Homemade Giardiniera Recipe

My family has an unhealthy obsession with olives, pickles and yes, spicy giardiniera! In fact, I started getting a little concerned by how many store bought jars of this stuff we were going through. I figure, if I make my own pickled vegetable, at least I will know what exactly is in there and what kind of vegetable are being used.

Guess what? There’s no way I can go back to the store bought variety, this is so much better. No surprise there. But really, can something pickled taste fresh? Cause it does.

It’s simple, all you need is a large tupperware or 2 large mason jars if you want to make it look pretty, and a little bit of patience. The patience is the hardest part, I had to talk my husband out of going to the store to buy a jar of this stuff while he was waiting! I told you, unhealthy obsession. There’s worse vices out there though, and we take consolation in that.

What should you do with your jars of giardiniera? Assuming you don’t eat it all with your fingers straight from the jar, you could chop it up on a salad. You could put it on top of a sandwich or maybe on a meatball sub. Yum! You could casually pull a jar out of your fridge when you have guests over and serve it as a little snack. No big deal, this is totally homemade and organic.

Whatever you do, use fresh vegetables, local and organic if possible. And put the vegetables you like in there! I might make my next batch just straight cauliflower for my daughter. You also can control the spice level. I kept it real mild, but next time- it’s on!

Ingredients

cauliflower, half a head chopped into nice size florets

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 red bell pepper

1/2 jar drained sliced peperoncinis

2 1/2 cups white vinegar

3 cups water

3/4 cups sugar

5 TB kosher salt

1 t whole grain mustard

1/4 t red pepper flakes (or more, or maybe a sliced jalapeño pepper, or maybe sirracha!)

Directions

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Get an ice bath ready. You are going to quickly blanch the cauliflower for 2 minutes in boiling water (no more than this), drain, then stop the cooking process by tossing the cauliflower into ice water. Some people blanch the carrots as well but I do not like cooked carrots, I do not like them Sam I Am.

Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard and pepper flakes to a gentle boil and stir until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Let it cool.

Arrange your vegetable in your mason jars or toss them in a plastic bucket with a lid. Whatever. I personally am an arranger. Oh yeah, maybe I should mention in case you were wondering, we’re not canning anything here. I’m just putting them in mason jars for fun, and because I don’t know how to can things. I am going to keep mine in the fridge and we are going to eat them within a week. Ok, probably in 2 days.

Once the liquid is cooled down, pour it over the vegetables, put on the lid and into the fridge they go all pretty and dolled up. Now this is the hard part. You have to give it at least 8 hours for the flavor to really develop and marinate the vegetables. So no touching until tomorrow!

Aloha,

 

 

Homemade Mac n Cheese with Cauliflower Crumble

All my New Year’s resolutions seem to contradict each other which has made for a confusing start to the year.

For example…

Resolution #1- Be more natural. By this I mean, use all natural products when cooking, cleaning and bathing. I even want to switch to all natural make up!

Resolution #2- Try something new. (like Botox)

See how that’s not going to end well. It’s hard, even for me, to tell if I’m joking or not.

Resolution #3- Be a more open, smiling, approachable person. You know, the type of girl you might see at the gym and say, “Hey you look nice, want to be our friend and cook great meals together, and paddle board, and go on an occasional ladies champagne lunch?” Does that happen?

Resolution #4- Get a big, badass tattoo on my right arm.  (Sorry mom)

You don’t think that will scare away any potential friends, do you?

Resolution #5- Less waste. In the kitchen, shopping, money, lunch boxes, all around- less waste!

Resolution #6- Substantially reduce the amount of cheese and bread I consume.

I have a somewhat ridiculous amount of fancy cheese left over from the holidays in my refrigerator. In my book it’s not Christmas without a drawer full of cheese and I may have overdone it this year. Now, I don’t want to eat it all, but I can’t just let it go to waste!

What to do? [Read more…]

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers at Home

Do you ever have a craving for something but you can’t put your finger on just what it is? It’s like when you can’t think of the name of a movie. You can visualize it, you know who’s in it and what happens, but your brain can’t make the connection and the title eludes you. Isn’t it the most satisfying feeling when it finally hits you and you can tie up that loose thread in your mind and neatly stow it away? My friend Sarah, aka the Ohana Mama, would call it an Ah-ha moment. Ah-ha, the movie I couldn’t think of was Raising Arizona and I was craving Basil Gelato! Ah-ha!

Well, I’ve had one of those moments on a big time scale. Yes, yes, I was craving roasted cauliflower with capers but it’s even bigger than that. [Read more…]

Broccoli Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes

 

I don’t know about where you live, but it summer in Oahu. Kids are getting out of school, everyday is gorgeous, and I am so ready to get my summer on! Lazy mornings, late nights, sunsets, sandy feet and of course, barbecues!

The beginning of summer will forever remind me of college in Oregon. After a long, wet and very cold winter the sun would finally come out and everyone would be outside listening to music, starting up barbecues, tapping kegs, and wearing tank tops and sunglasses. This was always slightly amusing for a girl who grew up in year round summer weather, but it was impossible not to get swept up in the “summer’s here” excitement.

The first time I made twice baked potatoes was in college. It also happens to be the same night I kissed my future husband for the first time. It was 1am in the kitchen of my tiny apartment, The Clash was playing on my CD player, and I was waiting to pull a batch of twice baked potatoes out of the oven. I guess when you are 20 years old, cooking at 1am for all your starving college friends is a relatively normal thing to do. It does amaze me that I had all the ingredients though…

We would have kissed anyway, but without those potatoes would that kiss have gone straight to his heart convincing him that I was his soul mate and the girl he would choose to spend the rest of his life with?

Probably.

But they were damn good potatoes.

I always make this dish on Father’s Day and on my husband’s birthday. They are his favorite and of course they hold a lot of sentimental value.

I gotta believe there is truth in the statement “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I’m sure on that night of our first kiss I packed those potatoes full of sour cream, butter, and fake bacon bits. These days to keep that heart healthy we go with non-fat Greek yogurt and broccoli. Still delicious! We also now eat at a reasonable dinner hour. (Most of the time)

I’m pretty sure that if you bring a tray full of these to a barbecue you will be a hero. Actually I know this to be true.

Broccoli Stuffed PotatoesTwice Baked Broccoli Potatoes

3 Large Baking Potatoes

1 1/4 Cups Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

1/3 Cup Milk

1 1/2 Cups Broccoli

1 t salt

cracked black pepper

1/2 Cup Finely Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Green Onions for garnish

Dash of Lawry’s

Preheat oven to 400. Wash and stab your potatoes all over. Throw them into the oven until they are fork tender, about an hour. Take them out and let them cool down. (Trust me on this one, ouch)

Slice the potatoes in half  long ways.

Scoop out the insides of the potatoes into a large mixing bowl doing your best to keep the skin intact.

Add your greek yogurt, milk, salt and pepper. Essentially what you are doing is making mashed potatoes. So mash it up and make sure it tastes good.

Get a pot of water boiling and an ice bath ready. Drop your broccoli into the boiling water and blanch for 45 seconds. Then drain and transfer the broccoli straight into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Chop up the broccoli into little, tiny florets. Add to your mashed potatoes.

Then stuff the new and improved potato filling back into the skins and top each with cheddar cheese. I like to add a dash of lawry’s seasoned salt to the top of each potato just to give it that Grandma homemade taste.

At this point you can either wrap up your potatoes and put them in the fridge until go time, or you can turn on the oven to 375 and get to the twice baking part. Leave them in the oven until they are hot and the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. About 30 minutes. If you made the potatoes the day before and they are very cold, you might need more oven time.

Garnish with green onions.

Twice Baked Broccoli Potatoes

Serve with a kiss,