Sassafras Bitters

I love how certain smells instantly transport you to a distant time. Your olfactory glands are like magical teleportation devices. The smell of sassafras takes me back to the time when I was younger running around in Georgetown Delaware, playing in the woods of with my younger brothers in the spring and summer. A tree would snap and the air would be perfumed with the woody root beer smell. I loved it! I would try to find as much of the red hued wood and roots as possible to carve and make tea.

My good friend Nathan Tanner is now digging the roots for me, with his kids. I was looking for a way to utilize the fragrant, bitter, sweet quality of it. I knew would pair perfectly with bourbon, so I created this powerful elixir.

Sassafras bitters in the making.

Sassafras bitters in the making.



750 ml. bottle of neutral grain spirit (I used a white corn whiskey)

2 vanilla Beans split

2 star anise pods

1 t. fennel seeds

4 clove

2 black cardamon

2 t. wormwood

1 pound sassafras root

1 t. shredded oak

1 t. dry caramel

.5 oz sassafras root extract. (not needed, but really Boost flavor!)


Toast all spices until fragrant. Combine all ingredients in a jar. Let macerate for 2 weeks, agitating once per week.  Strain and enjoy!

A spring cocktail made with bourbon and sassafras bitters!

A spring cocktail made with bourbon and sassafras bitters!



Now the official blog of a(MUSE.) Restaurant inspired food & drink in Rehoboth Beach Delaware.

Wow, with the holiday season successfully behind us I have a little more time to breath.  A little more time to read, write and work on this blog. Business has slowed significantly but  I am still working hard everyday here at a(MUSE.) in the now sleepy town of REHOBOTH BEACH DELAWARE. I Have decided to make The Comb & Wattle more about the day-to-day happenings in my restaurant plus a format to share all of the fun side projects that I have going on.

This month I will be teaching a lot of private and public classes and workshops. I will report about those as they happen. My next demo/lunch here at a(MUSE.) will be held on Saturday January the 26th at 12:00 o’clock Sharp. The subject will be Holiday Gadgets! I have been taking suggestions on what will be taught that day. I am also available to do private cooking classes for individuals or groups either here at a(MUSE.) or at your location.

Recently I have been involved in the formation of R.I.C.I. (Rehoboth Inspired Chefs Initiative) a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the cause of local food related issues and to raising money for other charitable causes. Click on the link above to like us on Facebook. We have already done many great things and have a lot of big plans for the future. Our founding board members consist of Jay Caputo chef owner of Espuma, Cabo, The Rose & Crown, Lion and Meg Gardner chef and owners of The Blue Moon, Gretchen Hanson Chef owner of Hobo’s, Shawn Xiong chef owner of Confucius, Danielle Panarello Pastry Chef of Jam,Eden.

Yesterday R.I.C.I. collaborated with 16 Mile Brewery on a beer that will benefit The Food Bank Of Delaware. It was a great morning filled with beer making magic. We brewed a porter called Post Apocalyptic Ale. We chose chocolate, Guajillo Chiles, and orange as the main flavor profile. I can’t wait to taste it! The Release date will be in early February. Chef Jay Caputo with unveil it on January 31st. at an all day event at The The Rose & Crown in collabration with 16 Mile.

I have been really into Instagram lately so a lot of my photography has been done on my Iphone 5. It is the camera that is always on and by my side. I really like shooting with my Cannon EOS Rebel T3i but being that I am always in the kitchen it is harder to have it ready to shoot. Here are some of my recent INSTA-PICS!

Where the magic happens at 16 Mile Brewery!

Where the magic happens at 16 Mile Brewery!

Guajillo chiles

Guajillo chiles

The cocoa

The cocoa





Black Bass - celery - parsnip  - cabbage - leek

Black Bass – celery – parsnip – cabbage – leek

Nantucket Bay scallops - brown butter - potato - green apple - trout roe

Nantucket Bay scallops – brown butter – potato – green apple – trout roe

I love feed back so let me know whats on you minds! Any suggestions on writing topics always considered!

2nd Annual Bubbles Brunch In The Big Apple

Chris Flint Sous Chef at Elevin Madison Park Slicing house smoked salmon.(SO GOOD)

Lots Of Bubbles and Great food.

Bryce spinning all your favorite funk, soul, R&B, And Reggae hits to get the people moving.

Lindsay helping in the kitchen.

Thanks everybody for the great food, drink, and awesome time that we had. Shout out to Lindsey, Bryce, Chris, and the whole EMP Crew.

Chefs Feeding the People Who Need to Eat!

(The Awesome People Who Help to Make This Great Event Happen)




This year I have been asked to be on the committee for one of my favorite charity events The Celebrity Beach Brunch. I am very honored to be asked to work with such dedicated people for this great cause benefiting Meals On Wheels throughout the state of Delaware. I am full of energy and ideas to help make this years event the best that it can be and raise as much money as possible for the folks who need it the most.



As the planning stages continue I will share my experiences and cover the people making it happen to help spread the word for this noble cause. This morning the committee met at Fish-On in Lewes. I knew some of the committee and got a chance to meet some new friendly faces. I know with such diligent volunteers this event will be one to remember.



OoOH MOMMY (Vegan Shiitake Veloute)

Another one for all you veggie heads out there!

This soup is so savory and satisfying that you will not miss the meat.


Recipe for Shiitake Veloute:

510 grams shiitake caps

226 grams button mushroom

283.5 grams thinly sliced white onion

10 grams szechuan peppercorn

113 grams white soy

113 grams dark soy

55 grams rice wine vinegar

10 sprigs rosemary

8 quarts water

5 grams xantham gum

50 grams ultra tex 3 (Tapioca starch)

1135 grams mushroom stems

1 ounce grape seed oil

5 sheets dried kombu seaweed

Cover mushroom stems with water add soy sauce and kombu. Simmer for 30 minuets on medium heat. Strain through cheese cloth and a fine conical sieve.

Sweat sliced onions on low heat with grape seed oil and szechuan peppercorns for 15 minuets stirring so that no caramelization occurs.  Add mushrooms and cook on medium heat for 10 minuets. Then add mushroom broth and cook for an additional  15 minuets.

Using a Vita-prep or other high-speed blender puree the mixture, shearing in a little xanthan and ultra tex 3 at a time until the mixture is pureed smoothly.

Chop rosemary and put in the bottom of a fine conical sieve. Pass the soup through the rosemary.

I garnished the soup with fermented black bean puree, smoked oyster mushroom, candied horseradish, green onion and shaved radish. The soup was poured table side.



When you help people it helps everybody. If you help kids it helps our future. As a chef there is no better way that I can think of to help people than to feed them and to educate them about eating and where their food comes from.

I’m proud to be a modern chef. A chef who cares about sustainability of life, and knows that every action that we make matters. I feel that it is important that we pass this knowledge on to our youth.

This week my restaurant paired up with Rehoboth Elementary School to hand out chocolate chip cookies that were made with healthier ingredients during the student’s lunch period. We also gave out the recipes so that they could make the snacks at home with their parents. I had a lot of fun talking to the kids and they really enjoyed the cookies! With the help of many volunteers, there is also a garden at the school in the works. Next time we will be handing out baked chips and healthy dips.

Washed Rind Love From Lawerenceville NJ.

I love cheese! I could eat it anytime of day or night as a snack. I could eat it both before or after dinner.  There are so many textures and flavors to discover when trying new cheeses. I recently had the pleasure of eating Toma Primavera, a washed rind cheese produced by Cherry Grove Farm in Lawerenceville New Jersey.

Washed rind cheeses get scheduled baths in a brine to help create rind growth and develop flavor within the cheese. The brine recipe changes from producer to producer. Different regions have various styles of brine. Producers can use wine, beer, cider, water, spirits, or anything with flavor. When a cheese maker choses a style to produce he or she uses those guidelines to effect the desired outcome. Flavors of cheeses are affected by the type of animal chosen to milk, feed of the animal, terroir or climate, and soil of the animals habitat.

Toma Primavera’s recipe comes from the Piedmont region of the Italian alps. It is produced from raw cows milk from the Jersey cow. The Jersey cow were originally from England and are renowned for their high butter fat content that their milk contains. Cherry Grove farms pasture feeds their cows whenever weather permits and supplements their feed with hay and alfalfa when necessary. This cheese is aged 3-6 months. By law all raw milk cheeses have to be aged at least 60 days.

When tasting this firm cheese you are instantly transported to the sunny fields were the animals graze. Its has a sweet slightly grassy nuanced flavor that is only enhanced upon melting. Its appearance has a tan hue and beautiful little nooks running throughout the cheese.

When I first taste a cheese I like it to be by itself  and at room temperature. This helps me to get to know the cheese. Then I like to think about what I may cook or pair with the cheese. Because of the moisture content, this cheese has excellent melting properties. My mind instantly moved to the soul satisfying grilled cheese. I grated the cheese,used Rye Bread, and herbed compound butter to create a little piece of heaven on earth. I think this cheese would be great with a Belgian-style Saison or a Weizenbock Beer.

This cheese is currently offered at Nage restaurant on our cheese board and can be purchased online or at different PA and NJ farmers markets. Eat and enjoy!