Epazote

The menu for tonight’s dinner for Ian, my visiting Canadian anthropologist/linguist/lexicographer friend, who deserves a good American home-cooked meal, having spent years in a thatch hut in the wilds of Borneo with the Penan while learning their language and writing a dictionary and grammar for it.

Seeded Sourdough Baguettes from Noe Valley Bakery. When i went down to the bakery this morning to pick up the bread, the staff were wearing their new tee-shirts, “Born and Raised in Noe Valley.” I was laughing so hard over this that i was back home before i realized that if it had been “Born and Risen in Noe Valley”, it would have been just as funny and grammatical to boot.

A salad of dry farmed Early Girl, Golden Globe, and Purple Cherokee tomatoes on a bed of baby spinach and adolescent arugula, dressed with a vinaigrette of Stonehouse Lisbon Lemon extra virgin olive oil and my own raspberry vinegar.

Wild Coho Salmon poached (while the groundskeeper’s back was turned) and served cold with caper mayonnaise, garnished with brined and lightly pickled red onion and Dasher cucumber.

Fresh Cranberry beans simmered with Chantenay carrots and generic yellow onion, lightly augmented with epazote from the Castro Farmers’ Market that i dried myself.

A stir-fry of okra, red and green Jalapeño, and red onion (I’m putting enough Jalapeño in this that there’ll be no complaints about slime.)

Willie’s Crisp made of blackberries and the last of the season’s yellow nectarines, optionally dressed with quark from Oakdale Cheese.

And speaking of epazote, yesterday afternoon i’m Segwaying to the Castro Farmers’ Market to get the cucumbers, and in the next block down speak to a woman on the sidewalk. She’s curious about the Segway and i give her a trial lesson. Turns out she lives around the corner from me on 21st Street and is headed to the market herself, never having been to it. So i fall in beside her for the remaining three blocks, touting the market up one side and down the other enroute. As we arrive, i excitedly point out my epazote vendor and say, “I never saw anybody with it before, but she usually has fresh epazote.”

My new friend replies, “I grow it in my garden.”

Game, set, harvest.

Speaking of gardens, here’s a friend of mine in Stephen’s:

Strelitzia reginae

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