CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes



Thursday, February 26, 2015


Pork buying comes with years of experience, why? Every time you go to your meat section of your local supermarket, the cuts can vary at times. And unlike beef, the USDA does not label pork like Prime or Choice, it is categorized as simply Acceptable (to be sold), or Unacceptable.

When buying pork, you do not need to know everything about the animal. Just remember these simple things.

For Pork Chops: Pork Chops come from the loin section of the hog, generally sold as Loin Chops, Center Cut Chops, with or without bone-in. Typically lean with hints of fat. If you were to look at a center cut chop, you will notice the large section of meat, separated by a bone, with a small portion of soft meat, this small section of soft meat is the tenderloin meat. Or the sirloin which is very tender. When grilling, I prefer to buy a loin chop minus the loin section, bone in. Bone in always has more flavor when grilling. I like to get a thick cut at least 1 inch, anything thicker takes too long too cook, I'd much rather have several one inch thick chops than several 2 inch chops. But whatever turns you on.

Look at the texture, it needs to be firm, and pinkish. If it looks brownish it could be old. Talk to your meat cutter behind the counter. If you can try buying Duroc it is the prime hog, well marbled and tasty. You'll find Duroc Pork in most gourmet butcher shops.

All pics are from Google Images.
© 2015

Grill em Mexican Pork Chops with Tortilla Tomatillo

Here's a grilled pork chop recipe a buddy handed to me, of course because we got different taste buds and different DNA, I sort of tweaked it. As spring and summer looms in the near distance, it's time we dudes start to think "Grill Time!" (We'll do this indoors using a cast iron grill pan)

Here are some of the ingredients

1 tbsp. ancho chile powder
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
6 minced cloves of garlic
2 limes, save one to be juiced, and one cut into wedges
1/2 cup olive oil 
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
4 loin pork chops with bone in, and some fat
4 tomatillos halved and cleaned out
1 Anaheim chile, halved and seeded
1/4 cup cilantro rough chopped
1 Avocado diced up
Handful of tortilla chips smashed up

What To Do.

Use a large mixing bowl, combine the chile powder, coriander, oregano, garlic, lime juice and 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and then season with salt and pepper. Add in the pork chops and flip to coat it. Cover and refrigerate for 2-6 hours. 

Bring chops to room temperature before grilling set it aside at the ready.

Set a cast-iron grill pan over high heat. And in a bowl, toss the tomatillos and Anaheims with 1 tablespoon of the oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until the tomatillos are lightly charred about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the tomatillos and the Anaheim to a work surface. 

Then coarsely chop the tomatillos and mince the Anaheim. Place it in a bowl and add the cilantro, avocado and the remaining oil . Season with the sea salt and pepper.

Turn the heat down under the grill pan to medium. Brush the marinade off the chops, then grill the chops over medium high heat until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone registers 135°, about 12 minutes or so 6 per side. Place the chops on to a platter; cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes. (To be a great griller, watch the chops if you notice that juices are sweating out from the chops, it is a good indication that the chops are cooking and you need to keep an eye on it. WATCH THE HEAT)

Stir the tortilla chips into the salsa and spoon the salsa over the chops. Serve right away, with lime wedges. 

Spanish rice or black beans with some sour cream works well with these chops too. And being Filipino, with our Spanish influence, I like this kind of stuff. Clean and delicious, anyone can make these in the home, and a pan grill is perfect. Nothing beats the outdoor grills but it works just as well.

Anaheim Peppers
Ancho Chile Powder
Bone In Loin Pork Chops

Thanks to all the Google Images for the use of these photos, these photos are not used to make any profits.
© 2015


SAUCES... the culinary mystical adventure... if done right, diners will love the cook. If messed up? Sorry dude! Sauces... from scratch and not out of a bottle or a can. Ok, Ill use those ready made sauces I won't lie to you coz I am one lazy SOB!

But when it comes to making a sauce, a good one, it takes time. For one, there really is no cutting corners on an excellent sauce. For instance, a brown sauce needs to be made by roasting beef bones with some marrow, or fat. It is the richness of those biological components that makes it what it is..epic. Same goes for a pork sauce, a seafood sauce, a fruit sauce. Slow heat reductions make sauces rich with flavor. Hey those guys cooking up drugs got the right techniques and methods but for the wrong reasons...ILLEGAL! But cooking is a science. Lately I have been using ready made, and it's all fine with me, but let's take a quick lesson on one sauce that I been asked to make or teach as of late. 

"Ron, how can I make a killer white sauce man?" Okay junior, here we go. First of all, white sauces is easy to make. And it can be made way ahead of time, you can make several cups, pints or quarts and refrigerate it, use it sooner than later because it is creamy and can spoil. So depending on how much you need you can make it way ahead of time. White sauces can be added to fish dishes, veggie dishes, chicken... veggies... and if you really take a look at it, it can be the base of a killer cream of mushroom sauce, or creamy chowder.

Okay let's do it.

Makes 2 cups or 16 fl. oz.

1/3 cup of onions chopped
1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil.
1/3 cup water

2 1/4 cups of heavy cream
1 tbsp. butter (cold)
Salt and pepper to taste

First: In a medium size stainless steel pot over medium high heat, add in the olive oil, heat until hot enough and then add in the onions, mushrooms, garlic, and cook for about five minutes to really get the flavors out.

Second: add in the salt and pepper, the the water, bring to a boil on high, then lower and simmer for about 15 minutes. You will see the water reduce, but what is happening is the flavors from the onions and mushrooms and garlic is becoming a marriage made from heaven.

Third: add in the heavy cream, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring constantly making sure it doesn't overheat, just a simmer. Off the heat, and add in a tablespoon of cold butter, and stir it in well.

Note: The heavy cream is so heavy you do not need a thickening agent, I have found that when adding a roux it tastes too flour eeee you know? However if the sauce is too watery, by all means add some butter and flour as a thickening agent.


Once this sauce is finished, set it aside. You can fry up a piece of fish, when done remove it from the pan, on to a plate. And using the same fish fry pan, add a half a cup of sauce, heat it up with the flavors of the fish, heat through completely and then pour it over the fried fish. Voila! You are a culinary expert. Or to be a true cheffie deglaze the pan with a 1/2 cup of white wine first before hitting it with the white sauce, wooooo hooooo baby!

Now there are different ways to make a white sauce, this is one simple from scratch way. I never ever just use water, I always try to use at the very least onions to make the sauce have a rich flavor. Cream by itself? No way Jose. Until next time.

© 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Wailuku Town Maui, is an old plantation town, in the central valley of an island that was once a sugar cane mecca. Drive through the town, through High Street, Church Street, Vineyard, Market Street, and Lower Main Streets, hints of the past still linger, the old buildings and its architecture are very much present.

Food is always something people search for when traveling, if for some reason you are not a local reading this blog, maybe a family in New York, or Florida heading to Maui soon, I can tell you this.. The Tasty Crust Restaurant on Lower Main Street in Wailuku, Maui is an old icon, it has stood the test of time, local comfort food at one time was the best here, and over the decades have seen the quality go up and down. I don't think the food here is really epic like it once was, but still for what it is... yeah, I'll eat there.

Yesterday was February the 24th, 2015 and I had a physical to do at a doctor's office close to the restaurant, a friend drove me, and after the checkup decided that Tasty Crust restaurant was where we were gonna go and eat. It was almost two in the afternoon so the major lunch rush was already thinning out, yay for us because I hate crowds. We got there and the waitress said that the chef's special was beef stew, chicken hekka, and luau stew (pork with spinach)...

Well I'm cutting to the chase here because this is just a blog and not a novel, I ordered one of my favorite dishes there simply called Chopped Steak. In the past I remember (the long ago past) that the pieces of steak were thicker, and more filling. When I got mine yesterday it was thin slices of beef with onions, and it was tasty I admit, I don't know but I tasted butter in there which if true it made it rock. I just couldn't get over the meat that was sliced real thin, a good chopped steak will have nicer slightly larger slices of meat, but what the heck, it was filling it really was.

I drizzled some ketchup over the meat and shoe too, even over the mac salad which was delicious.
© 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Asian Style Wokking For Couples, just one of my many dishes in my comfort food/romantic action food action with traction can you dig it? YES U CAN!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Love, Love, and more Love! Cooking for couples is my thang, serving those in love, in their own homes, where they can relax. Personal chefs aren't just for the rich and famous, or wealthy financiers, I keep my cost in line to be affordable, and well worth the in home dining experience.

My style is Asian American Wok Cooking, though I can do other styles and methods, that's the style I market. From the Chinese foods you are accustomed with to some other influences you may not be, such as Filipino Wok Cooking, the flavors are almost identical, but with different additions, both cuisines stand out alone. In this blog post, is a dish called Kung Pao Chicken which is a stir fry with some heat, not much spicy, but with red hot chili peppers, and Schezuan  peppercorns, it can be hot. With garlic it becomes aromatic, and with rice wine vinegar, sherry wine, soy sauce and sesame oil, it has nice sauce. And instead of roasted peanuts I subbed it for some raw cashews that was cooked with garlic and the red chilis. Served with Cal Rose medium grain white, it is a one dish for two, and very affordable. I'll do appetizers, and more entrees and dessert with wine, and complete with table settings, so you'll feel like you're in a fine dine restaurant in your own abode. If you like, I'll find a guitar player to serenade you both, that's your own home.
Fresh Cooked Kung Pao Chicken
© 2015
Medium Grain Cal Rose
© 2015
12 oz. Marinated Dark Chicken Meat
© 2015
The marinade is the same as the sauce a concoction of dark soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sherry, sesame oil and sugar
Raw Organic Cashews
© 2015
Cashews works well instead of peanuts if a client is allergic to peanuts
Local Backyard Red Hot Chili Peppers
© 2015
On this cooking date the client did not want to add any Schezuan peppercorns which is alright, these local hotties adds enough punch.
Fresh Farmer's Market Scallions
© 2015
My love for working with scallions or green onions, it has a nice flavor, adds color for a garnish that of course is edible.
The finished dish
© 2015
Our fearless productions staff member Susan Welck and her boyfriend Ron was the clients, lovers in love with some hot Chinese style grines.
© 2015
© 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

10 Delightful Maui Restaurants to Eat Like a Local

Aloha from the West Side of Maui, and that's the small whaling town of Lahaina to be exact. Recently I was asked by Vacatia Family Travel Blog to write an article about all the best local spots to get good food on Maui. From Da Kitchen to Koa's Seaside Grill Check Out my Top Picks!
Chef Ron

Koa’s Seaside Grill

Photo Courtesy of Koa's Seaside Grill
Vacatia is a brand new vacation rental site, made especially for families and big groups looking for a condo or large place to stay at a resort. They’ve also been putting together a travel guide of all the best restaurants and activities on the island." EXPLORE VACATIA

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

We Were Foodies in Lahaina

Lahaina, Maui- as a kid growing up, yes WE WERE FOODIES back then. I can remember the drive-inn, Sunset Freeze, they were famous for their Sweet Sour Spare Ribs, their Hamburgers that were juicy, on a soft bun, some lettuce, and their mustard and mayonnaise mixture made it beyond tasty, so simple it rocked! And their wavy fries, doused with mustard and ketchup. Those meals were just epic. Drive through Front Street, a stop at Sunset Freeze was a must.

Sushiya's was a small building that still stands on Prison Street in Lahaina, right across the Kamehameha Third School, our elementary school. Before and after school, this was the place to get some candy or some chow fun, a soda, or maybe a rice ball and shoyu chicken. And before I forget, Sunset Freeze was on the opposite end of the school, so we had two places to sneak away for good local food.

Also on Front Street was Yamamoto Store, owned by Mr. Yamamoto and his wife, we would go there for his hamburgers just as tasty as Sunset Freeze's, but Mr. Yamamoto had his famous shave ice, he'd put ice cream in the cup then top it with shave ice that was fine, and top it with some strawberry syrup. Yes! And then, if you needed fishing supplies, he'd have those too. It was a one stop shop, food and fishing gear.

For Chinese we'd hit the Golden Palace, your typical Cantonese American style Chinese, famous for their crisp gau gee mein, a gravy rich chow mein with crispy fried dumplings on top, and the won ton min too, as well as the kau yuk, everything was very good and you could smell the ingredients well outside the parking lot.

For cream puffs, long johns, cinnamon twists, chocolate Dobash cakes, and pies we'd visit my mom who was the lead cashier at Nashiwa Bakery. They had the coldest soda machine too, I remember when the cans of soda were a quarter, it's amazing we weren't diabetic back then, c'mon a glazed doughnut and a coke?

Food was simple back then, their wasn't any chain restaurants except for Mc Donald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken, and later a Pizza Hut. But back when we were kid kids, it was just mom and pops that ruled the school, and looking back, it was the best times. After baseball practice, we'd race down towards the Lahaina Shores area as it is now, but across the street there was this little green stand that still stands, it was called Mango Stand, where the elderly woman would sell her pickled mangos, and candy. Yeah those were the days.

For ice cream, we didn't have any Baskin Robins and stuff like that, no Ben and Jerry's, but we had Ed and Don's, it was in the Pioneer Inn Hotel street level. I loved their vanilla ice cream with some nuts on it, it was the bomb back then.

And we can't forget this place called Okazu Ya, that was it, it's Japanese for small portions of food, or something like that, you go in, and pick food by the pieces, and I used to go in there and raid the doughy shrimp tempura and Chinese sausage. The good thing was my classmate Karl Yamada's family owned it, and whenever we had a school outing, we'd give our money to Karl, and he and his family would show up early to pass out the box lunches, that was true customer service way before companies were instilling that idea of going beyond the call of a sale.

         © 2014

Saturday, February 14, 2015


For those who know me well, I am a cook that loves simple food. Hardly am I, one to go to the meat market and buy a quarter of beef and create steaks by slicing myself. I just purchase the cuts I need. Likewise with fish, if all possible I'll buy just the filets all nice and portioned off unless of course I'm cooking for more peeps and say they want a whole snapper steamed or something, well I dislike lots of work period.

Back to this blog, it is about the wok. The wok is very dependable, very unique, it serves many a cooking purpose. What woks I work with are carbon steel flat bottom ones. If you cook at home, get at least a 12" or 14" or both in diameter, if you go to the Wok Shop online, there's some good ones for a good price. Remember carbon steel does rust, and you'll need to season the wok before using go on Youtube to find instructions.

Now here is a simple recipe for wok cooking, and this recipe is good for two people. Have some cooked rice at the ready, and maybe some cold beverages too.


2 tbsp. vegetable oil for frying
1/2 tsp. minced ginger 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

10 oz. cubed raw ahi (yellow fin tuna) or any fish
Photo via 808Fish

MARINADE (MIX 5 ingredients and then add raw ahi for about 15 minutes & reserve liquid).
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sambal oelek

1/2 cup rehydrated shiitake mushrooms (sliced if large)

Slurry to thicken
1 tsp. cornstarch
3 tsp. water

1. Heat up wok over high heat for about 2 minutes, turn down heat to medium high. Add in vegetable oil, then the ginger and garlic and cook for a few seconds before it gets brown.

2. Add in the marinated ahi cubes, and stir fry until turns white, add in shiitake mushrooms, stir fry until cooked through, add in sauce and cook until bubbling and then add in the slurry thickening agent, cook until sauce has thickened slightly.

3. Serve on platter to share with hot white sticky rice.

© 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Having ohana in from the mainland visiting is a good thing, haven't seen them in a while, my sister and her husband kicking on Maui for two weeks, they were nice enough to take me to dinner at Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina.

"No reservations until 830pm is that okay?" asked my sis over the phone.

"Yeah no problem, sounds good."

So I waited for them to come and pick me up, and have some good fresh food. When we got there the place was packed, but we did not have to wait too long, in a few minutes a table was cleared perfectly for three. We started out with the popular Ahi Bruschetta for the appetizer. Tasty seared ahi, very clean, citric, with the balsamic. And we had a few cocktails, Bikini Blonde on tap, a lite brew, and a virgin Mojito.

This is what the food looked like, if you ever get a chance to be on the west end of Maui, Mala should be a stop at least once. The staff does work hard, though our waitress may have had a bad day, she was still nice, I've been a waiter in my younger days, and was trained by a strict old dude that taught me the finer points of waiting tables as a professional, and pay attention to the customers, well she did her job so no real complaints, just being in the industry I guess I expect to see staff go above that imaginary bar that I set, but again, she did her job and she was kind, so what the heck.

Seared Ahi Bruschetta © 2015 SAMBRANO
Hoisin Glazed Baby Back Ribs © 2015 SAMBRANO
Grilled All Natural Angus Filet Mignon © 2015 SAMBRANO
Seafood Pasta © 2015 SAMBRANO

The dish I had was the Seafood Pasta, spicy. The Pomodoro Sauce was nice, kinda on the pasty side, but it worked. The flavors did blend, very melodic, and the heat made it exciting. Shrimp was perfectly cooked, the Pappardelle was just right, and bits of the other seafood was perfect like the Dungeness crab, scallops, clams and ahi. Thumbs up!

© 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015


Frida's Beach House Lahaina, Maui is another creation from Chef Mark Ellman and his wife Judy. Set in the Mala District in Lahaina, a small community of locals that lived there were tied to the ocean that you can literally touch by walking off of the lanai at Frida's. 

The locals were...and still are fishermen and surfers, Mala has a lot of history. The Baldwin Packer's Pineapple Cannery is right across the street, of course it's been renovated in the early 80s and now is a shopping center, Mala is a very unique small stretch of Front Street till today.

Mark and Judy's new Mexican eatery and bar is named after Frida Kahlo the famous artist from Mexico. So why Mexican? Again? Most food aficionados on Maui and really around the world is familiar with Mark and Judy's project Maui Tacos that still is in business run by someone else. 

"I met Judy in a Mexican restaurant, that's how we met, I was the chef and she was the bartender," says Mark. Well, Frida's is a nice restaurant. We were asked to help Mark with some small media work taking pictures of their soft opening which was part of a fund raiser for the school Punanaleo, a school devoted to the Hawaiian language and culture, to preserve it. "My heart is into this," says Mark. "Giving back to the community, our host culture is the right thing, the pono thing."

The important people that made this event happen came by slowly as the sun was setting. And Lahaina has the best sunsets in the world. "The bar will have a nice trade wind breeze," Judy explained. "Our guests will enjoy this experience, sitting here and looking out into that natural beauty."

So if you are near Mala in Lahaina, stop by Frida's Beach House for some authentic Mexican food, and drink. Home made stocks, broths, soups and sauces, a butcher room for fresh cut meats, and homemade gelato, Frida's does it fresh Maui Style. Here are some pictures from the soft opening and the Punanaleo Fund Raiser. Mahalo Mark and Judy for caring for the kids, and the community.

Executive Chef Dee Tsurumaki ©2015
Frida's Line Cooks in Action ©2015
Frida's Ceviche ©2015
Chef Dee hollering Instructions ©2015
Fresh Stocks & Soups ©2015
The Wines © 2015
The Sunset at Frida's © 2105
Chef Mark talking story with supporters of Punanaleo ©2015
Frida's Soup and Sauce Chef making it fresh © 2015
Frida's sign © 2015
Happy Local Supporters of Punanaleo © 2015
Local Supporters of Punanaleo © 2015
The Happy Crew © 2015
Frida's lanai seating © 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Chicken Adobo, a dish that's popular in the Filipino/Spanish community, like how Chicken Parmesan is popular with Italian families, it is comfort food for the foodies.

If I did blog this tangy dish before, sorry because I made it again recently one day for dinner, so I'm going to share it with you all. If you have apple cider vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, whole pepper corns, salt, soy sauce, and if available annatto water (0r Oil), you're in.

© 2015

Here's the directions, trust me follow this, tweak it to your liking, but it will be tasty.

3 lbs. chicken thighs skin on (all thighs cut in half with a cleaver)
6 cloves of smashed garlic
3 whole dried bay leaves
1 tbsp. whole pepper corns
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. salt (after it is cooked)

1. get a medium stainless steel stock pot with a cover, over medium heat, add in the chicken, garlic, bay leaves, pepper corns, vinegar, and soy sauce. Toss all ingredients around to coat.

2. cover pot, and let it steam, turn heat down to medium low, and slightly cover let it vent, and cook for about 1 hour. (let the slow cooking sweat out the juices from the thighs).

3. Turn off heat, let it rest. Stir in a teaspoon of salt, and mix well. Drain some of the fat out by carefully spooning it off, leave in some of the fat and juices. If you want this drier, return to heat uncovered and cook au sec or until dried and sticky.

Serve with white rice.

© 2015