Thursday, March 11, 2010
Grandma Anne's Vinegar Peppas
My mother in-law Anne was Irish and Scottish but she married into a 100% Italian family. This meant if she wanted to stay married to my father in-law, she'd better learn how to cook like one of them! When I first met her, I was shocked that she wasn't even part Italian because she was a great Italian cook and pronounced all the foods like "one of us".
Anne passed away 14 years ago and we all miss her deeply. I think it's really important to keep one's memory alive and one of the ways to do so is with the foods they prepared.
One of my favorites is her Vinegar Peppers. Unlike pickled peppers, these do not require a preserving process. Just cook and refrigerate. This recipe was handed down from my husband's Nonna, Henrietta and then passed on to Anne:
red or green bell peppers (or a combo of both)
red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (originally it called for 1 whole cup but I prefer less here)
fresh garlic cloves
Slice the peppers and remove the seeds and white pithy insides. Place them in a large soup pot. Cover the peppers with equal amounts of water and vinegar. Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir. Bring to a boil for a few minutes with the lid half on and then turn off the heat. You can check them after 5 minutes of boiling and if they are tender to the bite, turn the heat off. You can let them sit in the pot for a few more if they're not soft enough to your liking. After you make these a few times, you get the feel for how long you should cook them. Keep in mind; they continue cooking even after you turn the heat off.
Drain in a colander, discarding all the liquid.
Put the peppers in a plastic container. Next, make a mixture of approx 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 tsp sugar, salt & pepper, chopped fresh garlic and if you like it, a splash of balsamic vinegar. Give this a good whisk and pour over the peppers. Refrigerate and let marinate. Every so often, shake the container up. They will be ready to eat the same day but the longer they sit, the better they get.
You can jazz these up with fresh or dried herbs and black olives. However, I think they are tasty without too much fuss. If you need more vinegar, just add it, depending on the amount of peppers you are using.
These make a great side dish for a party with pizza, nice sandwiches, or a barbecue.
(Picture credits to Mark Sylvestre who said he doesn't like peppers but devoured these and found them blog worthy! Thanks Mark!!)