Back in August we had the privilege of eating at The Green House Tavern in Cleveland Ohio. First off let me say this isn’t meant to be a review of the place. I have again been neglecting this blog and it has been far too long ago for me to remember all the details to do a proper review. This is more of a highlight of some of the things we enjoyed and to show how we were inspired by the place when we came home.
I was pretty excited about eating here after all the press I had been reviewing about the place. Since we were staying in Cleveland for the weekend we decided to give it a try. They have a wonderful $44 tasting menu ( a few items have up-charges) that included 4 courses, full portions of whatever happens to be on the menu. As soon as we walked into the place I knew I was going to love it. The restaurant had a unique bustling vibe. We sat off to the side at a private table close to the bar. It was intimate and gave us a good vantage point to view the other diners, the hard working staff, and all the goings on around us. The clientele was an eclectic melange of people, young and old alike. The decor was amazing. I loved that the place has a rotating art display. We discovered this fact from our waiter. The current display the night we attended was of vintage restored bicycles. Being a lover of all things bike-like I appreciated this display. The lights hanging from the ridiculously high ceilings also followed the theme as they were built around bicycle wheels.
With the great thought put into the decor even more went into the food. It was the star here. They use local suppliers and source were the food is coming from on the menus. Makes you feel good about what you are eating. The saying goes “man cannot live by bread alone….”, but here at the Green House Tavern you may just be able to with their large bread board. We ordered this and shared it. It really was too much for two people but we made a valiant go at it! With many different varieties of breads and six different butters, including those made with pork and beef fat, (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it), it was a hearty and delectable first course. Quite satisfying on its own! But that did not stop us from eating on and taking advantage of the fact that we could substitute dessert for one of the courses.
Dessert here was one of my favorite courses, and was want we were inspired to come home and recreate. I had the buttered popcorn pot de creme. It was divine. It was basically a custard base with a thick caramel top. Sitting atop the caramel were large salt crystals which offered a wonderful contrast and crunch to the dish. I loved it. Eric loved it as well. Since he enjoys showing off his creme brulee skills, he figured he could make this as well, adding it to his repertoire.
A few weeks after we returned home, we began craving this dessert. We would have made it sooner if I would have known how easy it was to make homemade caramel sauce. Eric is the custard baker and I was to be the caramel maker. Having never made it before I was concerned. In my mind I had built up making caramel into some daunting task. In reality it is easy, dangerously easy. I actually made this recipe 3 times in 2 weeks. Luckily the last time I made it, I was trying to be too quick and did not allow the sugar to melt all the way and it ended up tasting more like a gritty penuche fudge. ( I hate penuche fudge.) This was a blessing in disguise as I was beginning to get a doughy belly from all the caramel I had eaten! Be careful of developing your own dangerous caramel making skills. As we all know with great power comes great responsibly, even if it is just knowing when to quit!
After a quick search on the internet I had found a few recipes and settled on a combo of them. I loved the pictures and directions on the blog Brown Eyed Baker for the making of the caramel. So refer to those if you wish. This is a great sauce, wonderful over a variety of things. Use it over ice cream, as a dip for apples, or over a custard base as we did. Use your imagination and be creative, there are many more uses for this. Let me know if you have success and what you did with your very own caramel sauce!
Easy caramel sauce print
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons of butter at room temp and cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 tsp of kosher salt
- Melt sugar in heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium high heat, whisking all the while. Do this until no further sugar crystals can be seen, or if you have a candy thermometer until it reaches 350. I did not have a candy thermometer and 2 out of 3 times it turned out just fine, make sure not to be impatient and you can make it work more often.
- Add butter all at once, continue to whisk until all butter is melted.
- Remove from heat and add cream, followed by salt whisking until smooth.
- Allow to cool before placing in container.