Wednesday, August 1, 2018


The shaded corners of our garden have taught me a lot. The pots here see some sun in the early mornings in summer, for a couple of hours, and then they fall into the high green shade of the tall townhouse. They are home to a mix of native, exotic, and edible plants. The surprises have been the edibles.

Persicaria odorata - above - is known as Vietnamese coriander, and it is closely related to lady's thumb, a tenacious invasive plant. Its flavor is very strong, with the funk and fragrance of cilantro, as well as American burnweed (a plant almost no one knows - I have a chapter about it in Forage, Harvest, Feast). You like it or hate it. I like it with soups that sing hot and sour, on spicy lettuce wraps where fish sauce and lime juice are strong, or in quick-pickled vegetable salads. A local Thai restaurant, Pok Pok, drapes a stem over their sweet pickled vegetables, which accompany their famous and crisp wings. We sometimes order them as take out when it is too hot, or when I am too pooped to cook.

Here is one of my curry leaf trees: this one has pushed out about 14 inches of new growth since June (I brought them outdoors in May). They overwinter indoors in a bright room (and look quite unhappy, at least to me - they relish humidity). In front of the curry leaf is a pot of the myoga ginger I planted this year. The buds are considered a delicacy, but the leaves are very aromatic, too. The myoga is allegedly hardy. I will decide whether to bring it in later this year.

And... our katydid, on the leaves of Rodgersia. The late, lamented Don Estorbo de la Bodega Dominicana (eeeeep) thought they were delicious. The second he heard their distinctive "chk!" in summer on the Cobble Hill terrace he shot off in pursuit and was soon chewing happily. I need him here, because they are apparently very fond of citrus leaves and fruit. I just googled that. Hm... Katydid? Or Thai limes. Katydid?

He better pack his little green bags.

If you're in town towards the end of the month, Forage, Harvest, Feast is having a little party and book signing. There will be wild cocktails and a couple of snacks from the book. I'll post details, soon. Do send me your email address if you would like to receive an invitation.


1 comment:

  1. Oh, Don Estorbo you are still missed by your adoring fans.


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