Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jardin des Plantes

I'm not in a blogging mood so often these days. It seems like a sacrilegious activity in my free time given how gorgeous it is outside, and given that my day job requires me to be attached to the computer for the most part. Recent highlights include a meal of Manitoba pickerel I bought at Kingsland Farmer's Market and several glorious weeks of arugula salad from the garden with Little Creek Dressing, or as it is known affectionately in my household, Little Crack. I do love arugula. It has a wonderful horseradish-like kick. I'm looking forward to trying mizuna in the fall, another spring/fall crop that does best when things cool down. It is another spicy green. The pickerel was pricey, but GOOD. I guess that must be because it was flash frozen. The texture was the best I think I've ever had from frozen fish. In Paris there was no messing around with frozen fish of course. My favorite meal was fresh grilled sardines.
Another contender for best meal of the trip was salmon tartare. It was flavored with sesame, and served with a crunchy coleslaw that was a great contrast to the fish. E had grilled trout. The meals were all very simple and so, so tasty.
Here are some pics from the beautiful Jardin des Plantes in Paris, the national botanical gardens.
As you can see, it is huge. There is even a zoo. I was very sad to find out that they phased out the last of the potager (food) gardens three years ago. I'm guessing the trend toward more decorative gardens will turn back to food eventually, but for now I had to content myself with the traditional medicinal plant garden. I saw many of the plants that traveled with my ancestors to North America.

Stinging Nettle: Good for treating hay fever and inflammation.
I tried the Salvia, alas no exciting effects. Actually this is Salvia officinalus,
(common sage) and is much less dramatic than its Latin American cousin.
Nevertheless, it has been used as medicine throughout history and
the name is derived from the Latin 'to save'.

It's nice to be back to enjoy the garden and the wild world coming into bloom. I am starting to think of preserving already, as all the plants come into flower and fruit. It has been a long wait! But finally, the season of walking in the park and having dessert at the same time (the Saskatoons are amazing this year due to all the rain we've had..) is here.


melanie said...

Do you have Saskatoons in your yard or do you have a favourite spot to go and pick them? They are on the list of the many fruit bearing bushes I'm adding to our yard... someday. :)