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Beef Cake.

Despite this post's name, I thought I'd forewarn you that there in no mention of hunky dudes or male strippers...

I know, I know, I'd be disappointed too...

Anyway....last night, Aurelien's friend Bertrand came by to make dinner for us and some of our friends. Before continuing on, can I just say that I love France? A friend coming by to cook is normal and doesn't sound as strange as it would be in the States. If one of my guy friends came by for dinner, for one, I certainly wouldn't expect him to prepare it - unless of course, he was one of those culinary types who can whip up a Michelin star meal using a dollop of mustard, a can of tuna and egg whites - and two, I'd expect the meal to be some form of take-out.

But no, not in Paris where Bertrand came armed with goodies he picked up at the open air market earlier that day. In his little burlap sack there was a package of ground beef, onions, parsley, garlic cloves, potatoes, three deliciously oozy and aromatic cheeses, organic red wine, and two baguettes peaking out the top.

As I expected, dinner was divine, except for one little, hmmm, okay, how do I phrase this? I don't exactly want to call it a problem, but something did catch my eye. So let's start by saying that potatoes were cooked to pure perfection. Atkins be damned! These little thigh stickers were golden, thinly sliced, buttery, and perfectly seasoned with the spices our friends brought us back from their vacation in Corsica. The cheese plate was elegantly arranged on a cutting board surrounded by convenient pre-cut baguette slices and grapes. The salad was fresh and crisp, tossed with Seb's secret homemade vinaigrette that he guards like gold, but the meat, well the meat stayed raw...completely raw, doing nothing in the corner while the other foods worked their butts off to prepare us a nice meal. To add insult to injury, Bertrand cracked a raw egg on it, you know, just to make sure we were covering all of the bacterial diseases caused from raw food. Ecoli? Check. Salmonella? Why not.

I know, I'm acting like I just arrived in Paris, and I have ordered steak tartare in restaurants before, but I guess I was never fully aware in denial of how exactly it was prepared. Yes, I get that it's raw but I guess I was hoping that it was a figure of speech, and that there was some form of preparation. Even 10 seconds in the oven would have justified a plate of raw meat with an egg plopped on top that everyone was woofing down like flesh-eating cannibals.

While I don't mind picking at raw meat when I'm making burgers, but serving myself a heaping portion of it? I guess there's no difference between that and picking, but the American in me just couldn't do a full plate. To err on the side of well, safety, I made myself mini patty...of red, raw meat.

If you're at all enticed by this, I've included the recipe just for you on this gorgeous Friday afternoon.

Warning: This may be a bit too advanced for beginners. I'll try to simplify it as much as possible.


 Step 1:
Add chopped onions and parsley,
and smash the hell out of the meat.

 Step 2:
Make little cakes by cupping it with a bowl.

Step 3: Serve.
Can you guess which one is mine?

Rocket Science, I know. If you could make this dish, well I'd say that you're well on your way to Le Cordon Bleu! 

Last night was certainly a shocker, but it's good to know that there is still so much to discover in Paris. Thank God, I was getting worried there.

Bon week-end!

25 comments:

  1. Raw meat is something that I can just not do. I'm not really worried about bacteria. Hell, I eat cookie dough with raw egg in it like it's my job, but raw beef... No.

    Beef is probably my least favorite form of meat. My mother could never get me to eat it, and the few times, she managed, it had to be cooked well done. Before moving to France, I probably ate it once a year if that. Now, I eat it quite often (still, I'm rarely the one to buy it and make it)... it's like I'm making up for all those years of not touching the stuff. But I'm a long LONG way off from touching it rare! You're very courageous in my book!

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    1. I'm glad it's not just me who was a bit taken back by this. I thought they were going to think I was weird for picking at it like I was when we were chopping the onions. No way did I expect that the dinner was going to be served the way the butcher gave it to Bertrand - no way!

      Raw cookie dough - whole other ballgame. That's what dreams are made of!

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  2. haha EW!! Although I told my husband about this post and he said, "Ahhh Nice!" as he went through a phase where he ate raw meat (please don't ask). I love meat (even though I was a vegetarian for 1.5 years) but could NEVER EVER eat it raw. Just too scary!

    And a little side note: I was on Pinterest this morning and came across this: http://pinterest.com/pin/2322237278214911/ Reminded me of your photo. Not sure if you have heard of this person or not but wanted to share regardless.

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    1. Ewww, indeed!!!! I ate half of my little heart and made sure that each bit had tons of onions and parsley in it. As for the raw egg, hells no! I have my standards!

      What benefits did your husband's raw meat phase have? Was he following a program or just really liked raw meat? I'm intrigued...

      I love that illustration! I have seen it before and may have even used it on a past post. The girl looks like Eva Mendes, don't you think?

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  3. Hubs eats it but me, NEVER!

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  4. hmm...I think the only way I'd considered eating that is if it was stone cold out of the fridge so I could convince myself that no bacteria had formed...but even then...yuck...

    that being said if anyone would like to come on over and prepare my dinner for me they are more than welcome...what a nice treat...

    bon weekend you big tv star you.

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    1. Oh our meat had been in Bertrand's sack for at least an hour, on the hot metro, on the streets, sat on the counter during apero, and was finally consumed hours later. I'm positive something formed, but no one got sick so maybe it was good bacteria. : )

      I hope you had a nice weekend too, Deb!

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  5. So much of life is like playing Russian Roulette...

    I really like steak tartare but only eat it once in a while. If I were to eat it often and make it myself, I would buy all the ingredients from my most trusted sources. I like to add capers and their liquid which is acidic so that might help to kill some bad things too.

    Enjoy!

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    1. Yeah, some of our friends added capers and even terriyaki sauce to their dishes which I had tasted. It added substance to the pound of raw beef that was on our plates.

      It wasn't terrible but as you said, this is definitely a once in a while dinner!

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  6. I've been a vegetarian for 8 years and even before that, I wasn't a big lover of meat (duh!). I did eat raw chuck while preparing hamburgers, but never had steak tartar. Guess it'll never happened either;)

    But hey, I'll drink champagne with you in Paris in December, that I can do! (I'm a good sport like that;)

    Have a great weekend (my final weekend before going back to work and I'll spend it studying!)!

    And hi Debs!

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    1. I will most certainly not be ordering steak tartar when we meet...it will not be a "meat-up" Hahaha, couldn't resist!

      The next time I eat this will be under the same circumstances as last week, someone was preparing it in our home.

      Enjoy your last weekend before going back to work! And please take a break at some point! Don't work too hard. :)

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  7. I love raw meat, especially raw beef. Steak tartare and beef carpaccio are two of my favourite dishes in the world. I think it needs to be noted though that the beef absolutely has to be the freshest ground beef you can buy. No bacteria this way. You can't just go to the grocery store, buy a giant thing of ground beef wrapped in a styrofoam and Saran and expect it'll work the same way.

    But I know what you mean when you say you were unaware of the preparation. What you see on a plate in a restaurant is the finished product and sometimes you just imagine that fairies and gnomes have willed it into existence. You forget that it had to actually be made by a person. I always forget that because when I try to recreate things at home, they fall apart miserably.

    Have you had/do you eat ceviche? I think that dish is more palatable for most people because the lime juice that it marinates in "cooks" the fish so what you're eating is cooked but still raw at the same time. I wonder if it'd work for beef?

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    1. Hahahahah exactly! I knew it was raw when eating it in cafes, I just didn't want to accept HOW raw it was. Everything in a restaurant tastes better and yeah, you think it's prepared by magic!

      I'm the worst, I'm notorious for ordering omelettes, even though I know it's the most marked up item on a menu. It costs like 2 bucks to make an omelette at home, and 10 bucks to have someone make it for you at a restaurant!

      I love, love, love ceviche. That was the discovery of the summer, ceviche tacos, ceviche on salads! Hmmm, good question - I wonder if the lime would cook the meat. I don't see why not... experiment?

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  8. The last time we were in Montpellier staying with Aidan & Co, my husband made steak tartare for dinner. It totally freaked me out. I kept asking if he was sure he knew what he was doing, and he assured me that he did (duh, he is French). Everyone ate it but me (raw meat texture freaks me right out) and they all loved it!

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    1. I could so picture you hovering over Gregory asking him if he knew what he was doing! Wasn't it difficult wrapping your head around the fact that there was like no preparation for the meat?! I kept being like, "wait, but what do you mean that's it?"

      I'm so American sometimes, I can't help it. We doubt everything unknown! Hahaha!

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  9. I agree about the ground beef in steak tartare not being just any old ground beef. My boyfriend is the son of a butcher and I've had to learn to eat red meat because he swears it's a waste to cook anything good meat more than rare. We don't buy much meat at the grocery store anymore in any case, it's all from the butcher's.

    Also, raw fish can be equally yummy (and it should be equally worrying...)! Sushi, salmon carpaccio... maybe we're just more used to seeing it.

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    1. I love my steak rare, that I don't have a problem with. My grandparents are Italian so we our meat is prepared the way most Europeans eat it and it's bloody. It's on the grill for like 4 minutes each side! But would I eat it without cooking it? That's pushing it!

      I try to be careful with fish too, but you're right, we're used to seeing it, so it doesn't seem so exotic. I'm sure in like the 70s, it was shocking!

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  10. I should add, my boyfriend made steak tartare for French friends once and several of them didn't want to eat it! To be fair though, they didn't even really get what it was. So Frenchies can be put off by it too.

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    1. Actually, one of our friends Pierre had us grill up his meat too. He was freaked out by the rawness and everyone gave him a hard time telling him that he clearly doesn't like the taste of meat.

      So yeah, I guess it's not just a French thing!

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  11. I have to admit to being slightly distressed and distraught to find no mention of hunky dudes or male strippers in this post...

    Still, perhaps a bit of raw steak might put you back on the right track?

    All the best

    Keith

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    1. Sorry to disappoint, Keith! I must be getting soft in my old age. This post would definitely not qualify in the Girls Gone Wild category on "A Taste of Garlic"! I'll try to minx up my next post!!! I promise!

      How are you, friend? Long time, long time...

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  12. Ella I am truly disappointed... With the title of this post I expected at least some pole sliding and large packaging..

    A propos de raw meat... I have beef carpaccio almost weekly.. but I buy it from the store, already ready and with a sauce.

    Tartar I've gotten only from restaurants.. and restaurants who are known for "the best tartar" ha. I like when they mix it in front of you like in Lyon. Normally it includes more sauces.. like Worcestershire and Tabasco.. and other things like mustard, capers and vinegar... so it makes it easier for me to eat (less raw-meat flavor). I know what you mean though... it's not my favorite dish and if someone made it for me at home I would be a bit hesitant! You're still alive though.. so that's good!

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    1. No pole sliding or large packaging! Just a pound a ground raw meat being passed off as a meal!

      Yeah, I can see how adding more sauces, especially tangy ones can make it more palatable. For the next time....

      It was a new experience, and like the wise Elton John once said: "I'm still standing! Yeah, yeah, yeah!!" Haha!

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    2. Haha I am cracking up!!!

      Have you ever had bone marrow or tete de veau ? Andouillette ? Oh man.. if you plan on visiting Lyon let me know! ha

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