27 January 2011

Winter at the Sacre Coeur and Endive, Blue Cheese, Pomegranate Salad

Everyone I know in Paris is tired right now, the have-to-drag-oneself-out-of-bed-in-the-morning kind of tired. Usually this is a February attitude, but it seems to have come a bit early this year. I blame this sort of lagging gloom on the lack of sunlight. A few bright rays on our faces would do all of us a world of good. It's no coincidence that my doctor gives everyone a prescription for vitamin D in the winter, no matter what you go see her for.

But besides vitamin D, what to do for the gray-sky doldrums? The best cure I know for dreariness is to go on a search for beauty. (Tea over at Tea and Cookies puts this into practice regularly in her series Stalking Wonder.) So, I decided if it was going to be gray all winter, then I had better start looking for the beauty in gray skies.

As Dorothy Gale from Kansas says, "if I ever go looking for my heart's desire, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with." So my camera and I set out to find beauty in our own backyard (so to speak - I don't have a back yard, so I'm counting Montmartre).

The Sacre Coeur is probably my favorite monument in Paris. I go by it pretty much every day, and every day it seems different. I swear it changes with the weather. When it's sunny and the sky is blue, it seems to shine out white and proud. These days, it's as sober as the sky, imposing, dark and full of secrets.

I came up the back way and strolled in the park behind the church, which in the summer is full of old people sitting in the shade of the wisteria, young people tanning on the grass, and children playing in the fountain. Today it was deserted. There's something very restful about an empty park, and its sleeping trees. I even found a tiny bit of winter color.

When I was done soaking that in, I followed the sound of a horse drawn carriage to the front of the Sacre Coeur. Really, I'm not kidding. I thought I was hearing things, and when I caught up with it and found it was being driven by a man dressed in bear suit, I thought I was seeing things. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture. The front of the Sacre Coeur is always overrun with tourists, no matter what the season and it was a bit of a shock after the emptiness of the back streets, but there is an amazing view of Paris. Gray, winter-y Paris.

Of course, the other way to combat the winter doldrums is to eat colorful food. You can even pretend its summer and have festive salads, which is what I did when I got home. This endive-pomegranate-blue cheese salad was just perfect for a mood-lifter. I think pomegranate seeds are just perfect for winter salads, not only for their red color and bursting sweet taste, but also because you can pretend you're Persephone thanks to whose love of pomegranate seeds (according to the ancient Greeks), we got into all this winter trouble in the first place!

Ingredients (approx per person):

1 large or 2 small endives
2 Tbsp pomegranate seeds
1 Tbsp blue cheese
2 strips of bacon, fried until crispy (you can leave this out if you're vegetarian, but if you're not, it adds a nice smoky flavor that I highly recommend)
your favorite vinaigrette

Mix it all together in the proportions you like best and enjoy while contemplating the beauty of gray!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Nice wintery clicks. That salad must taste great!



Adele said...

I think just the fact that you can claim Montmatre as your backyard is a wonderful thing. A bear driving a carriage? Never a dull moment in life.

Anonymous said...

Delicious looking salad Hopie. And I love the gray photos.

Julie said...

Beautiful salad!!! My solution for the cold winter...take a warm vacation! We're headed south soon!

Tea said...

I love all your gorgeous wintery pictures—those muted bits of color amongst the grey is so lovely.

Also, I'm jealous of your backyard!

Not to mention, your salad. Endive is going on my shopping list, pronto.

And thanks for the kind mention. This time of year, we need all the inspiration we can muster up, don't we?

Hopie said...

Rosa - Thank you. You always have such lovely winter photos on your blog - it's inspiring!

Adele - You're so right. I should count my blessings there.

Agrigirl - Thanks!

Julie - Oooh, that is a great solution. I'm jealous. And I want pictures! Where are you headed?

Tea - Indeed, we all need to stick together to improve morale in the winter :-) I always look forward to the beautiful pictures on your blog.

Tony said...

Oooh pretty wintery pictures. I'm so sad that you didn't get a picture of the bear driving the carriage, though.

Anonymous said...

That salad sounds wonderful! Although do you just eat the pomegranate seeds whole? I've never been able to bring myself to do that...

kitchenmorph said...

great mood lifter post Hopie! chk out my latest post to meet a great Indian photographer.
yes, the bear carriage would have looked vintage...but there's always another time and image awaiting you...