CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes



Thursday, October 31, 2013


Corner of Kalauea & Lanikaula St. Big Island of Hawaii, in Hilo Town.
I love the internet, I can find lots of information on plate lunches. I asked around here on Maui, and I asked friends "Where can I get some good grinez on the Big Isalnd?" And the name Cousins Seafood & Bento came up. No I've never went there, but I'm giving you the heads up if you do visit the Big Island. We all need to stuff our faces man, we all need to eat, even if we need to lose weight, even if our doctors said "Don't eat that good food." Oh yeah, screw that doctor he's probably a quack anyhow.

Cousins looks great on the net, I mean just the way the food shines you know? Let's take a look at the menu shall we? Okay sorry, that may sound sick, I meant Cousins Seafood and Bento, not your cousins, I'm not into incest shit ok?

Boxed Lunches to most local's definition.
Now get this, on the menu it states, bentos are made between 630am until it is sold out, wow! that's a true local dig man, sold out? Shit, if you have a business and you sell out your food, you're doing good! No excellent!

Large Bento- includes musubi*, maki sushi*, cone sushi*, pressed sushi*, garlic chicken, shrimp, Spam, potato hash, hot dog and sweet egg. $7.50

Small Bento- includes musubi*, maki sushi*, pressed sushi*, garlic chicken, potato hash, hot dog, Spam and sweet egg. $6.00

Now if you haven't noticed the freaking small bento is big enough man! Now this is real local kine grinez.

Pan Seared Ahi Steaks
Pan Seared Ahi Belly
Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon
and more….

OLD FASHIONED SOUP Includes scoop of rice white or brown
Spare Ribs Mustard Cabbage soup (Mondays only)
Okinawan Soup (Wednesdays only)
Oxtail Soup (Fridays only)

Beef Stew Bowl (26 oz) $4.95 "Are you kidding me? that's a great deal guys!!!!
Chili Bowl (26 oz) $3,95
French Fries
Fish Taco
and more….

BREAKFAST 630-930 am
Includes 2 scoops of white or brown rice and a slice of papaya
2 eggs, choice of Portuguese sausage, spam, pork sausage or smoked pork $4.50
2 egg OMELETTE, includes onions, mushrooms, cheese and a choice of ham, portuguese sausage, smoked pork, spinach or kale. $5.75
French Toast, made with Sweet Bread and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar. $2.95

Beef Stew
Garlic Chicken
Roast Beef
Chili Plate
Fried Chicken

Pan Seared Ahi Sandwich
Pan Seared Mahi Sandwich
Fish Taco Plate
Fish Burrito

Now for those of you unfamiliar with local food, it's simple but done good and comforting. And according to my contacts, Cousins is an alright dig to dig into.


OK guys, now you kinda know what we eat here in Hawaii, it's really a melting pot of ethnic styles that were brought over from the plantation days, those days when immigrants came from Japan, China, the Philippines, Portugal, Korea, the Pacific Islands, and elsewhere. We do it umami style. Our ingredients are simple, give us soy sauce and sugar, maybe some garlic and ginger, salt, pepper, we are good to go. Until the next post, keep your shit together!

Do you need some learnin? Here's some stuff you need to know.

Musubi- pronounced moo- soo-bee, it is rice shaped in rectangular usually, sometimes in a triangle, and sometimes there is a salty plum called an ume, pronounced oo-may, in the center with a nori wrap, pronounced no-ree, a seaweed wrap that goes around the rice, like sushi, and sometimes there's a protein on top of it, like Spam, or fired chicken, or a piece of fish.

Maki Sushi- pronounced mah-kee, it is a log rolled sushi with simple seasoned rice, and generally a tuna center, with bonito shavings, or tuna shavings that's colored red or green for presentation, and maybe shredded vinegar seasoned carrots, wrapped in nori.

Ono- pronounced oh no, meaning delicious. Example: "That bento from Cousins was ono!"

FACTS- The Big Island of Hawaii where Cousins is located is situated on the largest island in the Hawaiian island chain, it is the youngest of all islands with a live volcano in Kilauea (Kee low as in now, way ah). Hilo town where Cousins is located is on the east side of the island where it rains quite often.

It is 4,028 square miles large with a populate of about 190,000, give or take.
Geography Location: 19 degrees 34'N 155 degrees 30'W

Copyright 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Occasionally I'll be blogging on some cooking basics for the holidays, I won't get into fancy stuff but rely on practical common sense when it comes to cooking, and with the holidays around the corner that means turkey. I've blogged here and there on turkey but there can never be enough said on the big bird we love for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What size of turkey should I buy? This depends on how many people are coming to dinner. Here are some key things to always remember.
- Number of people coming to eat.
- Is there going to be more dishes, such as other entrees you will be cooking or is the dinner half pot luck where your guests are requested to bring a dish or side, ask them in this case to bring something that no one else is. For instance, if your nephew and his wife are bringing some chow mein from a restaurant, then make sure no one else is.
- Do you want leftovers or not?

Keep in mind guys that if there will be other entrees, appetizers, sides, salads, beer, desserts, more than likely your turkey won't need to be very large, just take into consideration if there will be other foods, then go with a 4 oz. per serving.

EXAMPLE: You will have about 12-18 people showing up, and maybe a few tag alongs. Let's just assume we'll get 2 dozen. So that's 24 people stopping by at any one time.

Here's a calculation for you.

24 x 4 oz. =  96 oz. = 6 lbs. or you can always get a larger bird and roast it with leftovers. It's always a good idea to get more sense it's the holidays. So why don't we just go with something bigger. Just double it why don't we. go 12 lbs.

How to thaw a turkey that's frozen? The best way to thaw a turkey is a couple of days in a cooler kept in a cool place, in fact if a turkey is frozen solid, take it out of the freezer and place it in a cooler and let it sit overnight with some water on the bottom. When it starts to soften, put some ice inside that cooler to keep fresh. When you are ready to season and roast, make sure that you let the bird come to a room temperature as best you can to have an even roast.

Never- roast a cold bird.
Always- thaw bird in a cool safe surrounding never a warm or hot area. Safe temperature is 40 degrees F and below for storing.

Tools- Stainless steel roasting pan.
Why?- Because when making a gravy with the drippings the fats, skin, and meat bits sticks to the steel allowing you to work with the flavors. A nonstick pan can't do this.

You can use anything to roast your turkey, some ideas from other cooks.
1. Melt 2 sticks of unsalted butter.
2. Use dried rosemary, dried thyme, and garlic cloves, and kosher sald.
3. Rub the butter all over the thawed bird, even under the skin.
4. Sprinkle the bird with the herbs and salt,
5. Place the bird in the roasting pan with the breast side up, back side down, tie the legs for an even roast.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f. if you are using a convection oven, go 325 degrees f.
7. Roast the bird for about 3 hours, checking with an instant read thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the bird, like in the leg, and in the fat of the breast, it should register about 155 degrees f.

TIP: By watching the turkey get brown, and the juices oozing out, that's the true indicator that the bird is roasting well enough for you to check the temperature. Remove the bird and let it rest on some wire racks in another pan.

GRAVIES: Return the roasting pan to the stove top over medium high heat, using a whisk whisk up the bits of fat and meat on the bottom of the pan, leave in the juices from the turkey, add some herbs, salt and pepper to it, more water of needed to make more gravy, adjust salt and pepper. To make this thick, in a small sauce pan, add about 1/2 to 1 stick of unsaltedbutter, and same amount of flour. Heat up the butter and flour to create a roux, and cook it until it browns, this will add color to the gravy as well as thickness. Add in the roux to liquid (gravy) and stir into a thickened gravy. Serve in a gravy boat.

GRAVIES 2: That first style of gravy is very simple, another way would be for a cook to remove all the liquid and fat from the pan, leaving behind maybe a few tablespoons of fat and juices, but holding the juices in another bowl. The cook will add flour and fat, maybe oil to the roasting pan on the stove top, and whisk in it in the pan that way, and once the flour is brown, and the bits of meat are all stirred into a flavorful mixture, the cook will add in the liquid from the bowl that was on the side, and maybe some canned broth of chicken, and more water to make more gravy, as well as seasonings mentioned in the first gravy mix.

NOTE: Cooking experts cook so much that they got this down to a T. if you are just beginning, don't worry, just try the best you can.

Stuffing should be made on the stove top, many chefs prefer to do stuffing in a wok or large skillet for food safety issues, getting foods really hot in a skillet is important to kill bacteria.

Remember! Food Safety is important.
1. Use a cutting board for meat or animal products only. Use a separate cutting board for fruits and veggies. Cross contamination is a leading cause in food poisoning. Raw meats are dangerous.

2. Disinfect boards each time you are done cutting meats, example if you just sliced some turkey, wash the board right away with very hot water and a safe dish washing soap. Dry it properly before cutting other meats like steaks etc. Just remember, every time you're done slicing or cutting on your animal meat board, wash it in hot soapy water ASAP.

3. For your designated fruit and veggie cutting board, just have a hot clean towel on hand and wipe down after every cutting or slicing task.

4. Just remember, your veggie/fruit cutting board is just for that, and your animal meat board is just for that, just keep in mind, ALWAYS WASH AFTER EACH TASK, NEVER SLICE PORK, AND NOT WASH THE BOARD AND THEN SLICING SOME BEEF AFTER IT, THE BOARD NEEDS TO BE CLEANED AND DISINFECTED BEFORE NEW STUFF IS SLICED OR CUT.

5. Always store beef, pork, fish, seafood, poultry in its own containers, never mix them up either raw or cooked.

TIP: Cooking is an ongoing adventure, always get tips from experienced cooks in their field. We are always learning, have an open mind, and if you find a simpler way to do something great, it's always good to save time in the kitchen. Local colleges and churches at times offer free cooking classes by well known chefs in your area, you can learn a lot from them, chefs don't need to be on the Food Network to be great teachers, always learn, always practice safe methods.

We'll delve into stuffings later.



Monday, October 28, 2013

PLATE LUNCH SERIES FALL 2013 #16 Alicia's Market

Thanks to my friend's on, it gives me ammo. If you are looking for that out of the way local food dig, a place where is out of the way, and don't mind walking a tad to get there after you park your car, there's a place on the island of Oahu called Alicia's Market located at 267 Mokauea St. Honolulu, HI 96819.

As we delve further into this Fall's series on plate lunches in Hawaii, and its culture, one thing that's really missing in Lahaina where I currently reside is those old markets that were run by the Japanese and Chinese that were the mom and pops that set the standards in our small towns. It was run by the hard working families, the names on Maui runs deep, like Yamamoto, Nagasako, Ooka's, Azeka's, Kishi, Ichiki, Yamada, Komoda's, Fong's, Hanzawa's, etc. These families did not have fancy foods, but good comforting foods, generally it was Asian influenced from Japanese,Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Hawaiian, but it was the foods that were simple. The Yamada's my classmates from school's family ran the only Okazu Ya (side dishes/shop) on Front Street. Karl our classmate would take orders, and we'd get our food in boxes ready for an excursion for school, the boxes would be filled with shrimp tempura, lupcheong, rice balls with ume (sour plum Ooo- May), teriyaki beef. And it goes on and on with the other families, the Azeka's were famous for their Sweet Meat, or Kalbi Beef Shortribs. Nagasako's would have everything, roast pork, rice, fish, sushi, fried akule (mackerel), poke, sashimi, just everything would be fresh, fish, hogs, beef and this was back in the day, now days those places are being replaced by Whole Foods, Safeway etc. Good? Ahhh, not really, the locals ran better quality stuff. Sorry big corporations!

This is a totally local looking market, see the ice shave ice sign?
Roast Top Sirloin and Poke! Mean
From Yelp.
Gary's plate is great for hang overs.
Mixed Plate Char Siu/Roast Pork.
From Yelp.
Chadwick's plate is great for when you just broke up with your girlfriend, or when you need to appear in court.
Plat lunch with Kalua Pork, BBQ duck, and Poke
From Yelp.
Bora's plate looks great for a flight to Vegas
Ahi Limu Poke
From Yelp.
*Limu is a type of seaweed that is firm and very thin like and chopped and infused in lots of fish dishes in Hawaii, even when cleaned it has the ocean scent.
Poke & Char Siu Mini plate! Onolicious!!
From Yelp
* When ordering a plate lunch, some restaurants or food counters or trucks will offer the diner a mini plate that is slightly smaller than a regular plate, though I've seen some minis really huge and the regulars could feed 2 peeps!
Alicia's Roasted Turkey Tails
"Ass of turkey is ono, seriously"
From Yelp
Okay Junior, no need to get grossed out, it's just like eating oxtails!
Baby Tako Karaage
Tako (Tah koh) is octopus. it is breaded and deep fried
From Yelp.
This dish is great for drinking beers with the boys after a ball game or during a ball game, we used to eat this in the dugout during softball tournaments.
Alicia's fresh made chow mein noodle plates
Now this is a real local Hawaiian style food dig. Hungry? No cooking involved, just drive there and pick it up and STUFF YO FACE!
From Yelp.

I can go on and on about Alicia's Market, but my hand's are getting all stiff from clicking the mouse. Believe me, this place has what locals in Hawaii look for so if you want to delve into our plate lunch culture, find places like these and you'll see, smell, and taste it. And the people the work there, and frequent there, that's the beauty of it all. 

Copyright 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013


Locals in Hawaii love beef (pipi), yes! Nothing like succulent beef for dinner, lunch, or breakfast or whenever. Beef, the meat of champions, the meat of all meat earners. Beef, for non vegans. We love em some beef!

Thin sliced flank steaks across the grain, made in stir fries, some call it...or we all call it "Chopped Steak" and there's many a variation of chopped steak plates. Some will stir fry the steak with lots of veggies, with oyster sauce, shoyu, and sesame oil. Some chefs will be simple, Hawaiian salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, and sweet round Maui onions Junior, you got me? You got what I'm saying? We take our Chopped Steak plates freeking seriously now, no fooling around Jackson, we are serious abouts our Chopped Steak plate, with 2 scoops rice and Mac Salad made with delicious (ono) Best Foods Real Mayonnaise, we love Best Foods Real Mayo, the mayo of real men, real women, real people, if you don't like Best Foods Real Mayonnaise you ain't no foodie smoothie, get lost, and never come back again!

So newbie, you wondering what we locals love to eat? What plates we call great plates? I mean you go down south and they all got great pork and beef rib BBQ recipes, well here in our neck of the Pacific, we got plate lunches baby, and don't be fooled, we just got our homies this year on major league food shows. Like Chef Sheldon Simeon, my friend, my colleague, he was featured on Top Chef Seattle.

And just recently Aloha Plate Truck, 3 local boys winning The Great Food Truck Race on The Food Network, all Hawaii products Junior! I need to say this again? Hawaii, Hawaii chefs doing great, because they know what food is all about, we were fusion before that word was invented baby! So no fooling around, we know our food.

But back to our fave plates, our Yay Yay Plates! "Chopped Steak" is a winner, no matter who makes it, I'm down for a plate of it, with 2 scoops of rice, and mac salad and large icy Coke, and I don't care if my doctor says my sugar level is high, it just means my new nickname is Sweetness. I'll tell you what, if you can find a restaurant in Hawaii that sells it, buy it, and eat it, because you'll love it.
Now this plate here has a small scoop of Macaroni Salad, leaving me to surmise that the eater himself is trying to lose weight, what a loser! C'mon man, you never tell the girl at the counter, "Go easy on the mac salad!"
Okay this plate is ok, too much veggies for my liking, but it's all good, veggies are good, it makes you poop easier, but what I do like is that big scoop of rice and inviting looking scoop of macaroni salad on the top right of that foam plate. By the way foam plates? Yeah who cares, foam is all good, so what if it degrades like never. Just pick it up and toss it into a recycle bin. What's the big deal?
Mmmm, this looks really good guys! Just look at it, oooo.
This is a real plate lunch, a real Chopped Steak Plate! Big pieces, not for the faint, not for the wimps, not for the girlymen, no sir, this is a manly plate also devoured by women, big women that could play linebacker for the Houston Texans.

Serves 2

1 lb. of flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain, and marinated in dry sherry, and sesame oil, and dredged in some cornstarch. Just eyeball it Junior! C'mon.

1 small round sweet Maui onion or any round onion, peeled and sliced in half, and then thinly sliced.

1/2 cup of chopped green onions.

1 1/2 cups of thinly sliced white mushrooms.

2 tbsp. of cooking oil for stir frying

2 garlic cloves minced

1/2 inch fresh ginger minced.


3/4 cup of soy sauce
1 tsp. oyster sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sambal

Corn Starch Slurry
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. water.

1. Heat up the oil in a wok, sauté the garlic and ginger for a few seconds, add in the sliced flanks and cook about 3/4 way and remove from heat on to a plate or bowl and set aside.

2. Return wok to stove over medium high heat, stir fry the mushrooms & onions until almost cooked through, then add in the green onions and the sauce, bring to boil, add in the slurry until it starts to thicken, and immediately add in the pre cooked flank steak pieces, and cook for about 2 minutes.

3. Before plating adjust with salt and pepper, serve with rice and macaroni salad.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


We Eat Sausage We Love Sausage!!!!!
Hawaiians, we love sausage, we love charcuterie (SHar kootereee) it is french for sausage. Whatever, we call it sausage. I'm repeating myself here guys, time in and time out I'm saying we Hawaiian locals love sausage man! SPAM, it's a canned sausage, we love the heck out of that salty sodium laced food that can stand the test of a century literally speaking, it can't spoil, in fact eat a lot of it and when you die the mortician doesn't need any embalming fluids har har har!

Hawaiians love their beers, we love our sessions of playing music in the garage with friends and family, we love to have that hot charcoal grill alive throughout the day and night, usually the grill master is hammered by the end of the night, we love green bottles if you get my trail of red dirt. Sausage, I really don't need to say more about this food, I mean c'mon, guys in the midwest and east coast grill up Italian sausage, wieners, Polish sausage, chorizos, man Americans love freeking sausage. I love it. Love it with rice and macaroni salad. Let's move on.

In Hawaii, the sausage of choice is Portuguese sausage, and I've blogged about it before, but I have to repeat myself again...okay? It's all good folks because Uncle Ron... he loves food, yes I do... so no problems, no worries. Orite.

Portuguese Sausage rules supreme in many a Hawaiian's household, just go to any Foodland or Times Supermarket and camp out by the refrigerated section where all the different brands of Portuguese sausage are displayed, and just watch as one of the aunties or uncles load up their carts filled with Portuguese sausage, and see what else is in their carts. More than likely you'll see round onions, green onions, ginger, garlic, shoyu, and beer. Oh yeah can't forget Ahi poke. Yes, now we are talking folks.

If you want to blend in in the Hawaiian foodie culture, and not the high end foodie culture, but the everyday foodie culture, you have to know your Portuguese sausage. Here's some lessons for you Junior.

One of the popular brands coming from Hawaii is Redondo's, founded by Mr. Frank Redondo on the island of Oahu in a small town called Kapahulu in 1949, and they moved the operations near the Honolulu International Airport in I wasn't even born yet. Then in 1973 they moved to Waipahu where it's still located with a major overhaul in 1993. 

Since its inception, Redondo's LLC is the largest sausage company in the Hawaiian Islands, second to none. This company is well respected in the local community, local meaning all of the Hawaiian Islands because they keep every cent made here in the Islands. Not like some mainland hack company that will take their earnings elsewhere and not pump it back in the local arena. Here are some of the company's best sellers, and if you ever get a chance to visit Hawaii, or you've been here many times but never delved in what we eat, here it is Junior, and believe you me, this is the bomb stuff of all charcuterie.

Hawaiian Winners
This is a lb. of Hawaiian Winners, local style hot dogs, made of pork, beef, and of course there's artificial coloring, but what's wrong with some artificial coloring? Yeah I know some folks on the plant groove claims it causes cancer. Well, you can get hit by a semi-tractor crossing the intersection. Now you can boil these, fry these all sliced up with onions, or you can grill them. Some guys add this into their championship chilies.
Lisboa Portuguese Brand Sausage MILD
Fully cooked (Keep Refrigerated) Lisboa Portuguese Sausage MILD, one of Redondo's best sellers with pork and beef, spicy on the mild, this 10 oz. log can feed 4 people as sides for an egg breakfast, or use half in two omelets, however it's great. I got big ass friends that can eat 2 of these logs with rice. You can even mince these up and stir fry them with chow mein noodles.
In Hawaiian Pipi (Pee, pee) no not that kind dumb ass, but Pipi means cow, and Kaula (Cow lah) means dried, hence Dried Beef that's seasoned.
This is fully cooked, think jerky, this is our version, and Mr. Redondo did good on this one, for decades we've been eating this at tailgating parties, Final Four parties, MLB Playoffs, weddings, anything, whatever the celebration is Redondo's is there. You can stir fry these up with veggies, eat them as is, make pizzas, the sky's the limit.

There's more products but these 3 are my favorite Redondo's products. Now hold on there's more that you need to know about. My fingers are getting tired but what the heck, I'm here to shed light on you beginner on Hawaiian foods...

Rego's Purity Foods
In the late 1800's The Rego family immigrated to Maui from the Azores islands, set up making sausages and the rest is business history. If you can find Rego's Purity brands in the supermarkets, you can't go wrong. As Redondo's makes theirs taste a certain way, Rego's Purity makes theirs just as good, different but good, and just the same, their products are utilized in many a local's home for parties, cookouts, tailgating, anything, anytime, just good tasting food.
Purity Mild Portuguese Sausage
This 10 oz. log is a mild flavored sausage, great for breakfast, lunch and dinner, stir fry them with chow fun noodles and put them in ramen as well. 

So no matter what brand you get, I'm just telling you what we eat, what our foodie culture is all about here in the Hawaiian Islands, stay tuned we'll be delving in more foods later on. Some projects have been sidelined so right now I'm just blogging and that's about it. There's always something happening at a local breakfast, some funny story, some gossiping, it's all good...maybe not, but you get the picture, we're all human, we all love to eat, and bullshit around the table especially for breakfast at a local diner eating Portuguese sausage, eggs, rice and hot Kona Coffee.
Aloha Plate Truck
Winners Great Food Truck Race
Food Network 2013
The Grilled Cheese Truck

If you need a breakfast cooked in your home check me out

Twitter @ronsambrano