Monday, July 26, 2010

Recipes: Steak Tartare

This weekend I did so much I don't know where to begin. I think I'll skip it all and go straight to the real highlight - food.

Yesterday I made Sunday lunch for everyone here and for my brother and his fiance. He gifted me with a delicious book with all the traditional French recipes you could ever hope to have so I started working my way through it this weekend. All the dishes served were from the book except one. Our starter was steak tartare with toast, the main course was pan fried flounder with a buerre blanc caper sauce, potatoes au gratin and snow peas. Dessert was a capuccino mousse served in tea cups and saucers with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon and a chocolate stick. Trés chic.

I have eaten steak tartare many times before and have always liked it, but nothing compared to the one I made yesterday. It is beyond crave-worthy and the type of dish that will keep you up at night dreaming. Even my teenage son who is not in the least an adventurous eater loved it. It's very clean, fresh and delicate.

The recipe I ended up making is adapted from Saveur magazine. I couldn't find one recipe that had all the elements I needed, so I made the necessary changes

2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tbs dijon mustard
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
5 dashes of tabasco sauce
3-4 tbs fresh lemon juice
Olive oil (about 3 tbs)
Salt and pepper to taste
450 gr. filet mignon
1 heaping tbs very finely chopped chives (just the white part)
4 small cornichons chopped finely (small pickles)
3 tsp chopped capers
1 tbs chopped parsley

1. Whisk egg yolks, ketchup, mustard, lemon juice, worcestershire, and Tabasco in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in oil to create a mayonaise that is smooth and not too thick. Salt and pepper to taste. - I ended up only using half of my "mayonaise" so you could easily cut my quantities in half.

2. Slice beef into thin pieces with a very sharp knife and then chop again, and again, and again. If you want you can use 2 knives and work it Asian style. The pieces have to be crazy small, but they cannot ever be ground - must be chopped by hand. It's the rule.

3. Add the onions, cornichons, capers, and parsley, and mix gently until everything is incorporated. Add more salt if you need, or anything else you think may be missing. Put into 2 ramekins, turn over on to a plate, granish and serve. It's traditionally served with french fries or toast, my fave is toast.

- It seems odd to me that there should be anything lacking in the mix, and that if there is the solution should be a raw yolk, but very often steak tartare is served with a raw egg yolk on top. I find it unnecessary and not particularly pleasing to my refined and respected palate.

- Next time I may try using soy sauce intead of worcestershire, although I'm not sure yet. We'll see.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Fun!

I was reading the Lancome blog and this was on one of the posts. It's so cute it will scare away any bad mood. Happy Friday all!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Summary

For the last few days I've been just barely functional. My glasses broke and because I'm a stupid I hadn't yet gotten my spares fixed so I was basically walking around like Mr. Magoo making mistakes the a monkey wouldn't make. Until you lose part of your eyesight you take for granted simple things like lines and dots, the difference between a 3 and 7, one shoe and another, your apartment and the neighbor's - you get the picture.

Thankfully I was able to get my glasses today and I feel like my life has begun anew. Anyway, here's what I've been up to lately:


I've had to put some books in the freezer lately (like Joey in Friends) so I've decided to read some really mindless novels that are always fun.


I watched a terrible movie the other day, Dear John. Lamefest. It starts out ok and you can pretty much guess the direction the movie is going to take, then all of a sudden the author had an identity crisis and went in a completely different direction, made a mess of what could have been a decent chic flick starring none other than the love of my life, Channing Tatum - be still my heart. When I heard it was the same author as the classic and much beloved The Notebook, I was exited to watch it. Don't be fooled, it is not the same author by any stretch of the imagination. This is a different, very lame author.


How awesome is the new season of True Blood? My God! - those writers are amazing. Between Bill, Eric and the oh-so-sexy new werewolf there is no shortage of eye candy. The plot is developing nicely and there are several mysteries afoot. J'adore!

On a sadder note, my beloved Spartacus was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and the series is naturally going to take a little break while he recovers so the second season won't begin when it was originally scheduled to. The good news is that he is recovering nicely, caught it in the early stages and should be fine soon.


I've been using Benefit's Powderflage and I have to say that while it is by no means a miracle product, it is a very good product and seems to keep my under-eye concealer in place. This is mainly what I want it for anyway, so it's not an issue for me that it doesn't brighten like the lights of Paris (which is more or less what I had expected after reading the description). I've also been using Benefit Throbbb. At first I thought the blush was too sheer to make a difference, but after using it to brighten and beautify my cheeks after contouring with bronzer I found that it worked like a dream. It gives a subtle pink hue, very delicately illuminates and give you that very becoming flush, like you're blushing. So sexy.

Random Thought

When I woke up the other day and saw my sink covered in hair shavings I thought to myself and then screamed, "This is the kind of shit that makes straight women envy lesbians".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Deep Thoughts: Evolution

As I lay on the waxing table being horrifically tortured by a she-devil named Fabiana I was trying to decide what was worse: the excrutiating pain or my mortification at the humiliating position I was in (I'll let your imagination take that one for a spin) - for a long, long (what seemed like endless days) period of time. I tried desperately to go to my happy place, but it just wasn't working. This is when I began to ask myself the serious questions, the existential ones, the ones that change your life forever.

Could Evolution be the great truth and Creation the fib?

Christians, bear with me a while before blocking my blog from your reading list.

The question I asked myself was: why would a God, a deity of any kind, purposely create (in His own likeness, I might add) a being that is delicate, beautiful, graceful and the representation of all that is pure and wonderful in the world - the female - why would God create this creature and then at the very end say, "There's something missing....hmmm...I know! I'll put hair - everywhere!" The whole thing screams diabolical joke to me, and I have a few guesses about who was involved -- Satan, perhaps?

I try to understand the cockamimi poo they feed us about how body hair is there for protection, puh-lease - does anyone really believe that? Women the world over are ripping out body hair from the roots, tweezing, plucking, pouring molten lava all over themselves in a desperate attempt to rid themselves of this "much needed" protection. We live our lives perfectly protected without it, thank you. Which brings me back to my original question - we don't need it, we don't want it, it's yuck - so why is it there?

Personally I think it makes much more sense that cosmic randomness, big bang caca, monkey ancestor baloney, is the cause of all this hooey. It's really the only logical explanation and makes the degrading monthly visits almost endurable. It's a mistake. No one meant for this to happen. You're bleeding from your hair folicles because the universe is wack - not because someone put it there on purpose. You see? Do you feel better now? - Not really.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

As You Like It

The other day I was at the book store and there was a fantastic array of Penguin classics. It's always exciting to see rows and rows of books, any one of which would make for hours of entertainment and good times. For the first time in a long time I saw not one but several Shakespear plays there. As I looked through them looking for ones I wanted to re-read I saw a title that has inexplicably escaped me all these many years - As You Like It.

(It's really embarrassing for me to admit this, so I hope you'll appreciate what a huge deal it is that I'm blogging about it. The only reason I am is because I feel it is quite blogworthy and something I shouldn't keep to myself.)

I picked it up and read the back and it sounded like so much fun I added it to my pile. The story is about 2 girls (cousins) who end up living in a forest after an evil duke (and father of one them) takes over and exiles the cousin (the other girl and daughter of his rival). They disguise themselves and one of them dresses as a boy - confusion and poetry ensue, good times, yada yada.

I found out later that the great Kenneth Branagh adapted the play to film starring Alfred Molina, Bryce Dallas Howard, Kevin Kline, and of course all the usual suspects who end up in all Shakespeare/Branagh films. The film is fun and diverting and a perfect bit of entertainment for a rainy Saturday afternoon. I love finding little unedpected treasures like this, don't you?

Monday, July 5, 2010

¡Mi Corazón!

Friday night I was finally able to go to the cinema to watch The Young Victoria. I know it doesn't sound like much, but if you only knew what I had to go through to get the girls together for this my opening line would carry much more weight.

The whole outing was super fun. In the end there were 4 of us (the only ones worthy of this movie and Prince Albert, so it worked out well). After dinner, cappuccinos and wandering around the mall it was time for the movie to begin. I had read reviews and knew I was going to like it - but love it? Yes, dear readers, I loved it! Quel masterpiece!

It's a beautiful, romantic story that leaves nothing to be desired. The acting is superb, the costume and set design alone make it worth watching and Prince Albert is a dream. Emily Blunt is everything we hope Victoria was. I believe she did history proud.

After the movie we were all walking on cloud nine. Just so you have an idea of the "cinema romance" high we were on, our conversation went something like this:

Flor: When I get home, I'm going to slap HRH across the face and before he knows what hit him or why I'll say, "Why can't you be more like Prince Albert? What's wrong with you?"

Greti: I'm going to make James watch this movie 10 thousand times to train him how to be like Prince Albert.

Tati: (Still weeping desperately 15 minutes after the movie is over) Prince Albert is now my reason for living. I want Prince Albert!

Angie: (very much the killjoy) I wonder if Prince Albert jumping in front of the bullet is historically accurate?
Tati and Flor in unison: IT'S ACCURATE!!

BTW, it is accurate - although they don't know if Prince Albert was injured by the assassination attempt or not. See this link for more info - in case you're curious.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pleasure à la Carte

Last night we got together with some friends of ours we hadn't seen in years even though we live in the same city. Our lives don't intersect ever. So weird. Another good friend who is visiting Rio with her sister was there last night and told us all about her adventures in Copacabana. This is the one story from last night I thought was worth recounting - in my own words, of course.

It's seems that late one night she was walking along the beach with some friends when they saw a happening little place. They sat down at a table and ordered some drinks when they realized that they were in a popular pick up joint for class C prostitutes. A regular buffet of what's what and the who's who in the Copacabana hooker scene.

The boys were showing some interest, but most of all curiosity. Being boys they were too shy to engage in conversation so my friend, let's call her Tess, went up to a woman she thought was beautiful and represented the best the place had to offer. After talking to her for a bit she decided to get some of the nitty gritty details of what a transaction entails. The pro Tess was talking to was one of the more expensive ones and charged a fixed price per night, with everything included for a spectacular night of unbridled, paid for, possibly safe, but definitely fun, passion. Others there charged by the hour and their basic package didn't include the special items/positions/requests - you get the picture.

In order to break the language barrier (their business is all about catering to tourists) some of the more enterprising young women had portfolios with color photographs of the pleasures they offered and how much each one cost. So you could literally flip through a catalog of unique and kinky (also pretty dirty), and choose what you were in the mood for.

After conducting a thorough investigation of the carnal workings of the Brazilian women of the night they decided it was time to leave before they'd be asked to pay something for taking up so much of their time and not closing the deal.

What a sensational bit of dinner party conversation. Makes you want to go out and do things you wouldn't normally do just so you can have a juicy story to impress your friends - or shock your parents and relatives with at family gatherings where old people are present. BTW Tess, I'm stealing your story and from now on I'm telling it in the first person.