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Quick Pickled Brussels Sprouts + Watermelon Rinds

quick-pickled-watermelon-rinds-brussels-sprouts-3I’m the kind of girl who piles more sauerkraut on her ballpark hotdog than the bun can hold. I’ve never met a jar of kosher dills I didn’t like. I have an insatiable taste for the briny goodness that is the caper. That is to say, I love pickles.

Until a couple weeks ago, my love for all things preserved was limited to the store bought. But then, after relieving a watermelon of its juicy innards, I felt the usual pang of guilt while throwing away the rind. So I did what any respectable Southern girl would do: I decided to pickle it. After that, the salty part of my palate sort of took over and I’m not responsible for what happened next. You’ll just have to read about it. Hint: it has everything to do with Brussels sprouts.

N.B. These quick pickles are intended to be eaten within 24hrs to 10 days. These are not meant to be kept for long periods of time because the jars haven’t been properly sterilized for long-term storage!


quick-pickled-watermelon-rinds-brussels-sprouts-2Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind
*adapted from David Chang’s Momofuku recipe

• 1 quart watermelon rind (including ½-inch of red flesh left on the rind), cut into pieces about 1-inch square (~2 pounds; approximately half of the rind from a seedless-sized watermelon)
• 1 cup cider vinegar
• ½ cup water
• 1 cup sugar
• 2½ teaspoons table salt or 3¾ teaspoons Kosher salt (Kosher salt has more volume by weight*)
• ½ tsp turmeric
• ½ tsp mustard seed
• ¼ tsp celery seed
• 1 habanero, finely chopped

1. Trim the rind of ½ a seedless-sized watermelon of all the dark green, leaving about ½” red on each rind. Cut to about 1” cubes.

2. Combine everything except the habanero and watermelon in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.

3. Add watermelon rinds to pickling liquid and bring back to a boil. Simmer for one minute and turn off heat.

4. Let cool then fill two mason jars with rinds and liquid. Top with ½ a habanero per jar.

Pickled Brussels Sprouts

• 1-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1-1/4 cup water
• 1 Tbsp sea/pickling salt
• 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 4 chiles de árbol
• 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
• ½ tsp black peppercorns
• 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut in thirds

1. Cut brussels sprouts into thirds and let soak in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes.

2. Thinly slice 6 cloves of garlic and set aside.

3. Stir together vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

4. While the pickling liquid is heating up, add ¼ tsp of mustard seed and black peppercorns to each mason jar. Then, add in the Brussels sprouts. Finally, add one or two dried chiles de árbol to each jar, depending on your preferred spice level.

5. Once the liquid is boiling, pour it over the Brussels sprouts and let cool. Once cool, top with lids and refrigerate.

quick-pickled-watermelon-rinds-brussels-sprouts-7 *the kind of salt you use matters! Here’s a handy conversion chart.


DIY Watermelon Wedges

diy-watermelon-wedges-9It appears that the end of summer is once again upon us, and, for the most part, I’m okay with that. I won’t miss the suffocating humidity or the plague of bugs that seems to have recently descended on our yard (and creeps ever slowly toward the doorstep), but I will miss the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables so casually available at the twice-weekly farmer’s market in town. Sweet corn aside—as I could, and one day will, wax poetic about this particular crown jewel of Iowa produce for post after blog post—I’m especially reluctant to part ways with the ever resplendent, ever refreshing watermelon. And so I devised a plan, born of seasonal desperation and more than a little inspiration from the mind of that reigning queen of cobbling creativity: Sophia Webster.

I would buy a pair of steeply discounted cork wedges (thanks, Nordstrom Rack), stock up on some all-purpose acrylic paint and inky black crystals and go to town on the aforementioned cork wedges with a couple of brushes and some super glue. What could go wrong?*

diy-watermelon-wedges-1For this project, you’ll need the following:
• a pair of simple black wedges with a heel high enough to accommodate both rind and flesh of the watermelon (unfortunately, the exact pair I used are sold out, but there are a lot of great sale options to choose from here)
• acrylic paint in the red and green shades of your choosing
• E6000 a.k.a. the Best Glue Ever
• tweezers
• opaque black rhinestones
• a couple of small flat paintbrushes

diy-watermelon-wedges-5Our unsuspecting canvas awaits: wedges that are cute, surprisingly comfortable and simple enough to handle what we’re going to throw at them. I particularly like this pair since the split heel makes it look like someone took a hearty bite out of the watermelon. It wasn’t me.

diy-watermelon-wedges-21. After we’ve dusted off our blank canvases to ensure there isn’t any schmutz to sully the paint, the first thing to do is mix our colors. Since I have a minor obsession with the nuances of hue—and I don’t like making things too easy for myself—I opted to combine a little bit of FolkArt Kelly Green with Americana Sea Breeze for my rind color, and a little bit of Americana Watermelon Slice and Dragon Fruit to create a beautifully saturated red color. Once the colors are mixed, we’re all set to start painting.

diy-watermelon-wedges-42. Since we’re dealing with a lot of curves, taping off this top part would be a lot more trouble than it’s worth. Instead, use a small flat brush to trace along the top of the wedge and create a straight line. I traced around once and then repeated once more adding a second line of paint below the first, essentially doubling the width of the stripe while allowing the top of the heel and my rectangular brush to act as guides and create relatively even and straight lines.

diy-watermelon-wedges-143. Once the green is dry to the touch, go back in with the red hue to fill in the rest of the heel, being careful not to overlap the two colors or leave space between them. Let dry.

diy-watermelon-wedges-84. Our fourth and final step is to place our little crystal seeds. To ensure a secure bond, dip the back of each crystal into a dab of glue and let sit for a few seconds before applying. I used a pair of tweezers to place crystals randomly around the heel, thus saving my fingers from layers of perpetual stickiness and allowing for more exact positioning. Press and hold each crystal for 30 seconds after you place it, just to make sure it’s really stuck on there. Once you’ve scattered your seeds artfully across the cork, let the glue dry completely and you’ll be ready to skip off to a glamorous picnic, Sophia Webster style. Don’t have one planned? Grab some cheese, wine and a blanket and head to the nearest park, pronto. Just keep these babies far away from hungry ants.

diy-watermelon-wedges-10 diy-watermelon-wedges-11 diy-watermelon-wedges-12*Ominous foreshadowing aside, this is actually a very easy DIY to execute successfully! All you need is a relatively steady hand and a good (but not too good) show to binge watch while you paint your cares away.