And now we’re deep into winter. The stress and fun of the holidays have passed. The excitement of the first snow is gone. Now it’s just cold and the sun barely seems to show itself. Everyone has a cold. Worst of all, we’ve got at least two more months of this misery before this ends. We’re all now remembering why we hate winter and wondering why we don’t live in California.
But then into this frozen plane of misery comes a ray of sunshine, a little bit of hope in edible form.
This came from my friend, the lovely and brilliant Rachel Martin (you’ve read her piece about hot chicken in Nashville, right? If you haven’t, you should go read it now. Like, right now. It’s wonderful). A few days ago she posted on Instagram a picture of some oranges and carrots along with a recipe. I knew I had to try it.
As luck would have it, the grocery store had oranges on sale so I bought a bag. At home, I preheated my oven to 425 and sliced an orange into half-rounds. I placed them in a baking pan, drizzled them with olive oil, and seasoned them with pepper and a generous amount of salt.
An hour later, after showering and getting some dough for yeast rolls started (winter means eating all the carbs all the time), I pulled the dish out to find a glorious batch of roasted oranges that look like nothing so much as an August afternoon. They smell like life.
And they taste incredible. The flesh of the orange becomes custardy in the oven, warm and comforting. It comes apart on your tongue. The rind is crunchy and chewy at once, and once you get past the sweetness of the flesh there’s the rind’s pleasant bitterness. And through it all there’s a lovely saltiness. It’s sublime.
Nobody said surviving winter was easy, even with central heat and Netflix. But food can make it a little easier to bear. I know I’ll be leaning on this luscious snack every chance I get.