A preview of what’s happening in Fall 2010

As we said earlier, the Bistro goes on summer vacation starting August 29 — but when we get back after Labor Day, it’s going to be a busy fall for us! In addition to enjoying our food here at the restaurant, you’ll be able to find us at some terrific fundraising events.

The festivities begin with our appearance at the North Union Farmers Market’s first-ever Garlic Festival at Shaker Square September 11-12. This festival will be a celebration of everything there is to love about the humble but mighty garlic! On the 12th, from noon to 8 p.m., we’ll be among the local restaurants serving up delicious dishes featuring garlic — ours will be French-Fried Garlic Chips on Lobster Ravioli with Laughing Bird Caribbean White Shrimp, so you know it’s going to be amazing. (FYI, Laughing Bird is the only brand of shrimp that’s imported fresh into the United States. You can read a little more about them here.) The event will also feature artisans, farm representatives, and contests such as a grill-off, a bake-off, a competition with local bartenders (garlic martinis? who knows?), and much more. There will also be educational tents for children to learn about local food and farming. All proceeds will support North Union’s mission of championing local foods by connecting certified producers with consumers through their network of seven markets. For more information, watch the Market’s Web site.

If you love dogs, on September 19, you’ll want to look for us at the Muttsquerade Ball, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Moxie in Beachwood. The Muttsquerade Ball, a fundraiser for Dogs Unlimited Rescue, will be hosted by Fox 8 News in the Morning anchor Stefani Schaefer and feature live music by Cleveland legend Michael Stanley, a silent auction, and a magnificent spread of food from area restaurants. Our contribution to the feast will be Fall Corn Pudding with Pancetta and Sautéed Laughing Bird Shrimp. Tickets for this wonderful evening are $100 each, and all donations help Dogs Unlimited Rescue in its work of rescuing and rehabilitating abused and neglected dogs and placing them into permanent loving homes. For more information, visit Dogs Unlimited Rescue’s Web site.

On September 27, we’ll be at the American Liver Foundation Flavors of Northeast Ohio event, which takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Intercontinental Hotel on the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic. At this unique and creative culinary event, premier regional chefs (including us!) will each prepare, tableside, a signature five-course gourmet dinner, complete with wine pairings and distinctive décor, for a table of ten. Nowhere else can you witness firsthand culinary experts creating a menu personally for you! The event supports the American Liver Foundation’s mission to facilitate, advocate, and promote education, support, and research for the prevention, treatment, and cure of liver disease. To find out how you can experience the thrill of having Chef Ruth create a dinner designed especially for you and your table, visit this page.

You’ll also be able to find us on November 22 at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction at Embassy Suites Cleveland Rockside from 5:30 to 9 p.m. This event gives you the opportunity to sample specialties from Northeast Ohio’s finest chefs (again, that would include us!) and varieties of fine wines from across the country while supporting the leading nonproft organization for pregnancy and baby health.

So, mark your calendars now — it may be a hot summer so far, but the events on our schedule will make it an even hotter fall for fans of the Bistro!

Feasting on fried chicken

So, the fried chicken is going out to the tables, and we think we got it just right. Big, crispy pieces — breast, leg, wing and thigh — coated with crunchy breading, protecting the tender, moist, juicy, non-greasy chicken inside. It’s all drizzled with the lavender honey and served with the corn pudding and a cup of thick, rich gravy on the side — perfect for dipping both chicken and crust (you’ll want to do both — the gravy is full of savory spicing).

We think the lavender honey complements the chicken much the way rosemary does, and the honey provides just the right touch of sweetness without being overpowering. If you do, too, please chime in! This dish is looking like a must for a reprise.

A big shout-out of thanks, also, for having shown us this week how much we were missed while we were on vacation! The Bistro has been packed ever since our return, and the Julia entrees have been flying out of the kitchen to rave reviews. We’re delighted that so many of you are as excited about the project as we are. It’s good to be back!

The Julia Project takes a trip to the South tonight!

Yes, things are definitely going to be a little different in tonight’s Julia Project. The new entree comes to us courtesy of Leah Chase, “The Queen of Creole Cuisine,” who provided the recipe for the cookbook In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs.

For many years, Leah’s restaurant in the 5th Ward of New Orleans, Dooky Chase, was known as a place to find not only wonderful down-home Creole cooking but an extensive collection of African American art. Then came Hurricane Katrina. Dooky Chase was flooded, although the art collection was saved. Today, the restaurant is back in business and once again serving up the Creole classics that made it famous.

Tonight we celebrate both Julia Child and the revival of Dooky Chase by featuring a classic all-American entree: Fried Chicken. (You can find a video of Leah cooking it at the link here.) And we’re going to serve it up with gravy and some of Ruth’s light and delicious Corn Pudding — and maybe a few other treats as well. To find out what the end dish is like, you’ll just have to stop in. If you’ve been craving some good old-fashioned comfort food that says you’re not quite ready yet to say goodbye to summer, this is the place to be!

Behind the Dish: Pork Tenderloin with “Hot Fanny Sauce”

So…we all know what pork tenderloin is (ours will either be grilled or cooked in a cast-iron grill pan), but what exactly is “Hot Fanny Sauce”? Chef Todd, who once cooked at the restaurant of its inventor George Germon, describes it as “a fresh-pepper barbecue sauce,” made with onions, jalapeño peppers, chicken stock, sherry, red-wine vinegar, salt, and ground red and poblano peppers. Todd tells us he doesn’t really recall preparing this sauce back when he worked at Al Forno (he worked at the pasta station, preparing all the pasta entrees and sides, and the starch sides such as potatoes), but is enjoying the opportunity to whip it up here as part of the Julia Project.

How did “Hot Fanny Sauce” get its name? According to Julia’s cookbook from which we derived the basic recipe, Cooking with Master Chefs, there’s no big story behind it. George Germon just liked the name! (To see him whipping it up, look for the video at this link.)

There’s another project going on today that you might enjoy knowing about. Ruth just gave Marc a rather special gift…the gift of a full kitchen inside our garage at home, complete with a smoker. And since that time, Marc has been busy smoking beef brisket like you wouldn’t believe. The end result? Bistro 185 is going to have yet another notable special on tonight’s menu: Smoked Beef Brisket with Ruth’s corn pudding. Now, how are you supposed to decide what to have tonight? Good luck deciding!

Julia Project Dishes for Week 4

Here’s our Julia Project lineup of dishes for Week 4, beginning with dinner on August 31.

Monday, August 31 — Grilled Pork Tenderloin with George Germon’s “Hot Fanny Sauce,” served with individual ramekins of marshmallow-and-pecan-topped sweet mashers. (This dish, from In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, page 75, will feature a sauce Chef Todd learned while working under George at his award-winning restaurant Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island.)

Tuesday, September 1 — Filet de Boeuf en Feuilletons, Duxelles: Tenderloin of Beef sliced and stuffed with mushrooms and roasted. We will serve this with Yukon gold mashers and grilled asparagus (Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2, page 180)

Wednesday, September 2 — Poached Filet of Red Snapper with Mushrooms and Fast White Butter Sauce, served with Israeli couscous (Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, page 238)

Thursday, September 3 — Fried Chicken with Chicken Gravy and Corn Pudding (In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, page 192)

Friday, September 4 — Crêpes Suzette (Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, page 410). Also, Fridays of the Julia Project will be “Reprise Nights,” in which we will bring back a popular dish from earlier in the week in addition to our special Friday dish. (Last night, we brought back the Pork Tenderloin with Prunes — and you ate it up!)

Saturday, September 5 — Paella with Chicken, Lobster, and Clams in Saffron Broth (In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, page 201)

Mark your calendar and make your reservations…when we come back, we’ll be cooking up a storm!