Car Talk: All Things Very Important and Irreverent (plus, Orangettes) - Turntable Kitchen
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Car Talk: All Things Very Important and Irreverent (plus, Orangettes)

The first blog I ever had was a LiveJournal. I wrote in it the way I would write emails to my friends (and they’d comment back as if we were on one long email string). The only way to understand blogging at that point was journaling. I realized that putting stuff on the Internet generally meant that anyone could read it, but I didn’t worry too much about it. Years later (after deleting said blog) a few girlfriends started a shared, private blog which we used as a way to stay updated on our lives while we all lived in very different places (Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego). Someone was smart enough to make it private (why didn’t I think of that when I had my Livejournal?)

At my wedding, one of my friends read an excerpt from this blog (Car Talk, we called it), in which I wrote about the first time I ever met Matt. My feelings for him were captured in writing, before I even knew that we’d go on our second date. A few years later, I started a new blog: eating through San Francisco, later, eating/sf. Why did I start the blog? A few smart folks have said that in order to be a writer, you have to write.

So I started writing. Sometimes, I’d write a reaction to some food-related article I read in a magazine, sometimes I’d write a restaurant review, sometimes I’d share a recipe, and sometimes, I’d want to write, but I didn’t want to write about food, so I wrote about other stuff. The best part about being your own editor is that no one can edit you. I read a great post recently by one of my favorite bloggers, David Lebovitz. He said he was surprised to learn that his blog was about food – he just thought it was about his life. I feel similarly about Turntable Kitchen. I don’t think of my space as being a ‘food blog’ – it’s a place where I write about my life which, often, involves a lot of food.

When we started Turntable Kitchen, Matt and I made a pact: we’d write as long as it was fun. I think it is a good pact. It’s always made me sad to hear about the death of certain blogs. Sitting there, unupdated for months or years. They always make me wonder: what happened? Perhaps it just stopped being fun.

A note about this recipe: it is delicious, you should make it. It is very time-consuming. Most of the time involved is inactive, but it’s timely, nonetheless. This is a great project to take on when it’s pouring or snowing outside and you’re stuck in your house. Or, you’re working from home because you don’t actually have to do much – it’s mostly just watching a timer. The end result is beautiful: bright orange little pieces of peel that are chewy and tender, slightly gooey from cooking in the syrup, with a beautiful sugary bite. This recipe makes about two eight ounce jars of orangettes – enough for you to enjoy and give one to a very special friend. Keep these at room temperature.

Orangettes (Candied Orange Peels)
* makes 2 8-ounce containers’ worth
adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook

2 large, sweet oranges
2 1/2 cups of sugar (plus more to coat the peels)

1. Slice each orange in half and juice the halves before placing them in an aluminum (or other nonreactive) saucepan. Cover the halves with water and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain the orange halves, place them back in the saucepan, cover with water and repeat the process. Do this once more (this helps get rid of the bitterness of the peels).
3. Add the orange halves back to the empty saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the halves, half-covered with a lid, for about 30 minutes to an hour (until they are tender).
4. Drain the orange halves and let them cool before gently scraping the white pith from inside each half, leaving just a very thin layer (be careful not to tear the halves).
5. Slice each half into whatever shape you prefer (I like 1/4 – 1/2 inch strips). Add the slices to the saucepan, pour in the sugar and a cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour. Turn off the heat and leave the rinds to cool in the syrup for about 30 minutes.
6. Remove the rinds from the syrup using a slotted spoon and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Leave the peels out to dry for a day or two.
7. Once the rinds have had time to dry, pour some sugar onto a flat plate and roll each piece in the sugar to coat. Store in a sealed container, at room temperature.

Musical Pairings: Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine + Candied Orange Peels

For the Pairing, head to the Turntable.