Sunday, June 26, 2016

Blackberry Vinegar

In my Re-Collected Recipes blog, I share handwritten and clipped recipes I find in the old community cookbooks I love to collect, but the latest cookbook I'm reading, How to Eat Like a Southerner and Live to Tell the Tale, is only from the early 90s, so I'm not sure it qualifies as re-collected quite yet.

This book was purchased by someone named Barbara at Everyday Gourmet on April 14, 1993, at 9:03 p.m. (I know this because she left the receipt in the book.) It looks like it was a late-night book signing.

I can't find much about what happened to Courtney Parker after this book. She worked for Lee Bailey shops in Saks Fifth Avenue stores creating food gift items. She had a catering business in Natchez called Party Animals, where she was also a cooking instructor and a freelance writer.

Craig Claiborne has a story in The New York Times in 1987 about her making "an oyster-and-rice dressing and a rich, melt-in-your-mouth pecan tart" for Thanksgiving at Lee Bailey's mama's house. She also researched and created recipes for his Lee Bailey's Southern Food and Plantation Houses. (And Lee wrote the foreword for her cookbook.)

I will be sharing several recipes from the cookbook, but the first one that intrigued me was her blackberry vinegar.

Blackberry Vinegar

Fill a one-quart bottle with about 1 pound of whole fresh blackberries. Pour in distilled white vinegar to cover and seal. Store in a dark place for 2 to 3 weeks before using. When you run out of vinegar, refill the bottle with vinegar and let it sit again. The same berries can be used up to three times.

Mine is sitting right now, and she has this recipe to use when it's done...

Cauliflower in Basil Berry Marinade

1/3 cup blackberry vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
l large head cauliflower, separated into florets

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients and pour over the cauliflower. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

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