I shipped out a box with six Mason jars of marmalade at the downtown post office the first week of February and I've been dying to know the results ever since. What do you do when you are trying to make time pass? I obsess over the lack of rain storms and the drought. I read ever news site over and over. I conjure new flavor ideas from food mags. Tick, tock!
One idea? Go for a food-focused stroll in Santa Barbara. My favorite stops? Some of the places that stock Red Hen, of course. First: I cruise over to the Flagstone Pantry in the Public Market. A scrawl on their public chalkboard (see photo above) and a chat with Flagstone's owner, Kristen, always cheers me up. Then, gossip with the two Amys at Isabella's Gourmet. Next, parenting commiseration with Carmen and Dom at Bookends. Pretty soon hours have passed and the inevitable work has not gotten done, but still, but still. Time is no longer the enemy.
The ultimate antidote to waiting? Cooking, of course. Tonight, I convinced my husband to try BA's Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches for dinner. He was game and he marinated the boneless, skinless chicken tenders just before picking my weekly Valencia orange, Meyer lemon, kumquat and Bearrs lime haul from the ranch. I walked the dog with the kiddo and got home first to heat up the peanut oil, make the garlic-lemon mayo and whip up the buttermilk and flour dredge. The only alteration I'd make to the original recipe? Add my Spicy OJ marmalade to the bottom half of the sandwich bun for extra oomph. Yum. I'd post photos of the sandwich but we ate them too fast to even think of it.
The best part? At least 60 minutes with no thought of marmalade or contest entries. Perfect! And amazingly delicious. What could be better for a cool winter evening than a hot fried and spicy orange chicken sandwich. Perhaps a double-gold medal? We'll just have to wait and see.