Elvia's Mexican Pickled Vegetables
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).Advertisement
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 jalapenos). 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.
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.
Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate for up to 1 month (leave the spice bundle in for flavor). The oil will solidify; let come to room temperature before serving.
Equipment: Cheesecloth and kitchen string (or a tea ball)
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.
1 vegetable, 1 fat