September 25, 2012
It’s canning and pickling season but, sadly, this year I’m spread to thin too join the fun. Or at least I didn’t get it together in time. I might whip up a small batch of plum jam with some fall plums, still gloriously abundant. I’m also considering canning the peaches I got at this weekend’s farmer’s market. But then I’d have to skip eating the last peaches of the season in all their delicious, raw glory. I’m torn.
Even if I manage to slip in these canning projects under the wire, it’s pretty much dunzo. But instead of lamenting a sad lack of pickles and jams, preserved fruits and tomatoes, I’m getting creative. Take that canning.
I’ve always wanted to pickle my own giardiniera, an Italian (Italian-American?) combination of pickled vegetables often served as an antipasto. There are variations, but it’s usually a tart and spicy combo of onions, celery, carrots, cauliflower and hot pepper. Since pickling my own giardiniera is unlikely to happen, I made a roasted veggie variation. And it totally hit the spot.
I may not be able to get it together to can, but I came up with one mean roasted veggie dish. This is spectacular! Exactly what I wanted. And it’s wayyy easier than pickling. Take that canning.
* Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
* Cut a washed head of cauliflower into florets.
* Trim washed carrots and cut any thick ones in half (or in quarters) lengthwise.
* Cut the tops off of washed fryer peppers, remove seeds and cut into quarters. (I used fryer peppers instead of onions. You can use either or both.)
* Cut 1-2 fresh, hot cherry peppers: one, deseeded, if you want mild, up to two with seeds if you want spicy.
* Put all of the veggies on a rimmed sheet pan with about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
* Roast veggies for about 40 minutes, until tender throughout and caramelized in spots.
* Toss roasted veggies with fresh cut parsley and a dash (or two!) of red wine vinegar. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.
These veggies make a beautiful dish, colorful and full of flavor. Older kids will love the tang and the fact that this dish has options built in. (Give one to them: let kids pick through the veg medley and eat what they want.) Puree one or a combination of finished vegetables for babies. You can even hand over a soft piece of carrot or cauliflower for an early finger food. And it’s as easy as that.
(Now I’m inspired to pickle my own giardiniera. There’s still time! 1 for Stacie, 1 for canning. It’s a tie.)