October 29th, 2011

Weeknight meal: Steak tips and risotto

The Meat House in Arlington has almost a dozen different steak tips from the house marinade to ginger teriyaki. I picked up a pound of the house and a pound of Moe’s. I decided to try two different cooking techniques; I roasted Moe’s in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes and I seared the house tips in a hot dry pan, flipped them and then finished them in the 350 oven for 6 minutes. I think the latter is the superior method – the hot sear created a nice charred flavor and it was just more visually pleasing. Both had great flavor and were tender. And always let meat rest, so that the juices can redistribute.
My friend Kathy has been raving about Ina Garten’s baked parmesan risotto recipe forever. She insisted that it was so simple and better than any other risotto she has tried. I took it with a grain of salt as she is Superlative Kathy. The trick to this risotto is that it is baked in the oven for 45 minutes, and then stirred for 2 to 3 minutes, instead of 40.
I thought the risotto was great; the texture was just right and I enjoyed the flavors of the white wine, cheese and peas. Steve thought the flavors were “only okay.” Maybe it’s because he is not a big cheese or white wine fan? Who knows, I think most people would love it. I think this would be a great dish to bring to a potluck, too. I halved the recipe, since there was only two for us for dinner. 

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Zinneken’s, Harvard Square

Which side are you on in the pancakes vs. waffles debate? Personally I’m on waffle girl, but a fussy one. The beauty of a waffle is that you have a light crispy exterior, housing a soft tender interior. It upsets me to get a floppy waffle that is nothing more than a pancake with divots.
My favorite are Liege Waffles, which are made with pearl sugar, creating a crackly caramelized crust. I was really excited to hear about Zenneken’s, a café featuring authentic Belgium waffles and a slew of topping choices. Amy and I got a plain and one topped with Nutella and caramel. Sadly, it was not the waffle I was looking for. There were on the tough and chewy side, and the flavor was a single note – sweet, too sweet. The waffles were also quite pricey: $4.70 for the plain, .50 cents for toppings (1.00 for fruit).
I’m now pinning my hopes on Saus, a new Belguim waffle and fry placed downtown.
1154 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 876-0836

Salted Caramel crumb bars

I love caramel, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. I added ½ tsp of salt to the filling, as salted caramel is my new favorite dessert profile. The recipe is fairly easy. The only tricky part is cooking the filling – it’s done when it is pulling away from the sides of the pan. Oh, and don’t accidentally use evaporated milk. You’ll have to start over, like I did.

The bars are delicious and addictive. I'm glad I added the salt; it adds additional complexity to the dessert. 

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