Chef Rebecca bio picture

Welcome to my Blog!

Aloha I’m Chef Rebecca. Welcome to my blog. Chefs are ultimately in the pleasure business and anyone that enjoys cooking should consider themselves a chef. Webster’s dictionary states that a chef is a skilled cook who manages the kitchen. I would venture to say that this would include anyone who enjoys cooking. To that end, I would like to share some of my life’s experiences in the kitchen that will add flair to your ordinary dishes. And this will bring your friends and family together.

May 30, 2011 Memorial Day

Memorial Day…Really? Well, I am glad that we don’t leave until tomorrow. The day started out with…hmmmm…well, let’s just say that I didn’t even wake up today until 5am! That’s right, none of that what can I do between 1 and 4am, just oh gee, it’s 5 and time to get up. Did the usual early morning routine – coffee, newspaper, crosswords…then Randy reminded me that we were going down to Sprecklesville to shoot the coastline. We had a little Mars/Venus moment as he said, “Let’s shoot pictures at the beach” and I thought “The beach is sandy…” hmmmm. Turns out he was thinking of going left at the parking area and I was thinking right. Who knew that right was sandy and left was rocky. Well, we did take the “road” less traveled. Unfortunately, since in my mind we were going to a sandy beach, I wore slippers instead of tennis shoes. Note to self, “When husband wants to shoot pictures on beach, AND said husband dons his tennie runners, take heed, the terrain is built for shoes, not slippahs”.

I did know how long one quick picture takes so I made a quick quesadilla for each of us as well as some ice water to take to the beach. When we did finish the shoot, I was really hungry. I wish I liked going out to breakfast because then I would have talked Randy into taking me out. When we were done it was only about 9:30 or so and I didn’t think the Saigon Cafe was open yet. Maybe I just wasn’t ready for Vietnamese. The only thing that would have made sense to go out for was green papaya salad and roll your own burritos. Soooooo, I remembered that we had a little eggplant leftover from the other night and voila, there was our breakfast. By the time we were about done with breakfast, Melissa woke up and decided to make waffles. Therefore, it was eggplant for breakfast and waffles for dessert.

Since we are leaving tomorrow for a conference in San Carlos so today it is prep day. Need to get a couple of loads of laundry done, as well as balancing the checkbooks and ironing shirts. We thawed out some boneless pork chops and had our favorite Josh Barut pork with pepper dipping sauce. We served it with cole slaw and garlic green beans. Time for a quick nap and then some more work.

For dinner, we thawed out a portion of pizza dough and I made a tomato basil pizza on the barbecue to go along with our soup. If all this garlic today doesn’t keep away those vampires I don’t know what will! I think I have used about 4 flowers of garlic in the last two days.

May 29, 2011

Sunday again. I think Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I never feel guilty about hanging out chilling. Melissa sold 1 more loaf of sunflower seed bread than I had so I needed to make another batch of bread this morning. Woke up at about 3:30 and knew that if I got up now I could get the bread done before church. Started getting the ingredients ready and realized that…I don’t have enough milk, the only sunflower seeds I have are salted and roasted (recipe calls for raw) and I’m just about out of honey. So now it’s time to work on what substitutes I can use. For the shortage of milk, I had some heavy cream in the fridge and added enough water to get the right amount of liquid. I drained the honey out of the honey bear and had to scoop a little more out of the jar that had a little left in it. Because the sunflower seeds were salted, I cut down the amount of salt added to the dough then also added some raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Well the bread turned out great and since Melissa only needed one loaf (of which I made 6), we enjoyed one for breakfast along with some sausages and scrambled eggs. Now we’re off to church

It’s our anniversary Sunday today and it is so good so see so many extension pastors joining us from all over the globe. After church we had to make a quick stop at Lowe’s for some lights that had burnt out and Costco for a couple of last minute things as well as some fish for lunch. We had planned on doing a barbecue with the neighbors, but since they are leaving for Singapore on Tuesday and we are leaving to Northern California on the same day, we opted to nix the barbee. I did pick up some fresh Mahi Mahi and today we are jonesing for some coconut crusted fish with a lemon caper butter sauce.

Sorry I haven’t mastered the photo layout yet, but just wanted you to “get the picture”. The photo in the middle shows the fish in the pan, the one on the left is after I turned it and the one on the right is the final product.

Time for a nap and a Sunday afternoon movie. After a little rest, I decided that I wanted some blue cheese and crackers for dessert. Yummy! Next up is a soak in the jacuzzi and some coconut curry soup. Tonight I think we will add some shrimp to it. The shrimp doesn’t take long to thaw out, and once you cut it into bite sized pieces, it only takes about 5 minutes to poach in the hot soup.

May 26, 2011

Well this is the day for the fundraiser. I still have 2 batches of bread to bake so I get one started even before my coffee. Now that’s devotion. All this bread making has made me want to try some so I think I will have some cinnamon swirl bread with breakfast. Along with that we will have some scrambled eggs and kielbasa sausage and I’m good to go.

I’m not feeling nearly so motivated today, which is kind of a drag because since we cooked all day yesterday, we need to do the house cleaning today. I just don’t feel the motivation for house cleaning. Sometimes we just have to do what we don’t want to do so we can get done what needs to get done. Started with clearing off all the piles that were on the counters. Okay, so I didn’t really take care of all of the stuff, I just hid it in another room for another time, but at least the counters were clear. I have to admit that the work does go a lot faster when you have help and Melissa was a big help today.

We have a little piece of salmon to cook for lunch and I found a container with some brown sweet rice in it and thought that fish and stirfry rice would be good. Melissa is out pressure washing the back lanai so I won’t be using the outdoor grill for the fish. Fortunately, my stove has an indoor grill. The only problem with it is if the fish drips oil, it will smoke and the smoke alarm goes off. I have to keep a broom handy to swish the air in front of the alarm to get it to turn off. Well that only happened twice today while the salmon was cooking…not too bad. Spent a good deal of time prepping all the veggies for the stir fry. I found some garlic, ginger, turmeric, onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery, tomatoes and zucchini to throw into the rice. I also added some red curry paste. What a delightful combination.

After lunch and a power nap, it was time to get prepared for tonight. I had to run up to Morihara’s to pick up a bag of ice for the juice and water in the cooler. Set. Now all I have to do is cut up the ham rolls and cook the other stuff. Thank goodness we had a day of prep yesterday or I never would have gotten it all done. Thank you Melissa and Faith for all your wonderful help!

May 25, 2011

Today is prep day for the big fund raiser for Melissa. That means cinnamon bread, sunflower seed bread, mini cheesecakes, spinach dip, ham rolls, etc, etc. Well, we started out with a coconut and a walk. I had picked up some fresh Mahi Mahi from Costco yesterday and Randy thought we should mix it up and have it for breakfast. So that’s just what we did. I put a little olive oil, salt and pepper on it and grilled it for 10 minutes. Let it sit while we steamed some zucchini. Randy seasoned the zucchini with ghee, salt and pepper.

Now it’s time to get to work! Faith Berry came over from next door and helped us get all our work done. We made ham rolls, cheesecakes, cinnamon bread, sunflower bread, spinach dip and bacon wrapped dates. I will need to make another batch of cinnamon bread and sunflower seed bread tomorrow – it takes time to make bread. About 2:00 Randy had to run some errands and thought I should have lunch ready, but alas I was still making goodies. I did start working on a meal. We have eggplant and I am making a meatball sauce to cook on the eggplant. My favorite easy meatballs – take some mild italian sausage, squeeze it out of the casing and roll into meatballs. EASY!!! Brown them in a pan with olive oil, add 6 chopped Roma tomatoes, a flower of garlic, chopped, some onion, mushrooms and spaghetti sauce and water. Add 2 bay leaves and simmer for several hours. To this I will add a roasted red pepper sauce that I make by roasting a red bell pepper, cleaning it, put it in a blender with garlic, oregano, basil and a can of tomato sauce. Once blended I add it to the meat sauce and we are ready to rock and roll.

Slice up the eggplant lengthwise in even numbers. I can usually get 6 slices out of each eggplant. Cover with olive oil, salt and pepper, then grill until tender. Put some sauce in the bottom of a 13×19 glass pan, put in eggplant sandwiches and cover with remaining sauce. For the eggplant sandwiches, mix together chopped kale, ricotta cheese, garlic, oregano and basil, then layer between 2 slices of grilled eggplant.  And of coarse since lunch didn’t get served until about 4:30, you guessed it, There will be no need for dinner.

May 24, 2011

The only thing that’s bad about getting a really good massage is that if you don’t drink enough water afterward, your body will suffer. I think that Randy didn’t get his fair share of water because today he is feeling a little under.

I love the pork breakfast sausages from Whole Foods. What we usually do is buy 12 sausages, then freeze them 3 each in a ziplock. They stay fresh and it only takes a little while to thaw them out. I do the same thing with bacon and freeze it 4 slices at a time. Now I know that if you have a family, you would need to increase the amount in each package, but for us “empty nesters” it works real well. I guess the beginning of this week is pamper Becky days. Monday I got a massage and Tuesday I got my hair cut. I feel so spoiled to have people “work” on me. Well, I need to be downtown by 10am so that means breakfast must not wait until 10:30. Got some paperwork done before breakfast. Then it was sausages, scrambled eggs and toast.

After breakfast I hurried off to my hair appointment as I had some ink to deliver before going in. Got my hair done (just wash and trim), now I’m off to Kihei to pick up some jewelry that Randy needs to shoot. Made it to the jewelry store, but the jeweler was still working on one of the pieces so I had to wait 40 minutes before picking it up. That really put me behind and I still need to do some shopping before going home. Looks like I will be eating lunch out. I don’t want to wait until 3:00 for lunch and it just isn’t a good idea to go grocery shopping hungry. I went to Pinata’s for lunch. I really wanted to have taquitos which they sometimes have and sometimes do not. They weren’t actually on the menu today, but the cook made me up a batch anyway. That’s what I call customer service.

Now that I have a full tummy, it’s time to pick up the last minute things I need for Melissa’s fund raiser on Thursday. Also, we are having cornish game hens for dinner and I am all out of curry powder and apples. That just won’t do. I like getting my curry powder from Down to Earth in their bulk spice section. It has a really nice balance of flavors. I think I will get a bunch of junk food at Costco so I am not making everything from scratch. Shopping is done and I head back up the hill. That’s when I remembered that I need to get a few things that are only in a regular grocery store so that means one more stop at Foodland in Pukalani. The gas gauge on the Mini has decided to stop working again. I knew that Randy had just filled up, but when I was on the way downtown it registered zero nun pooey. It was very fickle the whole trip, sometimes registering nothing and sometimes showing nearly full and everything in between.

Got home and put away the groceries and it’s already after three so I guess I need to start thinking about prepping the birds. First, I peeled one garlic flower. Then chopped the cloves up fine and put them in a bowl. Took a little trip out to the herb garden and picked some basil, oregano and rosemary. Chopped the herbs and put them in another bowl. In the third bowl went about 1/4 C of rock salt and in the forth bowl went the curry powder. The last thing I need to do is core the apple and cut into slices. I use one of those apple corer things which gives me 8 perfect slices. I rub the seasonings inside and out starting with the cavity. First the salt, then the curry powder, some garlic and herbs and finally 4 slices of apple. Rub all the seasonings on the outside, then wrap in foil. I wrap the hens in two layers of foil so that all those good juices stay next to the bird until I am ready to release them. I will be cooking these on the top rack of my barbecue at 400 degrees F for about 30-45 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. After this initial cooking is complete, I unwrap all the foil, drizzle ghee on the outside and brown the skin. For this, I turn up the heat and cook it on the bottom rack. After all is said and done, the birds come off of the heat, get covered in foil again, and take a cat nap (about 7-10 minutes). Meat should always rest after coming off the heat so that you don’t lose all those wonderful juices. After the nap is over, I cut the birds in half and serve complete with the apples that have baked inside. It’s almost like serving the birds with applesauce, but it’s not the applesauce Grandma used to make. This one has curry and herbs and garlic as well as the hen juices all incorporated in it. So then we did a quick steam to some asparagus, added a little fresh squeezed garlic, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and called it a day.

May 23, 2011

Well, I took a short blogcation but now I’m back. Monday started out with a nice walk and then some bacon and eggs. We had some mushrooms and cheese mixed into scrambled eggs. Also had some toast with honey and coconut oil.

Being in my fifties, I have been hounded lately from medical practitioners to get a mammogram. I have never believed that this is a safe practice and have always avoided it. When I was in my forties, I refused the screening, then come to find out that they are now recommending waiting until after fifty. The more I hold out on this “unsafe screening” the more information comes out against it. Dr. Mercola just posted a very informative article on this issue.

Today I was blessed with a full body massage. It was so wonderful. What is it about getting a massage that always makes me hungry? I don’t get it but it happens every time. The hard part about today is that Randy had a massage right after me so I have to wait to have lunch. We had some bratwurst and sauerkraut today complete with onions and jalepenos. Even though we had buns, we ended up having to use a fork and knife because we added so much sauerkraut.

Tonight we will be heating up some leftover soup. My favorite dinner. Along with the soup we had some toasted cheese sandwiches made with baguette bread and black label sharp cheddar. Cooked them up in my cast iron pan with a little coconut oil. Can I just say I love my cast iron pan?

May 18, 2011

Had a rough night getting comfortable. Is it the full moon or did my back really bother me more. Who’s to know. I’m thinking if I get the lawn mowed today it will be an easy job. It hasn’t rained too much this week and I got the real thick stuff tamed last week. Well, off I go. I grabbed a piece of turkey deli meat from the fridge since we are out of coconuts at the moment. Got a call into the coconut connection and should be seeing some either tonight or tomorrow morning. Yeah! After the lawn mowing, we had some sausage scrambled eggs and toast. To the scrambled eggs we added mushrooms, cheddar cheese and mild green chilies (the canned kind that you can use for chili rellenos). On the toast we had…hmmm how about coconut oil and honey.

Today the AC guy showed up to do the service and replace a couple of motors. Now the house is not too humid and not too hot. Very nice. For lunch we will be having Monchong, zucchini, caprese salad and steamed broccoli with grated cheddar cheese. Got the barbecue started and now it is time to season the fish. I will use olive oil, some mixed herbs for fish (seems to be primarily dill), salt and pepper. I wanted to try something new with the zucchini, so I thought about a little fried squash. I sliced the zucchini in 1/2″ slices, sprinkled with salt and pepper, tossed in egg wash, dipped in Italian Bread crumbs, then lightly fried in coconut oil. It turned out super yummy. I put the fish out on the grill at 350 Fahrenheit for about 12 minutes on the top rack. I didn’t want to over cook it. After letting it rest for 5 minutes, we were ready for lunch.

Worked the rest of the afternoon then enjoyed a nice cheese and cracker snack. We have some nice Maui fillets to fix for dinner tonight, but first a dip in the jacuzzi. Actually I did season the steak with some Montreal steak seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce and dill weed before going out to enjoy the sunset. Let it marinade nicely while I marinade in the jacuzzi. Got the barbecue up and running and cooked the steaks for 3 minutes on each side. It was a perfect medium rare. Since it was a later than normal dinner, I only served up one of the steaks. We’ll save the other one for breakfast. It’s a good thing that I put the second steak away because we would have been tempted to eat it. I served it with Kale salad and some leftover garlic mashed potatoes.

May 17, 2011

This morning I slept in. Well, maybe I was just catching up because I spent a couple of hours up in the middle of the night. Nonetheless, I didn’t peal myself out of bed until 6:40 am. Yikes, at least I was up before 7! Today is a good walking day. We did the normal routine…coconut, dog running, and dog walking. When we went to Whole Foods yesterday, I was at the meat counter and ordered 12 slices of bacon. When I got home and put the food away, there were not 12 slices of bacon but instead, only 4. I guess we should just have the bacon and be done with it. In addition to the bacon, we had steamed spinach with a poached egg. Oh we added a couple of slices of cheese to the mix.

Today, Randy and I are working with a business colleague on a new art idea. So the rest of the morning was spent on that. Our colleague said that he would like to bless us (aka bless me) by not allowing me to cook and taking us out to the restaurant of our choice. He had mentioned the Kula Lodge, but we suggested Haliimaile General Store. Well, it was decided that this is where we will Lunch. When we arrived, we realized that we had not called ahead for reservations. What’s up with that? You never used to have to get reservations for lunch. It turns out that there was a tour company that arrived before us and had taken up half the restaurant. It was a twenty minute wait and the weather was pleasant so we waited. After all, it would take 20 minutes to get anywhere else, so we may as well stay.I don’t know if it was a full 20 minutes or not, the company we were keeping made it seem like a mere moment, but we were soon seated. The food was over the top as usual, and we were not a bit disappointed.

Back up to the house and a little afternoon work. The five o’clock work whistle whined (aka the jacuzzi starting its filtering cycle) so I knew it was time to quit “work” and start  “working” on dinner, that is. We had purchased a pasture raised whole chicken yesterday and I wanted to rotisserie it on the barbee. This morning I made a brine that the chicken has been swimming in all day. The brine was made up of 1/4 C sea salt, 1/4 C of Raw Sugar, a couple of bay leaves, some pepper corns, fennel seeds, 3 cloves, some garlic and the juice of 2 tangerines along with enough water to fill my stock pot about 1/2 full. I boil this together for about 30 minutes and then let it cool. I usually end up putting ice in it to get it to cool faster. This is a great time to clean out the bottom of the automatic ice maker – you know that part that starts getting stuck on the bottom. After it cools to room temperature, or at least not hot to the touch (you should be able to put your hand in the solution without it burning you), it’s time to dunk the bird. If there is not enough liquid to cover the bird go ahead and add more water. The brining is an important part of this process as it helps the final product to be moist and delicious. All those subtle flavors will come out in the meat.

Randy started up the grill while I finished prepping the bird. This basically entailed getting it all skewered up, securing the wings and legs with twine so they won’t flap all over the place and then slathering some ghee all over the outside. This makes for a beautiful golden crispy skin. After the grill heated up we threw is a few wood chips, turned the heat all the way down and started that bad boy turning. After about an hour, when the chicken juices are running clear, it is time to take it off the heat and let her rest. While the resting period was going on it was time to fix the asparagus. A quick steam and then chill down is all it needs. We cut up the chicken and sat down to a feast. Melissa’s friend, Sam, that works on the same YWAM base with her in Australia, joined us for dinner. If you click on the YWAM link you can see Sam – he’s the 3rd guy from the right in the green Tshirt.

May 16, 2011

Well this is turning out to be quite the busy day. We need to get downtown to do an on location shoot so this kind of cuts into the morning routine. By the time we actually got outside to walk Roxie, we only had time to walk up to the highway and back (just shy of 1 mile). Well, at least we got out and manufactured some Vitamin D.

Since we are pressed for time we decided to make tacos for breakfast. A couple of corn tortillas and some leftover fixings will do just the trick. After breakfast, we did a little work and then off to Wailuku. While Randy was shooting, I ran a couple of errands that we had in Wailuku. Then it was off to Fedex. We were pressed to get there before 12 noon as that is their cut off for shipments. Back in the day, we had until 5pm for inter island shipments, but not any more. All packages must be at the base by noon. By this time I was hungry and I knew since I was going grocery shopping I should eat first so I didn’t over buy. Last night we watched a show on the Cooking Channel about hot peppers and ever since Randy has had a real hankering for the spunk. So when I mentioned that I was hungry, Randy’s first reaction was let’s do Pinatas. So it looks like I’m not cooking lunch today. We ordered a chicken salad and chili rellenos and shared both dishes.

After that, it was time to shop for some groceries. Had to stop at Costco and Whole Foods and then it was time to go home and think about dinner. Well, about 5ish or maybe later, Melissa  calls to ask it she can invite some friends over for dinner. What am I supposed to fix. I was only prepared for dinner for 2 maybe 3, but to make dinner for 5? Well, fortunately, we had picked up some pizza dough from Whole Foods so tonight we will have BBQ’d pizza. The great thing about teenagers and/or young adults is that they engage well in “cooking lessons”.  I get the Whole Wheat Pizza dough from Whole Foods and cut it in fourths to make four pizzas out of one glob of dough. Well, I have to say that it was a really fun pizza party and everyone enjoyed the interaction of the chopping, sprinkling and throwing on the barbee. We did also heat up some of the leftover soup and now I’m done.

May 15, 2011

Well it’s Sunday once again. Melissa helped me make breakfast this morning. It was kind of a clean out the leftover stuff breakfast. We started with some brown rice that we added cheese and soy sauce to. Topped that with a poached egg. Used up the last of the blueberries and strawberries. Split one leftover pancake 3 ways. and sliced up a pork chop. You didn’t know we had pancakes because Melissa made them one morning that she rose late and we were already done in the kitchen. She always makes interesting pancakes, never just plain. These were made with berries and chocolate chips. She then tops it with lemon juice and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Apparently that’s how they do it in Australia.

After church we did a little shopping at Safeway. I was looking for red skinned Spanish peanuts. There are very few places where you can find this specific type of peanut. Everyone carries cocktail peanuts, honey roasted peanuts, dry roasted peanuts, etc. I was in luck – they actually had some in stock so I bought 2 cans. After doing a little shopping, we headed up the hill. Sunday is the day that we pick up our wheat grass for the week so it is the only day way drive up Omaopio. Once we got home, we decided that we wanted salmon for lunch, but it was frozen so we had to stick it in a pan of water to do a quick thaw. Here’s a tip for you. When you would like to thaw out meat and you don’t want to wait all day, put it in a pan of cold water. It is very important that the water is cold as you do not want to start cooking the meat before it is thawed. This will cut your thawing time in half. Along with the salmon we wanted to have some asparagus but we were completely out so we ended up having zucchini boats. The zucchini that we had was very skinny so I didn’t even boil the zucchini before broiling it.

For dinner it was time for some curry leak soup aka healing soup. I call this my healing soup because of the turmeric, garlic and ginger  that goes into it. Tonight I made it with some Japanese pumpkin. The great thing about this is how thick and rich it makes the soup to squash the squash into the squash soup. I also baked the last of the cookie dough. I think I should make a new batch soon.