CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes




Sunday, November 23, 2014


Gramma's kine cooking in Hawaii is da best! C'mon, everyone that was fortunate to have that lovable gramma that could cook better than chef A hole had it made come Sunday evening dinners. FOODIES! Gramma Rocks!

In our home Peggy my mom, was gramma foodie. Seriously, her foods were simple, and she was a genius at keeping foods simple. Her theory was, less herbs and spices when cooking, but just enough for aroma and to enhance flavors. In other words, when she stewed meats or chicken, there wasn't a lot of herbs or spices going on, "You have to taste the meat, it's beef stew not rosemary stew." So growing up, we seldom used herbs and spices the way some cooks do in their homes.

Using the cheapest cuts of beef was meant to be in our homes because for one thing we weren't wealthy money wise. The cuts we bought weren't Wagyu, USDA Prime, it was the store bought cuts that didn't look too appealing by Le Cordon Bleu standards. It was the inexpensive chuck steaks, the tough shanks, oxtails, those cuts. And when dad manned the grill, again, it was a huge ass chuck that was sliced into steaks. We had delicious chewy steaks, but we didn't give a shit, it was good to us. As we got older and more educated, we learned about the different cuts of beef, pork, and poultry that were finer. The sirloins, the juicy rib eyes, cuts such as those. We then graduated from the chuck cuts to the New Yorkers or Porters…we got foodie educated. However I would not in a gazzillion years trade in Gramma Peggy's cooking, no way!

Peggy would get 5 lbs. of chuck, cube it, season it with salt and pepper, and sear all the pieces in a large stock pot. She'd add water to cover the meat, then simmer it for like 2 hours. Once it was fork tender, she'd add in tomatoes, carrots, string beans, potatoes, tomato sauce, and some herbs to give it aroma, maybe a couple of sprigs of rosemary, a bay leaf. And cook it more until the potatoes were soft. We would have beef stew with the meat literally so soft, it wasn't cubes any longer, but strands of beef that was incorporated in the sauce. Man my friends would stay for dinner and say, "I wish my mom could cook like this." Well my mom was gramma to all the kids, so she was Gramma Foodie.

When I see chefs acting like they're all that, I gotta go to their restaurant and taste their food, and I tell you what, there's a lot of chefs who are creative, but man, I'm telling you, no chef I've ever met can cook like anyone's gramma that can kick ass in her own kitchen. I guess I'm a simple guy and I said that a gazzillion times in my blogs. Keep it simple, and you'll feed them. And they…will come back for more.


2 1/2 lb.s of chuck roast cubed
Photo for

Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for searing
4-6 cups of water
14 fl oz. tomato sauce
1 1/2 lbs. of potatoes, cubed
1 lbs. sliced carrots
1/2 lb. trimmed string beans
2 large tomatoes quartered
2 bay leaves
1 spring rosemary

1. In a medium stock put, put some oil on the bottom over medium high heat, begin to sear all the cubes of meat. If you must do this in batches first. You want to develop a nice brown crust on each piece.

2. Add at least 4 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil, then lower to simmer covered for at least 30 minutes. Remove cover, add in all of the other ingredients, and bring up the heat to boil once again, then lower to simmer with cover on.

3. Simmer for about 30 more minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Off the heat, and leave it covered. It will continue to cook while it's covered.

Note: If you time this just right, by the time you turn off the stove, and dinner starts in an hour, that stew will be hot enough to serve, or you can heat it up once again. Also if you want, making this dish a day before is even better as all of the flavors become more incorporated, all you need to do is heat it up and serve. Adjust the seasonings, maybe you'll need more salt and pepper.

Other ways to flavor this stew is adding some red wine, or vinegar to give it some unique tastes. As far as veggies, stews go well with heavy root based veggies like potatoes, carrots, and even radish works pretty good.

Experiment with stews, use inexpensive cuts for this, like chuck for beef, butts for pork, and older whole chickens or stewing chickens. Good luck foodies! 

© 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Food has been a major topic as of late, the whole debate on GMO foods has circulated to astronomical proportions. When only a chosen bunch of people in the know about genetically engineered foods like ten years ago, almost every household now is conversing on GMO foods.

My take on GMO foods is this. I've been eating GMO as well as many in my generation for years. And yes, I have had some illness in my life, as well as others in my family, so the questions remain to most of us, are GMOs responsible for our illnesses? I believe in some respect it is. Why? It is fact that processed foods are not good for us, and if it is consumed three times a day, it can be fatal, leading to illnesses like hypertension and diabetes to name a few. Recently some studies have produced findings that GMO foods ingested in the long run is the cause for Alzheimer's disease.

However I must also say, if chemical companies are finding ways to feed the world that's a good thing, at this stage of the world's population the cost of all natural or organic foods is really expensive, hence the promotion of growing our own gardens if we can. But if chemical companies can use safe methods to growing non organic foods to feed the  world, isn't it a good thing? Of course the nay sayers will scream, "They are in it for the money and billions in profits!" Well yes, of course…they are in business aren't they? But if the foods are safe, then I'm all for it, however if it's not deemed safe I have reservations on it.

Will the non GMO organizations actually hurt food establishments? Will a mom and pop diner opened for years lose business if they are by law to state on their menu that they are not using organic, meaning yes they are serving up GMO foods…will this put them on the street without a home? If people get educated or possibly brainwashed, will food businesses lose a lot on their bottom line? I have friends ready to start small eateries, but now with the GMO debate and not knowing what's going to happen with legislation, it may not be the time to pull the entrepreneurial trigger in the food biz.

Whatever the case, people, ordinary people need to eat, and more than likely will not seek expensive organic foods because fact remains that stuff cost a lot more for the average person. It remains to be seen what will happen in the business of food that will actually have an affect on the regular people just getting by. We all know that big business influences government, and protesters have an affect on government. Maybe this whole GMO anti GMO thing was meant to be so we can sort this out quickly. We don't need higher cost for anything, the world does seem like it's coming to an end…well not to sound biblical, just saying. The whole world's gone nuts!

© 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014


What happens when a slugger in the majors goes into a deep deep slump, from nailing 10 homers in a row and batting over .300 in a week, to going 0-1 1,000,000 the rest of the year? What and why does this shit happen? Hmm, or say a PGA golfer like Tiger Woods goes into a winless streak that seemingly looks like the end of him? 

For me as a cook, it's my knife skills that needed sharpening. Why? For one thing I haven't been doing a lot of cooking lately hence my knife skills went…well…south. So here's what I did, I spent 12.00 at the Lahaina Foodland Farms, got me 3 medium round onions, 2 medium cucumbers, and 3 medium tomatoes.

I remember Martin Yan demonstrating how to decorate a salad plate by slicing a cucumber in half, and then slicing it down the center lengthwise creating a half moon. He used his cleaver to slowly create very thin slices that he fanned out around the salad plate. Man I ain't Martin Yan, I definitely need more practice.

And the roses from slicing the tomato skin from the base of the tomato and making a medium width slice going around the entire tomato and then rolling it up again. Not bad for being away from the knife for a few years..haha… I been cutting meats but nothing like making a presentation worth looking at. I just had to get back into the knife skills again. Maintaining my cleaver's edge and my paring knife's edge as well once again. It's all good. I guess I was that major league slugger in a long hitting slump, and Tiger Woods going winless for a long time. But with practice it's feeling like I can do it again. Thing is, if you're a cook and people are watching, you gotta be proficient, if not you'll look pretty bad. So practice I go.

© 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014


To be very honest with you, I'm a very simple person, and cooking reflects my personality. Simplicity is premium in life for me. So when lots of chefs, are shunning breakfast because they are…CHEFS..BLOODY CHEFS!!! Hey, gimme that griddle and double boiler I'll jam!

I love the breakfast crowd, it is the start of the day, usually people are in a mellow mood, and they are just relaxed and reading the paper, or looking at what's happening on their smart phones. The start of the new day, and breakfast is just right up my alley, love it with a passion. Oh don't get me wrong my fine baggy shorts wearing, too tight top wearing lady friend, I love cooking lunches, brunches and dinners too. However, breakfast is something I'm just passionate about.

Eggs Benedict oh yeah! Love to make it, love to eat it. 2 poached eggs, set on Canadian bacon, over buttered and pan toasted English muffins, topped with a rich buttery homemade Hollandaise sauce, oooo…ooooo…ooooo..OOOOO!!!!!!! Check it.

Or it could be a Green Onion Omelet for the vegetarian, simple, little soy sauce, sesame oil, garden grown green onions, and fresh free range Hawaiian chicken eggs.

Peeps that love Over Easy, it's a rush flipping a couple of eggs and then… THEY EAT IT!!! Haha…Flip the eggs man, flip it good.

Eggs, it was made for the mornings. Eggs, one of the most versatile of all foods, used in baking cakes, pies, used for making batter to coat meats and seafood and deep fried. Eggs, for sauces like Hollandaise, mayonnaise, or custards… Without eggs, there wouldn't be any egg fights. Imagine, no eggs, no breakfast as we know it. Thank God for eggs. And if you don't believe in God? Thank you Joe Montana for eggs. Joe Montana? Well if you don't believe in God, Joe Montana is a good person to pray or thank for eggs… well you gotta believe in something, shit just pray to a rock whatever eh?

Till next time, have a great life!
Ron Sambrano
© 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014


PORK LUK FUN in the test kitchen yesterday, was a victory, because on the previous day, these steamed rice noodles did not cooperate, when I checked batch after batch, it turned out mushy, and my friend having a mushy noodle is really displeasing, after all who wants a mushy noodle? Mr. Mushy? Yeah he would because he's Mr. Mushy a freaking loser, but for us winners we want noodles that are made and executed correctly. Well then yesterday's test kitchen was triumphant. 

As I go through this journey of the Luk Fun, I am learning that you got to eat humble pie, and that a recipe is just a guiding force towards the goal, a road map, but like in real life we will face obstacles even with a road map, at times those directions you get are valid but it never tells you about the "what ifs", like what if the shit don't work? You got to try, and make calls, and ask questions like a tourist on Maui looking for the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, his map is okay, but there was a detour on Hwy 30 and he got mixed up, so he has to improvise and ask questions or re-google map it… It's life man, life eh?

Noodle making is an art, it's science, it's fun, it's hectic, it's tedious, it's a pain in the ass, but there is nothing more fulfilling than cooking up a batch of noodles, and then the people you feed eats it all. Yeah, it may not knock their socks off or whatever, but when that plate is empty, hey you did something right, for one thing it was good enough for them to eat the entire plate.

One day soon, that noodle shop will open, one day. 

Until next time, "Have a great life."
© 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


This week has been a very very low point for moi (me). C'mon where's your French chops? OK, one- the Dodgers couldn't get past the first round of the NLDS, so that's one big disappointment. And then our house gets burglarized while we all were asleep, yeah go figure… oh well life goes on, and on it shall as I work on my test kitchen projects, today it was Chocolate Mochi. It's a dessert I am working on to perfecting.

What is it? It's mochiko rice flour that is mixed with sugar, salt, and water to form a dense batter and then baked. Because this is rice and not wheat, it has somewhat of a sticky finish. Check out the photos below.

This is what my Chocolate Mochi looks like, mmm!

But before I got to this stage I had to get through these other stages, well just look and see for yourself, the photos maybe jumbled out of order but you get the idea.

There's the steps before it was plated, and keep in mind that I Chef Ron do not drizzle any sauces I DOUSE IT TM

© 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chinese Style Honey Baked Chicken

Chinese style comfort foods for those of you that want to cook it and not bother driving into town to get your fix. In this recipe blog I'll go over a very simple Honey Baked Chicken. And the ingredients are found conveniently at your local supermarket in the Asian aisle. If your supermarket doesn't have it, check online, or find a local Asian mart you can probably find it there.

4 lbs. of chicken legs
3 tbsp. Chinese 5 spice (to be sprinkled over chicken parts)
3 tbsp. sea salt (to be sprinkled over chicken parts)

MARINADE/BASTING SAUCE (This is one sauce, it is called the marinade because you'll be soaking the chicken at least for 4 hours in the refrigerator or overnight). Then it is called the basting sauce after the marinade is heated in a saucepan and thickened for you to brush over the chicken several times before it is done cooking.

1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. raw sugar
4 tbsp. honey
2 cloves garlic smashed
2 inch fresh ginger smashed
1 tbsp. minced green onion

Cornstarch Slurry
1 tsp. cornstarch
3 tsp. water
(Mix together until instructed to use)

1. Place chicken in a roasting pan skin side up
2. Sprinkle 5 spice over top of all pieces 
3. Sprinkle sea salt same as the 5 spice
4. In a mixing bowl, add in all ingredients for the marinade/basting sauce, mix well, the ingredients need to be incorporated very well. 
5. Pour marinade/basting sauce over chicken, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. 

When ready to bake

1. Preheat oven to 450 F. (Remove soaked chicken and bring to room temperature for 20 minutes.)
2. Before baking, place all chicken parts on to a separate plate for a minute. Then take the marinade that is in the roasting pan, and transfer it to a small saucepan. Then return the chicken pieces back to the roasting pan.
3. Place roasting pan in the center of the oven, you will bake the chicken for about 45 to 50 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches about 155 F. Every oven functions differently, please check to see if is too high, if it is, turn heat down to 400 after 30 minutes. I use this gauge as this time frame suits well for the equipment I do use. Some ovens may be weaker set at 450 F, hence the cooking time maybe longer, always check by eye sight and use common sense, and when baking/roasting always use an instant read thermometer.
4. Place saucepan with marinade/basting sauce, over medium high heat, bring to a soft boil, and stir. Once bubbling add in the cornstarch slurry, and cook until it becomes thick, immediately off the heat.
5. Open oven, carefully bring chicken out towards you and begin to baste the chicken with the basting sauce with a basting brush. Close oven door, baste every 10 minutes.
6. When the chicken is done, remove from oven, off the heat and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Serve with rice.

That was an easy Chinese Style Honey Baked Chicken

Until next time have a great life

Ron Sambrano

© 2014