A Foody Fourth

Like many Americans, I had a fabulous 4th of July. My legion of adoring fans had wanted me to order a full military parade in which thousands of troops, hundreds of wheeled military vehicles, and dozens of tanks would make an amphibious landing at the bay end of Cesar Chavez Street (renamed from “Army Street” after the labor agitator and Comsymp).

While a simulated air battle between the Blue Angels and the Red Devils roared overhead with fireworks taking the place of real antiaircraft cannons, the ground element would march, roll, and clank up Army Street and then bear left up Mission Street past my reviewing stand atop the Beige House where I reside. Hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of my subjects would line Army and Mission Streets while selected invitees would gather on bleachers in the Safeway parking lot across the street.

But wait. That’s what my fans wanted. What actually happened was that I got an Invitation I Couldn’t Refuse to my friend Stephen’s party in his garden on 16th Street after I’d volunteered to cook Chile Verde for the folks here in Coleridge Park. Also, Stephen expressed the hope that I would again bring the Rocket, Blackberry and Gorgonzola salad with a walnut oil and blackberry vinegar vinaigrette since it had gone over so well in the past.

Fortunately, the Coleridge Park event started at noon and seniors arrive punctually whereas Stephen’s party was listed to start at 1:00 but hardly anybody would consider arriving there before 2:00. Off the hook once again because I could open the party at Coleridge Park and then slip away after an hour and a half and still be one of the earlier arrivals at Stephen’s.

I wanted to make Chile Verde to use up the frozen half of a large pork loin that had been sitting in my freezer for months while I delayed roasting it to a safe pink as the entree for a dinner. And yes, I didn’t start cooking yesterday and knew it might turn out dry if I used it in a Chile Verde, but I figured I could just cook it a lot longer. I did, and what happened is that the chunks of pork were tender, but dammit all they were still somewhat dry. Luckily, it had been some time since most of the people there had had Chile Verde, and they did seem to like this one.

I was happier with the huge salad I took to Stephen’s party. In the first place I found some good wall rocket (called “wild arugula” by the vendor) at the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market and toned it down a bit with unexceptionable baby rocket (called “Baby Arugula” in the store) from of all places, Safeway. So much for the greens. For the cheese I used a pound of Point Reyes Original Blue which, even though it’s not from France or Italy or England is still a quite excellent blue cheese, and it’s local! Instead of blackberries, I took advantage of the tayberry season running a bit late this year and used them. For the vinaigrette, I used half walnut oil and half my blackberry vinegar left from last year. Went over well, but next time I’ll go back to 100% regular rocket because the wall rocket is a bit too pungent for many people.

The final good news is that I’m able to store big jars of berry seeds/pulp steeping in vinegar downstairs in the communal refrigerator (which gets little use and is normally empty), so for the first time ever, I’ll be able to make vinegar from the seeds leftover from every single batch of jelly.

Meanwhile, I took about a hundred photos at Stephen’s party, as is my wont, but as usual I left the chip with Stephen so that he could grab the ones he wanted. That way he doesn’t have to interrupt his hostly duties by taking photos. So instead of a party photo, here’s another in my Garage Doors series, the Love Shack. Oh, and the Love Shack is a cannabis store next door to the garages:

The Love Shack

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