Olive Salad Gift Jars for Muffuletta Sandwiches

I used to love eating Muffuletta sandwiches at the restaurant I worked at in Alabama. Most people here in Minnesota have never heard of them. But I think that if you are an adventurous enough eater and love olives, meats and cheese, you might just fall in love with this sandwich. Minnesotan’s might even say Uff-da Muff-da!

In order to have a Muffuletta, you need to have olive salad. I decided to introduce people I know to the lovely Muffuletta by canning the olive salad for them and then attaching the recipe for the sandwich. I will be giving them as gifts this holiday.

I do not recommend eating this particular olive salad recipe on its own. It has a lot of vinegar added due to the canning process and isn’t that great as a stand-alone dish. Paired with the thick bread, meats and cheese however, the acidity is cut down and not quite as noticeable.

Here is the recipe for canning the olive salad. It comes from

Olive Salad
From: Put ‘em up! By Sherri Brooks Vinton
Makes 5 pints
4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 small head cauliflower leaves removed, cored, and cut into ½ -inch florets (about 6 cups)
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup pitted sliced black olives
1 cup pitted sliced green olives
1 cup chopped onion
  1. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard seed, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a large pot, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add cauliflower, carrots, red bell pepper, olives, and onions, and return to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until veggies just begin to turn tender, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Pour into jars, covering the solids by ¼ inch with liquid.  Leave ¼ inch of headspace between liquid and the lid.
  4. Use water bath method.  Wipe rims of clean, center lids on jars and screw on jar bands.  Process in bath for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let rest in the water for 5 minutes.  Remove jars and set a side for 24 hours.  Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

In order to make the Muffulettas. . .

Take a big loaf of french bread and slice it horizontally. Drizzle olive oil on the sliced loaves and toast in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes or so just to toast the bread. Layer the bread with ham, prosciutto, hard salami and provolone cheese on one slice and the olive salad and provolone cheese (cheese on top to keep the salad tucked in) on the other slice. Toast in oven until cheese is melted and bubbly. Reassemble and enjoy!

In Alabama, we would assemble the ingredients all together without toasting, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for 2 hours or more to allow the flavors to meld together. We then toasted them in the oven. We also used a round loaf bread specific to Muffulettas and an olive salad that had way more olives and included capers but this recipe gets the job done. The Muffuletta is mostly popular in New Orleans. I haven’t been there to eat the Muffulettas there so I’m not sure how it compares to this recipe or the one we made in Alabama but it is definitely on my list of top 5 things to do- to visit New Orleans and eat a Muffuletta!

Molasses Cookies





















It has been a very long time since I posted anything here because I have been busy with my photography website but I am back in the swing of things now and hope to do more posts here regularly.

Today I kicked off my holiday baking extravaganza by baking two types of cookies.  The first was one of my all-time favorites, Molasses Cookies. The other was a new recipe- Chocolate Filled Thumbprints with Candy Cane Crunch. It’s funny how I keep coming back to the more simpler recipes as being unbeatable favorites. I didn’t bother to taste the thumbprints. They just had too much going on and so they didn’t really seem appetizing to me. The Molasses Cookies however taunted me all day. There is something about the molasses and ginger spice together that makes this warm and tantalizing combination a “must have” for my holiday cookie tray.  When making these, make sure not to over-bake. Otherwise they will be very hard and more like a gingersnap . . . which isn’t so bad but these are best a little bit chewy.

Molasses Cookies

from Joy of Baking

2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1  teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (210 grams) dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or safflower oil

1/3 cup (80 ml) unsulphured molasses (lightly grease measuring cup to prevent the molasses from sticking)

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar for covering the cookie balls before baking

In a large bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 – 3 minutes). Add the oil, molasses, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Beat in the flour mixture mixture until well incorporated. Cover and chill the batter until firm (about 2 hours or overnight).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Place about 1 cup (200 grams) of white granulated sugar in a medium sized bowl. When the dough has chilled sufficiently, roll into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls. Then roll the balls of dough into the sugar, coating them thoroughly. Place on the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart and, with the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies slightly. Bake for about 9 – 10 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies have crinkles yet are barely dry. (They will look a little underdone.) Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.