These are delicious served as a finger food with a cheese board, as an accompaniment to a sandwich, or tossed in salad. Save some time, and buy already peeled, (look in an Asian grocery store) fresh garlic. The chile peppers can be purchased there too, or in a spice/kitchen specialty shop (like Penzey's in the Strip District).
I like to pack these into 1/2 pint size jars, as they last a long time.
3 pounds whole garlic cloves
6 cups distilled vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (or pickling salt)
5 teaspoons celery seed
2 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
5 dried red chile peppers, crushed (if desired - they are hot)
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the peeled garlic, and blanch (cook) for one minute. Drain and pack into sterilized pint (about 5) or half pint (10) jars. For each pint, add 1 t. celery seed, 1/2 t. fennel seed, 1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes, and a single red chile (adjust amounts for half pints).
In saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.
Pour the hot brine over the garlic, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, and process in boiling water for 15 minutes.
Allow to rest in pantry at least two weeks before opening.