Vinagre Margie

Alena Blanche

The wilds of turn-of-the-nineteenth-century rural upper-Michigan must have been an exciting place for young Margie Alena Andersen. There, at her mothers side, she learned the art of pioneer American cooking and the great traditions of the Scandinavian hearth. It was a powerful melding of early American and of the European Northland. As a young woman, the mysteries of the Native American cooking fire and the savior fare of French-style cooking of the Voyagers from her step-sister, a union of French-Canadian and Osage. It was a wonderful and varied melding of cooking traditions that Margie Alena brought with her to California and Hollywood in the Roaring Twenties.

Margie Alena was well known for her fresh baked bread, her savory dishes and wonderful, tasty things that came from her kitchen. Be it a few friends or the entire clan at the table, there was always enough to eat of the most wonderful food. Always seeking to make it better, Margie Alena was always busy in the kitchen. This herbed vinegar, that we have since named after Margie Alena, was a table staple that added a sparkle and zest to green vegetables, soups, stews and salads. Just sprinkle a little on your food and feel the tastes come alive. See if you can trace the influences that lead Margie Alena to derive this wonderful addition to your table.

Use clear glass bottles and fresh herbs as the eye appeal of the herbs in the bottle add to the experience. And be sure to follow the advice given to me the first time I asked Aunt Margie how to make her vinegar. She said, Start with the finest white wine vinegar you can find

Preparation: 45 minutes Heirloom Recipe
Serves 4 to 6 persons Margie Alena Gilliland
  • 1 pint best quality white wine vinegar
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 laurel leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 strips (1- by 3-inch) orange and/or lemon peel
  1. Cut strips of lemon and orange peel from center of fruit by cutting through an making disks. Snip rind in one place and peel away from the fruit. Reserve fruit for any other use but it is not needed for this recipe. Scrape away any excess white pith from the inside of the peel. Drag peels, outer surface down, over rounded counter edge to straighten so that they will not roll up in the bottle.
  2. Place solid items into clear glass bottle that can be fitted with a tight fitting stopper.
  3. Add white wine vinegar until 1/2 inch below bottom of stopper.
  4. Age 2 to 3 months in q dark place such as inside a cupboard. Every other day or so, give bottle a gentle swirl to diffuse flavors through vinegar.
  5. After ageing, do not store in direct sunlight as ingredients will fade.

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Latest revision done July 2014
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