A Summer of BBQ Ribs and Lester's Espresso Rocket Bomb Sauce

It's been a busy summer, cooking weekly fresh meals but I love the intensity of catering parties. 25, 30, 40 or more hungry people, having a great time, laughing, chatting with friends  and family, toasting their reunions, nibbling on appetizers and waiting for the main course. I love it and it touches my heart to be part of their celebration. I've been catering all kinds of parties and working with a large variety of foods but my favorite and it seems many of the party guest favorites are my Southern BBQ rib parties. The ribs are slow smoked and the sauce is my own creation.
Enjoy the menu suggestions. 

BBQ Rib Party

Slow hickory smoked BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Lester’s homemade Espresso Rocket Bomb Rib Sauce

Stewed collard greens, with smoked turkey and just a splash of organic vinegar

Macaroni and Cheese, multi cheese and creamy, every ones favorite

Jalapeno maple infused corn bread


Starter Ideas

Mini crab and corn cakes served with a chipotle aioli

Fried Pickles, a true Southern favorite

Grilled caramelized onion and spinach quesadillas

Boiled peanuts, a taste of the south, when available

Fried catfish fingers, when available


Dessert Ideas

Seasonal fruit cobblers, we like the apple topped with Toad Farm Vermont goat cheese caramel sauce

Whoopie Monsters, mini two bite whoopee pies, made in Jamaica Plain, try the traditional butter cream or salted caramel filling, Gluten free Whoopi Monsters are also available


Additions, substitutions and extras

Herbed buttermilk biscuits

A chilled South Western yellow squash soup topped with a chili crème.

Outdoor cooked saffron rice with a down south twist

Cast Iron baked beans with double smoked bacon

Mom’s potato egg salad

Southern string beans, with mushroom and onions

Foil wrapped grilled roasted Tex Mex corn on the cob, infused with fresh lime, cilantro, butter and a pinch of cayenne.

Grilled vegetable Kabobs

Steak Tip Kabobs, basted in garlic oil

Swordfish Kabobs basted in Persian lime olive oil

Lester’s shrimp and grits, cheesy buttery, seasoned grits topped with, cubed double smoked bacon and grilled Cajun shrimp

Grilled burgers, dogs, and locally made Italian sausages also available

Need a Vegetarian Entrée for the party? My Buffalo Tofu is the answer. Starch coated and pan fried tofu in a buffalo wing sauce, served with the traditional carrot and celery sticks, with a homemade blue cheese dressing.


Crab Shala

When ever I mention crab shala, to even my most knowledgeable foodie friends, I always get puzzled looks.

I grew up in Florida but now live in New England. I love the seafood here - lobsters, clams, cod and oysters. In Florida we ate different local seafoods:, gulf shrimp, grouper and blue crabs.

When I was young, I would catch blue crabs in the canal near my home. In fact many of my family’s outings involved crabbing in other areas, mostly sea walls, docks and piers. You tie a piece of fish or chicken neck to a string; drop it along the sea wall, when you feel a tug you’ve got a crab. The crab usually stays clawed to your bait while you pull up the string, as soon as you see the crab hanging on to your string you scoop it up with a long handled crab net. We always kept going until we had a couple of buckets full of crabs.

Crab shala is a regional dish, from what I understand – is usually only seen in the coastal areas of Florida.   Every family has their its own special recipe, but they always involves pieces of blue crab, shell and all, tomato sauce and lots of green bell pepper.

My family served ours over spaghetti. It’s a dish that’s best eaten outside, at least the way I remember eating it, cracking those shells, tomato sauce flying, sucking the meat from the shells and the sauce, simmered low and slow with all those crabs. All I can say is…………Culinary Heaven!


Grazing San Francisco

It had been about 6 or 7 years since we've visited San Francisco. We love San Francisco and as usual, when traveling we are in search of food, local food. Photos of our grazing San Francisco.






Molecular Gastronomy 

Often there’s nothing more satisfying and delicious than food in its natural form: an apple picked fresh from the tree, a sweet garden strawberry, eating a freshly harvested oyster on a boat, a quality grilled steak seasoned with only salt and pepper or nibbling on a locally farm raised carrot on my walk home from the Farmers Market. 

Nevertheless, as chefs, home cooks and lovers of food, we can also explore mixing flavors to create recipes, trying new techniques and presentations with the hope of adding to the pleasures of the edible.

The term “Molecular Gastronomy” was originally intended to refer to only the science and investigation of cooking. These days the term is used to describe a style of cuisine. Catalan chefs Ferran Adria and Jose Andres are the most well known among those working in this realm – even lecturing at Harvard these days – although any respectable food city now has at least one place exploring these techniques.

I enjoy playing with food, I did the research and did my best in searching recipes and gathering what supplies I needed. I have not broken any new ground but it’s a start in what I hope to eventually feel comfortable adding to my repertoire. 

Some experiments failed and some did not taste so great but after failures, I did more research and went back at it. It’s fun to play with food and it’s also fun to enjoy food that’s been played with. 

Some of the ingredients used

Sodium Citrate

Calicum Chloride

Sodium Alginate


Soy Lecithin (powder and liquid)

                                                Xantham Gum

                                                Agar Agar



Wine ravioli bubble served on a cracker with my homemade goat cheese mozarella.

Carrot juice caviar in the making

A batch of carrot juice caviar

Carrot juice raviolis and caviar. cranberry caviar and wine ravioli

Pineapple foam

Frozen pineapple foam that we topped our rum cocktails with

Rum sheets



Tea Tasting in San Francisco's China Town

It was early afternoon and it had already seemed like a long day of exploring San Francisco on foot. As we wandered through Chinatown, it was the final days of the Chinese New Year. The sites, smells and sounds were amazing: Crowded streets and shops, costumed dragons moving from shop to shop wishing the proprietors good luck with the constant rat-a-tat-tat of fire crackers snapping at their feet, to keep the dragons awake.

Traveling with my wife and my 11 year old son, we were reaching the point of over stimulation and fatigue – and I was getting the feeling that they were growing tired with my obsession with the markets’ dried sea creatures and fungi, fresh fruits and vegetables and some very impressive ginseng roots.

We ducked into a small tea shop. As soon as we walked through the doors, things were different. It was quiet and peaceful. As we stared in amazement at the jars of teas lining the walls, the proprietor asked if we were looking for something special. In a tranquil, soothing voice, she invited us to try her teas. At the small tea bar in the rear of the shop, our tea hostess began pouring from a gaiwan, small cups of various teas, while describing the teas, where they came from and their medicinal values. One tasted like the earth, she said it was aged underground. Another was mild with berries, another dark and energizing.

Premium teas are not inexpensive, but they are well worth the price. We purchased a few ounces each of a Ginseng Iron Goddess (Tie Kuan Yin) Oolong that contains an abundant amount of antioxidents and their best seller a King Grade Blue People Oolong, which is infused with liquorices root, ginseng powder and mint.

As we returned to the streets of Chinatown, I felt calm, a little light headed, refreshed, energized, focused and the hustle and bustle seemed distant and I was no longer craving the double espresso with a twist of lemon peel that I’d been thinking about before.

I will definitely be exploring more premium teas. A toast of tea to your health and well being!