Autumn Harvest Soup of the Fall Garden

img_6276Oh it’s been so long since I have been here. It has been an interesting year and I feel the need to nourish those I love.
This warming and delicious soup is just the thing to do that.

Autumn Harvest Soup

  • 1/2 cup diced pancetta
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 med shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • large pinch fine sea salt
  • a few grindings of fresh black tellicherry peppercorns
  • pinch of Hunter’s Moon spice blend (recipe follows) or any Smoky Spice blend you like
  • 1 oz character sherry
  • 2-1/2 cups roasted butternut squash, Split and seed and brush with olive oil, bake at 350F until tender and scoop the flesh from the skin, or if you’d rather, peel and cube and roast and cool a bit.
  • 1 can white kidney or cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • small bunch of Swiss chard, washed and stems removed
  • small bunch of Lacinato Kale, washed and stems, removed
  • 1/2 cup Mornay sauce made with parmesan cheese (recipe at link substitute Parmesan for Manchego)
  • 1/2 cup Blue Diamond smokehouse almonds, chopped, for garnish
  • parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • Croutons, for garnish (recipe at link)

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, render the pancetta until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and keep warm in the oven. Pour out and reserve all but two tablespoons of the fat from the pan and then add the onions and shallots. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 more minutes. Remove the onion mixture to a bowl and keep warm. Add a bit of pancetta fat back to the pan if needed and add the mushrooms and salt and pepper and spice. Cook, stirring frequently until they release their juices and brown slightly. Add the sherry and the onions back in and stir to combine. Add the butternut squash, beans, and chicken stock and heat to a simmer. Add the greens and cook covered until they are softened. Add the Mornay sauce and warm through. Garnish with smoked almonds, parmesan, croutons and the reserved pancetta.





This is a soup that gets better every day you have it for leftovers. A bowl or mug and some crusty bread and you’re set.


Hunter’s Moon Spice Mix

  • 2 T dehydrated onion powder
  • 2 T dehydrated garlic powder
  • 2 T dried shallots
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp smoky mequite bbq seasoning
  • 1 tsp mrs. dash salt free blend 
  • 1/2 tsp Mural of Flavor salt free (Penzeys)
  • 1 tsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 tsp rosehip powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried Persian lemon
  • 1/4 tsp galangal root
  • 2 T Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 T smoky Paprika

Mix all together in a bowl and then store in an airtight glass container.


I hope you enjoy. I’m off to make wedding cakes for my son’s wedding this week.

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!