Hot Fruit Friday
Looking back on July with team Creamline
Happy Friday! Happy Leo season! Between traveling and heat waves and Christine’s household catching COVID, it’s been quite a month for everyone. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Part I: Cold Fruit and an Easy No-Waste Recipe
CC: TL;DR Today, I’m sharing a watermelon rind smoothie recipe that I threw together one hot afternoon and am now obsessed with. The flavor reminds me of how the Glow Recipe Niacinimide dew drops smell, like artificial watermelon in the best way.
Watermelon rind is hydrating, high in fiber, offers a little amino acid boost, and tastes kinda like cucumber when you blend it with other fruit. It gives a real “I bought this in Williamsburg for $18” vibe to your smoothie.
And, while I very much recommend trying out this “recipe” (more of a recommended flavor combo, really), feel free to use it as inspiration for your own perfect watermelon rind smoothie. If you don’t keep lemon verbena or strawberry puree around, try something else! Smoothies are low-stakes! I just made a version using pineapple, dragon fruit, mint, and a squeeze of lime and it was excellent.
Making something that brings you joy using something that most people consider a waste product is the goal here. If it tastes good, you did it right.
If you need a zero-waste pep-talk, start here. If you just want the recipe, keep scrolling.
America wastes a lot of food. Some say 30-40%. Horrifyingly, this is pre-grocery store waste, not even the stuff that goes bad once it’s in our fridges. Welcome to unfettered capitalism, where we extract value where we can and discard what remains.
Does this statistic stress you out? It often stresses me out. My fridge reflects when I’m in “hypervigilant about wasting stuff” mode, with dehydrated carrot tops in the door that I keep meaning to turn into green sauces and cheese rinds littering the freezer, waiting to be thrown into a pot of beans. This is a great way for me to feel like I’m being held hostage by my fridge (thanks, decision paralysis!). It’s also a great way for me to ensure I eat terribly that week, because I make a lot of stuff that I think I should eat but don’t actually enjoy eating.
I do not like watermelon rind pickles—they become mushy nearly instantaneously and I don’t find they add much to a meal—but I have made them countless times because I didn’t want to waste my watermelon rinds. Of course, then the watermelon rind pickles were the things going to waste, rather than the watermelon rinds. Dumb!
Many of us are working to be gentler inhabitants of the planet. Many of us are also working to be gentler inhabitants of our own lives. For me, working on these two things in tandem is much easier than approaching them separately. The times when I am the least wasteful are not when I’m stressed about wasting things, but instead when I am grateful for the things I have and want to use them in a way that brings happiness and nourishment to me and my loved ones.
This is the place from which the watermelon rind smoothie came, which makes me love it more. I hope it brings a bit of enjoyment to your day as well.
(note: if you’re not a smoothie girlie, Jake Stavis of Digestivo fame just wrote about an H Mart watermelon rind kimchi recipe that I have my eye on. I also think you could make a lovely cold savory soup with watermelon rinds, along the lines of this Cold Cucumber Soup recipe from Food & Wine)
2 watermelon rinds leftover from 2 individual portions of watermelon ( ≈ a quarter of a small watermelon)
2 TB strawberry puree (or strawberries + honey)
Two mint leaves
Two lemon verbena leaves
Squeeze of lemon
1.5 cups water
Optional: A few ice cubes. This can be blended in with the smoothie if your fruit wasn’t frozen or you can pour your smoothie over ice at the end if you prefer more of a juice-like consistency.
Blend until smooth. Pour over ice, if desired. Enjoy. Tag us at @creamlineletter on Instagram when you do!
Part II: Hot Fruit and Cleaning House
TG: Hello from mid-air! I’m on my way to Austria for some on-the-ground reporting and long covid treatment (more on that next letter). Belfast is playing on the tiny screen above my knees, and there’s a terrier having a wheezing fit in the seat on the other side of it. I’m slowly finding out just how few airlines offer WiFi. Austrian Air isn’t one of them.
I’ve realized that while I may not be the master of my fate (nor my own uterus, apparently) I am now the captain of the portable grill Stephen and I picked up at Lowe’s for America’s shittiest birthday yet. We sat on an XL bedsheet in a shady spot in Prospect Park putting the thing together far longer than it should have taken — a surprising amount of assembly required! — humming along to the ambient soundtrack of puppies yipping and salsa music thumping from neighboring cookouts. Once the grill was finally smoking, I realized I may have gone overboard. I made a tangy-sweet BBQ sauce, reserved about half, and cut it with water 1:1 to use for basting blackened barbecue chicken and shrimp skewers. There were mustard-slathered Ends Meat sausages in buns served with The Pickle Guys sauerkraut and punchy pickled pineapple, tuna steaks, flounder brightened up by flaky sea salt and fat squeezes of lemon, carrot-studded Hawaiian macaroni salad, and zucchini and red pepper stacks for a little virtue.
The dessert was my go-to summer people pleaser: grilled peaches with cinnamon sugar butter. It’s as easy as it sounds: soften some butter and pack it into a half-pint container, then just add cinnamon and sugar (about 2:3) and mix. Once you’re grillside, just half and de-pit your peaches — the sweetest and juiciest you can find— rub them in EVOO, and line them up on the grill cut side down. Once they’ve softened a bit and you spot those dark, satisfying griddle marks on the pulp, take ‘em off. Even if your butter firmed up again in your cooler, it’ll melt into a glaze when you dollop it onto the peaches, and will play perfectly with a good pinch of flaky salt. Unlike Gregory here, I am definitively Team Hot Fruit.
One annoying post-picnic task I never look forward to, though: unloading and washing the sticky containers that remain, especially when all I want to do is shower off the sweat and sunscreen and lay next to the AC with a wet head and a lemon Sprindrift. But more and more, I feel increasingly insane when my kitchen, and my house in general, is in disarray. I’ve been trying to purge items, namely clothes and beauty products, but it’s not been an easy job. Glow Recipe graciously treated some editors a session with Sorted by Anna a few months back, and holy shit, what a gift! One of their team’s organizers spent five whole hours turning my cluttered, double-stuffed beauty closet into a neat, orderly display, something I could have never accomplished on my own. I’m talking hundreds of lipsticks, oodles of hot tools, and palette after palette thoughtfully sorted and grouped in a way that makes pulling products for testing and shoots simple. I desperately need the same done in my bedroom.
That said, I’ve never been drawn to minimalism, even when it comes to decorating. There aren’t many surfaces in my apartment that are somehow frilled up. A curated selection of books, oddities and vases sit on my sills and tables, my island is bordered by aesthetically-pleasing oils and vinegars. (Acid League’s Wild Berry Balsamic and Smoked Malt are the current stars of that line-up.) Candles, lip balm, a bottle of sexy Ice Hot for my neck, and some color-coordinated writing materials are organized by my bedside. Lately, though, some of the chicer items taking up my counter space are actually made for keeping the space tidy. In the past few months, there’s been a major boom in cleaning supplies and formulas that were created with both form and function in mind. I’ve been testing quite a few, and some have made Sunday afternoon cleaning feel a little more glamorous.
Diptyque’s new Odor Removing Candle lets me imagine that instead of a (truly adorable) cat cafe, I’ve got a full-blown vegetable garden outside my window — fat, ripe tomatoes on the vine flanked by basil and thyme. It’s gorgeous, and it does what it promises: any char or sink-soaked smells lingering in the air are quickly replaced by the wax’s pleasing vegetal throw. The rose-scented hand wash from Homecourt, Courteney Cox’s new home line, was quickly drained after a stint on my bathroom sink. The brand’s surface cleaners look as sophisticated as they smell, as does the trio of glass, bathroom, and multi-purpose cleaning sprays from Saje. The respective spray bottles are minimalist and color-coded, which pleases my brain immensely. Did I need a new plunger? Not really. But Staff’s fancy-ass option looks mighty fine next to my toilet. (The brand very kindly sent me their oven mitts, too, and they smile at me while I roast eggplant. They’re giving Plank from Ed, Edd, n Eddy.)
I’m hoping some sexy grill scrapers will drop soon, but until then, Mr. Bar-B-Q it is.
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Part III: Pretty Words and a Wish List
If you know Creamline, you know we love two things: poetry and retail therapy. Here, what we’re consuming and manifesting.
TG: Since I’m currently soaring over the Atlantic, I’m leaning in with a travel-themed love poem by our newest Poet Laureate (yay!) Ada Limón. (Ed note: her last name just auto-corrected to Limoncellos, which says a lot about where I’m at lately.)
THE PROBLEM WITH TRAVEL
Every time I’m in an airport,
I think I should drastically
change my life: Kill the kid stuff,
start to act my numbers, set fire
to the clutter and creep below
the radar like an escaped canine
sneaking along the fence line.
I’d be cable-knitted to the hilt,
beautiful beyond buying, believe
in the maker and fix my problems
with prayer and property.
Then, I think of you, home
with the dog, the field full
of purple pop-ups—we’re small
and flawed, but I want to be
who I am, going where
I’m going, all over again.
… and now, what I’ve got in my metaphorical cart:
Too many books: I picked up Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s Yes, Daddy, and Angela Mi Young Hur’s Folklorn, and Colleen Hoover’s Verity (#BookTok is persistent) specifically for this trip. Jury’s still out if I’ll have time to get through them all, but I’m still itching to read Piranesi by Susanna Clarke and The Cartographers by Peng Shepard.
This Recreational Habits Set: I mean, how cute? These shorts would sure as hell look sweet upon a seat on a bicycle built for two — or just a City Bike with a four-pack of my new favorite park pounder from Grimm Ales in the basket. I’m also just leaning into classy comfort for August and September, because it’s just too fucking hot for anything form-fitting.
A round-trip ticket to Charles de Gaulle: I’m scheming a trip to Paris for my 30th but the monthly phone reminders that Sally Mae is coming for our collective asses in two weeks isn’t comforting.
A Fat Ass Donation to This Abortion Fund: Preferably made in Clarence Thomas’ name. (Christine note: I second this!)
CC: I know nothing about poet Abby Rosenthal, but I adore this poem of theirs. Lately, I’m curious about the scraps of joy and awe that can be found in seemingly unremarkable moments and this poem is so emblematic of that
You overeager friend
you spiky kiss,
bright cog of spring
memory’s yellow button—
I remember my father’s hands
at your narrow throat
(man in mortal combat
with a flower)
and now you’re here again
and here and here
and here again as well
exactly as you’ve always been
exactly like the rest of us:
ego’s small extravaganza,
brief, brash blow of joy,
Now, a wishlist
Another trip to New Orleans: This is a hot, steamy, non-optimal time of year to visit, but I do not care. Take me to Marjie’s, Seafood Sally’s, Sneaky Pickle/Bar Brine, and the nearest dive bar to where I’m staying. That city is so goddamn magical and I could use some magic.
This Bottle of Mezcal: Vermont’s liquor is state-run, meaning the options are . . . . limited. It’s gotten a bit better since I moved here in 2018, but I still very much miss the selection I had in NYC. This gorgeous Espadin bottle (i.e. made with the most commonly-used agave variety) really does follow through on that “cake batter” tasting note they mention.
A gift card to my local movie theater: I am very open to receiving this as a gift (my birthday is coming up!), but also I may just get this for myself one of these days. I love the experience/the idea of going to the movies, but rarely actually go to the movies. I suspect if I already had funds set aside for movies, that I may go see them more.
Also too many books: This Ligurian cookbook. Ross Gay’s forthcoming book of essays (if you’re unfamiliar with his work, please treat yourself to the joy of Ross Gay: start by listening to/reading the transcript of this episode of On Being). This book about how female animals have sex (found via this very fun piece entitled, “Overthrowing the Patriarchy through Ecstatic Sex”).
Thank you, as always, for being here! Hope you’re in for a weekend that is as figuratively hot as it is temperature-hot.