Ruth Levine Events caters a wedding

In early September, Ruth had the opportunity to create a very special catered menu for a highly special occasion: the wedding of our son Ari.

She wanted to create a wedding feast that would reflect the South American heritage of his bride, Ursula. With that type of cuisine in mind, here was the menu she devised:

Baby Lamb Chops with Curry Mojo Glaze

Seviche on Spoon


Chilean Sea Bass with Platano Maduro Frito (Fried Sweet Plantains)

Arepa with Roasted Corn Salsa

Mache and Baby Sprouts and Greens with Brunois of Mango, Papaya, Strawberry and Corn Nuts with Broken Sherry Vinaigrette

Black Bean, Goat Cheese, Roasted Pablano and Jalapeño in Saffron Ravioli with Spicy Tomato and Crème Fraiche Sauce and Annatto Oil Drizzle

Mojito and Pineapple-Basil Sorbet

South African Mini Lobster Tail with Hollandaise Sauce and Tomato-Basil Concasse

Black Truffle Risotto with Herb Paste and Sautéed Shrimp

Cuban Black Beans and Rice for Table

Pan Cubano and Medianoche Breads

Guava Cheesecake

Dulce Con Leche Crêpes with Sautéed Apple

Croque en Bouche

Not all these dishes may be familiar to you, so here’s a glossary:

Seviche — raw fish marinated in lime or lemon juice, often with oil, onions, peppers and seasonings, and served especially as an appetizer

Tequeños — fried breadsticks formed by wrapping dough around queso blanco; a popular appetizer in Venezuela, especially at weddings

Arepa — a bread made of corn, originating in the northern Andes, similar to a tortilla

Mache — a salad green with a mild, lettuce-like flavor

Brunois — a very small dice

Annatto oil — a dark red-orange oil made by infusing an oil with annatto (achiote) seeds, used in South American cooking

Pan Cubano — A Cuban type of bread, with a distinctive taste created by its starter and enriched with lard that creates a smooth texture

Medianoche bread — A sweet, eggy type of bread roll, the type used to make a smaller version of the “Cuban sandwich” known as the “midnight special” (that’s another story)

Croque en bouche — a tower of tiny cream puffs, glued together by a caramel glaze and drizzled with the glaze (ours had a large cake as a base)

Here are some pictures, courtesy of our son Zachary:
Black Bean Ravioli with Tomato SalsaLobsterTail with Corn Pudding and Hollandaise SauceMojito and Basil-Pineapple SorbetBlack Truffle Risotto with ShrimpCroque en BoucheOne of the nicest things about this wedding was, of course, was that we got to enjoy playing the exalted role of Parents of the Groom. Here we are in a position you don’t often see us: relaxing and enjoying our own food, right along with everyone else.

Ruth and Marc at Ari's Wedding DinnerThe ceremony was held in our backyard in Pepper Pike, and the lovely late summer weather helped create a magical setting for the perfect wedding and a lovely and intimate wedding dinner.

If you have an event like a small, intimate wedding coming up in your future — or want to plan something special for the holidays (sorry we can’t provide weather like this for that!) — we invite you to find out what Ruth can do for you. Visit the Ruth Levine Events Web site and call 216.404.0500 or send her an email to set your plans in motion.

Something fishy going on here? Yes!

In Chapter 7, Part III of her book My Life in France, Julia Child enthuses about the dish she was served at a restaurant called L’Oasis in La Napoule while preparing the recipes to be included in her second volume on French cooking: loup de mer en croûte. The loup she was served contained Mediterranean sea bass, stuffed with herbs and baked in a brioche crust in the shape of a fish, served with a sauce suprême, or chicken stock-based white sauce. “The moment it came out of the kitchen — enormous, brown, and glistening — we knew this dish was something special,” she writes. “With each helping of fish we received a portion of crust, a big spoonful of the creamy, buttery suprême, and another of fresh tomato nicely flavored with shallots and herbs. The crust was thin and gently crunchy; and the fish was beautifully juicy, tender, and lightly flavored with fennel.”

Naturally, the quest was on for Julia and her coauthor to learn how to produce this dish for themselves so a recipe could be included in Volume II of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Topped with a crust brushed with egg yolk, their creation turned out deliciously — and it sounds as if they had just as much fun creating the pastry “fish” decorations as they did the rest of the meal.

Our variation on Julia’s dish uses a combination of salmon and halibut, flavored with fennel, parsley, tomato and shallots. Rather than a brioche crust, ours will employ puff pastry for more of a flaky rather than “bready” texture. But don’t worry: our crust, too, will be styled to resemble a fish. For sauce, although there are several ways one can go, we have chosen the hollandaise option. You’ll have to let us know how you like it.

A preview of Week 3

We hope you were able to join us last night for Veal Marengo — tender veal in a flavorful tomato-and-mushroom sauce. Whether you were or weren’t, however, we’re preparing another treat for tonight: Loup en Croûte — Fish in Pastry, with hollandaise sauce and haricots verts (good old-fashioned green beans).

Julia Project Menu Week 3 is Ready!

It just keeps getting better! Here’s what we have planned for next week:

Monday, August 17 — Salmon Filet en Papillote with Shallots and Tomato, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, Page 220

Tuesday, August 18 — Chicken Pot Pie, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, Page 278

Wednesday, August 19 — Pork Tenderloin with Port and Prunes, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, Page 358

Thursday, August 20 — Home Made Veal Sausage with Scalloped Potatoes, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, Page 364

Friday, August 21 — Chocolate Burnt Almond Ice Cream, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 2, Page 421

Saturday, August 22 — Steak Diane, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, Page 314

In the French tradition — minus about three weeks — Bistro 185 will be closed for our annual summer vacation from August 24 through the 29th. We will reopen Monday, August 31, bringing more Julia Project dishes with us!

Eat your liver!

Did you ever hear that admonition when you were a child? Did you find yourself not too thrilled at the prospect, staring at a plateful of something that looked like a big slab of shoe leather — and had approximately the same consistency and flavor?

Or, are you a fan of that good old comfort food standard — liver and onions — who’s never tried liver the way the French do it? Or have you already discovered the pleasures of foie de veau — but wondered if you can experience something that good here in Cleveland? Thanks to our Julia Project, you can, tonight.

Our Sautéed Calves’ Liver with Cream Mustard Sauce is a far cry from shoe-leather country. These are soft, tender slices of liver bathed in a savory sauce of cream and top-quality grainy French mustard, sitting atop a cozy bed of mashed potatoes. Our accompaniments for this dish are sautéed spinach, rich with garlic, and celery root (celeriac) remoulade, the recipe for which is also from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1. Normally, remoulade is a term used for a kind of tartar sauce or condiment, but this French dish is actually thin strips of celery root combined with a mustard-based dressing. You might think of it as “coleslaw in a tuxedo.” Just as the cold creaminess of coleslaw complements battered fried fish, the crisp, cool, astringent texture and taste of this remoulade provides a refreshing contrast to the rich, warm flavor of the calves’ liver and sauce. Indeed, it’s a dish you’ll be more than happy to eat, no admonitions necessary!

In other news: The Julia Project list of dishes for the week of August 10 to 15 is ready! Here’s what’s in store for each day.

Monday: Potage Veloute aux Champignons — Cream of Mushroom Soup, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 (page 40)

Tuesday: Coquilles St. Jacques — Scallops and Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 (page 216), accompanied by asparagus tips

Wednesday: Sauté de Veau Marengo — Brown Veal Stew with Tomatoes and Mushrooms, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 (page 360), accompanied by mashed potatoes

Thursday: Loup en Croûte — Fish in Pastry, from Julia Child and Company, with hollandaise sauce and haricots verts

Friday: Savarin with Ohio-Grown Tart Cherries and Seasonal Stone Fruit with Crème Anglaise, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 (page 664). Taste a classic French dessert made with local fruit at the peak of flavor!

Saturday: Bouillabaisse de Poulet — Chicken Poached in White Wine, Provençal Vegetables and Herbs, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2 (page 261), with Ohio-grown baby redskin potatoes and pistou. (It will be Julia’s birthday August 15 — she would have been 97 — and we’ll be celebrating in style!)

Sound good? Make your reservation now! Also, don’t forget, if we served a dish this past week that you’d love to see again, let us know in the poll. We’ll keep it open until midnight Sunday to give you a good chance to vote.

A special shout-out to everyone who enjoyed sampling our food last night at the American Cancer Society 2nd Annual “Dining at the Diamond” event at Classic Park in Eastlake. Thanks for joining us in supporting a great cause, and hope to see you at the Bistro soon!