Recipe: Broiled Grapefruit With Maple Sugar and Mint
Twice a month, Berkshire County native Alana Chernila, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), contributes a thoughtful and heartfelt essay/recipe created exclusively for Rural Intelligence readers. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has a new one in the works, titled “The Homemade Kitchen,” due out this year.
I spent the entirety of last week tucked away in a little white room in the Catskills, watching the snow blow sideways as I worked on a few writing projects.
It was a good week.
I was there on a week-long residency at the Spruceton Inn, a new (old) “bed and bar” at the food of Hunter Mountain. Casey Sciezska and her husband Steven Weinberg are both creative in a million different wonderful ways (Steven was away the whole week on book tour for his new book, and in addition to creating a pretty magical getaway for anyone willing to make the trek out there, they also offer six artist residencies each year for those who might need a little space and quiet to work. There’s no cell service, only Internet if you sit in one particular spot, and no TVs. Instead there are mountains and firepits and, at the end of the line of rooms, a warm little wood-filled, Christmas-light lit bar that always smells like cinnamon and cedar and fills with interesting people every night. It’s like summer camp, but with really comfortable rooms and excellent bourbon.
I can’t wait to go back.
One of my favorite parts of the week was the experience of cooking for myself. Some of the rooms have full kitchenettes, and although the guests around me came and went and told me all about the great meals they had in Phoenicia, Bovina, and all the other little pockets of the county, I was so happy to make all my meals in my little room. I got really into it, and planning and setting up my simple meals became something to look forward to in my day. I think especially for those who are used to always cooking for others, it can be a welcome shift to remember how to make a meal just for one. And whereas it can be easy to slip into not cooking (and yes, there were a few crackers-and-cheese dinners) I found it so good to be able to create something special and beautiful and just to my taste. This got me thinking about all the special little dishes I like to make for myself when I’m alone, and I thought I’d share one of those today.
I’m the only grapefruit fan in my house, so it’s a fruit I get all to myself. But lately, instead of just eating it cold, I’ve been broiling it with a little maple sugar (or brown sugar, if that’s what you have), and topping it with mint. It feels fancy and special, but it only adds a few minutes of prep time. And although I tend to eat this one on my own, it’s also great for a fancy brunch.
Broiled Grapefruit with Maple Sugar and Mint
2 teaspoons maple sugar or brown sugar
2 to 3 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn
1. Preheat the broiler to a medium setting if it has one. Set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat element.
2. Cut the grapefruit in half. Pre-score the grapefruit by cutting with a paring knife around the perimeter—then cut along each edge to pre-score the bites. Don’t skip this step, as broiled grapefruit is really hard to eat if it hasn’t been pre-cut.
3. Sprinkle the maple sugar over the surface of each grapefruit half. Set the grapefruit rind-side down on a foil or parchment-lined tray, and broil until the top is golden and the flesh pops out of the rind a bit, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the mint and serve.