Wednesday, June 30, 2010

earthquakes, pillow talk and the great American burger

We had an earthquake here today. I was working on my laptop after lunch when the whole house started shaking and making shifting sounds, as if someone was moving furniture around. I thought I'd imagined it but when I checked on the Centre Sismologique Euro-Méditerranéen website, it was mentioned as having a magnitude of 4.2. Not exactly a force majeure, I grant you, but disconcerting none the less.

In Savoie, new builds and renovations have to be constructed to zone 2 seismic standards, or "elastically", to quote BB tonight, and regretting it instantly, I asked him what that meant:

"Do you understand the difference between elastic deformation and plastic deformation (here we go). Take an elastic band and a plastic ring pack on a pack of beer (I'm not listening. Look! I've got my hands over my ears and I'm humming loudly. La la la la).  If you pull the elastic band, bla bla bla ..."

After the miserable wet start to the summer, we're into our fourth consecutive week of glorious BBQ weather and my recipe de l'été is this, from Jamie Oliver: great American burgers. The pre-cooked translucent red onions keep them moist and the addition of breadcrumbs and parmesan stops them from shrivelling up to half their size the way most home-made burgers do. An absolute must for the barbie season.

olive oil
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped
breadcrumbs from 4 slices of bread, crusts removed
500g (1lb 2oz) good-quality lean minced beef
1tsp sea salt
1 heaped tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, preferably free-range or organic, beaten
handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Fry the onions in some olive oil until softened (about 10 minutes) and leave to cool.

2. Put the cooled onions into a large bowl with the rest of the burger ingredients. Use clean hands to mix everything together really well, then divide into 6 equal balls for burgers and 18 equal balls for smaller sliders. Roll into burger-shaped patties about 2cm thick.

3. Cook on a BBQ or in a griddle pan - about 3-4 minutes each side.


Anonymous said...

American accent: "Put a nice big lobster on that BBQ dear, wasn't that a typycal Cordon Blue (!) dish? You know how to handle those things!".
Nice burgers by the way.

Anonymous said...

So much for the eagerly anticipated gastronomique delights from Le Cordon Bleu!!! A crisp sandwich and a couple of beefburgers! Good photos though!

Anonymous said...

And? Still shaken by the magnitude of 4.2 ? Or are you 'elastically' enough to survive these hick-ups of mother nature ? How's the renovation of the mill going, and when's the gîte ready.... , or are you 'just' playing with the BBQ (and BB) ??? Happy cookin' and keep up the blogging please!

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

These look tasty, almost like large smashed & grilled meatballs. Mmm mmm.

Kathie said...

ZUT ALORS!!! Did our Baby Chou aid and abet a criminal?

"Paris Aims to Curb Apartment Rentals to Tourists":

PARIS -- Many people buy a pied-à-terre in Paris to use for a few weeks a year and to rent the rest of the time. Most of them don't realize, however, that they are breaking the law -- something the city is now trying to address.

Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, expressing concern about the lack of affordable housing in the city center, ordered an agency last year to warn property owners that renting out residential apartments for less than a year violates French law. Those who ignored the warning, he said, would be prosecuted.

Only about 25 letters have been sent since enforcement began last autumn -- most of them in response to complaints made by neighbors. And only a handful of those cases have gone to court.

But the rental industry in this most-visited city is concerned and, as more owners slowly become aware of the issue, confusion is growing. A few have pulled their properties off the market, others have deleted addresses or other identifying details from Internet listings. And dozens of rental agencies have banded together to try to save their lucrative business...

Hils said...

I really miss your blog!