I guess I can talk now about some of the food we prepared for St. Vallie's Day. I just hate to get caught up in all that timely, trendy blogging, so I waited. Heart-shaped cookies, heart-shaped cakes, heart-shaped hard-cooked eggs. Yeek!
This is much more sophisticated. Heart-shaped raw meat.
OK, you probably know it as steak tartare. Ground red muscle seasoned with traditional European flavors of mustard, shallots, Worcestershire, capers. Raw egg for that gluey, patted-together congeal-iness. I've had that, and I've liked it. But I was looking for something different.
Last year, we were totally skunked on some raw beef. It was unchewable. Didn't even taste that great cooked (which was our last resort).
This year we got a small, aged rib-eye steak. I didn't know for sure if it would be too fat, too tough... It wasn't. Recommended.
First rule of Steak Tartare Club: Don't let your butcher grind the meat. This protein should be minced with a good knife, at home, by you. It's actually very satisfying to mince a good steak, and it works.
Second: What if you seasoned it some other way? I immediately thought of minced green garlic, which is in season. Then my mind wandered to a couple of dribbles of soy sauce, for sodiumami™. Finally, I wanted a kick. Chile oil! From that Chinese stuff in the jar; it's in the door of your fridge.
Third: Hold off on the oil. Shape the meat (and shoyu and garlic) loosely in some romantic, silly design. Bird? Daisy? Hah, no. Heart. Dude.
Fourth: OK, now drizzle a little chile oil over your confection. A little is good; a lot is probably not.
Serve with baguette rounds and some other heart-shaped fabulousness, which I will tell you about soon.