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Pickled Vegetables

['2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar', '3 cups water', '3/4 cup sugar', '5 tablespoons kosher salt', '1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds', '1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes', '1 head cauliflower (2 lb), trimmed and broken into 1- to 1 1/2-inch florets (6 cups)', '1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces', '1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces', '4 carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices (2 cups)', '4 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch-thick slices (3 cups)', '1 cup drained bottled whole peperoncini (4 oz)', '1 cup large brine-cured green olives (preferably Sicilian; 6 oz)', '1/2 cup oil-cured black olives (6 oz)']

Bring pickling-liquid ingredients to a boil in a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a 4-quart nonreactive bowl and cool about 30 minutes.
Bring about 6 quarts unsalted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot. Have ready a large bowl of ice and cold water. Add cauliflower to pot and boil until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to ice bath to stop cooking. Cook remaining vegetables separately in same manner, allowing 4 minutes each for bell peppers and carrots and 2 minutes for celery. Drain vegetables in a colander and spread out on 2 large kitchen towels to dry.
Add cooked vegetables, peperoncini, and olives to pickling liquid. Weight vegetables with a plate to keep them submerged, then chill, covered, at least 1 day.

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