts. I bet cro-nuts are awesome. Really, I do. But I don't like to wait in lines for food. There is this one Shoprite supermarket in Stanford, Connecticut. It's on Route 1. The best. plain. old-fashioned. doughnut. anywhere. Not the puffy glazed doughnuts, but the ones that get fried to a golden color, then dipped in a glaze. I almost always eat a doughnut when I visit my sister in Connecticut...and I pretty much do NOT eat doughnuts any other time

9. Okay, you can't get these anymore, but if you are reading maybe you can give me a good substitute. Best's Kosher Hotdogs. I do NOT know why these are not made any more..bought out, sold, whatever. But why?! So if you are wondering why someone who cooks for a living loves hot dogs, it is that I love a GOOD hot dog. And man, Best's were...the best. I haven't eaten a hot dog in years, but if you showed up with a Best's, I would invite you to sit down and we'd enjoy that hot dog.

10. Wintertime oranges. I had to do something healthy! I have to say when I get an orange in January, February and March, and it is so perfect, so juicy...just so orangey...well, I count that as a good few minutes spent savoring. It could be that I have had a few incredible oranges in the past week, so I am craving them anyway. But man, when an orange is good, it's great.

What ten innerness