CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes




Monday, October 31, 2011

United States Cattlemen's Association and Congress

The American Cattle industry is facing some hurdles, trade agreements are still in the works with countries that will buy our beef, one major player is South Korea, this is worth tons of money, and jobs for cattle ranchers here on our soil.

Also deals with Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico, as well as Canada is all important. Promoting beef, as a good source of food can be a difficult task with past illnesses caused from Mad Cow disease, and other sicknesses. The beef industry faces many bumps in the road like many industries in these economic times.

Learning where our beef is sold, and what we import is important if you cook beef, beef is a major product for U.S. consumers, both for home for families, and the restaurant business. We do import less quality beef for processing, such as for frozen burgers etc. and the cattle is mostly grass fed beef, while our exports are grain fed beef.

To keep up on what's happening in the beef industry, go to

CHILI Recipe Customized


Here's a chili I just came up with off the top of my head for brother James.

4 tbsp. olive oil
1 large round sweet Maui onion or the like
6 cloves of garlic smashed
4 Hawaiin red chili peppers, with seeds chopped
4 Roma tomatoes diced

1 lb. of low sodium bacon, fried to a crisp, and chopped up good (save on the side)
2 lbs. of belly pork, sliced thin
1 lb. of cubed chuck steak
2 lbs. of ground chuck
10 oz. of Hot Portuguese sausage minced

1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained.
2 cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper seeded and cut into strips
1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into strips
20 fl. oz. of tomato sauce
1/2 can of warm beer

6 tbsp. of chili powder
3 tbsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. of ground cumin
2 tbsp. of ground coriander

Add these to taste
Hot sauce
Brown sugar

1. Heat up oil in pot, saute the onions, garlic, chili peppers and the Roma tomatoes.
2. Add in the pork belly, cubed Chuck.. cook these for a few minutes, then add in the ground chuck, continue to cook for several minutes, then add in the Portuguese sausage and continue to cook until everything melts down, and the juices come out, leave it all in do not drain it. Cook this over medium high heat.
3. Then add in the beans, the garbanzo, and kidneys, cook for about 15 minutes at this point over low heat and covered with a lid.
4. Add in the sliced bell peppers, this adds some flavor to it, then add in the tomato sauce, and beer, and cook this for about 30 minutes over low heat again with lid on.
5. Then add in the spices, the chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, and ground coriander, continue to stir, and cook, let this settle in, cook for about 1 hour, over low heat, let the flavors all sink in.
6. Right about the time to end this thing, add in the hot sauce, brown sugar, and salt, and pepper to your liking.

copyright 2011

TEST KITCHEN Shoyu Chicken Part 1

Test kitchen moves forward, for SHOYU CHICKEN. Simple, lots of peeps make it here in Hawaii, so the test kitchen carries forth.

Okay, why? Well, I got a recipe for it for my up and coming book on food, yet to be titled. So we tested here on part one, and here is what I did with my human test rats A.K.A. HTRs

I used a five pound box of frozen chicken parts, mostly legs, so I got a few different sizes of thighs, and drums. Ha ha, it was on sale at a local market, was it filled with GMOs? I'm not certain, but it didn't say Organic on the box.

Shoyu Chicken is just that, chicken with shoyu or soy sauce. But what's in it that makes it rock?
First off, my HTRs are Shoyu Chicken aficionados, it can't be teriyaki chicken which is similar, it can't be Korean style, it has to be shoyu chicken at its best.

Okay, I'll do test number one, and this is going to be put in a large stock pot and simmered, which I did.

I made sure the chicken parts were thawed, and patted dry, and left at room temperature for about an hour. Then I used a stainless steel stock pot about a 12 qt size with lid. I used Kikkoman Shoyu, white C&H sugar, some green onions minced up, a few garlic cloves smashed, about 2 inches of ginger smashed, some filtered water. I used less sugar, again I did not want a teriyaki chicken, but a shoyu chicken.

I made sure that the chicken was marinating for about 3 hours in the fridge in the stock pot, this makes it easy to cook, just use it for marinating. Then I turned on the stove, in this case it was an induction stove top, cranked it on high! Brought this to a boil, then turned it down to simmering for about 50 minutes. When it was done, my HTRs gave it a tasting. Oh yeah, I had only two willing people, this time.

I served it with hot sticky white rice, and a simple mac salad.

Well, for a simple recipe that anyone can concoct, both HTRs, gave it a thumbs up, so this was the moist heat method of SHOYU CHICKEN, next, I'll try the baked kind.

Again this is for my up and coming food book out soon, yet to be titled.
I used Kikkoman Soy Sauce. (I'll experiment with Aloha laterz)

Chicken parts marinating (wikipedia)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

WOK STAR Another Dig That Got Burried

Through social networking I found out that WOK STAR in Kihei was closing its doors for good, so before they did close its doors, I had to go check them out before it was R.I.P. What led me to get down the south end of Maui on Thursday night, the twenty-seventh of October 2011? Well, I tell you what, it's all about lives, you see, a restaurant is all about lives, all about feeding people for a profit of course. But when the economy, or bad management or whatever takes it down, it is sad for the community that it serves, and the employees that it employs. Wok Star was a small business, and was in service for three years.

Anyone driving towards Wailea or heading north on lower Kihei road, would have noticed that WOK STAR sign right off the road, in the Kalama Village, next to Foodland. It was a real local kind of place with a beach town feel. You walked inside and ordered your food, and waited outside until it was cooked, on wooden tables and benches. Well, WOK STAR is now gone.

So far in this past year, we've witnessed several restaurants go down into the pits of hell, Tiajuana in Kaanapali, dead! The Village Cafe and Sweet Shoppe, dead! And many other small restaurants went down, pretty good ones that had good employees. 

It is the sign of the times, if you want to open up a restaurant, you better be damned good, in fact excellent in managing quality of your food, managing your people, and keeping all the numbers in check. But sometimes even if you do all these things to perfection, the Devil lurks and kills it.

Photo:Ron Sambrano

TEST KITCHEN Tangy Beef w/ Onions is Done.

For those who were interested in the recipe for TANGY BEEF w/ ONIONS, we did several different variations for this dish. It falls under an umami and quite possibly savory. The influence is from the Philippines, the brands of soy sauce and vinegar, can be up to the cook themselves.

The beef cuts should be sliced thin, in fact I delved in flank, which works best, cut thin across the grain, that worked well, and the flavors were good. Round steak was a bit dry and tougher, Chuck was not bad, slightly chewy no matter how thin I sliced it.

So then what really happened with my human test rats? Most of them ate it all, and it did not matter what recipe I used in the test kitchen which leads me to this conclusion, one can make this dish very tangy, or more on the salty side using more soy sauce.

As far as the soy sauce or shoyu was concerned, Kikkoman's regular brew was the tops. So when my book comes out, if you want a more pronounced soy sauce, use Kikkoman. For those with gluten allergies, there's gluten free tamari soy sauce on the market as well.

Next up we'll test out SHOYU CHICKEN for the Test Kitchen.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TEST KITCHEN Tangy Beef with Onions Part 4 Version #2

Results for version #2 of TANGY BEEF with ONIONS that will be in my cook/food book.

I used some round steak again, but marinated it in straight up white wine vinegar for a few minutes, heat up a wok with ginger and garlic over high heat, then put the slices of round in it and seared it well, and then sauteed onions afterwards, and then added in the meat again and tossed it around in the hot wok, and put some soy sauce in it, I used Aloha brand shoyu for the soy sauce. 

My human rats said it was too sour, too much tart, but the white wine vinegar tasted a little fruity, seemed good to me, and the human rats ate it all. So I guess this one works.
Used the bottle right. Can't figure this shit out, but it works. 
Still not what I envision, can't get the hook I want on this freeking dish!

So WTF am I looking for in this dish? I'm looking for an aroma that will make you melt when you're not even hungry. I'm looking for the flavors to just kick ass in your mouth, I want the meat to be soft but not so, so you have to chew a little, but soft nuff if you all got dentures you know? And I envision the onions to be with garlic, and give you that feel, that warm home cooking feel. Mom used lots of garlic and onions, that shit runs in our blood.

Passion for Life, Passion for People, Aaron Placourakis Has Just That

So a week ago, my friend Barbara Cobey mixologist at Sarento's on the beach in Wailea emailed me to come down  to have breakfast at the south Maui restaurant right on the beach at Keawakapu at 830 am, be there or don't be there. I chose to be there because Sarento's was just embarking on their breakfast menu, Executive Chef Geno Sarmiento was supposed to be there but was tied up with another function, oh well no problem eh?

So me and my sidekick Sascha Bauml left the Lahaina side at 745 in the morning, and whipped it to the south side really quickly, as a matter of fact when we pulled into the gravel parking area next to Sarento's we noticed that Barbara was pulling in also.

After a few small chit chatting we walked into the outside dining area, the ocean was calm, beach goers were all over it, paddle boards, sunbathers, dog walkers, runners, swimmers, and some bikinis, man, what a place for breakfast.

We sat down, the waiter got us a table, all three of us sat down, had some coffee, and when we found out that Chef Geno couldn't make it, in comes the owner of Sarento's Aaron Placourakis, we are introduced as Barbara tells Aaron that me and Sascha were there to sample the food and hang out a bit, Aaron was cool, dressed in a t shirt and shorts, you would not think this man was owner of one of the world's picturesque restaurants, he actually could be some actor dude on vacation, you know those soap guys, but also, he could be an NBA coach, or... reality is, he paddles his boat in the ocean quite often, a water man, an athlete in his earlier days, and still is actually.

As we got to know Aaron, he's a lover of life, his family seems to be of the utmost importance to him, his family is definitely number one on the list, and then it is his restaurants, the one we were at Sarento's, and he has Nick's Fish Market in the Fairmont Kealani, and SONZ Swan Court at the Hyatt in Kaanapali, and the original Sarento's in Honolulu, all these fine dining establishments are under the Tri Star Restaurants.

Placourakis is a well spoken individual, he comes across as intelligent in his business, he knows what works, and that is offering his patrons a great experience from the time they are greeted at the front door, in is own words, "This restaurant is our home, we treat everyone like a special guest here." See him in action, he's pulling out chairs for his guests and getting them water, coffee, and conversing with them, personally I thought it was cool, how often do you see owners, well established owners of restaurants doing that? Some owners of restaurants I know are never around, playing golf, and not paying attention to the operations at all. And those my friends are the ones that don't have a business any longer. Take it from me, I know how a restaurant makes it, it's all about the people, customers and employees, you take care of them, you got a winner, Placourakis made his own mold, and tossed it somewhere.

But he does find time to travel back to Greece where he has family. "I go back and visit, the place is beautiful, the landscape, the people and the food," he says like a kid. "But, I tell you what, there's no place else to do business than right here," referring to Maui and Hawaii in general, and being an avid water man, Wailea is perfect, telling stories of paddling around Molokini on a good day. He seems to be a well balanced individual, always talking about his love for family and food, and when he talks about the restaurant biz, it's not work but more like fun. His cell phone rings, "Hey I'll be up there and we'll harvest the cabbage." He hangs up and starts talking about the good life. And the good life is just being happy, and the feeling I get from him is this, even if he didn't own this business, he'd still be happy, even if he didn't have much money, he'd be happy, as long as he had his health.

"I try to take my six year old son everywhere I can, he loves hanging out," he says. "That kid is my shadow." Placourakis has older kids, but he lights up when he talks about the little dude, and Barbara injects also that the little dude is cute. Hey, Placourakis is alright in my book, it's not easy running a business, it's hard work, got to make people happy, keep up on trends, but when it comes to numbers and the bottom line, being a business person can be overwhelming, but Placourakis balances his life out just right, after a lot of years, Tri Star is still kicking ass.

So after a few minutes of just shootin the breeze, I find out Placourakis has a great sense of humor, I told him, "Hey Aaron I'll race you on the water one day, you with your boat that you paddle, and I'll have a boat but with an Evinrude outboard motor, he slaps my gut and tells me, "Make that two Evinrudes." Hey I got a sense of humor, I can laugh at myself, sometimes. And then he pokes fun of me because I'm wearing my Dodgers cap.

"I hate the Dodgers, never did like them," he says. "Hey I went to UCLA, and when I was there, Pauley Pavilion was brand new, that's where the Bruins play hoops." So I asked him when he was there did the Bruins win anything? "No, they didn't, the Wooden era was done with." I also asked him if he went to any alumnae functions, maybe kicking back with Kareem Abdul Jabbar or something, maybe having a beer with Bill Walton. "Nah, why? I'd rather stay here." Okay, good answer, why would he want to go there? He's got it made in Wailea, who needs to go to L.A.?

All in all, Placourakis was just a fun conversationalist and happy guy at the breakfast table, then he had to go and mingle with the other guests, he said his alohaz and he went on his way. So we ate our food, Barbara had her Club Benedict, Sascha had his Huevos Rancheros and pancakes, buttermilk pancakes that is, and I had my Pacific Benedict, it had asparagus spears, and chunky crab meat, it was nuts man, nuts!
Placourakis uses humor in his conversations
as he looks out into the ocean, his second home.

Sarento's Huevos Rancheros

Sarento's Pacific Benedict

Sarento's Buttermilk Pancakes

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TEST KITCHEN Tangy Beef with Onions Part 3 Version #1

Test kitchens are for testing, I am testing because my soon to be out cook/food book for the intermediate foodie has to be  a simple one eh? EZ to understand, to comprehend. The writ needs to be in your face without any foggy instructions.

Somethings can be inexplicable only if the info presenter lacks the energy to produce. So my yet to be titled book is in the works. The copyright needs to be paid for, the ISBN number all that nonsense. But for each author that is on the market, the protocol of legally having one's book published and sold is of the utmost importance.

But back to the future book, and of course the contents. There will be 7 dishes from Beef, Pork, Chicken, Fish, Turkey, so that's what? 35 dishes? Yeah that's it, and it gives the foodie a chance to set up a dish for everyday of the week. So this test dish falls under the BEEF category, and it is Tuesday's dinner, or lunch or whatever.

So the test kitchen commences, the dish is TANGY BEEF w/ ONIONS, a homey local grinez we had at home. Mom Peggy would make this, but I'm trying to find my own identity with this.

Welcome to Part 3

I tried this with red wine vinegar, it had a different flavor and contrasting from using Heinz apple cider vinegar, and I used Kikkoman Shoyu or soy sauce for this. I tried 2 different versions.

Version #1, Round steak sliced thin, with red wine vinegar, and the Kikkoman. I used, about 1 cup of shoyu, and 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, the standard pinch of each, garlic and ginger, and the onions were sliced thicker, sauteed separately but not overcooked. The round steak seemed to me a tad on the dry side, as opposed to the flank for some reason, I loved the flank sliced thin, so did my human test rats. Though this latest test recipe was eaten pretty quickly by the two legged rats,,  I guess they were hungry, I personally thought there needed more vinegar in there, and quite frankly, version #1 of this testing I did not like.
STAR Red Wine Vingar (L)

Top Round Steak (not my fave for this dish)

Stay tuned for Version#2 of the latest test on TANGY BEEF w/ ONIONS

TEST KITCHEN Tangy Beef with Onions Part 2

The test kitchen continues, as I tweak a creation I call TANGY BEEF with ONIONS. I did several tests and had a few human test rats to taste it. The most recent test is in, and the star ingredients are beef, vinegar, soy sauce, and onions. But the beef is key, I wanted to use thin cuts to cook cook quickly on the stove top. I used a stainless steel pan, vegetable oil, garlic, ginger minced up. And I used thin sliced onions.

For some reason, I'm going heavy on the vinegar, at this test and the past test, I used Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar, and though I went hard on it in the pan, my test rats loved it, I guess sour tangy flaves are alright, but still, I need to balance this out more, I'm getting frustrated because I can imagine the taste in my head... um, my mouth I meant, and I can imagine the aroma, everything what it will be like, that experience. But back to the drawing boards.

(This dish is in my upcoming cook/food book) Tentatively untitled.

What am I looking for in this dish? I want this dish to be mouth watering, an aroma that will have all of the aromatics in one's face or nose, you know? Right now it primarily onions and garlic and ginger, and onions, and the beef that I'm smelling, but, I want that right scent to just attack the foodie right off the bat eh?

So right now I go back to the testing. For the next few days I'll be using Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar, Aloha Shoyu, and some thin cuts of beef, let's see what works, shouldn't be too hard because no matter how I'm doing this as a test, the human rats I have love it so far, no matter how much or less a certain ingredient I'm using.

No matter how I cook this, the vinegar really has people trying  any food that has a vinegar in a starring role.

Once I get this figured out, I'll type out the recipe for the book.

Monday, October 24, 2011

TEST KITCHEN: Tangy Beef with Onions Part 1

SUBJECT: Testing "Tangy Beef w/ Onions"

REASON: To be inserted in  upcoming cook/food book.

At this stage, I am testing the usage of beef cuts, tried flank, tried chuck, the flavors at this point is much on the tangy side, with usage of apple cider vinegar, my test rats who are human ha ha, seem to like it though.

Next will continue to work with heat of skillet, and working with the right amounts of the star ingredients, which is vinegar and soy sauce.

Hmmmm, it seems to work on my human rats, maybe not much more to tweek?

Stay tuned.

Chef Ron

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Bananas have a very sweet scent, it adds flavor to lots of foods, especially foods from certain regions where bananas are ubiquitous, like Thailand, Philippines, and other Pacific Island nations, bananas are very common and really does add a nice touch to proteins.

Here's a recipe that calls for ground pork, and whatever herbs and spices you have on hand, a few small ripe bananas, meat of bananas removed for a drink like a smoothie, or a topping for ice cream, what we want is the banana peels.

4-6 small ripened bananas, sliced in half, peeled open, and the meat of the banana removed.
1 1/2 lbs. of lean ground pork
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. minced onion
1 tbsp. annatto oil
1 egg beaten
2 tbsp. bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F set a shelf in the middle of oven
1. Place the empty banana peels on the side awaiting for the filling that will be stuffed in there.
2. In a mixing bowl, add in the ground pork, and other ingredients, and mix it well with clean hands.
3. Carefully stuff each banana peel, close it shut, and tie it with some culinary twine so it does not ooze out. Place the stuffed bananas on to a baking pan lined with baking paper.
4. Bake the stuffed bananas for 30-35 minutes, remove let it cool for about 5 minutes, when ready to eat, untie the twine, and serve it with rice or a flat bread.

This picture is from and not meant to sell a product that is of competition for Specialty Produce, my intentions here is to promote awareness of foods for the food enthusiast, and the Specialty Produce site is an awesome site filled with information. Please visit Specialty Produce and support their site.

Chef Sambrano Blog is not in business to sell items but again, it is just to relay food information to the masses online.


Hardly anyone uses demi glace these days that I know of, it's a classic gourmet ingredient that takes forever to make, usually roasting veal and beef bones withe the marrow, along with other herbs, and it calls for making a brown stock and an Espagnole sauce, which actually consist of brown stock, confusing? That's why it's a pain in the ass French thing. You can purchase this in different package sizes, and some gourmet cooks at home use it here's a recommended brand that you can get online.

MORE THAN GOURMET DEMI GLACE GOLD FRENCH DEMI GLACE, 16 OZ. $18.25 on Amazon. Just imagine you are pressed for time, you are a very fine gourmet cook in your home, you want to make a special beef dish, totally gourmet to impress some guests, but honestly do you have time to make a demi-glace from scratch? I think not, so why worry when you can use this ready made product. Let's face it, even some top fine restaurants will use ready made stuff simply because it'll cut production time and cost.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The old saying goes somethin like this, "Good things don't come easy." No shit! Just think, if you want that special someone in your life, it isn't easy at all, you really got to work it, you need to be patient, that hot chick isn't just a floozie, she's got brains, it's hard to figure her out, but you keep on thinking, "she's gonna be mine, but what the hell is going on man she's hard to figure out?" But you keep persisting because you know, if you keep chipping away at that stone, something good will present itself, a great relationship, possibly marriage. And then it's not all that easy after that too.

Building the Hoover Dam cost lives, it was a dangerous job, or building the Golden Gate Bridge, cost lots of money, time and also lives, good things come with a price. So here I am after a year or so after conceiving an idea about a short easy to read and understand cook/food book, and though it's easy to read and well put together, all kinds of crap started to present itself. One is other people sticking in their fucking two cents, it's like shut up, I know what the fuck I'm doing, go write your own book!

No seriously, putting a book together without any funds or sponsors, or a publisher is hard, so what am going to do? Self publish this mother fucker! Market it? Do it locally, utilizing social networking, and who knows what else, but one thing is certain, this shit is not by any means an easy thing.

Friends tell me, "Hey did you see Giada's book? Do it like hers." Or, "Did you see Bobby Flay's book, lay it out like his?" I just want to tell them "Leave me the fuck alone!" So, this is the deal, it's gonna come out slowly, not in huge numbers but more on a local level, you like it, I'll get you a copy like that. But, no doubt, it's a funny thing when you tell people you're writing a book, especially a cook/food book. You see, everyone who eats is a fucking expert on food, and when these mother fuckers watch the Food Network, man they're experts to the fucking max! Sorry for the cuss words folks but I'm fucking tired, this shit was supposed to have been done in April of this year.

Well like I said, things happened this year to quite a few of my chef friends and foodies and relatives. My friend Shirley Fong Torres died in San Francisco, she was a Chinese Chef and foodie that has a recipe in my book. Chef Mark Ellman is in my book, he just opened up his brand new restaurant called Honu. My brother Harold died, he was the real chef in our blood line, compared to me, I'm just an actor that plays a chef ha ha. But stuff happend this year that was an awakening. Our neighbor's house burned to the ground in March, leaving some of them without a home, it was sad. And more friends passed on this year. Man it's not over yet, it's not even Halloween.

But back to the book, it's almost done. I just had to look at it again before I get the printers in on it, and get my copyright and ISBN bar code, it's all good, slowly happening, but if anyone of you is entertaining this thought of writing a book to be printed and legally yours, you better stop and do some thinking because I'm telling you this shit is hair pulling, teeth biting, lots of hassles, lots of coffee, lots of shit shit shit you know? But in  the end it'll be worth it, it'll be something I can honestly call mine, my own baby. Will it sell a gazillion copies? Of course it can. But honestly, it was just something we men of the world need to do, to gather our thoughts and present it to the world for whatever it is. Just had to do it before I died.

Papers line the cafe table at Starbucks in Barnes and Noble, (is this alright?) looking and tweaking what will or what won't work.

UMA's KITCHEN Sports Club Kahana

Located at the Sports Club Kahana, Calvin Takemoto ventures into the culinary world with Chef Uma, creating Uma's Kitchen, from looking at the menu, the foods are influenced by Indian and Italian cuisine, focusing on healthy dishes. 

I took a picture of a portion of their menu, the information is right on the front, give them a call, and support another local business. I'll check them out soon, until then, go check them out for yourselves and let me know what you think.
Ph: 808-665-5959
7am-9pm daily

Looks like they have some nice wraps, a keiki menu, rice bowls, burgers, fries, fresh desserts made everyday, breakfast, lunch, dinners and catering.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Gas Mart foods, when you got the munchies, it's not the most healthy of food options but when one is plastered from the night before, stopping in for a gallon of gas and some ramen noodles and a hot dog hits the spot. Here we see the cappuccino machine and the high sugar content, and the must be GMO foods in the cans. But as I was saying, when you are totally fucked up from partying all night, the gas mart food hits the spot.

And yes when it's pau hana or done working for the day, the nice ice cold beers sets you up for the next night, and possibly the next morning for more gas mart foods. Not the most healthy but who gives a fuck when you're.... fucked up starving and can't remember who you banged the night before. Gas mart foods folks, it's all about the gas mart foods.
HONU located in the old Mala district of Lahaina, owned by the Ellman's is brand spanking new. Go and try their menu, foods made fresh everyday.

Pizza, seafood, go there or be a square, be there or be nowhere, be there, or be someplace where you're not supposed to be.

Here's some comments from some locals and visitors. Lonnie, Washington- "I love the views and sunsets and the wine and food, I love the concept." Mark, Kihei- "Eh da best men in da world is named Mark, but I had to come down from the south side and check this place out, it's good, I'd recommend this place to everyone." Janis, Pukalani- "I came by with some girlfriends, it was a far drive from Pukalani but well worth the drive, a friend came to Honu a few weeks ago, and said that it was very good with healthy choices, and it was very very good." Josh, Kula- "Ron Sambrano said to come by and so me and my wife went one evening, it was very good, I have to watch my diabetes, and they had good fresh clean food, right on Ellman ohana! God Bless!" El, Wailuku- Ron Sambrano told me about a new place called Honu, pizzas and seafood, well, it was a totally nice change of pace, riding to Lahaina for healthy food, it was great." Rosa, Los Angeles- "I came to Maui about 10 years ago, I'm a total foodie, I did not go to any of Mark Ellman's restaurants that he owned, though I read a lot about him I do remember. So this time when I had a chance we all went to eat at Honu, and the food was wonderful, it matched the scenery you know? I'm from L.A. and I'm spoiled with food, from the ocean to inland, so when we ate at Honu, looking out into the ocean was part of the deal. Eating a fresh piece of fish, with good friends, and the ocean, this place is special, small, with a good good feel, I love it, I really do."

Okay so HONU is located on Front Street, behind the Safeway at the Lahaina Cannery Mall, if you go to HONU, get there when the sun is setting and ask for the outside table

Friday, October 14, 2011


Got an employees $50.00 gift certificate for The Plantation House restaurant at Kapalua, cool, can't complain, fifty bucks is not a lot, but it is a lot if someone is giving it to you, in cash or a gift ticket, I'll take it any day.

Probably use it before the November 30, deadline, breakfast is great there, I think the best time for the views is no doubt in the daytime, at nights you can't see anything, but the food is good, chef Alex does a fantastic job there, the staff is incredible too.

So got to thank The Plantation House for this blessing, and since I mitigated alcohol it works out pretty good, but debating getting a killer Benedict to start the day, or go up there for a dinner.

Maybe I'll get my golf clubs and practice some chipping and putting and then decide what to do. But I am leaning towards a killer Benedict and be done with that, and then truck it to D.T. Flemmings to see what is going on down there, maybe some local Jawaiian band is jamming, who knows, but there's always something going on down there, and if nothing is going on, on Maui that's something. Mellow cuzins! Just go to chill.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Our doggy, part of the family, TAMA Doggy, is a friendly playful Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Today we wrapped up the video shoot, I cooked him some eggs for breakfast, and a ground beef stew for lunch. He ate it all, and rolled over because he was so full, he wanted to take a nap.

He was stuffed, even went behind the tree to poo poo. It was fun time, with my sidekick Danny D Play Agdeppa, and Co Producer/Director Sascha Bauml.

Danny Agdeppa pets Tama Doggy after his egg breakfast.

Sascha filiming Tama as he mauls his stew.

Me, rubbing Tama's belly after the eggs doggy mauled. What a lovable doggy. One time, Tama ran away from home, he ended up at the Lahaina Civic Center, he ran onto the basketball court during a live basketball game, my nephew Chad who is Tama's master, had to track him down. That was pretty hilarious. Mr. Tama is a fun dog what a character. Kids love him.

The show should be on AKAKU TV before the end of the month or beginning of November, and we'll put it on YouTube too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Tomorrow in our Ainakea Kitchen Studio we will be shooting a segment on cooking for Tama our lovable Straffordshire Bull Terrier, he's a fun loving and energized dog, likes to play, run away from home, but he's so jovial and friendly, Tama is loved by the whole neighborhood it seems, if he was a human he could run for county council and win, in fact I think he can win even as a doggy. 

Well we are taking a page out of Animal Advocate Mr. William D. Cusick, and on his website he suggests that people who really love their doggies, cook for them once in a while because prefabbed dog food can be detrimental to dogs, because he claims that all dogs and their breeds are different. One bag of Puppy Chow isn't good for every dog out there.

Dogs need a balanced diet like humans do, to prevent ailments such as arthritis, itchy flaky skin, cancer, heart problems, etc. So he claims that a dog such as ours, Tama needs some protein because he's a muscular dog, he needs carbs, and betas, and vitamins and iron, and fibers to clean him out, dogs need to take a good shit too once in a while.

So for tomorrows shoot, Tama will have a treat, I'll be cooking for him a hamburger stew, complete with carrots, potatoes, and cabbage, now that's a well balanced meal for him, I think he'll be happy with that, and possibly take a doggie nap.

We'll program this video on AKAKU TV Maui, as well as on Youtube so people can paste it on their social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook etc. I'll put it on my site as well.

Happy doggy days to all of you, as my crew plans for tomorrows video shoot, we are gathering all the information we an on Straffordshire Bull Terriers. 

Friday, October 7, 2011


In Hawaii one of the most common condiment someone will find is the ever so popular chili pepper water that adds spice and heat to any meal. My dad had his own concoction of the spiced water, he had several jars of it. He emptied out the old guava jelly jars washed it out, and then used it to store his food enhancer.

Everyone has their own recipe, but dad had his tree filled with that fire cracker red, tiny chili peppers that packed a lot of heat, those pups could be used as caveman pepper spray, just aim and squeeze and the juice would take a perp down real fast, considering you hit him in the eyes.

Chili pepper water was added into soups, like pork and cabbage soup, or on to fried fish like the Unicorn fish (kala) after it was grilled over an intense kiawe fire. It was great in saimin, and it was awesome in beef stew. Plain and simple it was not complicated yet excellent source of flavor, way before we ever heard of Tabasco Sauce.

Like I said, everyone's recipe maybe different but the home chef had to be very bad for his or her water to not work.

Chili Pepper Water
2 tbsp. of vegetable oil
8 cloves of crushed garlic
2 oz. of crushed red chili peppers
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf cracked in half
1 tsp. cloves
Salt to taste

An empty glass jar with lid 17 oz. size

In a skillet over medium high heat, add the oil, when hot saute the cloves of garlic until fragrant, then add in the red chili peppers, and cook it over low heat, let the peppers sweat out. Then add in the vinegar, bay leaf, cloves, and cook for about 2 minutes. 

Place the cooked concoction into the jar, and let cool. Add in filtered water to the top of the jar, add in salt to taste. Cover with lid, shake well, and stand it upside down. After a few hours stand it right side up. Let it sit for about a week in a cool storage area. Turn it or shake it occasionally. Some home chefs remove the peppers, but I like to leave it in. And some chefs remove the seeds from the peppers, I leave mine in.
Photo from

The peppers are small as you can see, but it really does pack a lot of heat. Try it and see, it is pretty intense yet goes well with lots of proteins.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Gouda Cheese, to the left, taken from, is a cheese from the Netherlands, from the city of Gouda, and is made of cow's milk. It is heated until the curds separate from the whey, and some of the whey is drained and water is added. About 10 percent of the mixture are curds, and the curds are pressed into circular moulds for several hours which gives it its known shape.

The cheese is then soaked in a brine solution that gives the cheese and its rind a distinctive taste. The cheese is dried for several days before being coated to prevent it from drying out, and then the cheese is aged. The age classifications can be from several weeks of aging to several years before it is ever eaten. When the cheese ages it develops a sweetness likened to caramel, often times will have some crunch to it, older cheeses may have a saltiness to it. Young Gouda is aged from 1 to 6 months and is rich yellow in color with a red or yellow wax coating. It is easy to slice with a cheese slicer.  The older Gouda cheese can be more brittle, more pungent, and has a black wax coating. Older Gouda can be creamier too. It is a strong flavored cheese.

1 1/2 lbs. of ground chuck
1 cup of grated aged Gouda
4 1/4 inch thick slices of aged Gouda (reserve these, it will go on the burger as it cooks to melt)
1/4 cup of fine minced round sweet onions
1 tsp. of curry powder
1 tsp. of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. of garlic salt
1 tsp. of sea salt
1 tsp. of black pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup of plain bread crumbs
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. of mayonnaise

4 Onion burger buns, buttered and toasted
4 lettuce leaves
4 slices of tomatoes
4 slices of sweet round onions
8 crispy bacon strips cooked

1 bag of French fries (frozen) and cooked following directions on bag, set aside.

1. Heat up your grill or get 2 fry pans on the stove over high heat.
2. Mix all of the burger ingredients together, and form 4 patties, set aside let the flavors settle in as the grill or pan gets hot. (Do not add in the 4 slices of Gouda, reserve it)
3. Cook the patties to about medium well, about 4 minutes for the first side, flip it then add on a slice of Gouda on each patty, and cook for about 4 minutes until it melts. Place it on the buns top with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and crispy bacon. Smother top bun with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard or whatever turns you on. Serve with fries. 

A good beer with this would be a good Pilsner, 


KARE KARE a Filipino Dish

I got nothin to be ashamed of, yes I come from a Filipino background, born in Hawaii, but my culinary style is vast, I hit on all cultures as much as  I can, but when it comes to my roots, what I used to see at parties, and at home, Filipino foods strikes a major chord. Well Filipino cooking is heavily influenced by other countries such as China, we do a lot of wok style cooking, we do have influences from Spaniards, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, American and God knows it's still fusing.

KARE KARE (Kah-reh kah-reh)
2 lbs. of beef sirloin
1 lb. of beef tripe
(Cut the beef sirloin and tripe into 1 inch strips)
2 1/2 cups of peanut butter
1/4 cup of white rice
1/3 cup of cooked anchovies (bagoong alamang)
2 round onions diced
3 cloves garlic minced
4-5 tbsp. azuete oil (achote/annatto)
3 large eggplants, sliced an inch thick
1 Bok Choy cut into half
1 bunch green beans cut into 1-2 inch lengths
1 banana bud or flower (Puso ng Saging)  cut into 1 inch slices, and blanched in boiling hot water to soften, remove and cool
1/3 to 1/2 cup or so of vegetable oil
64 lf oz. of fliltered water or 8 cups
Salt and pepper to taste

Easy to do.

1. In a large enough pot, bring the water to a boil, add in the sirloin and tripe, and simmer for 1 hour, remove the meat on to a plate and save the water, key thing keep the water as the broth it has the flavors in there.
2. In a large enough wok, bring the vegetable oil, and annatto oil (azuete oil) to high heat, add in the onions and garlic saute until onions are clear, then add in the broth, rice, sirloin, tripe, and the peanut butter, bring to a boil once again, then immediately lower to a simmer. Simmer 15 or 20 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the remaining veggies, and cook for about 5 minutes so the veggies aren't overcooked. Serve with white steaming rice, with the bagoong (cooked anchovies) on the side. Another alternative is to use a fish sauce such as a Patis, or a Nam Pla, Patis is a Filipino version, while Nam Pla is a Thai version, anyone will suffice.

Filipino cuisine is gaining popularity here in Hawaii where folks from California to New York and in between are being turned on to it, foodies are becoming very adventurous, Filipino cuisine is very underrated against their other Asian counterparts such as Korean, Thai, Malaysian etc. The foods from the Philippines is very exotic, and the chefs use almost every cooking method student chefs are being taught to utilize, frying, deep frying, saute, boil, poach, bake, roast, grill, braise, stew.

Puso ng Saging  is a banana bud, as you can see from the picture provided by it grows right where the fruits or bananas sprout. Puso ng Saging is an ingredient that most chefs put into their Kare Kare, although you don't need to put that in if you don't want to, no one is holding a gun to your head right?


This blog post has been brought to you by J.A. Taylor Fine Art located in the Lahaina Cannery Mall, check them out for fine art works depicting Maui's landscape, once inside the gallery see Julie as she works at her painting and her husband Mike.

Okay today is a short lesson on Indian cooking, I'll go over some ingredients you'll need in your kitchen, and you're good to carry on foodies.

Indian cooking is actually very wide in scope, the continent is huge, and travelers over centuries have turned on the people that resided in different regions of India to certain herbs and spices. Most of India from a western perspective is that all Indian people eat curries. Well yes and no, and that all Indian people use yogurt in their cooking, again not so.

Okay, enough of that I hate writing, so let's get to the meal, I'm going to give you a recipe for a simple Indian vegetarian stew. And these are the ingredients you should have on hand.

SOUTH INDIAN VEGETARIAN (Kerala) Mixed Vegetable Stew
4 cups of chopped veggies, I'll go for some potatoes, green beans, carrots, celery, bell peppers
1 large red onion sliced thin
3-4 tbsp. of canola or safflower oil
3 whole green cardamoms
3-4 whole cloves
about an inch of a cinnamon stick
1 large or 2 medium green or red chillies sliced down the middle
1 inch ginger (fresh) sliced into thin strips
1 1/4 tsp. of coarsely crushed peppercorns
2 1/8 cups of canned coconut milk, organic if you can
2 cups of filtered water
Curry leaves about 4-5
Salt and pepper to taste

1. First get a frying pan with the oil in it, over medium hi heat, saute the green cardamoms, cloves, and cinnamon for a few minutes. Then add in the green or red chillies, ginger strips, and sliced onions,cook until the onions become translucent or clearer.

2. Then add in the 4 cups of mixed chopped veggies, curry leaves, salt and water. Cover pan or pot and simmer for 15 -20 minutes or until the veggies develop into a softer texture, you'll see it.

3. Then uncover, then add in the peppercorns and coconut milk, making sure that the heat is still low so the milk does not curdle, cook for about a couple minutes.

Serve all meals ASAP, I said ASAP you lousy saps! No just joking, but serve it hot with Basmati rice.

Directions for cooking Basmati Rice.

1 cup Basmati rice, using a strainer rinse the rice well. 
1 3/4 cups of filtered water
1 tsp. of sea salt if you choose

This is an easy task, get a heavy bottom pot not those thin cheapos. Over hi heat, cook the rice, with the water in the pot of course, add in the salt. Bring to a boil, and then immediately turn heat down to a low simmer, cover the pot with a proper fitting lid or foil, and cook for 15 to 18 minutes. Then remove the pot with lid or cover on and let it sit for about 10 minutes or so, remove lid or cover, and using a fork or chopsticks, fluff the rice.

Basmati rice is a long grain rice, and has a very unique flavor, it is kind of on the glossy side compared to other medium or long grain white rice. For a healthier take, cook the brown Basmati.

Arrowhead Mills Organic Brown Basmati Rice is a brand I like to use if I can't get this in the bulk section of a health food store. Try using it for stir fried rice also, it is very tasty. Even for salads try it I think you'll like it.