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.
 
http://www.themeathouse.com/
 
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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