Night at the Oscars: Giant and Ropa Vieja

For our “Night at the Oscars” special entree Thursday through Saturday, we’re honoring the film that won the 1956 Academy Award for Best Directing for George Stevens, the widescreen saga Giant. This movie about the effects of the oil industry — and a fierce personal rivalry — on two Texas ranching families deserves a dish with flavors as big as the Lone Star State itself. And some of the best of those flavors come from the influences of Spanish cuisine on American food, from the Southwest with its Tex-Mex cuisine to Miami and its Cuban, Caribbean and Canary Islands influences. Our entree is actually an example that originates in the Canaries, but which we’re treating with a Southwestern flair: ropa vieja.

Ropa vieja gets its name from the Spanish words for “old clothes,” possibly because of its “torn-up” look. But this concoction of shredded flank steak in tomato sauce tastes nothing like the laundry! We made ours by giving the steak the sous vide treatment overnight, heating it slowly in vacuum-sealed plastic with Southwestern seasoning to imbue it with plenty of tenderness and flavor. Then we combined it with bell peppers, onions, cumin, garlic, cilantro, tomato and jalapeño peppers to make it dance on your tongue even more. We’re serving it on a bed of corn pudding, accompanied by black beans prepared Southwestern style and topped with the Mexican cheese queso blanco. There’s freshly prepared pico de gallo sauce including chopped tomatoes, onions, chiles, lime juice and cilantro nestled in between the two. And we’re even adding freshly fried-up chicken empanadas for a finishing touch.

James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor never had it so good down on the ranch as you can have your dinner at Bistro 185 tonight. So come see us and enjoy a dish that will satisfy even a (wait for it) giant appetite. Olé!

Julia Project Dishes for Week 7

Thanks for your patience! Here’s a list of the Julia Project dishes for Week 7, the last week in which we will be offering brand-new dishes. The final week of the Project will consist of our “greatest hits”: reprises of the most popular dishes from the first seven weeks.

Monday, Sept. 21 — Chile Glazed Country Ribs with Black Beans and Rice (In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, p. 260)

Tuesday, Sept. 22 — Smoked Salmon Napoleon (In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, p. 63)

Wednesday, Sept. 23 — Lamb Moussaka (Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1, p. 349)

Thursday, Sept. 24 — Shrimp Étouffée (Cooking with Master Chefs, p. 21)

Friday, Sept. 25 — Mousseline au Chocolat (Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1, p. 604)

Saturday, Sept. 26 — Yellowtail Snapper with Mango, Rum, Ginger and Macadamia Nuts (In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, p. 238)

We hope you can make it to the Bistro to enjoy these dishes with us! Make your reservations during open hours at 216.481.9635.

Here’s the beef…and it’s delicious

JuliaProject916This is what Filets of Beef in Pasilla Chile Sauce looks like when we’re done with it. Our chile sauce includes Cuban black beans, cooked in a sofrito of onions, tomato, garlic and peppers, added to the pasilla-poblano-chipotle combo that serves as the mail flavoring. After the seared beef medallions are cooked in this sauce, it’s topped with a fresh avocado salsa and queso fresco. To the left, you can see the ravioli, made with saffron pasta with a stuffing of goat cheese and black beans with a touch of roasted jalapeño and poblano chiles, topped with a creamy corn sauce. Garnished with grape tomatoes, a few plantain slices and a sprinkling of parsley, this is a truly incredible dish, a marriage of flavors from spicy to creamy to sweet that just dances on your tongue. Try it — you won’t forget it!

Behind the Dish: Filets of Beef in Pasilla Chile Sauce

Filets of Beef in Pasilla Chile Sauce is another of Julia’s cookbook recipes that comes to us by way of Robert del Grande, whom you can see making the dish in a video you’ll find at this link. It’s another one in which the use of chiles imparts a unique Southwestern flavor to a cut of meat. If it puts you in mind of Texas, that’s no accident.

The recipe first requires toasting the chiles — which, in our case, will be a combination of not only pasillas (narrow chiles with a mild to medium-hot, rich flavor) but poblanos and chipotles, to add flavor, depth and a little more heat. Then the chiles are added to a sauce made with plum tomatoes, white onions, garlic and chicken stock. Meanwhile, medallions of beef are seared, then added to the sauce to cook just a bit longer. The dish is finished off with some brown sugar, cilantro, cheese (the original recipe suggests Cotija cheese — a Mexican hard cow’s milk cheese — we will use a softer queso blanco) and either an avocado salsa or a guacamole.

For an extra-special touch, Bistro 185’s chile-flavored beef filets will be served with roasted poblano-black bean ravioli made with saffron pasta. These ravioli are very similar to the ones we prepared recently for the dinner to celebrate our son Ari’s wedding (more about that Sunday!) and we think they will be perfect for accompanying this dish.

If your mouth is watering, you know what to do: pick up the phone and call 216.481.9635. We’ll be delighted to see you tonight.

Julia Project Dishes for Week 6

Ruth and Todd just put together the list of Week 6 dishes for the Julia Project. Sounds like we’re in for another delicious week!

Monday, Sept. 14 — Roasted Lamb Inspired by the Renaissance Agnello Al Forno (In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, p. 171)

Tuesday, Sept. 15 — Roasted Veal Chops and Sweetbreads with Lemon and Rosemary (In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, p. 32)

Wednesday, Sept. 16 — Filets of Beef in Pasilla Chile Sauce (Cooking with Master Chefs, p. 79)

Thursday, Sept. 17 — Tuna À La Provençale (Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1, p. 219)

Friday, Sept. 18 — Crème Fraîche Ice Cream with Figs and Peaches (In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, p. 205)

Saturday, Sept. 19 — Lobster Thermidor (Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1, p. 221)