The James Beard Project: Coming full circle this week

This week marks the return of the James Beard Project, and to start with, we’re bringing back the same slate of dishes we featured in Week 1. That means if you missed any of these great dishes the first time around, you have another chance to enjoy them!

Monday, Jan. 11 — Noodles with Cabbage
Sautéed Medallions of Pork Tenderloin with a French Grainy Mustard and Horseradish Cream Sauce (Beard on Pasta, p. 88)

Tuesday, Jan. 12 — Coq au Riesling
Braised Chicken in Riesling Wine Sauce (Beard on Pasta, p. 116)

Wednesday, Jan. 13 — Walnut-Breaded Filet of Sole With Lemon Aioli, Grape Tomato Salad and Roasted Baby Redskin Potatoes (The New James Beard, p. 199)

Thursday, Jan. 14 — Roast Duck with Cherries and Wild Rice (The New James Beard, p. 338)

Friday, Jan. 15 — Ossi Buchi with Orzo
Braised Veal Shanks with Orzo (Beard on Pasta, p. 140)

Saturday, Jan. 16 — Lamb Shanks with Beans (The New James Beard, p. 399)

Behind the Dish: Roast Duck with Cherries and Wild Rice

Our Roast Duck with Cherries and Wild Rice is, we think, something quite special. As always at the Bistro, we like to improvise a little on any recipe we use, and that’s the approach we took to making the cherry sauce for our James Beard-style roast duck. The cherries we’re using are a combination of summer sour cherries we’ve had saved up in the freezer from back during the warmer months and canned Oregon Bing cherries. The base for the sauce is a veal demiglace we just prepared last week from 50 pounds of veal bones! To that we’ve added some spice in the form of rosemary, cinnamon sticks, and a little ground nutmeg and cloves, along with some Ohio honey.

Keeping our roast duck company are wild rice with wheat berries and some of our roasted fall vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, squash, and both Peruvian blue and redskin baby potatoes. Stop in tonight to try this marriage of the savory to the sweet — and enjoy a little taste of this past summer, too.

BEHIND THE DISH EXTRA: Another cold-weather delight that makes a great starter is one of our Soups of the Day, Chestnut Soup.

If you’ve never had chestnut soup before, you should give it a try and find out why, every holiday season, you always hear Nat King Cole singing about the pleasures of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. This is why — it’s one of the best things that can happen to those chestnuts after they get roasted. And it makes a great accompaniment for our duck dish…or just about anything else on the menu.

Bistro 185 Presents: The James Beard Project

We mentioned earlier that in the wake of the success of the Julia Project, Bistro 185 was going to keep exploring the work of the country’s greatest chefs — and now our newest project is ready for unveiling. “The James Beard Project: A Salute to American Icons in Food” will feature four weeks’ worth of new James Beard-inspired entrees each evening. And, just as with the Julia Project, we’ll be blogging about them right here and letting you know from which cookbooks we’re drawing the recipes.

Here’s what’s in store for Week 1, which begins tomorrow night. Be sure to join us for great dishes inspired by James Beard!

Monday, Nov. 2 — Noodles with Cabbage
Sautéed Medallions of Pork Tenderloin with a French Grainy Mustard and Horseradish Cream Sauce (Beard on Pasta, p. 88)

Tuesday, Nov. 3 — Coq au Riesling
Braised Chicken in Riesling Wine Sauce (Beard on Pasta, p. 116)

Wednesday, Nov. 4 — Walnut-Breaded Filet of Sole
With Lemon Aioli, Grape Tomato Salad and Roasted Baby Redskin Potatoes (The New James Beard, p. 199)

Thursday, Nov. 5 — Roast Duck with Cherries and Wild Rice
(The New James Beard, p. 338)

Friday, Nov. 6 — Ossi Buchi with Orzo
Braised Veal Shanks with Orzo (Beard on Pasta, p. 140)

Saturday, Nov. 7 — Lamb Shanks with Beans
(The New James Beard, p. 399)

Keep checking this blog to read “Behind the Dish” features and descriptions of these great entrees and many others we’re featuring this fall. We’ll also be posting a video soon of last night’s Halloween fun, featuring some of the delicious meals being ordered. So don’t be away for long!

Behind the Dish: Bouillabaisse de Poulet

Julia’s variation on the traditional bouillabaisse — normally fish stew — that substitutes chicken for the fish is a tasty dish indeed. Here’s how we make it at the Bistro: the poached chicken is flavored by a combination of white wine, vermouth and “Provençal vegetables and herbs”: onions, scallions, our rooftop-grown tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, fennel, saffron and orange peel. Swirled in as a final touch is a bit of pistou — a French variation on the Italian pesto — a combination of basil, tomato, garlic and cheese. We will serve it with Ohio-grown baby red potatoes for a hearty dish with plenty of local flavor.

And, what’s a birthday — especially a great chef’s birthday — without cake and ice cream? Our dessert choices tonight will include a special Angel Food Cassata with Cherries and Nectarines as Julia’s birthday cake, and our ice cream flavor of the evening is sure to be an eye-opener: Mango Jalapeño. Or, enjoy your mangoes and your cake together in a special dessert with a real taste of the tropics, Plantain-Mango Trifle with Banana Chips and Dulce de Leche Pastry Cream.

It’s going to be a special celebration at the Bistro tonight — don’t miss it!

Friday-night fish dinner with Julia

We’re feauring Loup en Croûte as a special again tonight, in very limited quantities, and some of you are making it your Friday-night fish selection. Terrific! As for our cherry and apricot savarin? Each little cake is swimming in Kirsch sauce, deeply buried in fruit and whole almonds, and topped with fresh whipped cream.

It’s a gorgeous Friday summer night in Northeast Ohio — the kind you’ll wish you had back when digging out of a blizzard this coming winter — so enjoy it! We’d be honored to have you at the Bistro.

Behind the Dish: Be savvy about our savarin

On tonight’s menu, we have a Julia-inspired dessert: Savarin with Ohio-Grown Tart Cherries and Seasonal Stone Fruit with Crème Anglaise. What, exactly, is a savarin? It’s a ring-shaped, doughnutlike, yeast-based cake, much like a denser form of shortcake, with a “bready” or brioche-like texture, served with a rum or Kirsch (cherry liqueur) syrup. The dish is named for the 18th-19th century French politician, writer and gourmet Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, one of history’s most influential food writers. Some of these types of cakes are also called “babas,” as in baba au rhum.

Our take on the Julia-style savarin will feature a syrup flavored by red tart cherries, grown by Patterson Fruit Farm in nearby Chesterland in Geauga County, flavored with Kirsch. When we’re done painting it with syrup, it will be topped with more cherries, apricots and toasted almonds.

If this sounds like something you could enjoy on our patio tonight with a good cup of coffee — maybe even after having dinner with us as well — we invite you to join us for a beautiful summer night’s meal.