Vin d'Orange, An End-of-Winter Gift to Your Springtime Self
Plus: The Broadway Cookbook Cover, Lunch at Lulu, and A New Knife.
Hey A.G. fans,
This weekend I thumbed through a book that I spontaneously bought: The Noma Guide to Fermentation, and I realized that I was deluding myself thinking that I was ever going to be making roasted chicken wing garum or kombucha from scratch anytime soon. But the essays in the front of the book got me thinking about fermentation — the way that pickles transform with just some salt, the way sauerkraut transforms in its barrel — and I started looking around my kitchen at what I had and I saw this bowl of citrus.
I had blood oranges, I had Cara Cara oranges, I had pixie tangerines, and I had Meyer lemons that I picked off our tree (humblebrag). I wanted to do something with them! I saw a Bon Appetit video of Brad curing a variety of citrus, sort of like making preserved lemons but with blood oranges, and I thought that was a fine idea, but then I remembered something from David Lebovitz’s Drinking French: Vin d’Orange.
The concept is so simple, you won’t believe it: you just cut up a bunch of citrus fruit (I used Samin’s method of halving the citrus, then cutting each half into quarters); I riffed on this New York Times recipe by Sally Clarke adapted by Julia Moskin because it specifies tangerines, oranges, and lemons, which is what I had. (David’s recipe calls for Seville oranges, which is what Samin’s recipe also calls for, but it’s all the same idea.) Then you mix it with sugar and booze and a vanilla bean and you’re done.
Here’s the formula: in one large container with a lid (I used a plastic container that I used to use to store flour), combine your halved and quartered fruit (I used 2 small blood oranges, 2 small Cara Cara oranges, 2 pixie tangerines, and 2 lemons per container — be sure to remove the seeds); add 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 a vanilla bean, 2 bottles of rosé (about 2 liters), and 1 cup of vodka.
Stir until the sugar dissolves, put the lid on, and that’s it. Wait six weeks and you’ll have vin d’orange.
Really, that’s it. Ideally, you put in the fridge (according to the NYT ) or a cool dark place (Samin); I couldn’t help but put it on the cookbook shelf in my kitchen because it looks so pretty.
That said, I’ll move them to a closet tomorrow or later this week; the plan is to stir the mixture every few days, to keep things moving. But several people have said that the combination of alcohol and sugar should keep everything safe.
Six weeks from now I’m going to strain all this into a large measuring cup and pour through a funnel into some clear glass bottles. Then when people come over for dinner, I’ll treat them to a little vin d’orange as an aperitif with an ice cube in a little glass. How chic!
So while citrus is still great (especially if you live in California) hurry up and grab some rosé, a vanilla bean (you could also add a cinnamon stick, but I didn’t like that idea — too Christmasy), vodka, and sugar and get to work.
I’ll update you in six weeks when I finally serve it.
What’s this that you see before your very eyes?
Why it’s the cover of the Broadway cookbook that I’ve been writing with Tony-nominated actor Gideon Glick over the past year: Give My Swiss Chards to Broadway, arriving this October, with illustrations by the illustrious Justin “Squigs” Robertson.
You can pre-order the book on Amazon or ask your favorite independent bookstore to get it for you.
Excited for you to finally see what we’ve been working on and for you to taste our My Fair Ladyfingers, The Muesli Man, and Dear Melon Hansen.
Last Thursday, I met up with Chelsea Peretti at Lulu at the Hammer Museum near UCLA.
Chelsea’s a huge fan of Chez Panisse and was way excited to have an Alice Waters-influenced meal (she’s a founder of the restaurant) with one of my cooking idols, David Tanis, in the kitchen.
This menu was so dreamy and perfect. Elegant, deceptively simple, European-influenced but not too highfalutin. (Just like me. Wait, what?)
The first course was curly endive with anchovy dressing and I couldn’t get over how subtly dressed the salad was. It was just enough to feel the punch of the anchovy, but not overwhelming.
Chelsea also put in for the goat cheese salad because it’s her favorite Chez Panisse dish.
This too was gorgeously dressed. I meant look at those leaves: barely a whisper of dressing. I don’t know how they do it. And the goat cheese, which was covered in bread crumbs and herbs and gently baked, was fluffy and rich. I loved it.
But not as much as I loved Mediterranean fish and shellfish stew (basically a Bouillabaisse) with rouille toast.
My goodness, this was so lovely to eat. Just the right amount of food: a few mussels, a golden brown square of fish (cod maybe?), and then the most potent and flavorful fish soup. Plus that focaccia-like bread (was it focaccia?0 with the rouille, sort of like an aioli with some of the fish stew in it. (At least, that’s what I remember from the time that I made a Bouillabaisse with rouille.)
The dessert was smooth and citrusy and bright.
We also couldn’t resist the pistachio cake, which had a fascinating texture.
If you live in LA but wish you lived in Berkeley, this is the restaurant for you. My only tip is to bring a jacket: the courtyard, at least the day that we ate there, was weirdly cold (the hostess was bundled up in a jacket and scarf). Thank goodness for heat lamps.
This isn’t an ad for Made-In (though I wish it was, I could get rich); I just wanted to share with you the new chef’s knife that I bought for myself. I’d like to say that I got it because it’s forged by experts in furnaces made of lava blah blah blah, but I honestly just got it because I loved the red handle. And it’s so sharp, it comes with a Band-Aid.
I used it to slice the citrus for the vin d’orange and it cut like a dream. Very glad I bought it. If you’re in the market for a sharp knife, you could do a lot worse than Made-In.
A nice profile of Pierre Franey, an icon of 70’s French cooking in America (Taste);
Great, now I need a Le Creuset French Press after reading this (Bon Appetit);
Permanently bookmarked this Eater LA guide to Korean restaurants, I need to start branching out to KTown more (Eater LA);
Some French people confused Poutine with Putin and harassed a restaurant (Yahoo News);
Wolfgang Puck is collaborating with Ghetto Gastro for the post-Governor’s Ball… very cool (Hollywood Reporter).
That’s all for this week, folks!
If you missed last week’s paid subscriber’s only content, you missed Ten Bagel Questions with Cathy Barrow, author of Bagels, Schmears, and A Nice Piece of Fish (she gets into how much cream cheese belongs on a bagel and how the secret to really excellent whitefish salad is… sour cream?!); plus, you missed my guide to finding the BEST restaurants when you travel AND this thread about the most recent episode of Top Chef.
If you don’t want to miss out on the fun, here’s a discount code that gets you 20% off forever!
Until next time….
P.S. If you haven’t already, you can download the Substack app and read these newsletters easily on your phone. I have it on mine and I use it to respond to your comments and to read all of my favorite newsletters.
Ooh, I made Vin D’Orange earlier this year when the Sevilles were everywhere (in the U.K.) - I get to decant it in a week or two. I’m on trend! Even better I’m going to have something delicious to drink now that the sun is finally shining.
I just realized I have been watching Gideon Glick all season on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"—he's so great! Congratulations to both of you on the book; look forward to cooking from it!