CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes




Monday, April 30, 2012

MAUI- Basics In Culinary For The Home Chef

The most basic STUFF you can make that doesn't cost you much would be to make your own broths. I worked in kitchens most of my life, and having chefs in the family, and great cooks in the family, watching them as a kid making STUFF from scratch, it came naturally to me to make STUFF from scratch. Okay am I making you sick? Good. That's what I'm here for today, to make you sick. But, here's a tip for you, something I learned working in a kitchen in Lahaina a long time ago, when rock groups like Van Halen, Journey, The Cars, Blondie just came out. Oh yeah I'm an old (blank).

Okay, let's make a veggie broth, that you can store in your chiller or freezer, and it is all natural from scratch. Okay here we go for a veggie broth.

Get out a stock pot, about a 8 quart one, that's 2 gallons, you'll have enough of this to make homemade veggie soups, or even Beef Pho, or Tom Yums, or Sabaws, or French Onions, or gravies. Okay nuff said.

Take about 5 large round onions, peel em, and rough chop em.
Take a whole bunch of celery, and trim off the bottom, and then rough chop that.
Take about 5 large carrots, peel em, and rough chop that.
4 cloves of whole garlic

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Take a baking sheet, place some oil on the sheet and spread it out. Place the chopped veggies onto the sheet, and roast chopped veggies for about 20 minutes or until you see the juices coming out of the veggies.

A pinch of salt and pepper
Some parsley

Put the stock pot over medium high heat, and the roasted chopped veggies.

Fill the pot with filtered water about 2 inches from the top, simmer this for about 1 hour, skim the surface of any foam, season with salt and pepper, add in some parsley (fresh). Off the heat, let it cool. Place (strain) some of the broth into jars, or into ice cube trays and freeze some, chill some, for future usage. 

When you are ready for the making of soups, gravies, or other sauces, you got low sodium broth, which is great because you can serve this up to loved ones with high blood pressure, or diabetes, or anyone wanting to eat healthy.

Simple eh? So this is a culinary move anyone can do, and should do if you have a kitchen. Remember that some people do things differently, when an oven is not found nearby, you can grill the veggies, or just boil them to extract the juices and the natural oils that makes the flavor. Remember heat extracts water from living organisms, we as humans are like a good percentage of water, when it gets hot what happens? We sweat. So another culinary term for extracting flavors in any hot vessel is called sweating out the juices. 

I used to have chefs yell at me for not having a saute pan hot enough, "Hey YOU IDIOT! YOU CANT F.....ING SWEAT OUT THAT ONION ON LOW HEAT!" Man chefs are cruel assholes sometimes. Ha ha, but that's a tip for you today, making your own veggie broth.

And speaking of healthy, if you are on Maui, and want a personal chef that cooks healthy and great, my chef friend Ann Marie Burtell can cook you an awesome meal. Look her up on she's an awesome person you'll enjoy. And ask her about her Mahi Tacos, those are my personal faves. And if you are new to cooking she offers her cooking classes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

When Times Get Better

I'm not whining, not complaining, life took a turn for the financial worse in 2007, a physical setback landed me in the hospital for 24 ours of tests, and observation. And no insurance. Wow! That one day cost me almost 13,000.00, and I still owe on it.

So trying to make a comeback is what I'm about at this moment in time, trying to get projects out, seeing if there's any interested investors you know? And it's a tough animal to capture, she keeps looking like a good catch only to run away into the hills or the woods...always I'm at the drawing board, wanna quit, but can't.

Well when times get better for me, like when I start making more money, and can get a house once again, for sure there's going to be a nice kitchen, updated with all the modern devices, modern setup, larger room for storing stuff, and more room for roaming around and hosting family and close friends. My kitchen is gonna be my playground.

So what kind of stuff am I going to make? For sure, I'll cook more healthy meals, more grilled items, and more raw items, does this make sense? But I really want to get back into cutting my own meats and fish again. It was always a challenge for me, my hands were always herky jerky, but just for the hobby of cooking, I'd have a huge prep area for cutting up meats, and fish.

I'd delve in some of my favorite cuisines, one is Indian cooking, I'd really want to do that. And then there's the other Asian cooking I love to do but haven't for years. Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino cooking. Also the basic American dishes that actually is influenced by other Euro countries, like France, Italy, and South America, Mexico and the like. Shit why don't I just say, "I wanna cook the whole fucking world!"

Okay, "I wanna cook the whole fucking world!" That's what I'd do.

But today, it's still at the drawing board, I have to find out what will truly work for me in the now, not down the road. And network, network, and network. Networking can land me possibly the funding I need to get off the ground. I always look at the big picture, I'm good with big picture thinking, but I always need a dose of reality thinking, and focused thinking. 

Now in this stage of my life, I look back and man, a lot of things were there for me for the taking, but well life is life, and I chose to go my own way which was the wrong way. But it is a learning thing for certain. Now when I see the younger crowd do what I did, I shake my head, "Hey you don't need to go down that path," I'd say. And of course they all look at me like I'm some dud. But when you're young, you do things that you think is right for you, but when the flames of getting burned and broke hits you, it'll either make you want to succeed, keep on trying, or be a fucking bum in some alley drinking his life away. Not me, not me. I'm broker than broke, but I know God is there, just have to keep chipping away at that stone called life, and then possibly that break I been looking for, that one solid connection can set me free to work at what I do best.

The moral of this story? Keep on going and don't give up.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

MAUI- Mango Season

It is Mango Season, every mango tree here on the island has fruits ready to be picked, green ones for the pickled mangoes, and of course the juicy ripe mangoes for chilling and slicing, and dicing, or for the blender for a nice smoothie, or even for desserts like ice cream, gelato, or in cakes and pies. Mangoes can be made into chutneys and jams, great for dips, or for spreads. I love mangoes, so this is the time to go over the different mangoes we have here in Hawaii.

The Haden Mango; or Hayden Mango is found in many a yard on Maui. The Hayden is a very popular mango that most locals grew up on, it makes a perfect pickled mango, and when it is ripe, it is a noticeable reddish, yellow/orange color. Okay, maybe my pigmentation radar is off? Well that's what I see when I see a ripe Haden. You have to pick these pups at the right time, I find the best way to pick em is like any fruit, pick them to allow them to ripen on the porch with sunlight hitting it, if you pick it when it is truly ripe, it's best to eat it right away, there's nothing worse than eating an over ripened mango. And to me, the Haden is the Cadillac of mangoes, the Michael Jordan of Mangoes, the Headman of all mangoes... ah you get the picture don't you? Yeah I think you do. Some may say that the Spanish is the best, or the Common is the best or this or that. Not me, the Haden has the perfect flavor, sweet baby, even when green, and pickled, it has this tart but sweet flavor...maybe I'm wrong to you, but nope, I loves me some Haden Mango in the midst of Summertime.


About 2 cups of Spelt Flour
2 1/2 cups of Haden Mangoes, ripened, and mashed well into a soft puree
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup of safflower oil
3/4 cup of raw sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 dg. f.
1. In a mixing bowl, mix well the flour, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda
2. In another bowl, slightly larger, mix the mangoes pureed, cinnamon, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract until well blended
3. Add in the flour mixture to the wet mixture slowly, and fold it in, do not over mix, keep it textured, not too lumpy but not too smooth all the same
4. Divide the mixture into a muffin pan with 12 cups, line them with paper muffin cups, spray nonstick into the muffin cups, fill each cup to about 3/4 way, it should rise when baking
5. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when you stick it into each muffin cup at the center

Let it cool when done, serve these for breakfast, it is great with a hot cup of Maui Grown Coffee.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


It was a warm Spring afternoon, in April, around 1:15 pm; a week ago or so, I had taken notice of a lunch wagon on Lahainaluna Road, directly across the smoke stack, that historical landmark left behind by the Pioneer Mill, in fact this lunch wagon sat where part of the mill was located. Hmmm, oh it's a taco truck... well, I know that there's another guy down the street that has a taco truck sitting at the corner of Wainee and Lahainaluna Road. I wonder? Hmmm, I have to check it out one day I said to myself. And I finally did.

SONORA TACOS Lunch Wagon, it had style, the logo looked catchy, there was a table and a few chairs under an awning attached to the starboard side of the truck. I parked my sister's Rav 4, because I don't own a car right now ha ha. Like I said, it was a warm afternoon, and I was kinda hungry, and I love Mexican food, love it. I walked to the window, and there I was greeted by Chef Gil Castillo, this is my first meeting with chef ever. Though, he looked familiar somehow, well Lahaina... make that Maui is a small town, he looked familiar. Well continuing on with the story, Gil welcomes me, "Hi how are you?"

"Fine, my name is Ron, what's your name?"
"Gil," he said, with a warm smile. "Do you want to try our tacos?"
"Heck yeah Gil, you got fish tacos?"
"Yes we do, we have fish tacos, soft shell, do you want some?"
"Yeah gimmee two Gil."
"Okay Ron, I'll get you two fish tacos, you will like it."
I was sure I was gonna like it, why? You see, the thing I've learned about food in my short life, is that when you see a happy chef... you'll get good happy food, and if fish tacos isn't happy food, I don't know what is.

As me and Chef Gil conversed, I found out that he still holds another job to make ends meet, and that he and his wife saved up their money to get their lunch wagon, and they went to Los Angeles to pick it up. I mean they did their homework, this truck is cool, the art work is cool, the concept of simplicity and Mexican food is genius, nothing fancy, nothing hard to figure out, maybe if you don't understand Mexican? Well it's written in English too, so for the Mexican purist, or for us non-Mexican speaking peeps, the menu is easy to understand.

"Next week Ron, I'll give away some hot dogs for the kids, in Mexico we celebrate children at the end of the month, so for the kids, I'll give away some good hot dogs." That's great I told my new chef friend, hey givers are more successful than non-givers, and it is proven. Some of the greatest businesses in our country, started out small, and they gave back to the local community, businesses that gives back before they turn black ink generally speaking will always be successful somehow someway.

When my fish tacos came, it was time to head up the hill. It was excellent, the prices are reasonable for today's prices, after all the cost of foods has gone up, and it will continue to go up as oil prices skyrocket, expect food prices to follow. But Chef Gil Castillo and his wife does a fantastic job, they are hard workers, doing honest hard work, and for that, I give them my utmost respect! I mean, just starting any kind of business these days is a huge gamble, a huge risk somewhat, and if you get into the food biz, well, I tell you what, all I can say is Blessings to you, it is hard work. But, Chef Gil is so friendly, he knows his stuff, he and his wife are total business people. They are cooks, drivers, cleaners, marketing, advertising, front of the truck and back of the truck, I guess you can say Chef Gil and his wife, they are wearing many different hats. I hope they succeed, I really truly do. 

Chef Gil Castillo owner of SONORA TACOS Lunch Wagon 310 Lahainaluna Rd. Across Smoke Stack; Hours 10am to 3pm MONDAY THRU FRIDAY; SATURDAYS 10am to 3pm.

"WHAT'S IN Ur Tortilla"
Simply the Best

Tacos run 2.75 to 3.50, you get Carne Asada (grilled meat), Chicken, Al Pastor (Pork), Lengua (Beef Tongue), Birria (Slow Cooked Meat), Fish, Shrimp.

Burritos run 7.95

Quesadillas 3.50- 5.00

Combos served with Rice and Beans 7.95 to 8.95

Tortas (Sandwich) 7.95

Hot Dogs 3.00 Wrapped with Bacon.

Weekdays Special Monday Kahuna Fish Taco 4.95 (That's the big one on the top) I'm telling you, the food is awesome here, fresh tasting, and it is done with friendly love and aloha from Chef Gil Castillo and his wife. I won't tell you more, make that drive to the Sonora Tacos Lunch Wagon soon, you will not be disappointed! And eating there, you'll keep the money in the local economy, and that my friends, cannot be beat.

Monday, April 23, 2012

MAUI- The Condo Chef

If you are visiting Maui and you and your family are staying in a condominium, and you are a foodie/chef that just loves to prepare foods all of the time, there's some really awesome home grown products you can utilize.

If you are on the West Side of Maui, from Lahaina to Kapalua, there's supermarkets that you can get some fresh fish, produce and Maui Cattle Company grass fed beef. MAUI PRIME is a gourmet shop, where you can get Wagyu Beef, Karobuta Pork, Manila Clams, Smoked Pacific Northwest Salmon, and many other gourmet condiments, they are located in the Emerald Plaza, just look for the Lahaina Cannery Mall, it is across the street up the hill. Carry Button Owner.

Foodland Supermarket located in the Old Lahaina Shopping Center, Safeway in the Lahaina Cannery Mall, Foodland Farms  in the Lahaina Gateway, Times in Honokowai, Napali Market in the Napili Plaza. These are the basic markets, they may have good fish in stock, maybe not. the Fish Market in Honokowai has some good fresh seafood. 

The Farmer's Market is a store in Honokowai that sells fresh local vegetables and fruits. And if you need to really get finer stuff, WHOLE FOODS is located in Kahului in the Maui Mall, and for bulk COSTCO is less than a mile from the Kahului Airport. Other stores to remember if you want to get some prepped local items, Takamiya Market in Wailuku, Pukalani Superette in Pukalani.

Some of the other products from Maui that are hot sellers, cheeses from Surfing Goat, and coffee from Maui Grown Coffee (Lahainaluna Road).

If you need any other information, contact me: 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

LEYTE- Desserts Bibingka Recipe

Bibingka is a dessert native to the Philippines, talking to some elder Filipinos that has ties to Leyte Island where coconut production, and rice farming is part of their economic engine, this dessert can be found here on Maui, and where ever Filipino stores are set up. It is a dessert common in the Christmas season where street vendors will be seen selling this sweet soft dessert. Made with rice flour, this home version can be made with modern equipment, where the traditional version takes a lot of time. Traditionally this dessert mixture needs to be cooked in a clay pot, lined with banana leaves, and cooked over hot coals, charring the leaves it adds a unique flavor. But for the home cook, this recipe will work, and if you cannot find banana leaves where you reside, one Filipino woman told me, "Line your cake pan with banana peels to give it the flavor." Hmmm, that's thinking alternatively. 


1 cup rice flour
1 tsp. salt
2 - 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. butter
1 1/4 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup fresh whole milk 
1 cup coconut milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup grated cheddar
Ripe Banana Peels to line cake pan

1. Preheat oven 375 deg f
2. Combine rice flour, salt and baking powder, mix it well and set aside
3. Cream butter, then whisk in the sugar well
4. Add the eggs and mix  well
5. Slowly add the rice flour mixture to the creamed butter and egg mixture well
6. Slowly add in the fresh whole milk and coconut milk to the mixture and whisk well
7. Set up banana leaves, or in this case banana peels evenly on the bottom of a stainless steel pie pan or cake pan
8. Pour mixture into pan
9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes keep an eye on it, remove from oven to add the grated cheese on the top.
10. Return to baking for another 15 to 20 minutes
11. Remove from oven, let cool, brush some melted butter on top, and top it with generous amounts of raw sugar, or any other sweet dessert concoction you want.

Slice into portions conducive to eat per person, wrap in plastic and set in a cool area, best eaten the same day.

LEYTE Desserts Puto (Rice Muffins)

Here's a Leyte Puto recipe

2 1/8 cups of rice flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups or so of coconut milk
1 cup or so of raw brown sugar
1 cup coconut flakes

1. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Then add in the the coconut milk and stir into a smooth product.
2. Lightly oil some medium size ramekins and fill each one about 2/3 full.
3. Place in a hot steamer, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, check if it is cooked by sticking a toothpick into the center of the Puto, if it comes out dry it is done. Remove from steamer, let cool, remove from ramekins, and top with coconut flakes.

Puto from a store.

LEYTE Philippines, War History, Food.

Leyte (Lay tay) island in the Philippines has a lot of history, it is located in the Eastern Visayas region. Look at the map of the Philippines, and it is majestic, surrounded by islands, islands, and more islands. Tacloban City is its capital, taking control of 3/4 of the northern portion of Leyte Island.

During WW2, the Japanese occupied Leyte Island, and the Philippine army was re-established from 1942 to 1946, to battle the Japanese. With the help of American forces led by General Douglas MacArthur, the Philippines regained the rights to Leyte Island.

The economy thrives on Rice Farming in the flatter regions, and Coconut production for the oil, and fishing in the coastal regions. Tacloban City is the big city of Leyte Province, also one of the largest geothermal plants are in Leyte, making this island resource rich.

What fascinates me about Leyte, is the history, how the Japanese occupied it, also, how the Spanish set up shop there. Imagine, an island in the Pacific occupied by people from far away. Spain isn't next door, the Spaniards sailed thousands of miles to discover something, they saw this island, it was rich with resources. 

How Vietnam's battles with the North Communist, and the South, for rice, for a resource, wars are about resources plain and simple. Today Leyte strives. Recently I met a local Filipino family, they got some gifts from the Philippines, it was boxes of dried fish, and Kakanin or rice desserts usually made with coconut milk. 

"We have relatives they give us gifts, lots of dried fish, ono, you take one." What was in the box was plastic bags sealed tight with lots of dried fish, looked like mackerel, seasoned, smoked, and ready to eat. And there were these white looking desserts made from rice flour and again... coconut.

If Leyte is home to the production of rice and coconut, it is a natural fit to make lots of desserts made up of rice and coconuts. I love that kind of sweets. One of them is the Bibinka, a dessert made up of rice flour, and cooked in banana leaves over an open fire, but can be done in a traditional oven.

Leyte's history is just deep, and to get a broader knowledge of what happened one needs to study it, read about it, and even talk to people from there. But food from that region is still made, you can find it in Hawaii, to California, to Canada, and parts of the world you'd never expect Filipino foods to be. But Leyte has the rich resources, it does the production like I was saying, the rice farming, the coconut growing and production of the oil. And of course the fish, Leyte is surrounded by ocean. Yeah one day I'll go there, visit and tour. It's that war history, and the food. What a name, it sounds exotic, Leyte. That would sound like a great restaurant name, serving excellent Filipino foods. Leyte Restaurant. Just an idea, but that name is historic.

Pasalubong Or gifts are common in the Filipino culture, it can be gifts of a myriad of things, and food is one of those gifts given to people. Kakanin, Puto, Bibinka, and other rice and coconut concotions are all wonderful gifts.

On another post, I'll do some recipes, but the history of Leyte is intriguing to me. And the foods.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

MAUI- Visitors A Must Tasty Crust Restaurant

Maui has history, everyone knows that the islands were home to the big sugar plantations, and currently despite our economy and gas prices soaring close to or over 5.00 a gallon, our source of GDP on island is the tourist trade, our visitors spending dollar is what we thrive on. So when visitors ask me, "Ron where should we go, where do you locals love to go and eat?" Hmm, there are a few places, but now, today as I write this blog post in Lahaina, in my sister's office where it is peaceful, one restaurant comes to mind..TASTY CRUST.

On 1770 Mill Street in Wailuku Town, about 15 minutes from the airport, 30 minutes from Kihei and Lahaina, TASTY CRUST is our version of a local spoon where guys in leather jackets and hot rods hung out. So what's great about this dig? Okay for one, you can get their awesome pancakes anytime of the day. The cakes are fluffy, smother real butter and maple over it and it's like going to grandma's house, and of course a cup of coffee.

If you haven't had the local version of sliced up beef steak with onions, ask for the Chopped Steak, I like mine with loads of ketchup over it, it comes with rice, but I like to order some fries with that. Their hamburgers are home style too, good stuff. And try the Saimin, a local Japanese seafood soup base, with noodles, and garnish. I mean ask for their Hamburger Steak Plate too, ground beef patties seasoned simply, and topped with gravy. Sometimes, I'll ask for a Hamburger Steak, and a Saimin on the side, though...the Saimin is a meal in itself..hmm, we locals love to eat, and eat we shall at TASTY CRUST.

Alright- I'll go and see if I can get a picture online for you because I don't have one available, and I'll just give mention to the site I'm getting it from, hold on..
Ok guys all can get without getting to crazy is a sign from; go to yelp for more info on Tasty Crust or go to their site at have a great time on Maui, have a safe time on Maui, on behalf of the people of Maui, Maaaahalo for coming to our beautiful island.

TASTY CRUST Ph: 808-244-0845
No Credit Cards or Checks
Bring Cash


This blog focuses on energy, because myself included have been eating lots of non nutritious foods as of late, and there's the lackidaisical feeling resulting from eating bad foods. Here's a basic list of foods to eat for sustained energy throughout the day.

WATER- Our bodies need to be hydrated, it keeps our body's temperature regulated, if our bodies overheat, it causes fatigue. Have you ever felt sluggish on a warm day, and then jumped into a cool swimming pool or ocean? The water has a cooling affect that gives the body some energy. Sweating is a key component in our everyday lives, it rids the body of waste. Without proper hydration, one can't sweat out the waste.

RAW ALMONDS- Find the best ones online or at farmers markets, a great source for monounsaturated fasts, omegas 3 and 6, this nut helps with mental focus. So if your mind gets fatigued your body will follow suit, raw almonds can be difficult to find, some almonds that are labeled raw are actually pasteurized, to kill bacteria.

BANANAS- Has lots of potassium, it is something that helps with your nerve and muscle function. Potassium can be lost in the body easily, by stress and overexertion during exercise. Keep bananas close by at work or during workouts. Making a banana smoothie is also a good idea for a cold drink.

Also apples, peaches, grapes and pineapples gives good sources of fiber, and the sugars in this fruits are easy to digest. Some diabetics will eat a good amount of fruit, but not processed sugars. Fibers from these fruits also help in digestion.

LENTILS- These are good fiber sources, filled with vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and is filled with carbohydrates and protein. Helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

DARK CHOCOLATE OR RAW CACAO- Good for antioxidants, it has sugars and fat, it must be eaten in moderation, also has caffein.

EGGS- Has high protein to help you get energized.

Other vegetables such as asparagus, spinach, sprouts, and broccoli are all good for energy boost. Remember overcooking them robs the nutrients that are vital, try to plan your meals better.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MAUI- Pork Adobo Recipe A Different Take

The Filipino Pork Adobo is a very tangy dish, the pork is simmered until fork tender until Au sec, or dried without liquid in the pot, many love this style Au sec, on the other hand I myself do not like anything dried out, and since adobo is like a braise or is in fact, depending on who you speak to, isn't braises supposed to have some kind of gravy or sauce at the end? Okay I rest my case, so all you Au sec lovers, this maybe isn't for you, because this adobo will call for some sauce at the finish line.

If you have an oven, preheat it right now to 325 deg. f


7-8 lbs. of pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
(Get a deep stainless steel roasting pan, add about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, place pan over 2 burners on stove top over medium high heat, place pork cubes in side and brown meat until the juices comes out) Lower heat, make the seasonings below.

Seasonings:(Mix all together in a large mixing bowl)
Kosher Salt (eyeball it)
Fresh ground pepper corns (eyeball it)
8 cracked bay leaves
4 large jalapeno peppers
4 cups of Annato water (annato seeds mixed with water)
1/2 cup of crushed garlic
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 cups of dark soy sauce
1 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of chicken broth
5 cups of apple cider vinegar
2 cups of beer
10 fresh thinly sliced Basil leaves for garnish

1. Add mixture into roasting pan, bring to a slight boil, stir pieces around, cook for about 20 minutes on stove top.
2. Put a cover over the roasting pan, and place in the oven, cook in the oven for 2 hours.
3. Remove from oven, take the lid off, taste the gravy, adjust the salt and pepper.
Serve with white rice. Garnish plates with sliced Basil leaves.

There's a myriad of Pork and Chicken Adobo recipes, this is just one, the beer adds something to the finished product, all the ingredients will marry in the oven, and the marinade will embed in every pork cube. This can be made and cooled, and refrigerated, and reheated later on during the week. If so, the flavors will be so intense, it'll be as they say..."Nuts!"

MAUI- Filipino Foods Chayote Guisado Recipe

It's time for a little Filipino food, sorry guys but there's so many people mentioning Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, and Korean foods these days, my native Philippines is left out of the conversation. You see, Filipino foods are a fusion of many lands, from American, European, Spanish, Asian, it's huge covering lots of ingredients, it can be presented as in house family food to fine dine.

Here is a recipe for a greenish fruit native to Mexico, but found its way to the Filipino chef's kitchen, Chayote Guisado simply means sauteed Chayote. And here is the recipe, feel free to tweak it if you are allergic to certain ingredients.

  •  4  chayote squash, peeled, seeded and sliced into your desired style.
  • 1-2 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 3/4 lb. pork, sliced into cubes, I like to use a loin cut
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce, or patis
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • water
  1. In stainless steel pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Brown the pork so all juices come out, or sweat it out.
  2. Add the garlic, onions and tomatoes. Sauté  a few minutes till the tomatoes start to wilt.
  3. Add the chayote pieces, and then add the fish sauce, be careful but not too much salt and pepper. Cook stirring for few more minutes until it all comes together.
  4. Pour in some water and bring to a boil. Cover it with a lid, make sure to lower the heat and let it simmer until the Chayote fruit is tender.
  5. Adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  6. Remove from heat. Serve with rice.
Note: Other herbs and spices that goes well with Chayote Guisado is bay leaves, marjoram, thyme, pepper corns, and some hot peppers works too.

In some supermarkets the Chayote is found under the Squash category, so some employees in those places may not know what a Chayote is. Some people pronounce this fruit in various ways. I've heard people call it, 

"Chu Yote," or "Chey yo tee," or "Cha yo tay," or "Shay oh tay," well you can come up with your own pronunciation.

We'll cover more Filipino foods in the next posts up coming, it can be in a few minutes or a few hours or  a few days. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

MAUI- I Tested A Cuisineart 1 1/2 Qt. Saucepan Stainless Steel

Today not only did I test Martha Stewart's stuff, but I tested a saucepan from Cuisineart, a stainless steel saucepan with a lid, it was a 1 1/2 quart size pan, or some call it a pot. Like the Martha Stewart pan, I got this from Macy's, and what I used it for was to make a soup, which was a Beef Sabaw, a soup influenced from the Philippines, much like the Beef Pho of Vietnam, or the Tom Yum of Thailand. But this pot was great for a soup for two, it held the contents perfectly, broth, meat, and veggies.

The saucepan is pretty light which is great for the home chef, it needs good cleaning care, like the Martha Stewart, you'll need to use a dish soap, water, and a soft scouring pad like the nylon ones you can find in the supermarket, this saucepan can also go into the oven if you want to braise in it, I'd go no hotter than 350 deg. F.

So for soups for 2? This saucepan is the bomb, if you'll be making some sauces like mushroom sauce, or other types of sauces, Cuisineart has exceptional equipment for the price, this cost me 24.99, if you get it on sale, it'll be cheaper than that. So can a home chef get great deals at a Macy's without sacrificing quality? Sure. But, if you are going to open a professional kitchen, you'll need heavy duty stuff, but this Cuisineart works well for home chefs for sure!

Chef Ron

MAUI- I Tested Martha Stewarts Fry Pan On Video Shoot

During today's cooking video shoot, I used my Martha Stewart 10" Stainless Steel fry pan for the first time. It is stainless steel, and has an aluminum component wedged in between stainless steel on the bottom to generate quick heating. During the shoot, since this was my first time using this pan, I had to follow simple instructions, and the first was, before I used the pan, I was to rinse it in water with some soft soap which I did, and wiped it dry. 

The meal I had to cook on this pan was a Pork Loin Chop, with Sauteed Onions, and a Pan Gravy, that's some work this pan will go through. Now I tested it, and it worked really well, it has these rubbery plastic kind of handles, but they withstand oven temps up to 350 degrees f. so this makes a great home chefs pan. I love stainless steel because it makes for great sauce making or gravy making, my chops were thin so I could finish it on the stove top which was an electric and very very powerful, for medium high heat I had it set less than 4, that's tough man.

But if I had thicker cuts of meat, I could oven roast them in the same pan at 350 deg. F. so this pan I'd rate very high for what it is, at $34.99 from Macy's it's a good buy, valuable, and with these pans you cannot use abrasive stuff like soaps or wire brushes because it'll scar the finish, directions calls for this to be soaked in a dish soap and water, and scrubbed with a nylon soft sponge kind of thing, no wires made of metal.

These pans work great on any stove top, even on gas, and induction stove tops.

I needed to fry up 2 Pork Loin Chops about 6 oz. each, and it fit perfectly, I'd recommend the 10" Martha Stewart fry pan stainless steel for the home chef for sure, when I removed the chops to saute' the onions, I just added a little vegetable oil and it slid nicely, caramelizing them into a nice product. And then when it was time for the pan gravy, it was very good, making a roux, and then whisking the gravy into a nice smooth texture, I found that the Martha Stewart 10" Stainless was very good. The only thing I dislike about this pan, is when you move it around and it bangs other pots is it makes this ping sound, a rather cheap sound, but, it's alright for the price. $34.99 is a good buy for this if you are on a budget, with proper care, this pan can go a long way, but for a video chef like myself once this pup gets stained and tarnished, it can't go in front of the cameras but I know it can still make some great meals even then.

Chef Ron

MAUI- Taped Another Cooking Show In Kihei,

Just wrapped up another episode of my cooking show, this one is yet to be titled, but I cooked a Beef Sabaw (Filipino Beef/Veggie Soup), and a couple of Pork Chops with sauteed onions and a pan gravy.

Fellow Producer Peter King of Akaku TV, Directed this shoot, at his condo in Kihei's Cove Park over looking a very nice Pacific Ocean with the island of Kahoolawe (Kah ho oh la vay) in the background, as stand up paddlers went back and forth, and beach goers walking the sand and jumping in the ocean, a very relaxing morning.

The shoot went well, I started off prepping for the Beef Sabaw, a simple soup, I used a piece of Chuck steak for the base, with water and vegetable broth, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, marjoram, fish sauce, apple cider vinegar, fresh lime, zucchini, tomato, yellow bell pepper, salt and pepper made it a tasty soup, Peter and Bonnie sampled it on the deck with some red wine.

Also the pork chops was simple, 2 loin chops without the bone, salt and peppered, dredged in all purpose flour, and pan fried golden brown but juicy on the inside, then I sautéed the onions until tender, and then made a pan gravy, poured it over the chops and the onions, with white rice and furikake flakes was the meal.

Now the show will be in edit, and I'll wait until Peter gets it all edited for Cablecast and YouTube. In the photo above my producer/director Peter King and his mom share Pork Chops, Beef Sabaw and a glass of Merlot.

Friday, April 13, 2012

MAUI- Ron's Thai Green Chili Paste

Cooking is an art, a great meal takes time, commands respect, it offers the eater taste, aroma, and lots of love... a meal made from scratch as much as possible will make one consuming the morsels feel alive, for that compassion of the chef in what he or she does is felt by all involved. I can bet you any amount of money, if I put in front of you freshly made pesto for example, and also a bottle of pesto already made from the market with an expiration date on the jar, and made you smell it, the fresh one will be the champion all of the time. However most of us do not have the time and resources to make fresh all of the time, but when God permits us that chance to use fresh, we should, and we shall. For God wants us fresh, clean without blemish and sin?
Hmmm... let's do a fresh Thai Green Chili Paste shall we?

It is very easy, just have a food processor handy, make sure you paid your electric bill too for that food processor doesn't run on good looks from the chef.


1 stalk lemongrass
3 or 4 large Thai Chilis or Jalapeño will do
4 tbsp. minced round onion, red if you can
5 garlic cloves
1 1/2 inch ginger root, sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
3-4 tbsp. of fish sauce (use any Asian one you can)
1 tsp. shrimp paste
4 tbsp. lime juice or more
2 tbsp. brown sugar or agave syrup
3 tbsp. coconut milk or heavy cream

Put it in the processor, and pulse. Do not make it too smooth, just pulse to blend well.

Add this to beef dishes, noodles, or dips.

If making chili pastes is too time consuming, check the Asian marts for excellent ready made products that are utilized by many gourmet chefs, personal chefs, corporate chefs too, as well as of course the home chef.

Go to Temple of Thai website for more info on products available   

The first bottle is Sriraja Panich Chili Sauce by Thai Theparos Food; the second bottle is a Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce which is widely used in the United States, and you can't go wrong by using any of these two popular brands even though they are red, it can add heat to the dishes that need it. Even in Spanish cooking, these are used.

MAUI- Udon Broth

Japanese noodle soups are clean, somewhat healthy, usually low in sat fats, it is all in the broth that forms the soups. Dashi is the main ingredient of most soups in the Japanese arsenal of the hot comfort food. First of all, let's take a look at the noodle Udon.

Udon (Oo Don) is a thick wheat flour noodle, it is sold dried in packages found in the Japanese shelves in the Asian aisle. And there is the fresh, all cooked Udon noodles, sealed tight, some can be found in the refrigerated section. I like the fresh noodles because I can just add that into the Dashi (Broth) without cooking it first like dried pasta. By the way if you are going to purchase dried Udon, cook it like pasta until just cooked, never over cook it.

Kitsune Udon (Kits oo nay) the picture is Udon noodles in a Dashi broth, topped with a deep fried Aburage (tofu) and garnished with scallions. Great for a person not eating meat, though there is seafood in the broth.

To make the Soup Broth here is a standard recipe it calls for 8 cups of Dashi, 2 tbsp. salt, 2 tbsp. dark shoyu, 2 tbsp. light shoyu, 2 tbsp. miring, 2 tbsp. sugar.

Once the soup broth is boiled and hot, and if you have your noodles ready, place your noodles in the bottom of a soup bowl, add the soup broth, and top with your favorite protein, in this case Kitsune Udon has the deep fried tofu aburage on the top, there's other types of popular Udon bowls. Like a topping of Chicken Katsu, or Shrimp or Vegetable Tempura.  I love Udon noodle soups, in fact if you like to eat or cook other ethnic soups like Vietnamese Pho, or Filipino Sabaw, try adding Udon noodles to it, it's a beefy strong noodle and works well with the other styles of soups.

Happy Eating

MAUI- How To Cook Tripe Stew

Tripe a part of a cow's stomach is a delicacy to some locals here on Maui, one may think it gross, because most people associate the stomach with bowel, and that's understandable, however, tripe has been a staple for many working class families that worked the sugar cane fields and pineapple fields. Mostly a staple food of the Filipinos and some Hawaiians, the meat is cleaned considerably for safe human consumption. 
In the picture you can see what the tripe looks like, the product is very chewy, hence stewing this part of the cow is the most common of cooking methods. Growing up, we ate tripe like twice a month, being a kid, I didn't question what my parents cooked, we just ate whatever they made for dinners, and the tripe made in a stew of lots of tomatoes, bay leaf, and garlic, well I couldn't tell that this tripe thing was gross at all, I mean it looked white, like honeycombs, so what the heck did I know? 

If you want to cook tripe, and you feel adventurous, go to your local market and ask the butcher for cleaned tripe, most supermarket chains do sell them in the frozen section, or you can buy tripe in Asian marts, or Spanish marts, tripe is common and considered a delicacy to some. I know a French couple that cooked tripe so they said, with herbs and spices and in wine, I can imagine that it tastes great, with wine it becomes gourmet. But when we ate tripe it was stewed for a few hours on the stove, and like I said, there was nothing wrong with tripe growing up, most of my friends ate tripe.

Here's a simple recipe

3 lbs. of Tripe (cleaned, cut into 2 inch squares) set aside
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
8 garlic cloves crushed
3 inches of fresh ginger peeled and cut into thin slices

6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 bay leaf

6 cups of water
5 cups of tomato sauce
8 oz. of tomato paste

2 large Russet potatoes, cut into cubes 1 1/2 inches
2 large round onion sliced
1 large carrot, sliced 1/2 inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up a stainless steel pot over medium heat with oil, sauté the garlic and ginger for a few seconds to build aroma. 
2. Add in the tripe, and sauté for about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the tomatoes, bell peppers, bay leaf, and cook until bells are soften.
4. Add the water, and bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, add a little water if it evaporates.
5. Add in the tomato sauce and tomato paste, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
6. Add in the potatoes, onions, and carrot, and simmer until potatoes and carrots are soft.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

It should soften after 1 1/2 hours on the stove, cleaned tripe doesn't have much of an oder at all, but there are people believe it or not that go for the tripe with all the green waste matter clinging to it, now that is fucking gross!

Happy Eating!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

MAUI- Pineapple Curry Cream Sauce

Here's a simple Pineapple Curry Cream Sauce you can make, and this is a cold sauce, it is great for a dip of fresh crisp veggies, from zucchini, celery, carrots, onion... you get the picture.

Remember, to chill this when done mixing, you will need a food processor for this, you'll have enough for the table.

4 cups of diced pineapple (fresh if can)
2 shallots minced
1 1/2 cups of sour cream
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of Safflower oil
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of mascarpone 
1 dash of dill (dried)
3 tbsp. curry powder
3 tbsp. honey or brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Pulse in processor until just smooth, that's it, put in a glass container with a lid and chill, keeps fresh for only a couple of days, if so, add more pineapples.

MAUI Braised Pork Recipe w/ Korean Influence

My fans, my dear fans... sorry we aren't doing much on cable access t.v. lately, we can't get sponsors. And I'm fried with all the bullshit of video taping a fucking cooking show eh? So I'll give ya all a recipe utilizing Pork, and some Korean Spices.


5 lbs. of Pork Butt (shoulder) no bone.
Salt and Pepper to taste (cover the pork with that)

Sauce: (Mix all in a bowl)
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped ginger
2 cups of Soy Sauce
1/4 cup of sesame oil
1/4 cup or more of Sambal Oelek
4 long red chili peppers, sliced in half
1 large round sweet onion, quartered
1 cup of chopped green onion
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped dried shrimp
3 cups of low sodium chicken broth

1 small Napa Cabbage chopped

1. Preheat your oven to 350 deg.
2. Take a deep stainless steel roasting pan, put some oil in there, place over stove top, possibly over 2 burners over medium high heat, when hot, place Pork in the pan and sear all sides until brown.
3. Remove from stove top. Place the sauce into roasting pan, now cover the pan with foil, nice and tight. Place in middle rack in oven.
4 Roast for about 2 hours or until it is fork tender. (Lower heat to 325 deg.)
5. Place on serving platter, save the juices from the pan, spoon over servings of pork, serve with rice. Garnish with Napa Cabbage.


Big City Diner's Lane Muraoka is the brainchild of one of Hawaii's most popular food establishments. Since I'm from Maui, the local foods here aren't as vast as in Honolulu, though my family owned restaurants that were very successful, they didn't stand the test of time, they folded, and sorry that somehow, they did not have a greater vision to sustain their businesses, because all of their endeavors were excellent, serving local food, Chinese cuisine, that I believe if was managed right, they would still be in business today. Though they were very successful, they failed at the same time. Studying business, and the past two years learning about business from successful people, rule number one, you don't sell out, or run your biz to the ground, not when you got a line out your door. Sadly, my family had lines out the door, but only to sell out, leaving Maui craving for better food.

A friend of mine Terry Shibao told me, "Ron if you want to get into business, you don't want to be just a tax write off, and you don't want to be a popular item and then sell it without looking at the big picture, and remember Ron that everything in this business life... well it's all negotiable. The winners know how to negotiate, and recreate, always imagining, business Ron is imagination, it is people before you, that is what makes them successful, they value people, they value ideas, and they know how to negotiate."

So after many failed attempts at my own business, mostly in media and food videos, I had to step back, I was and still am in a financial puka or hole, but not for long I see the light at the end of the tunnel. "Ron you don't have to feel bad about your failures, you didn't get a business degree, yes you failed many times, and I know your own family ragged on you for that, but you can't quit, keep on going and learn from your mistakes," Terry would say. "Tell you what, read about successful people here in Hawaii, get your imagination going again, you're much to talented and smart to be a failure. Don't listen to them, some of our greatest businessmen in our country failed many many times, but they had great people behind them. Ron, the only thing I can think of that is holding you back from your success, is the people you trust, you got burned by others, and that my friend is the most valuable lesson any businessman can learn, that stuff is only talked about in business school but you've experienced it, that's the best lesson of all, getting your ass burned! Now what do you do about that?"

Hmmmm, so one day I took Terry's advice, first I told him "Terry, you're my idol man, you're a businessman." He smiled, and said, "Yeah but go and read up on some guys that are doing bigger things than I am Ron... see you bumble (later)."

So I read about Eddie Flores Jr. of L and L, it was very interesting, I remember going to L and L before it came to Maui, when friends would say, "Eh we go eat at L and L." I was clueless, I was a Lahaina hick! So we drove to this little spot in Honolulu, and we ate some plate lunches that was very good, you see on Maui, at that time, all we had was Tasty Crust, Archie's, and Sam Sato's which is alright, but when you're on Oahu, it's like when you hit the island, you can find great local food at almost every turn of the wheel.

When I visited Oahu on another occasion, one of my buddies drove to Big City Diner, all I remember was, we drove close to Diamond Head, that's all I remember. And then we got out of the car, and into the restaurant. They were serving breakfast, and it was clean, it was very different, it had this feel about it.... And my buddy told me, "Cuz no shame we going eat!" Okay, I know that man, we're in a freeking restaurant what else? So we ordered two Loco Mocos, the hamburger was out of this world good, totally ono, just fresh off the stove kine, and I instantly fell in love with this place. Big City Diner would be a stop for me when I went to Oahu. But man, it can get busy, and when it's busy it is worth da wait. But I'm telling you it gets very busy, especially if there's some UH event close by. Hmm, maybe I should just look at Big City Diner for some inspiration, they do serve wine, so it makes it a more socially hip local dig you know? Not knocking L and L, but this is plate lunches with a tude.

"So cuz, how's da food good eh?"
"You like eat one moah plate?"
"Shoot, no shame brah, we do dis sometimes."

So I ordered a steak with eggs, and I don't remember what he ordered, but I polished two plates at one sitting, sick? No way, being on Maui I was deprived of this kind of dining pleasure. So I ate like over a pound of beef, a combination of ground beef from the Loco Moco and from the New Steak and Eggs. I think I gained a few pounds that morning, but it was just ono!

"Bradda, Maui no moah dis kine place eh?"

So what makes Big City Diner so popular? What makes them awesome? Well, I've never met Lane Muraoka before, but thanks to Twitter, we had a short Tweet. Lane's business is just unique, it is simple, great tasting food at an affordable price. And I remember what my friend Terry told me, it's all about people, and Lane's company has a team of what seems to be great individuals behind that product called Big City Diner, it is a brand. I just want to find out if Lane does any speaking on becoming a very successful restaurateur in Hawaii, heck the nation for that matter.

Lane has a team of chefs, creating awesome local food with hints of our diverse ethnicity here called Hawaii the melting pot of the world. His company has restaurants only on Oahu, I joked with him on Twitter telling him we can't get a good plate past 9 pm on Maui, sure there's several restaurants here, but nothing like Big City Diner. I mean where on Maui can we take friends and family for some good food, to get a simple bento with grilled Spam, their Veri Teri Steak, Fried Chicken Wings, and Chef's Omelet. 

They have dinner specials for kids at less than 6 bucks, and they can get Hamburgers or Cheese Burgers with Skin on Fries, or Pigs and Peas in A Haystack (Diced Ham and Green Peas tossed with All American Macaroni and Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese, or Mama's Meatloaf. 

For Pupus, the New York Steak Slices topped with Pulehu Spices w/ Green Onions and Roasted Sesame Seeds sound like a winner, as well as all the other stuff I see on their website, like the Calamari Tempura Strips, Ray Chan's Island Style Poke, and the Nachos look totally good to chow down.

The following creations are served with your choice of Steamed White or Brown Rice (except Fried Rice Dishes*) Add 1.99 to substitute Garlic Smashed Potatoes Instead of Rice Add 1.99 for a Cup of Daily Super Soup or Small Green Salad
Boneless Korean Kalbi Steak
Boneless Sterling Silver Kalbi Steak marinated in our Secret Korean Style Sauce. Broke Da Mouth!...15.99
Mamasan’s Vegetable Stir-Fry
A medley of Fresh Garden Veggies stir-fried with
Big City Diner’s Secret Sauce and lots of Garlic & Ginger...8.99
(Add 2.99 for Choice Steak, Tofu or Chicken Breast)
Chinatown Fried Min Noodles
Stir-Fried with Fresh Veggies...8.99
(Add 2.99 for Choice Steak, Tofu or Chicken Breast)
Pulehu N.Y. Steak with Grilled Onions & Mushrooms
A Choice New York Strip Steak Grilled Medium-Rare topped with Your Choice of Grilled Onions & Sauteed Mushrooms OR Veri-Teri Sauce...21.99
The Really Loco, Loco Moco
Hot Rice Topped with a Hamburger Patty and a Farm Fresh Egg smothered in Brown Gravy & Caramelized Onions. Real Ono!...9.99
Hamburger Steak with Crispy Onions & Gravy
A huge 10 oz. (before cooking) Homemade Hamburger Patty smothered in Brown Gravy & topped with Crispy Sweet Onions...10.99
Pacific Islander Fresh Catch
The fresh selection of the day Pan-Seared & Glazed with our Japanese Red Ginger-Lime Chili Butter Sauce
and topped with Fresh Lemon Wedge...16.99
*Choice of Tartar Sauce, Wasabi-Aioli or Homemade Fresh Salsa
Pan-Seared Wild Sockeyed Salmon
Pan-seared to seal in its Natural Juices and topped with our Miso-Ginger Sauce and Green Onions...16.99
We’re Open for Breakfast from 7:00 AM Daily
Big City Diner

This is good food, not your typical plate lunch, this is food done right with thought, you do get what you pay for. If Maui had Big City Diner, I'd have no problem dishing out 16.99 for the Pacific Islander Fresh Catch, what I do remember though was the Hamburger Steak. Simple is what life is all about. Looking at BCDs concept, the whole value of their company, they'll stand the test of time. And I got friends on Oahu that eat there, so if these folks say it'll be around a while, it will.