When I first started writing here on Relishing It more than three years ago, figuring out what to make and blog about was… a process… and sometimes a struggle. Back then my focus was on making things that I thought you would want to see, which it turn, would bring you back here more often. It wasn’t really about web traffic or anything like that– I guess it was more about validation. Knowing that people were seeing what I could do.
I used to bake a lot more here. Baking posts always get the ‘oohhs’ and ‘aahs’. I also used to pour through cookbooks and magazines to discover that impressive dish that would be “blog-worthy”. To be honest, it was a bit stressful, and more than a bit exhausting at times. Fast forward to the present, and I’m much more comfortable with my posts. I feel like I’m more true to myself and my interests– which is really why I started this blog in the first place. It wasn’t to try to make money, or to show off complex recipes that I would make only once. I really started Relishing It to build up a recipe index that reflects who I am, and to chronicle my relationship with food. I go back to previous posts to reference recipes so often. Many are my absolute favorites, with a smidge of randoms and experiments while I was trying to figure this whole thing out.
I still do bake, but not as much. It can appear more impressive, but it’s also more exacting, time consuming, and from a health perspective, just not very sustainable. Now, I focus much more on food that I’m interested in , and that my family regularly eats. Mostly-healthy, nutritious food that I can feel good about eating. I still enjoy learning new techniques, I think I love to tinker in the kitchen now more than ever. Blogging has been wonderful for that. Where was I going with all of this? Well, I guess the point is, I no longer have to seek out things to blog about– the process is just so much more organic now. For awhile now, I’ve been just making things that make me happy, and that has made blogging so much easier.
Now that sumer is here, I’m eating a ton of vegetables. And not just boring run-of-the-mill-broccoli-as-a-side-dish vegetables. I love pickled vegetables, and with this recipe I hope that you will too. It takes almost no time to make and tastes so much better than those store-bought versions. Grab whatever vegetables you have, chop them up, add a few dried herbs, make a super-quick brine, throw it all in a jar, and put them in the fridge. There you have it– you just made yourself giardiniera. It’s wonderful on sandwiches (roast beef, in particular!), salads, or straight from the jar. Once you taste this– you’ll be making it every week, it’s that easy, and it really is a perfect snack. Many recipes have lots of sugar (not my deal) and some have olive oil mixed in. I’m a little frugal with my olive oil, and don’t feel like it is necessary. For me, this is a perfect balance of vegetables, vinegar, and sugar (just a smidge to temper the vinegar). Add spicy peppers, if you want. Or don’t. As I always say– make it yours! I truly love this version and I hope you do, too. Give them a try!
The Recipe: Giardiniera
(Makes 2 quarts)
* Chop a variety of your favorite vegetables to fit snuggly into 2 quart jars
The above mix contains:
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins
2 celery stalks, chopped
6-7 large radishes, sliced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced
4 serrano peppers, sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
For the Brine:
3 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 dried bay leaves
Divide the chopped vegetables evenly between 2 sterilized quart jars. Pack them in there! Divide the oregano, thyme, and peppercorns between the two jars, as well. Bring the brine ingredients to a boil– this infuses the bay leaves and dissolves the salt and sugar. Remove from heat, then place one bay leaf in each jar. Pour the brine into each of the jars while it is hot. This will soften the vegetables just a bit. Let cool at room temperature. Place a lid on them, give a shake and refrigerate. Contents will be fully ready within a day. If you’re impatient, you may even try them sooner. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by Relishing It! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!