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    Elvia's Mexican Pickled Vegetables

    These spicy pickled vegetables are like a Mexican version of Italian giardiniera and are delicious with tacos and as a condiment for any sandwich or burger. The recipe makes a large batch but it keeps well in the refrigerator. Packed into glass jars, it makes a nice gift.


    • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
    • 2 teaspoons allspice berries
    • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
    • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
    • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1 large head cauliflower, broken into small florets
    • 1 pound pearl onions, fresh (peeled; see Tip) or frozen (thawed)
    • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
    • 1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
    • 1 small habanero, or 2 small jalapeño peppers, stemmed and thinly sliced
    • 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
    • 6 bay leaves
    • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds


    Step 1
    Place peppercorns, allspice berries, coriander seeds and cloves on an 8-inch-square double layer of cheesecloth. Bring up the sides, making a bundle that encloses the spices, and tie at the top with kitchen string (or put the spices in a stainless-steel tea ball).
    Step 2
    Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat Add sliced onion and garlic cloves and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, pearl onions, carrots, bell pepper and habanero (or jalapeños). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in vinegar, bay leaves, oregano, salt, cumin seeds and the spice bundle and cook 2 minutes more.
    Step 3
    Let cool for 15 minutes before transferring everything to a large nonreactive bowl (see Tip). Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cool, about 2 hours. Serve using a slotted spoon to leave behind excess oil.


    Tips: If using fresh pearl onions, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add onions and cook 1 minute to loosen the skins. Drain. When cool enough to handle, trim both ends, leaving enough of the root end to keep the onions whole while cooking. Peel off the skins. A nonreactive bowl or pan—stainless-steel, enamel-coated or glass—is necessary when cooking with acidic foods, such as vinegar, to prevent the food from reacting with it.

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