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: Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Sausage

Here’s a secret: we’re swapping out the main element in a James Beard recipe tonight to bring you Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Sausage. Because, truth be told, his original recipe calls for veal shanks. However, we feel that the flavor will be even richer using lamb shanks — truly exceptional — so we’re subbing them for the veal.

The dish calls for braising the shanks in tomatoes and white wine, parsley and basil, then adding partially cooked sausages (we’re using Italian sausages) during the final cooking time, until they’re cooked all the way through. We’re serving our shanks, tomatoes and sausage with an assortment of fall root vegetables including parsnips, turnips, carrots, rutabagas, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and purple potatoes — and a little fennel and rosemary. Now that’s hearty — and the flavor is exquisite!

Warning to those who can’t resist dessert: we still have Cream Puffs with Chocolate Sauce available, and now you can choose them filled not only with ice cream, but with pastry cream. Either way, you will be amazed.

James Beard Project: Week 3

Here is the menu of nightly specials for the James Beard Project, Week 3:

Monday, Nov, 16 — Linguine with Tomato Shrimp Sauce (Beard on Pasta, p. 98)

Tuesday, Nov. 17 — Filet of Sole with Scallops Mornay (James Beard’s Fish Cookery, p. 201)

Wednesday, Nov. 18 — Chicken Kiev (James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, p. 203)

Thursday, Nov. 19 — Sautéed Calves’ Liver with Shallots and Madeira (The New James Beard, p. 451)

Friday, Nov. 20 — Viennese Goulash with Pappardelle Pasta (James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, p. 141)

Saturday, Nov. 21 — Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Sausage (The New James Beard, p. 414-415)

Also — watch for a surprise James Beard dessert!

Behind the Dish: Lamb Shanks with Beans

Tonight’s James Beard dish is pretty basic on the surface: lamb shanks braised in red wine and beef stock with a bit of tomato paste, bay leaves and other herbs. But as usual, we at the Bistro like to change things up a bit, so we couldn’t just serve plain old white beans alongside: our beans are a bit dressed up with bacon, onions and shallots, and some fresh rosemary and thyme. You can really smell the perfume of the herbs coming off this dish and making the beans and the lamb even more flavorful.

But, of course, that’s not all. We’ve got a full lineup of other standards and specials to tempt you. Like a little spice? Has the great weather today made you feel like pretending for a while that you really do live someplace where it’s always warm like this? Go Jamaican tonight with a jerk barbecue mahi-mahi accompanied by tropical fruited rice, rich with bananas, papayas, pineapple and coconut. Or try something else on the specials that’s caught your fancy. For example, the Four-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese with Smoked Chicken and Black Truffle:

This is creamy, smoky, cheesy comfort of the best kind. Or maybe you’d prefer a “Petit Poulet” (chicken) wrapped in bacon with cornbread-andouille sausage stuffing and a cranberry-orange chutney. Or an Italian seafood cioppino, rich with South African lobster tail, scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, crab leg, Italian sweet sausage and penne pasta in a spicy marinara broth, topped with tempura calamari.

Whatever you do, again, you want to keep one more course in mind, because, as always, there are some beauties in our dessert case. Some of the ones we have on hand right now: pumpkin pie topped with maple-brown sugar whipped cream; triple chocolate cheesecake; and fresh vanilla-bean ice cream. Oh, and did we mention we still have Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie?

It’s Saturday night, and it’s going to be a beautiful one. Come celebrate it at the Bistro!

Tonight’s Specials: Oct. 5

Starters
Soup of the Day
Gravlax (house cured salmon) with potato pancakes, capers, chopped red onion and sour cream
House Smoked Duck Breast with mango chipotle glaze, sun-dried cranberries, potato pancake and sour cream
Chicken and Vegetable Pot Stickers with sesame-soy dipping sauce
Asian Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes
Romaine Wedge Salad with Gorgonzola dressing, chopped hard-boiled eggs, red onion, bacon and tomato
Warm Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Salad on a bed of field greens with balsamic vinaigrette
Roasted Organic Beets with goat cheese, honey and balsamic drizzle
Calymarna Brown Figs stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with prosciutto, field greens and balsamic vinaigrette
Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with pistachios, field greens and raspberry vinaigrette
Coquilles St. Jacques: Baby bay scallops and shrimp in creamy Alfredo sauce with a Parmesan cheese crust
Escargot with Garlic Butter
Puff Pastry Wrapped French Camembert served warm with grapes and toasts
Medjool Dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped with bacon with balsamic drizzle and crumbled goat cheese

Entrees

Lamb Shanks with Baby Fall Vegetables (a Julia Project favorite)
Lamb Moussaka with Greek Salad (a Julia Project favorite)
Sautéed Pork Tenderloin in Prune and Port Wine Sauce with Mashers (a Julia Project favorite)
Steak Oscar: Medallions of beef filet topped with crab and shrimp, hollandaise sauce, tempura green beans and mashers
Boeuf Bourguignon: Boneless Black Angus short ribs slow-braised in a rich burgundy wine sauce with carrots and onions on a bed of mashers
16-oz. Bone-in Cowboy Ribeye Steak with onion straws, sautéed redskin potatoes and house tempura vegetable
Calves’ Liver, pan sautéed, with onion gravy, mashers and bacon
Roasted Half Duck with orange sauce, organic wild rice and house tempura vegetable
Limoncello Chicken: Pan-seared chicken breasts finished in a limoncello cream sauce, Meyer lemons, asparagus, artichoke hearts and snap peas with penne pasta
Chicken Parmesan with pasta marinara
Pan-Seared Day Boat Scallops with black truffle, chanterelle mushrooms and roasted butternut squash risotto
Sesame-Crusted Pan-Seared Wild-Caught Ahi Tuna with wasabi aioli and ginger mandarin drizzle, Israeli couscous and house tempura vegetable
Pecan-Crusted Bay of Fundy Salmon with sweet potato mashers and sautéed spinach
Pan-Roasted Wild-Caught Alaskan Halibut with tropical fruit and nut rum sauce and butternut squash ravioli
Wild-Caught Canadian Walleye finished with a lemon herb butter sauce, mashers and house vegetables, OR tempura style with sweet potato fries, slaw and tartar sauce
Lobster Ravioli with Seared Day Boat Scallops and Shrimp finished with a creamy lobster sauce
Ricotta and Spinach in Fresh Manicotti Pasta with marinara and a touch of cream

Greatest Hits: Lamb Shanks with Baby Fall Vegetables

Feeling chilled to the bone by this rainy Cleveland weather? You need to come in to a warm, cozy, welcoming place where you can enjoy a dish that will stick to your ribs and make you feel truly cared for, heart and soul. Our Lamb Shanks with Baby Fall Vegetables will fill the bill. Read about them here and here, then enjoy them here!

Don’t forget, tomorrow is the last night of our Julia Project. We’ll be celebrating it on the blog with a special little video to thank you all for your support of us over the past eight weeks, so be sure not to miss it!

Tonight’s lamb: scent-sational

Image of Roasted Lamb Inspired by the Renaissance Agnello Al Forno

Hi! Ruth and Marc are back, and we’re just in time to tell you about how the Roasted Lamb Inspired by the Renaissance Agnello Al Forno turned out. The first thing you notice is the heady aromas coming up from your dish…the citrusy scent of the lemon and orange combining with the scent of the roasted lamb and the sauce. Then you taste it — and discover how perfectly all the flavors meld together and set each other off. The tangy and tart is complemented by the sweet and mellow at every turn…from the tomatoes to the olives to the the raisins in the couscous, it all blends beautifully with the savory lamb. As you can see, we added a bit of sautéed spinach topped with just a bit of feta cheese. It’s a real Mediterranean treat. We hope you enjoy looking at it, but we hope you enjoy eating it even more!

Behind the Dish: Braised Lamb Shanks with Baby Fall Vegetables

The Tenant is still taking care of you while the Levines are away…this time with a preview of a Julia Project dish that’s pretty basic.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Baby Fall Vegetables is a variation on a Julia recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 called Navarin Printannier, or Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables. The differences between Julia’s version and the Bistro’s version will be these: first, they’re doing it with lamb shanks rather than chunks of lamb stew meat; and second, given that it’s September, they’re using (duh) baby fall vegetables rather than spring veggies. According to Chef Todd, the costars of this dish, which will braise along with the lamb shanks in their tomato/garlic/onion/herb sauce based on beef stock, will be carrots, parsley root, parsnips, turnips, fingerling potatoes and Peruvian (blue) potatoes, as well as peas and green beans.

Sounds like a hearty fall dish to me. I’ll let you know how it tastes tonight, but why take my word for it…come on in and get firsthand experience!

Julia Project Dishes for Week 5

You’ve waited patiently…and here they are!

Tuesday, Sept. 8 — Fireplace-Roasted 1⁄2 Duck with Sautéed Porcini Mushroom and Veal Demi-Glace with Wild Rice and Sautéed Haricots Verts (Cooking with Master Chefs, p. 103)

Wednesday, Sept. 9 — Spaghetti Marco Polo (from the French Chef series)

Thursday, Sept. 10 — Sea Scallops and Wild Mushroom and Green Sauce on Risotto (Cooking with Master Chefs, p. 75)

Friday, Sept. 11 — Côtes de Pork Robert with Sautéed Potatoes (Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1, p. 388)

Saturday, Sept. 12 — Braised Lamb Shanks with Baby Fall Vegetables (Potatoes, Turnips, Carrots, Haricots Verts) (Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1, p. 345-346)

Sounds good? Mark your calendar and make your reservation!

Behind the Dish: Crêpes Suzette

Tonight’s new Julia presentation is a classic French dish served up as a dessert treat: Crêpes Suzette. We’re going to serve our crêpes with orange marmalade, orange slices and Grand Marnier.

We wanted to let you know we plan to make this blog more visual very soon, and feature quite a few things we think you’ll like, such as photos of our dishes and even a little video. In the meantime, to give you an idea of what goes into preparing a crêpe Julia-style, we’re presenting this YouTube video by Julia’s “nephew,” “Julian Child,” aka “The 99 Cent Chef”:

An advisory: we’ll be preparing our crêpes minus the wig, earrings and pearls. Just in case you wondered.

We are also reprising a Julia entree from earlier in the week: the Pork Tenderloin with Hot Fanny Sauce. If you missed it earlier, tonight’s your second chance to enjoy.

Week 5 Menu will be posted soon…

The Julia Project Week 5 is going to be great! Look for specials including duck with porcini mushrooms, lamb shank with fall vegetables, and scallops with green tomatillos and risotto. Part of the week we will have a guest chef subbing for us while we prepare the menu for and attend to our son Ari’s wedding. (More details on that later!) One of our featured Julia dishes at that time will be Spaghetti Marco Polo. Watch this space for more details!