Dylan got me an all-vegetable cookbook for Christmas, and I immediately gravitated toward this recipe. Making the best food in the world, pickles, out of something that usually gets thrown away? I had to try it.
The book is The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Molly Katzen. I love illustrated books and I love vegetables, so this was pretty much the perfect gift. There’s a pretty painted cluster of veggies on the cover, and black and white drawings throughout.
Here’s the recipe. You need at least 4 good broccoli stems, a tablespoon of light-colored honey, 1/2 cup of hot water, and 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar.
This is how much I used, which ended up being just a tad too much to fill a medium-sized jar. Trim and peel the stems, and then cut them into smaller piece.
The recipe said to cut 1/8″ thick, matchstick sized pieces, but I didn’t want to make them that small. I want my pickled broccoli like I want my pickled cucumbers. After they’re cut up, place in boiling water and lower heat to a simmer for 1-2 minutes. This’ll soften them just a bit. Drain in cold water.
This is what you need for the brine. Place the tablespoon of honey into a big bowl and add the hot water. Dissolve the honey into the water and then add the rice vinegar. Mix in the broccoli stalks and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before transferring into the jar and refrigerating.
That’s it! We added some garlic and red pepper flakes at the last minute because you can’t really go wrong there. Since I cut thicker slices, the pickling will take longer than the recipe calls for (minimum of 4 hrs). After a few days these should be ready to eat.
If there was a big annual pickle festival, Leah and I would be there every year (OH WAIT – there is). While McClure’s has better label design, Brooklyn Brine Co. is definitely our favorite right now. We bought each other some really tasty, spicy, tangy treats for Christmas – I mean damn, have you seen Sriracha bitters before?! This stuff will last maybe a month, not even.
If you know me, you know I’m Jewish and I’ve spent every Christmas since 7th grade at my friend Brigette’s house refusing to eat honey-baked ham. Now that Dylan and I are living together, I was excited to really give Christmas a go. I’ve never had a stocking, and since Dylan just moved here from San Diego, he didn’t have one either. So, I made some. The full DIY is below. (Note: I don’t think anyone’s going to want to be making stockings for another year, but the printed fabric can be used to make anything.)
Supplies, clockwise: Fabric (non-textured, natural material will work best), fabric ink, scizzors, paint brush, lino cutting set (the cheapest one will do), rubber stamping block (I prefer the harder, sturdier rubber. It cuts more precisely than the lighter, foamier one).
Screen printing ink is great for stamping. This is my favorite kind, from New York Central, but I’m not sure where to get it outside of NYC.
Cut out the shapes. I printed the cuff and the outside. I didn’t line it because I didn’t really care. Here’s a great sewing DIY on Design*Sponge you can follow because I’m not going to go over the sewing part.
You can draw your shape onto the rubber block with a pencil before carving it.
Paint a thin layer of ink on with the brush. It doesn’t have to be totally accurate, but try printing it on a scrap piece of fabric first as a test. Sometimes you need to go back and carve out areas you may have missed.
Print! Then let it dry, hot iron, and sew.
Voilà. Bleary-eyed on Christmas morning with a new panda mug.
I tidied up and then I did some painting.
Several months ago, in San Diego, I found a little orange enamel bowl all alone on the thrift store bric-a-brac shelf. I used it for cereal and soup and all the usual applications of a bowl. The little orange bowl was happy to have me as a companion, but I knew deep down he was always a little sad when it was time to go back up into the lonely cabinet. The bowl made it all the way across the country with me to New York; I couldn’t leave him behind.
Then, last weekend, while looking around at vintage-y stuff at the Brooklyn Flea I found his family! There sat a little stack of yellow, blue and green enamel bowls! Now they are all very happy together. You can imagine the excitement they shared upon being reunited.
(I think The Brave Little Toaster really affected me as a kid.)
I made my own wrapping paper this year using one of my favorite floral patterns. I love how the red-orange and yellow-green throw a new spin on traditional holiday colors. The tags I bought from Caramelos on Etsy, though there are a ton of Etsy shops that sell little manila tags in lots of colors. I also used a thin pink ribbon for these, but as soon as I ran out I switched to cutting strips of a thin cream-colored cotton fabric. I think the wrapping may be even better than what’s inside!
I took some photos of a new tote bag I made with the black cat pattern, and just had to turn this corner of the living room into an Internet Girl haven at the same time. Dylan is going to hate it. You can buy the tote here.