Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Perfect Recipe

I have made a recipe discovery that I absolutely MUST tell you about. It's my new appetizer and snack food addiction, and I'm certain this one is going to make it into my menus and gift baskets for decades to come.
Now, It might not sound or seem like much at first glance, but if you have ever, EVER aspired to make any of the recipes I rave (or complain) about here, this is the one you've got to try:

Pickled Vegetables

As is my typical party food MO, I was looking for something different but not so different as to alienate the typically Midwestern palates of Boy's family. This recipe fit the bill perfectly and seemed an interesting and elegant alternative to that plain old crudite plate or pickles and olives from a jar. Plus it was quick and easy to throw together.
As it turns out, it was one of my favorite dishes of the Thanksgiving meal. Because there were several other appetizer choices on the menu, I only made half a batch but I'm still enjoying the leftovers-still addictive and even tastier today than last week- and looking forward to cooking up another batch for gift-giving.

Unlike that harsh bottled Italian giardiniera, it's pleasantly pickle-y without being overwhelmingly biting and sour. It's a bit sweet and ever so slightly spicy, managing to walk a perfect line between sweet and sour and hot which is something I've never found in a bottled, pickled anything. Half a recipe makes plenty, a full recipe would make enough for all your neighbors, and it's beautiful...imagine it in a big, wide-mouthed glass jar tied with a ribbon as a lovely holiday host/ess gift. Plus it goes great with olives and cheese and a glass of wine which in my world always wins the honor of being dubbed a perfect recipe.

MMMMMMMMmm for pickled vegetables!

Hi SG,
I hope it is OK that I added you to my list o' blogs.
Hey thanks! I am currently planning appys for a Christmas party with about 35+ guests, and this looks great. Any other faves you can recommend? Would be much appreciated...
Hi Sandi! YUM, my favorite course!
I will always, always do a cheese plate for any party. You can never go wrong with Brie en croute and I love that you can plate that with any number of homemade chutneys, jams, fruits or whatever and it's always fabulous. And in addition to some stand-by cut cheese favorites like Prima Donna Gouda, Sage Derby or Drunken Goat and any great blue or gorgonzola with fresh sliced pear, grapes, apple and water crackers, I'm currently LOVING fresh goat cheese drizzled with honey and fresh cracked black pepper. Fast and easy.
I have a fantastic recipe for fig and proscuitto pizza and a calzone-like thing I call sausage bread I'd share (email me at splatgirl@gmail.com if you want them), bruschetta is always popular, seasoned roasted pecans or almonds, cheddar pecan crisps, blue cheese mushroom crostini(both on epicurious.com) reuben dip, artichoke dip with sundried tomatos...
I seriously could go on for an hour here!
Those veggies look great. What do you think the substitution possibilities would be — broccoli, baby carrots, zukes? What about something soft like mushrooms thrown in without any pre-boiling?
Hi Kersten!
I used just sliced carrot, red and yellow peppers, celery and cauliflower, but the recipe calls for olives and peppercini too.
I think whole baby carrots might be overcooked on the outside before they reached the ideal state of tendercrisp via blanching, but I have a particular dislike for smooshy carrots. The sliced carrot I used got just a bare minute of blanching which seemed to be perfect.

I think what I like most about this recipe is the stuff ended up with the most perfect al dente crunch. That said, I think softer more watery stuff like zucchini and mushrooms would work. I would avoid anything too green like broccoli because of the tendency to turn funky colors when cooked/brined.
HEART mushrooms. Gonna try that one for sure and maybe purple onion? Pickled onions. Yum!
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