Rum-Painted Grouper is a great tropical taste!

Oh boy, this is another winner from Chef Todd! You’re going to love the combination of flavors in this dish. The grouper is painted with a glaze of rum, cloves, black peppercorns, soy and lemon, then grilled to perfection and placed atop a bed of macadamia-nut guacamole, rich with the flavors of fresh avocado and cilantro. It’s topped with grilled pineapple slices and a wedge of lime, and served alongside jasmine rice and sweet-potato tostones. It’s one of those terrific dishes that provides a magical contrast of flavors and sensations: hot and cold, sweet and spicy, all blending together and yet each standing out to be savored in turn. Not to be missed!

Bistro 185 Salutes the Academy Awards!

Things never stay the same for long here at the Bistro, and we’re bringing something new to our offerings for the month of February as we look forward to the 82nd Academy Awards. This year, Bistro 185 is presenting its own salute to legendary Academy Award winners. Each week leading up to “Oscar Night” — March 7 — we’ll salute three past Academy Award winners for Best Picture with special entrees, starters and desserts.

As you might guess from the trailer above, we’re kicking off our Salute to Hollywood’s Best Pictures tonight and tomorrow night with a tribute to the Best Picture winner for 1951, An American in Paris. If you can’t dance like Gene Kelly or Leslie Caron, how can we make you feel like an American in Paris right here in Cleveland? By offering you a selection of dishes from Barefoot in Paris, the French cookbook by the Food Network’s own Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. On our salad menu: Fennel Salad (p. 99). Our featured entree: Loin of Pork with Green Peppercorns (p. 118), which we’ll prepare as a tenderloin of pork with green peppercorns, served with redskin potatoes. Finally, the perfect dessert to finish it off: Pain Perdu (p. 209), a souped-up French toast with strawberries, almonds and Grand Marnier. All of it together should make you feel like dancing!

But this is just the beginning. Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll salute yet another Academy Award Best Picture with a new set of themed dishes, and Friday and Saturday a third. The fun continues each week until the Best Picture winner for 2009 is chosen in March.

To which films will we pay tribute? What kinds of special dishes will be in the offing as the weeks go on? You’ll just have to keep following the blog and see! (One hint: we’ll be including this year’s Best Picture nominees, which will be ten this time around, rather than the usual five. To find out which movies are selected, be alert for the live announcement tomorrow morning — yes, Groundhog Day — at 8:38 a.m.!)

Tonight: Lobster Thermidor!

Those of you who read the book or saw the movie Julie & Julia will probably remember Julie Powell’s story about having to bring herself to, um, dispatch live lobsters in order to make Julia Child’s Lobster Thermidor. Well, we’re here with good news: You can spare yourself the role of lobster executioner and still enjoy the unique pleasure that is Lobster Thermidor, because we’re preparing it tonight!

The basics: Dry white wine, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and tarragon simmer to a boil. Then the lobsters go for their final swim. While they’re cooking until they turn red, we’ll stew mushrooms with butter, lemon juice and salt. The cooked lobsters come out of the kettle, the mushroom juices (sans mushrooms) go in with the lobster juices, and the resulting liquid is boiled down and strained before being simmered again. Butter and flour are cooked together slowly in a separate saucepan (but not browned), then removed from heat and the lobster-mushroom liquid beaten into that. The mixture is boiled and cream (regular and whipping) is drizzled in. A little lobster dissection then takes place so that some of the tastier innards can be strained and blended into dry mustard, egg yolks and cayenne pepper. The lobster-mushroom mixture then gets beaten into that mixture, and the combined sauce is boiled and then thinned out a bit (but has become quite thick by this point). The lobster meat is shelled, cubed and sautéed in a butter-and-cognac reduction. The mushrooms, lobsters and part of the sauce are then combined and used to re-stuff the lobster shells, the whole thing is covered with the remaining sauce, we sprinkle on grated cheese and butter, and bake.

The result: a dish fit for a Child. And you can enjoy it tonight, without any of the work. We hope you’ll do just that.