Coffee Espresso Ribs and a Piece of my Heart

Espresso Coffee Ribs



A lot has changed for us since that last post. In December we learned that our dear friend Jeffry Machado was losing his battle with Lymphoma. We were able to go spend the last two weeks of his life with him and be with him until the end.
I can’t tell you what a terrible, beautiful, sacred, heart-rending and gut-wrenching gift it was to share that experience with him and with our other dear friend, his wife, Michelle.


Chef Jeffry Machado

I learned some life altering things about love and loss, and his gift of love and generosity to the end was a lesson unto itself. He gathered a great group of friends around him and I met some angels on earth while we were there. Particularly Nurses with a capital N- Matt and Sharon, you know who you are, and the chemotherapy unit nurses at Stanford, and Kenny who came and stayed through many chemo sessions as a friend- God bless them!
Jeff had a way of encouraging you to be your best self. He just steadfastly believed in you and prodded your talents out of you. He was generous, kind, and sometimes blunt about what gifts were meant to do in the world. He was still pushing us and entertaining us and enveloping us with his own brand of goodness, right up until he couldn’t be with us any more.
He was a chef, caterer, and photographer (amongst so many other talents) who always strove to be the best he could be and he expected that out of you too,  if you were someone he cared about.
I still can’t say or write all I’d like to about him, maybe time will tell eventually.
The first Saturday that we were there, while he was still joking and pulling those close to him in – saying goodbye in his own way, he invited around 16 of those of us closest to him to Koi Palace, in Daly City, California, for a very fine Dim-Sum feast. He and Michelle would sometimes take us there when we were visiting in the past, it was always memorably great.
One of the featured selections was Coffee Ribs, served in a giant coffee cup.  Here is my interpretation of them, I hope Jeff would approve.


  • 2-1/2 pounds baby back pork ribs


  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cream Sherry
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind puree
  • 3 teaspoons freeze dried espresso powder
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water

For Frying

  • peanut oil or sunflower seed oil or a combination of the two, for deep frying
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sprouted brown rice flour

For Sauce and serving

  • 3 teaspoons freeze dried espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons catsup
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons oil from frying
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks with 1 teaspoon sugar, for garnish

Rinse the ribs and cut into individual sections (1 bone) score back side of ribs across the silver skin in two or three places. Set aside
Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Submerge the ribs in the marinade and place into the refrigerator for at least two hours and up to 8. Remove from fridge and let sit at room temperature while the oil for deep frying heats to temperature.

You’ll need a deep fry thermometer and a large heavy bottomed pot. Keep the lid to the pot nearby for safety. I use a combination of 2 parts sunflower seed oil to 1 part peanut oil and pour into the pot at least two inches deep but not more than 1/2 way up the side of the pot. As you add the ribs the level of oil will climb. Do not overfill or it will be a fire hazard. Have heat resistant tongs handy and a paper towel lined plate. Heat the oil over medium heat to about 325F on the thermometer.

Pick a rib out of the marinade using tongs and let it drain fairly well. Combine the 1/2 cup of cornstarch and the brown rice flour and dredge the rib lightly in the flour mixture. Put into the deep heated oil 4 or five ribs at a time, (don’t over crowd the pan) and fry for about 6-7 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel lined plate. It will take you 4 or five batches of frying. When all are fried, start the sauce in a wide deep skillet by mixing all the sauce ingredients and cooking over medium high heat while whisking until bubbly. (about 3 minutes)
Increase the heat under the large pot to medium-high until the oil reaches about 400F on the thermometer. Add all of the ribs back to the pan and fry for another minute, until golden brown. If you need to do this in two batches it’s ok. Remove the ribs, drain briefly on more paper towels and then add to the skillet with the sauce, making sure all are evenly coated. I’d advise waiting a minute or five to serve as they’ll be scorchingly hot from being fried. Place a serving of 4-6 ribs in a large coffee cup, dollop some whipped cream on top like an espresso and serve. Amazingly yum oh- if I do say so.

They reheat ok but are best when freshly made. 🙂








I’ll take Manhattan

Robin on Manhattan smallWe were very lucky to be invited to dinner at Elise and Preston’s house this last week. The food was delicious and beautiful, the table was stunning and the company superb. I wish I had taken a picture, but then I really rarely do and I don’t want to de rude and interrupt the ambiance by whipping out my phone. So, sadly, no pictures of the lovely miso and Mirin glazed salmon and the colorful summer vegetable bake with rice, and the heady dark chocolate pots de crème with raspberries that Elise prepared and we all enjoyed immensely.
Preston is a superb bartender and made a lovely Gin and Tonic for me as a pre-dinner cocktail. However he made a smashing Manhattan for another guest and I woke up the next morning with this watercolor in my head.
Below is a standard Manhattan recipe- but I do believe that it is the bartender and the ingredients which make the drink:

              Manhattan                                                                         makes 1

Enjoy responsibly with someone you love!




Sunday Blues Pancakes


pancake stack

For the last few months things have been topsy-turvy around here. Rick lost an argument with a ladder in June, broke his leg quite badly, and has been in recovery since. Four months of not being able to be his usual busy bee self means that our usual Sunday waffles have turned into these blues pancakes made by me.
I started with a straight forward buttermilk blueberry pancake and they have morphed with the addition of  whole wheat flour, corn meal and a bit of non-fat Greek yogurt.

Here is the current version which yields about 16 or more pancakes when scooped out with a  1/4 cup measure:

Sunday Blues Pancakes

  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt such as Fage -can use nonfat or whole milk as you like
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted then cooled, plus more for the pan
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (use spelt or graham if you wish)
  • 1/2 cup stoneground fine cornmeal
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use fleur de sel- use less if using fine table salt)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • organic blueberries, fresh or frozen- do not thaw before using if frozen
  • real maple syrup

I melt the butter in my microwave in a medium glass bowl. It takes about thirty seconds on full power in mine. Let it cool. Measure the buttermilk into a glass bowl or a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup. Pour the melted and cooled butter into the buttermilk and stir. Break the eggs into bowl you used for melting the butter and break them up with a fork or a whisk so that they will mix into the buttermilk/butter mixture easily.  Combine the eggs and the buttermilk/butter, add the vanilla and set aside.
Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold in gently until all is moistened. Do not overbeat.

Sunday Blues Pancakes
Heat a griddle or large cast iron or other skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of butter to grease the pan. It should foam but not turn dark.
Scoop a 1/4 cup measure into the pan for each pancake. My skillet will let me make 4 at a time this way. Add 5 blueberries to each pancake or how ever many you like.
When the pancake is getting a bit firm and bubbles appear turn carefully with a fish spatula or other flexible turner.
Cook until cooked through. Test gently with your finger to see that it is pretty firm and not still squishy. Remove to a warm oven until you have enough to serve. Serve with real maple syrup.pancake 2

Have them in good health with someone you love. AND stay off ladders- that’s my advice to you- they are EEEVILLL!