3 banana peppers (about 6 ounces)3 garlic cloves, peeled 1 cup white distilled vinegar 1/4 cup water 1/4 tablespoon black peppercorns 1 tablespoon salt 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard seeds 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Sterilize a 1-pint Mason jar, lid and ring in boiling water or in the dishwasher; let air-dry. Slice the banana peppers into 1/2-inch rings and pack tightly into jar. Set aside.  Combine garlic, vinegar, water, peppercorns, salt, mustard seeds and cayenne in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, and boil about 3 minutes, until garlic begins to soften.  Pour the hot brine over the peppers, allowing about 1/2-inch of head space. Top with the lid and ring, and tighten using a clean kitchen towel to grip. Place the kitchen towel in the bottom of a pot of water, and bring the water, enough to cover the mason jar, to a boil. Carefully place the jar in the boiling water and let boil for about 10 minutes. Remove the jar and place on a clean dry kitchen towel on the counter or on a rack to cool.  When completely cool, check the seal by pressing on the top - it shouldn't pop in and out. Store in the pantry; refrigerate after opening.

recipe from Sophie Brickman, Food and Wine contributor for the SF Chronicle August 14th, 2011