In late 2006 I spent a semester abroad in Normandy, France specifically the city of Le Havre. Never have visited France before, my naive notion was that all of France either looked like picturesque Paris or some variety of a vineyard flowing countryside. Le Havre was neither or these. Rather, this port city had a more industrial, concrete, transportation hub feel… which, made it a great launching pad for further exploration of northern France. As my first time living abroad, not speaking much of the language, and initially not knowing anyone aside from my loud German neighbors, the first month was pretty rough. The student housing kitchen was quite baron with nothing but a range, a mini fridge, and a sink. At the time, I was still quite reliant on microwaves and take out meals, not to mention that I hadn’t yet acquired the taste for wine.
To overcome my woes, I challenged myself to buy at least 3 new french food products every week. The obvious start was cheese. Of the many cheeses I tried, the majority I didn’t care for. I recall a specific muenster catastrophe where I figured the only way to keep my fridge smelling good was to put an air-freshener inside next to the cheese… DUMB! Bread, chocolate, chocolate bread, and alas jardiniére. Bon appétit!
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 Tbsp pickling/sea/kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp mustard seed (I used black mustard seeds)
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- 3 garlic cloves (halfed)
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 large carrots (peeled, trimmed, and cut into coins)
- 1 small head of cauliflower (leaves removed, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1 red bell pepper (seeds and sliced)
- In a large-sized, non-reactive pot combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, peppercorns, garlic, mustard seed, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
- Add vegetables, return to a boil, reduce heat, simmer until veggies are tender (2-3 minutes).
- Pour jardiniére mixture into clean and sterilized pint jars leaving approx. 1/4" head space.
- Wipe rims, apply lids/bands and rings (finger tight). Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let jars set in water for an additional 5 minutes to prevent siphoning. Remove jars and let set on a folded towel for 24 hours. Check seals, remove rings, then let pickle for atleast 3 weeks before serving.