Broiled Coconut Sugar Grapefruit (Vegan & Gluten Free) from Sheet Pan Suppers!
I wouldn't call myself a "runner." I've hated running ever since high school. I was always the slowest girl on my lacrosse team. I came from a dance background, so I had never really had to think about speed before. The guilt trip they put on you for making everyone else wait while you finish? Talk about negative reinforcement. It nails into your head that you're always always ALWAYS going to feel shame & guilt about your performance when exercising. Let's just say I developed a distaste for running. But now that I'm older & have unlearned a lot of that patterning (it wasn't easy) I find that moving can be an awesome meditation. Your breath becomes rhythmic and your pulse heightens -- body awareness trumps thought. I find that my mind feels more free when I can act as the watcher of my breath and pace. It makes evening jogs or a simple 10 minute stretch a pleasure, something to look forward too. Not to mention the bursting playfulness that comes with getting to move your body, to shake everything out.
A couple of days ago I went for a jog with my friend up a mountain hiking trail. I'd never done much more there than wander aimlessly around the trees. We watched the light from the sunset pool in the valley below, change the trees and the moss into brilliant markers of life and regeneration. There are long wooden bridges connecting the dirt paths and when you're pushing across, pounding your feet against the wood, it becomes a massive bass drum. The blood in our veins pushed us on and on, pressing us up the mountain. We would stop to walk every once in a while, feeling the energy slip up and down bodies. Feeling that surrender to the pace of our heart beats, to the quick inflating and deflating of our lungs, to the cold air spinning down the mountain and numbing our fingers.
In moments like this all I can do is stand and breathe in awe of our world and the strange construct and consciousness behind being a human. It's simple experiences that seem to put it all in context, how complex and yet obvious the nature of everything is.
Simple food, too, brings me to attention. A grapefruit, for example. Sliced open, it's all of these little compartments and tiny balloons filled with sugar water and acid. It takes almost no time to eat. Scooping out the bright triangles each by each until all that's left is the empty pulp and white rind. You could eat it completely thoughtlessly, without noticing its form. Or you could take a knife to it, loosening each compartment so that a shake of sugar overtop would settle into the spaces; broil it, watch it caramelize. And see it in a new light.
Whatever shakes us up and helps us to see things for what they really are has got to be alright, right?
This recipe comes from Molly Gilbert's new book Sheet Pan Suppers! You might know Molly from her lovely blog Dunk & Crumble. The only adjustment I made was replacing brown sugar with coconut sugar. But, flavor-wise, it's exactly the same. The cardamom in this recipe is just brilliant! It marries wonderfully, balancing the naturally astringent and acidic grapefruit with its cooling sweet qualities. I never thought I would love grapefruit. But broiling it completely changes it for me. It's so much sweeter and more pleasant. I hope you enjoy Molly's wonderful recipe as much as I did!
- 3 ruby red grapefruits, halved horizontally
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon flakey coarse sea salt
- *Optional: honey sweetened goat yogurt or coconut cream
- Preheat the broiler with a rack about 4 inches from the heat. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. (This isn't really necessary -- the grapefruit won't really stick to the pan -- but it makes for the easiest cleanup.)
- Place the grapefruit halves, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet pan. Use a small paring knife to section the grapefruits, cutting around the outer membrane to separate it from the flesh, and between the individual sections.
- Mix together the coconut sugar and the ground cardamom in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle each grapefruit half with the sugar mixture, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle the salt atop the sugared grapefruit (to taste).
- Broil the grapefruit, keeping a close eye on the own and rotating it if needed, until the fruit is charred at the edges and caramel-y brown in the center, 3-5 minutes.
- Let the grapefruit cool for 5 minutes before enjoying warm (I find a regular grapefruit spoon the best tool to pop out the segments and catch all of the sweet juice while eating).
- *Optional: top with a dollop of yogurt or coconut cream! Such a dream.