Watching a baby’s senses awaken to the world around him or her is pure joy. It allows adults to see, touch, hear, taste and smell everyday, ordinary things as if for the first time and realize how remarkable they are.
When each of my children were babies (and even into toddlerhood), I would bring them into the garden to connect them to the wonders of nature. I would brush my hand against the various herbs we were growing and let them sniff the scents. Each one enjoyed this little adventure and they never seemed to bore of it. I could tell that they liked what they were smelling cause each time, each one would instinctively reach out to grab the source of the scents and if given the chance, would have most likely gobbled it up! They would wrinkle their noses and their legs would make those jerky baby movements of excitement. Sometimes we would get lucky and a butterfly or a bird would join in in the game. So much fun!
Now that they are older, there is no need for this sort of simulation. Instead, John and I like to cook using different herbs in order to introduce them to the abundance of flavours nature provides for us and to show them how easy it is to make delicious, healthy meals.
I am not particularly fond of the North American reliance on processed condiments to flavour a meal. These condiments have little, if any, nutritional value and only add empty calories to one’s diet. Instead, I turn to my mostly container herb garden. It is amazing how much flavour and healthy benefits a dozen containers and a small patch of land can provide with just a little time and effort and relatively low cost.
One of the herbs that does really well in my garden is sage. In North America, sage is usually associated with a Thanksgiving meal. But this herb is far too flavourful and healthy to limit to just one meal of the year, albeit an important one. Furthermore, sage is a hardy perennial that grows abundantly all summer long and the more you cut it back, the more it grows.
Sage is the star of this pork tenderloin dinner.
Sage and Garlic Crusted Pork Tenderloin (adapted from here)
- 20-25 g garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 4 tbsp olive oil (divided)
- 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/4 pounds each)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Stir together garlic, sage, salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over pork.
- Heat a large, heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add pork, and brown all over, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer pan to oven. Roast pork, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 145° F to 150° F, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer pork to a cutting board; tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
- Serve with almond sage pesto.
Almond Sage Pesto
(fills a 200 mL jar)
- 50 g fresh sage
- 20 g fresh parsley
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup almonds
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined and smooth.