My motto could be “Opportunistic Living Rules.” It’s a curse and a gift to seize the adventures that pop up on a regular basis, if you keep your eyes open. Opportunistic cooking in the kitchen at Camont is an easy game to play. This is what you can do with one grapefruit.
A grapefruit. Neither local nor cheap. But definitely in season as the imported citrus from Texas or Florida or Israel start to show up in French local supermarkets. I chose two hefty pink grapefruits for morning treats and some fat lemons and two bergamots. After breakfast on Friday where we split one, I told my sister, “don’t throw away the grapefruit rind!”
I cut the fruit into quarters and, not bothering to remove the leftover pulp or membrane, I placed the pieces in a small saucepan, and buried them with a cup of sugar. The next morning, the sugar had melted and I added a cup of water to the pan (1 cup sugar to 1 cup water is a simple syrup) and placed it over a low flame to cook while I made café au lait. Once the juices had bubbled and boiled and started to thicken, I turned off the heat and left the pan to sit all day.
This morning, the peels had absorb most of the syrup, and I removed the softened interior membrane with a spoon before cutting the quarters into strips. After squeezing the pulp with a juicer or press back into the saucepan, add a 1/4 cup of orange blossom honey from Catalunya that was languishing in the bottom of a big jar. I refuse to throw these small bits away, instead I popped the jar into a pan of hot water until it liquefied. Then return this new syrup to the fire, bring to a boil, and reduce slightly.
Now drop the peel strips back into the syrup and let them cool. I was going to just chop up these bits for some fruitcake or other treats but have decided to make some chocolate covered candied peels, too. Pamplemoussettes! But first the candied peels must dry so they are in the oven with the light bulb and fan turning- no heat.
It's not all whole carcass or giant vats of confit around Camont, all the time. Like making a micro-batch of confiture, or a half a recipe of scones, some small fooling around in the kitchen is often enough to keep your creative spirits soaring while other opportunities knock on the kitchen door.