Monday, April 05, 2010


"If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. "

~ Terri Guillemets

Johnny Jump Up
Viola cornuta (Violaceae)

~ French cousin of the American classic, grilled ham & cheese. The classic sandwich served in the early 1900s in French bistros requires a rich Bechamel sauce. Don't count the calories; enjoy the new twist for leftover Easter ham.
8 slices rustic bread
8 oz. thinly sliced ham
1/2- 3/4 lb. thinly sliced Gruyere cheese
unsalted butter
Bechamel Sauce
(2 thick cups)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 Tbsp. flour
2 cup heated whole milk
pinch of coarse salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Melt butter over low heat until it bubbles. Add flour, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Slowly add hot milk and whisk until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in mustard, salt, white pepper, and cayenne.
Assemble: Heat Croque Monsieur griddle, panini pan, or griddle. Spread with Bechamel sauce on one side of bread. Top with ham and cheese. Cover with remaining bread and additional sauce. Generously butter both sides and grill on both sides until golden brown. (Serves 4)


~ 'MADAME' is basically the same as 'MONSIEUR', only topped with afried egg. Serve this yummy sandwich open-faced with additionalBechamel sauce, Gruyere cheese, and chopped chives or scallions. Pop under broiler until cheese melts.

A compact annual or short-lived perennial, native to Spain and the Pyrenees Mountains. This variety has been used extensively in floral gardens and has escaped from cultivation to roadsides, fields and waste areas throughout much of the United States. The vibrant blooms are deep purple and yellow, creating a solid carpet of color for weeks. Prefers partial shade to full sun in rich, well-drained soil.

Average planting success with this species: 70%
Height: 7-10 inches
Germination: 14-21 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 65-75F
Sowing depth: 1/16"
Blooming period: March-August
Average seeds per pound: 408,000
Seeding rate: 4 lbs. per acre
Suggested use: Around the base of trees, flower beds, containers, borders.
Miscellaneous: Keeping the faded blossoms picked will prolong the blooming period.


Anna Flowergardengirl said...

I wish they bloomed year long here. They do best in Spring and Autumn. You know my heart has bloomed a million times over!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Lovely, charming little flowers, so simple and so beautiful...

F Cameron said...

I love croque monsieur, but always pass on the madame with that fried egg on top! LOL

There are wild Johnny jump-ups everywhere in my garden. I tried for weeks to dig up quite a few, but finally told them to go ahead and grow here. They are cute, though rampant.

Your photos are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Dear Joey, The violas are such fun - I love them all - and each one seems to be in possession of a happy, individual face. How marvellous it must be to see them growing wild.

I do indeed have left over Easter ham [cold ham is the traditional Easter Sunday lunch in Hungary served with painted - mine not so - eggs]. The question is, can I translate your receipt into Hungarian for my cook/housekeeper, T? I shall have a very good try!!

Johnny Nutcase said...

love the johnny jump ups, how cute are they! purple and yellow always look good together. Great shots!

Noel Morata said...

oh i really love these sandwiches, can i have one with extra cheese please?????

nice post :)

The Idiot said...

I haven't had a Monsieur or madame for a long while now; last time was in Paris where it was sadly over-priced and badly crafted! Now I have a hankering for one!

Victoria said...

Madame Joey...I loved this post..I love reading your blog..always am charmed by new things! Lovely recipes..and I LOVE those violas/johnny's...they vibrant sweet and beautiful! J
ust what i need to charm my day!
Have a wonderul day!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Joey, I love the Johnny jump ups as well as pansies. They used to be called heart's ease and they really do make me smile. :)

joey said...

Dear Anna, Because I adore them and often iffy, I treat them like annuals, a 'must have' in spring.

Thanks Tatyana, dear spring favorites. Enjoyed your LV pics!

... and I prefer the Madame, Cameron, with a nice runny egg :) For me, it's the violets that I have a love/hate relationship with. They run rampant here and drive me crazy!

Agree, dear Edith, violas are fun flowers and why I love them. Do hope your cook can manage these simple treats! So, will cook be making soup with the meaty bone?

Thanks Johnny N ... they seem to make everyone smile :)

Welcome, Noel, and thank you. I hear you ... you can never have enough cheese! I just returned from Paradise ... your site is awesome!

Wish I could say I enjoyed these in Paris, Idiot G! I can think of nothing lovelier ... so I will continue to dream!

Madame Kiki, you are most welcome. Wishing you a wonderful day also.

joey said...

Hi Monica! Do you have these in your garden or in pots! I''m sure you enjoyed these past days as much as I have ... Spring in Michigan is the best!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Beautiful flowers...but I'm still drooling from the recipes, and now regretting not baking an Easter ham! A grilled ham and cheese with Bechamel sounds rather sinful...

imac said...

All looks and sounds great, now tips as well?
is there no end to your talent - my friend.

Diana Studer said...

And I always thought Madame was without the ham.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Wonderful photos, Joey. I like the tiny jump ups better than their larger cousins.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Both the flowers and food look good.

happy Spring to you.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Oh, Joey.... Can I just sit here and stare at your bloggy forever? First of all, lovely photos of my favorite little bloomer. Yes, yes, I've been thrilled to the edges by many a flower and especially Johnny. Last but not least... one of my favorite meals! I've never tried to cook it but every time I'm in Minneapolis I make a point to dine at the Black Forest Inn who (in my mind :) invented this delicacy.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Joey, I've not been "out and about" for quite awhile. It feels good to be back visiting your site. Love the little Johnny Jump Ups! They look like tiny pansies, don't they? Great looking recipes. :-)

joey said...

Thanks, dear Shady. You're like the joy of spring, a delight to hear from you ... but I'm sad 'cause I don't see my bloodroot :( So much is popping in this fabulous weather but I wonder what happened to one of my favorites! Whatever, spring has sprung and I'm in heaven.

Rick said...

I've only ever had to buy these once! Some of them even manage to survive our winters and are one of the earliest flowers. Alas, we had little snow cover this year, but I'm sure I'll have a zillion again soon. Beautiful shots!

Anonymous said...

That is a beautiful group of johnny jump up photographs... I just love their little faces!

joey said...

You're luckier than I am, Rick! Mine disappear so I rush to the nursery in early spring and ...Voila!

Welcome kcjewel! Like music, it does seem to be a universal gift that speaks to all.

Marysol said...

Oh Dear! This is perfect. My favorite flower and my favorite sandwich, both fighting for the spotlight under one post!

I'll take two of each, please!

Joey, I hope your Easter was sprinkled with everything that makes you smile. I was away that weekend, and will spill it all, via email. Many hugs.

joey said...

My heart is never far away, dear Marysol. Big hugs, dear friend.