Hot Giardiniera

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Giardiniera is a blend of vegetables that are pickled and can be eaten as an antipasto or used as a condiment.  This recipe is one I got from my mom years ago and have really grown to love.  It takes some prep work and you are a few days away from the finished product, but believe me it is well worth the efforts.  When you make a giardiniera using hot peppers like this recipe, it is also called “Chicago Giardiniera”, typically eaten on Italian beef sandwiches.  We eat it liberally on sandwiches, wraps, sausages, spaghetti squash, over eggs, or even on its own.

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I have experimented in the past with hot water canning this giardiniera to preserve it for months.  This is a little risky as I do not have a recipe for timing the cooking or canning of this recipe to kill of all the bacteria, so I do not feel comfortable sharing a method at this time.  I suggest keeping the giardiniera in the fridge and using it up in a few weeks to a month.  The vinegar is preserving to allow the vegetables to stay fresh in the fridge for quite a while.

The oil you use should be picked based on flavor, so pick a high quality.  Know that the oil will solidify slightly in the fridge, so let it sit out a few minutes before eating.  If you want to lighten up the recipe a little, I would suggest using a grape seed or avocado oil in place of olive oil.  The recipe makes a significant amount, 6-8 pints, based on how quickly you will consume it may be wise to plan to share or half the recipe below.

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Ingredients:

2 green bell peppers, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
8 fresh jalepenos, sliced
1-2 other hot peppers of choice
3 large celery stalks, sliced
3 medium carrots, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups fresh cauliflower florets, diced small
1/2 cup salt
water to cover
2-3 cloves garlic, freshly minced
1 tbsp dried oregano, heaping
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-5oz jar green olives, sliced (if desired)
1 C white vinegar (pickling or white wine)
1 C olive oil (or avocado or grape seed oil work well also)

Directions:

  1. Place the prepared peppers, celery, carrots, onion, and cauliflower into a large bowl that is able to be sealed or covered.  Stir in salt and fill with cold water until vegetables are covered.  Cover bowl and place in fridge overnight.2014-09-07 17.07.16
  2. The next day, drain salty water and rinse vegetables well.
  3. In a bowl mix garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper and olives.  Pour in vinegar and oil, mix well to combine with vegetables. 2014-09-08 19.40.58
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days before use.

I typically package the giardiniera into pint or cup sized mason jars immediately after mixing, however you can return mixture to the original large bowl and seal in the fridge for 2 days before distributing into easier to manage jars or containers.

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Enjoy!

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Quick Pickled Corn on the Cob

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Pickled corn on the cob has become a summertime favorite at our house.  With corn in season it’s the best time to make this side.  I first made it from a recipe from Martha Stewart’s Real Simple magazine when we were eating fresh oysters at home.  I wanted to make something fresh and tangy that would stand up well and pair with the most delicious oysters in the world, Island Creek Oysters!

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This recipe is easy and I have added other vegetables to the mix over my times making it.  Some of my favorite additions are cauliflower, carrots, garlic, celery and fennel.

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You want to make this 2 days before you plan on serving it, and eat it within one week of making for the best results.  The chili peppers give a little kick, you can add more or less based on your preference.  I usually add an extra bay leaf or two as well for a little extra spice.  The vegetables are fantastic on their own, but I highly recommend adding the red onions to burgers, sandwiches, and fish tacos.  The sliced corn is great as well in the fish tacos, salads, or with fresh cilantro and tomatoes for a quick salsa.

Ingredients: 

4 ½ cups cider vinegar
6 cups water
¾ cups Sugar
¼ cup coarse salt
1 dried bay leaf
7 red Thai chilies, 3 split open
8 large ears of corn, shucked and cut into 1.5″ medallions
1 large red onion, thinly sliced

Directions:

1. Bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt and bay leaf to a boil making sure sugar dissolves.  Stir in chilies and let cool about 10 minutes until warm.

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2. Cut and prepare corn and onion (or whatever vegetables you want to use) and layer in jar or bowl.

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3. Pour warm vinegar mixture over corn and onion and cover completely leaving jar open for an hour or two to cool before closing and putting in refrigerator for at least 1-2 days.

Serve cold and enjoy!