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Giardiniera: Italian Pickled Vegetables… or Italian Pickled Ass? [by jackie]

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This holiday season I decided to put my awesome cooking skills to some good use. I picked out a nice looking pickling project from one of my many Italian cookbooks and got to it. I knew this would be a perfect gift for my boyfriend Steve’s parents because they are both full-blooded Italians (and would kill me if it tasted wrong, dammit!)

Now this recipe called for many steps and many ingredients. It took me three grocery store trips and since Western Mass sucks (or is it just North Adams?) I had to search from Big Y to Stop and Shop all the way to Price Chopper to find some freaking fresh thyme and this weird onion thing (which I never ended up using because none of the places had it.) This is when my worries and doubts first started to take hold. I followed the directions carefully, but because each vegetable was a little bigger than what was called for I ended up having almost double the amount. I won’t get into the silly details but let’s just say there was a bit of a salting issue.

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The next day I had to lay out all the ingredients and let them dry out for three hours before mixing them with garlic, tomatoes and oil. I decided to go to the mall and drop Alicia off at work on the way. This meant I had to be out of the house by 1:00 and I only laid the veggies out at 11:30. So for fear that Alicia would kill me if I didn’t get her to work on time I quickly threw the ingredients into their jars with all the fixings…Oh wait! I forgot the tomatoes and garlic and oil! So I took it all out and mixed it quickly and oh God Alicia was standing there and nobody knew the horror, the disaster that this was all turning out to be.

I ended up getting it all in there but I can’t help but be a little nervous. These jars of goodness are supposed to sit in the pantry for a month before eating. I explained this to Steve’s parents and his dad joked, “Oh, will they be poisonous by then?” “No, of course not!” I replied. But I can’t help but have a little bit of uncertainty in the back of my mind.

Try this Giardiniera recipe at home!

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Ingredients

* 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
* 3 large capsicum (1 each of red, yellow and green), core and seeds removed, cut into 1cm squares
* 200g baby eggplant, cut into 1cm pieces
* 200g zucchini, cut into 1cm pieces
* 8-10 cauliflower florets
* 50g green beans, ends trimmed
* 1 carrot, sliced
* 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
* 100g button mushrooms
* 175g sea salt
* 120g red cherry tomatoes
* 120g yellow cherry tomatoes
* 6 garlic cloves
* 7 tbs (140ml) walnut oil
* 700ml white wine vinegar
* 5-6 bay leaves
* 5 sprigs of thyme
* 1 tsp black peppercorns

*Editor’s Note: Jackie sent me a link for this recipe from a European site aka they have the measurements in grams instead of our metric system. Although I’m sure some of you could slap this on your scale and go to town. – Angela

For instructions and a recipe, click here!

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