CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes

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PERSONAL CHEF

PERSONAL CHEF
FOOD FOR REAL PEOPLE

Friday, November 28, 2014

IN A COOKING FUNK

We all go through a slump, a funk, and we can't figure out what happened until someone else points it out for us, or we just get that "shit" moment

Cooking funks are all part of the game in cooking because if you are a cook you need to pay attention to what you are doing. There's always some instance when some home cook will forget to add in a certain ingredient that was key, such as the basil in his pomodoro and he starts to trip. Or forget to put the sesame oil in his kalbi ribs marinade. That my foodies is a cooking funk. Or in a slump. What can we do to break out of this funk? It's fairly easy, don't cook for a while. You see, maybe you aren't into it, maybe there's something on your mind that's preventing you from really cooking that awesome curry, even if you are using instant stuff… if your mind is not into it, you may forget to turn on the stove, and you'll be looking at raw meat that's not searing, ahhhh!

If you are just mindless in the kitchen, take a break, and go out and buy your meals if you can afford it. Or if, if you live with other cooks, let them do the job, maybe they're just being lazy or something, but sharing the cooking duties is key too. But if you work in a professional kitchen, the restaurant already has set menus so that eliminates the funk because it's all repetitive stuff day in, day out, night in, night out. When you're responsible for creating the daily menu it can be daunting, like if you do a full-time job, you're probably too burnt out to figure out what to cook. So my advice to you home cooks is just take a break, come back to the kitchen and cooking with a fresh outlook, watch some Food Network, read some food mags, go online watch some You Tube videos on food and cooking, refresh my friends and you'll be fine. 

Until next time have a great life!

Ron Sambrano

© 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

ONO IS GRAMMA'S KINE COOKING

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

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

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

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

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

SIMPLE BEEF STEW
(SERVES 6)

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














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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2014


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

IN FOOD WE EAT

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

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

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

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

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

© 2014



Monday, November 10, 2014

WHEN YOUR KNIFE SKILLS GO SOUTH

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

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

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

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


© 2014