Night at the Oscars: Doctor Zhivago and Chicken Kiev

Tonight’s salute to our favorite movies to celebrate Academy Awards season features the 1965 winner for Best Picture, Doctor Zhivago. Relive the romance of this classic film tonight by dining on our featured special: Chicken Kiev, stuffed with Brie cheese and basil with potato gnocchi toppped with a creamy vodka-tomato sauce and sautéed spinach. We’ll be featuring this special for the rest of the week (we had originally planned to salute three films per week, but we’re going to feature two per week instead to give everyone a few more days’ opportunity to experience each dish).

We’re also featuring some other wonderful specials to warm your heart this time of year. If you haven’t yet tried our Green Pasta — penne pasta with pesto, asparagus, haricots verts, pea pods and scallions — it’ll provide a welcome spot of color in your cold gray winter. You can add shrimp, filet of Bay of Fundy salmon or chicken breast to this dish as well.

Looking for something completely new? How about our Italian Meatloaf — a combination of veal, sausage, ground beef and pork topped with marinara sauce, served with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans? That’s real wintertime comfort food. Or maybe you’d rather take a mini-vacation in the tropics with Sautéed Wild Caught Caribbean Lane Red Snapper served with a red-pepper aioli, black bean, corn and mango salsa and some bacon corn fritters on the side.

If the bacon corn fritters alone sound wonderful to you, you can get a small plate of them for $5 at the bar during our Happy Hour — along with many other delightful mini-dishes, from sliders to crab cakes, and a nice $5 glass of wine to join them.

Don’t forget, this Saturday is our Fourth Anniversary Party, and we’re going to have even more special things planned, plus a complimentary glass of champagne and a slice of cake for everyone who helps us celebrate!

This time of year, it’s easy to allow cabin fever to get the best of you — but Bistro 185 is your cure. Come on in and say hello. You’ll find we’re just what the doctor ordered!

Behind the Dish: Paella with Chicken, Lobster, and Clams in Saffron Broth

So, what goes into Paella with Chicken, Lobster, and Clams in Saffron Broth…besides the obvious? Well, you start with a recipe inspired by Julian Serrano of the Picasso restaurant in Las Vegas (you can find a video of him making it at the link provided here). Ours is flavored not only with the saffron necessary to give all paellas their beautiful yellow color, but with lots of onion, garlic, and red and yellow peppers. Although the recipe in Julia’s Master Chefs cookbook calls for using chorizo sausage, we’re going with andouille sausage instead (maybe that makes it more French than Spanish?). It’s cooking in fish stock we prepared ourselves earlier in the week from the red snapper we used as an earlier Julia entree. We’re also adding a little orange zest for more flavor.

Many cooks who make paella use plain old conventional white rice in their recipe. We prefer to use arborio rice — the kind used in making risotto — because its high starch content makes for a creamier, richer sauce, the same way it “creams up” risotto without the addition of milk or cream.

All these ingredients cook in one pan. In another go the heavy hitters of the seafood component of the dish: South African lobster tails, crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, and a little red snapper, along with some chicken thighs. We’re simmering them in a tomato broth made with our fresh rooftop tomatoes. When everything’s done, we’ll plate up the spicy rice-and-sauce mixture, ladle the seafood-and-chicken mixture on top, and there you have it: paella!

Hmm. Considering all we’re adding to the mix, maybe we should call it Paella with Chicken, Lobster, Clams, Crab, Shrimp, Mussels, and Red Snapper in Saffron-Tomato Broth. One thing’s for sure, if you’ve been craving seafood lately, this one’s going to satisfy you — and it’s going to bring the spice, too!

Not into seafood? We’ve got yet another reprise of our Pork Tenderloin with Hot Fanny Sauce as well. When we put it back on the menu last night, it sold out! Looks like this one is a definite winner. If you still haven’t tried it, or you did and liked it so much you would love to have it again, tonight’s your night!

Holiday Closing: After tonight’s dinner, we will be closed until lunch Tuesday for the Labor Day holiday. We hope you have a good one, but don’t stay away long — the Julia Project resumes with Week 5 Tuesday night (menu schedule to come soon)!

Just a few additions make magic!

Our red snapper has enjoyed a few special additions since our description of it before final preparation of the dish this afternoon and evening…just a few. We thought haricots verts would make a good vegetable addition, and it turns out we were right…they blend in perfectly with the flavor of the fish and the buttery sauce, especially with a slice of lemon and a touch of dill. Then we topped off the cucumber that accompanies the dish — as well as the fish itself — with just a wee bit of fresh chinook salmon caviar.

Behind that addition lies a tale. An acquaintance of ours recently went fishing in Lake Ontario near Olcott, New York, not far from Niagara Falls, where the reintroduction of salmon stock to the lake has helped boost the economy of many a small lakeside town. This is the kind of place where, if you catch an 18-pound chinook, you throw it back because it’s too small. Our friend was lucky enough to catch two huge female salmon loaded with roe, and while he knew what to do with the salmon meat — Marc has taught him how to smoke his own salmon — he didn’t know what to do with all that roe, so he gave it to Marc. Marc processed it by hand — not easy, but we think you’ll believe the effort was worth it. This kind of caviar isn’t heavily salty; it has a milder flavor than many commercially processed caviars. It just seemed like an ideal complement for our red snapper.

As it so happens, you could say it’s Surf and Turf Night here at the Bistro, because we’re also serving up an encore of the Beef Tenderloin we featured last night. Thursdays are always Reprise Nights during the Julia Project, in which we bring back a popular dish from earlier in the week, but this one was so well-liked we brought it back a night early!

Behind the Dish: Poached Filet of Red Snapper

Tonight’s Julia dish, Poached Filet of Red Snapper with Mushrooms and Fast White Butter Sauce, is an example of how even a simple dish with few ingredients can become special when you have a fresh product prepared properly. In this case, that product is skinned red snapper, poached in French vermouth, fish stock, mushrooms and lemon juice with a little salt and pepper. The fish is then removed from the cooking liquid and the liquid becomes a base for a beurre blanc, made with butter, more lemon juice, white vermouth, white wine vinegar, shallots and white pepper. The dish is completed with a touch of buttery cucumber. We’re serving it with more of that marvelous Israeli couscous.

Will this dish be so good that it earns a proposal from one of our patrons, the way the beef tenderloin did for Ruth last night? (Sorry, sir, she’s taken.) Come in tonight and find out.

Because this is another dish from Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home, we thought we’d treat you to another video clip, this one featuring highlights of the public TV series by the same name. As the video points out, the whole series is available on DVD, so if this whets your appetite for more, you can order away.

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!