where the sky is bigger + broil your grapefruit


When I flew to Dallas in December it was my third time visiting the Lone Star State. Three visits later and I still find it a mystery to describe. It does live under its own flag, but the lifestyles under that flag are as vast as the sky. The sky is the first thing that I notice each time I arrive. It just feels bigger than it usually does. Of course, it can't be, but it just looks more-never ending, more infinite. And so I find that I notice it more. Instead of looking at what is in front of me, I cannot help but look up. I've been to deserts in Northern Africa and to beaches in the Caribbean, but there is just something about that Texas sky.

It isn't just the sky that feels different, but also the ground. In North Texas the ground hops and skips, but it barely rolls or curves. It is more clay than soil and so when it rains the water stays on the surface, unabsorbed. Parking lots begin to look like wading pools and roads start to feel like canals.

Outside of Dallas, tall buildings disappear. As you drive away from the city fields begin to replace skyscrapers, cow and horses replace people, and an assortment of barns, ranches and trailers replace typical suburban homes. There is just something about this state that grabs my attention. I don't have a driver's license, but the thought of road tips to Marfa alone has finally motivated me to sign up.


These contrasts - a sky bigger than normal and dirt that is more clay than soil, ranches big enough to be countries and trailers too small to imagine living in - are also present in the food. I ate at a greasy spoon diner for breakfast and at a sleek bistro with updated versions of Southern classics for brunch. I ate a deep-fried apricot pie in small-town Canton, Texas and pumpkin bread with cream cheese icing at a gluten free bakery in downtown Dallas. I ate deep-fried pickles on the run and made green smoothies at home. There was fast food and slow food.  Fresh food and fried food. Expensive food and cheap food.


And then there was grapefruit. I visited during grapefruit season. My mom and I bought a box of sweet, red Texas grapefruit and we ate a lot of it, the whole box and then some. We made smoothies with grapefruit juice. I ate them as if they were oranges, peeling them and then eating them segment by segment. I took the approach of my childhood, minus the heaping amounts of sugar, and cut the grapefruit in half and ate it with a spoon. I juiced grapefruit after grapefruit and made curd and jam. However, I did not broil it, but now I wish that I had. 


I just recently learned about broiled grapefruit. Perhaps you are well informed and have been broiling your grapefruit for years. Per usual, the internet was responsible for this discovery. All of a sudden I kept encountering articles and posts that instructed me to cut a grapefruit in half, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar and then broil it until caramelized. And so I did as I was told and the results were okay. Just okay, I thought.

I love that when in Italy in addition to being able to order panna cotta or tiramisu for dessert, I also have the option of a plate of freshly cut pineapple, or orange slices, or just strawberries (not even with cream). I often eat fruit as is. A grapefruit cut in half with just a spoon. A peach so ripe that I have to eat it over the sink to catch the juice. You'll often find an apple in my bag and there is a well-stocked fruit bowl in my kitchen at all times. My favourite snack as both a child and an adult remains the same: a bowl of fruit. Good fruit doesn't require much more than a knife and sometimes, like a good peach or apple, doesn't even require that. However, heat, spices and a little bit of honey can go a long way and add some variety to how we eat our fruit.

Cinnamon just wasn't right for me. Don't get me wrong, I do love cinnamon. I, too, find it a cozy spice, but I also find it to be at times boring. It is just that cinnamon dominates. It hogs the spotlight and other spices, such as cardamom, star anise and saffron, are ignored by recipes for all things sweet. Ginger isn't pushed to the sidelines quite as much as the other spices, but I think it deserves just as much, if not more, attention that cinnamon. Sorry cinnamon, but you're just overused. 

Instead of cinnamon and sugar, the second time that I broiled my grapefruit I added ginger and honey and it was through this combination that I learned that broiled grapefruit is something special. But that is just me. The best cooking is always done according to individual taste. If you prefer brown sugar to honey, use the sugar. Same goes with maple syrup or white sugar or agave nectar. Cardamom instead of ginger, why not? Or, how about a pinch of dried red chile with a bit more honey to mix spicy with sweet? I feel like I should change the label recipe on this blog to formula. Most foods I share are about flavor combinations or ideas on how to eat or cook something, as opposed to a regulated account of what exactly to do. 

Broil some grapefruit for breakfast, eat it as a snack or serve it for dessert. Broil three or four at a time, or just make one for yourself. And do let me know if you have a favourite combination of sugar and spice to top it with.


Broiled Grapefruit with Ginger and Honey

inspired by the Kitchn

serves 1

ingredients

1 red grapefruit
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp honey

Preheat your oven to broil.

Cut the grapefruit in half and with a sharp knife carefully cut around the interior of the grapefruit and each membrane. Essentially, cut it the same way you would if you were to serve it raw in a bowl with a spoon. Place the grapefruit halves in an ovenproof dish and drizzle honey on top of each half and then a sprinkling of ground ginger (adjust the quantities of both to suit your taste). 

Place the grapefruit in the oven and broil until the top is caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Let the grapefruit cool slightly and then serve. 

Guten! 

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