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 14, 2011

So yesterday morning I read an article on about weekly workouts. One of the things I picked up was that it is a good idea not to do heavy workouts two days in a row. Well, I experienced why that is so important. Thursday, I mowed the lawn which was thicker than normal because of the recent rains so it took much more effort. Then yesterday, I not only cleaned the house, but did laundry, ironing, and some extra kitchen work. Well, today I am feeling it. I guess it must be time for a day off. Well, maybe not a day off of cooking, but I will definitely not be doing any REAL physical labor. My first clue was waking up at 2:22 (yes, Someone cares) and needing to get up, down some ibuprofen and sit with a heating pad for about 1 1/2 hours. Didn’t even get out of bed this morning until after 7am. I don’t even have to look at the clock to know it’s after 7 as that is when the jacuzzi turns off its cycle.

When I did finally come to, I had a hankering for Huevos Rancheros. Knowing that there was some enchilada sauce in the fridge I set off to find a can of refries. No luck. I guess I have to make a Morihara run to get some beans. So while Randy was out enjoying the weed eater, Baby and I went to Morihara’s to get beans. I am sooo looking forward to breakfast. Wheat grass is ground, beans in one pan warming up, enchilada sauce in another, the cast iron pan is ready for tortillas and the poaching water is ready for eggs. I like to put a slurry of sour cream and salsa on the tortilla before layering the other goodies. So this is how it goes for me:

1) Fry tortilla

2) Slather the Slurry

3) Layer the Beans

4) Pour on a little sauce and grated cheese

5) Add the poached egg

6) Cover with sauce and cheese

7) Broil til bubbly then ENJOY

I am doing everything I can to force myself to do nothing today. Well, it’s not quite that hard as every time I get up to do something I am reminded that doing nothing is exactly what needs to be done. Around 1sh it seemed like it might just rain today. Not long after I voiced that thought, it started raining…no it started pouring. It smelled so nice and fresh, I just love the rain. I am so glad that I had prepared ribs to bbq today so I don’t have to make any decisions. We also had some kale salad and brussel sprouts. There’s only one thing I don’t like about kale salad – all the chopping that is involved. The upside to that is that it keeps well so I always make a big batch and it lasts all week.

Another bout of relaxation and it is time for dinner. I decide that all I want is another bowl of kale salad, while Randy and Melissa have a steamed artichoke.

Friday the 13th (May 2011)

I was a little hungry this morning and didn’t feel like waiting for lunchtime to have breakfast. Today will be house cleaning day and I need the energy. We had a real breakfast today complete with hash browns sausage and poached eggs. I was going to wait until after today to do the house cleaning because the air conditioner guy was scheduled to come up and service the acs. They called the other day to re-schedule for Wednesday and I couldn’t bear to live in this pig sty that much longer.

Now that job is complete and it’s time for lunch. Today we have some bratwurst from Whole Foods. I got the grill going and started working on the condiments. We have some sauerkraut but it’s not a full jar so I think I want to “stretch it”. We had some shredded cabbage leftover from the other day so what I did was to drain the sauerkraut and put the sauerkraut liquid on the cabbage. It will just sit there  and pickle while the rest of lunch is prepared. Now the grill is nice and hot so I put the brats on the top shelf and turned down the heat a bit. This is raw meat and I want to make sure it is cooked through. We have some whole wheat hot dogs buns (Maui Crunch) made right here on Maui at the Homemaid Bakery, sauerkraut (which I have mixed with the drained pickled cabbage), several kinds of mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup and onions. If I know my husband well, and I think I should after 34 years, he will want some sort of vegetable besides just the sauerkraut so I steamed up some green beans to go along with our meal. Then for dessert we had some chocolate from the Big Island complemented with blue cheese. It’s almost like eating a chocolate cheesecake.

The afternoon’s work consisted of finishing the laundry, ironing and making the bed as well as making ghee, prepping the ribs for grilling tomorrow, and marinating the chicken breasts for tonight. For the chicken marinade I used the juice of 1 lemon, 2T extra virgin olive oil, 4 cloves garlic, 4T dijon mustard. This will marinade all afternoon. Randy quit work about 6:30 which was perfect timing as I was just finishing the last shirt and was ready to light the barbee. Mark Berry came over with some fresh ahi poke from Foodland so we had a little snack while I got the chicken going. Tonight I have a craving for garlicky mashed potatoes. Usually when I make them, I cook the garlic in the water along with the potatoes. The only problem with that is it makes the garlic a little too mild and I was in the mood for GARLIC. Tonight we will have raw garlic in our potatoes. I like the texture of  Yukon gold potatoes to make mashers. Okay, the chicken is grilling, the potatoes are boiling and the asparagus is cleaned and snapped (asparagus naturally snaps off at the point where the edible stalk begins). Now that the potatoes are done it’s time for some seasoning. Starting off with a few tablespoons of ghee, I add salt and pepper, 5 cloves of fresh garlic and milk – which I don’t have so I’ll have to substitute with coconut milk. This can of coconut milk was opened and has been in the fridge for a day or so and the really thick stuff is all that’s left, so I’ll have to add a little chicken broth to it to thin it out.

It’s time to enjoy all that God has blessed us with including time with Melissa while she is here. We picked out a movie to watch and enjoyed each other’s company.

May 12, 2011

When I woke up this morning and looked at the clock it was 4:44. Somebody once told me that if you look at the clock and all the numbers are the same that your guardian angel is watching over you. It just feels good to be watched over. After morning coffee and some reading, it was time to get the lawn mowed. Randy opened up a coconut so I would have the energy to finish the job. Mowing the lawn is a process in itself. First you have to pick up all the tennis balls. The lawn mower doesn’t do well with tennis balls. Then there is the doggie poo. There’s nothing worse than running over a poo. The last couple of weeks, I have just mowed around the boat so this week it is time to move it off the grass.

In the middle of my lawn mowing, a customer arrived and parked right on the grass. Therefore, I had to wait until he was finished in order to complete my job. By the time I was done and showered it was already 11am. Melissa made us breakfast this morning. We had scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, steamed zucchini, and toast with coconut oil and honey. Thank you Melissa.

Randy and Melissa went to deliver some artwork and I stayed here and started to work. When Randy returned, we had some mounting and laminating to do. Since he has been doing a lot of framing lately, all of our work tables are completely covered. This kind of reminds me of mowing the lawn in that the actual job cannot be done until the prep work is complete. Your really need to start with a clean environment in order to avoid getting noogies in the laminate. After we cleaned off the tables, I made the mistake of looking down at the floor. Yup, it’s time to sweep. Then we had to dust of the laminators and wipe down the tables. Now I think we are finally ready to “do the deed”.

I had thawed out a pound of ground beef for lunch so we thought we would have a taco salad. Well, by the time we were finished cooking, you guessed it, it was really dinner time (5pm). There goes another day with brunch and linner instead of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. We still have some of that yummy cookie dough left, so around 7pm Melissa cranked up the oven and we had some cookies. Now it’s time for a dip in the jacuzzi and off to bed.

May 11, 2011

Wow I can’t believe that it’s Wednesday already. How does the week go so fast? This morning went down to my desk to put in a couple of hours of bookwork before breakfast. Then my tummy said that it was not happy with this arrangement and it was time to set things straight. So upstairs to the kitchen and see what I can scare up for breakfast. We did have some leftover asparagus in the fridge so I thought I could combine that with some cheese and avocado for a rockin’ omelet. I also found a small container with some refried beans so I warmed that up and added a little extra salsa and chopped onions. Melissa made us a fruit salad and we heated up some Canadian Bacon. What a feast.

The next job on the list was to shave Roxy. If her fur gets too full it gets all matted up and she collects stickers from our walk. After the job was done and I swept it up in a pile there was so much fur that it almost looked like she was actually laying there. While I was working in the “Fur Salon” Randy was outside doing a little weed eating. I think if we just eat this elephant one bite at a time (weed eat a little every day) we will eventually have success.

Randy had an appointment to go to so we waited on lunch until after his appointment. When we shopped at Whole Foods, they had just put out some Lamb from a local Maui Rancher. I took one look at them and decided I want to have this lamb, this week. Whenever we shop for the week, I choose several choices of meat (not previously frozen) to serve within the next 3 or 4 days. This way, not all the meat has to be frozen and we get to experience some that is “fresh off the chopping block”. We have tested the difference and it really does matter whether it has been frozen or not. When purchasing your meat please pay attention to the term “previously frozen”. That pretty much means that it is not “fresh”. Anyway, a little Italian seasoning and Worcestershire sauce on the lamb, a really hot grill, and a sliver of one of those spent cedar planks made for some good smokey grilled lamb. At 500 degrees you only need about 2 minutes on each side then done deal. To compliment our perfectly grilled lamb was some steamed cauliflower with grated cheese. I remember when I used to think that you had to make cheese sauce to put on broccoli or cauliflower, but now that I am reformed…just some plain old grated cheese works wonders.

Once again we have finished up lunch much too late to be concerned about what to fix for the next meal. Ended up with just a little cheese and crackers plus a handful of pistachio nuts. Costco has these really awesome pistachio nuts that are flavored with salt and pepper as well as a slew of other spices. Once I tried them I didn’t want to buy the plain ones again.

May 10, 2011

I have to admit I am still a little full from our Saigon Cafe feast last night. I haven’t walked in about 5 days and really feel the need to get out there and pound the pavement. I made a decision that breakfast would be just a coconut and I would wait until lunch to “eat”.  Good choice as I feel much better not over filling myself.

I went straight to work and it was around 10am that I reminded Randy we had decided on a coconut for breakfast. I know we usually do not eat until 9:30 or 10am but that is when we have a big breakfast planned. To wait that long and still nothing is a little difficult for me. After I mentioned the coconut thing, Randy was totally on it and whipped out the nut. Well worth the wait.

After breakfast, Randy delivered some work to a gallery in Makawao and he got home about 11:45. I asked him if he was ready for lunch and he gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up. When we shopped on Sunday, we had picked up a really nice piece of Monchong (A somewhat exotic fish with a flaky, tender texture and mild flavor. It is served broiled, sautéed or steamed.). It is a beautiful light fish that is so moist and just melts in your mouth. While we were waiting for the bbq to warm up, I thought a little caprese salad would be a good snack. Randy helped me arrange the tomato on the plate and then he cut up the mozzarella cheese. Add to this a little salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as well as a nice fresh basil leaf, and wow, is that a good snack. The fish was cooked low and slow on the barbee. I put it on the lowest setting and cooked it on the top rack. To compliment the fish we had some lightly steamed asparagus with no extra seasoning. According to Dr. Gina Kim in her book “The Power to Heal Yourself“, we should actually eat asparagus daily.  According to her studies, this can help the body be more alkaline, dissolve kidney stones, and help with arthritis and even cancer situations.

Now it’s time for a little afternoon power nap and then back to work. When 5pm rolls around, I remember that the dogs are still in the kennel. When I go outside and check the gates to make sure they are closed, I see the tent panels that have been laid out to dry. Thinking that I really don’t want them laid out another day, (if we don’t put them away now the evening dew with moisten them again), I interrupt Randy in his framing and ask for his assistance in folding them up and putting them away. Thank you Randy for your help – that would have been a real tough job by myself. With the tent panels stored, the gates closed and the dogs out of the kennel, it is now time to make a batch of soup.

Tonight’s soup with be a leek curry soup with butternut squash. It’s kind of a variation of last night’s soup, but I also add in chunks of butternut squash. You can use any type of winter squash or small pumpkin and get the same effect. What I like about adding the squash is that when it starts to get soft you can take a potato masher and it breaks up into the soup making it naturally thick and rich. We had some Parmesan crisps with our soup tonight. The ones we had tonight were store bought, but they really are easy to make. All you have to do is grate some Parmesan cheese, put a pile on a parchment lined baking sheet, pat down a little and bake for about 3-5 minutes (until golden brown) at 400. I usually fit 6 piles on one baking sheet. This is a perfectly carb free “cracker”.

May 9th, 2011

Monday morning. Well the weather is still a little unstable and overcast. When we packed up our tent from the craft’s fair on Saturday, it was still wet from the rain. We really wanted to lay it out today to dry out but we are somewhat skeptical about whether it will dry out or just get rained on. Maybe we’ll try again tomorrow.

I got to have my favorite breakfast sausages today. They come from Whole Foods and are simply called “Pork Breakfast Sausage”. I just love the flavor they have. Next was the eggs. We are having scrambled eggs today with spinach and scallops. Yup, scallops in the eggs. Last night when we had soup, we thawed out some scallops to cut up into the soup. There were two leftover that we didn’t use so I used them up in the eggs. I cooked the scallops in the sausage pan while they were cooking. Then I sauteed up some spinach added the eggs, chopped scallops and of coarse some cheese. Sounds like a good day for a piece of toast with coconut oil and honey.

After cleaning the kitchen, I went to work for a few hours. Today we need to leave the house around 5pm as Melissa is coming in. We never did unpack the car from the craft’s fair so we still have to do that. We decided that we would unpack the car after lunch. For lunch we had a couple of small fillets and some yummy green beans. We had a little garlic ghee leftover from the lobster yesterday so I put some of that on the beans along with a little salt and pepper. Simple perfection. Then Randy remembered we had a couple of bites of lobster left and what do you know – another surf and turf. For dessert we had a little cheesecake with some fresh blackberries.

One of the things that Melissa requested upon her arrival was to go to A Saigon Cafe for dinner. While there we enjoyed the shrimp wontons, green papaya salad, and chicken roll your own burritos. Our kind waiter treated us to some coconut tapioca for dessert. Now, being completely stuffed, it is time to go home and rest up for tomorrow.

Mother’s Day May 8,2011

Well I did it. I slept in until the sky was light. I didn’t even wake up until 5:30. Maybe I shouldn’t use the term wake up because I don’t think that really happened until Monday morning. It was a big day at Seabury yesterday and then I threw an after event party at my house. Thank goodness it was small. Before retiring last night I got out the “big guns”, AKA heating pad, tennis balls, and stretchy thing. Maybe that’s why I made it to daybreak. Welcome to Mother’s Day. My rent-a-daughter, Amy Puz, was the first of my kids to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. Albeit, she lives right next to the kitchen and could hear when I got up. I had no idea what we would have for breakfast. I was a little exhausted from yesterday, but not enough to skip church (it takes something like a 104 temperature to keep me from church). I looked in the fridge and was so grateful to find a container with grated cheese, a container with crab and cauliflower, eggs, spinach, and  a leftover pork chop. Those were some good scrambled eggs. The pork chop was served separately with some leftover dipping sauce. For desert we split the leftover chocolate covered strawberry. Who says you can’t have desert with breakfast?

Church was amazing. Pastor Marocco shared a great message entitled “Empowering the Next Generation” from Second Timothy about the importance of being a mom and passing down our faith and heritage to our children. Then it was off to Whole Foods for a shopping spree. Had to stock up on veggies and stuff so I don’t have to shop for a few days. Last stop before home was getting our weekly supply of wheat grass.

We had thawed out a couple of bison rib eyes and picked up a humongous lobster tail at Costco. How unusual for us to enjoy surf and turf. We have some leftover cole slaw and kale salad so no need to fix anything else. While we were waiting for lunch to be ready, we took out some “Humbolt Fog” cheese and snacked on it with some crackers. Rhonda came by for our reflexology session (I don’t know if I ever needed it more than after an all day craft’s fair) and pulled all the tension out of our bodies. Got calls from all 4 of my children, watched the sunset from the jacuzzi, then made an amazing coconut curry leek soup for dinner.  Light, refreshing and satisfying.

May 7, 2011

Today was a whirlwind day. Started off about 4am getting ready for the craft’s fair. Our goal was to leave the house by 7am. Well, we almost made it. We were out the gate by 7:15, not too bad of a delay. We were running a little late so breakfast had to be fast. We had a little leftover steak from last night which became steak tacos. I found tortillas, cheese, steak, avocado and spinach – done deal. Now it’s time for the annual Seabury Crafts Fair.

I knew that they have choke food booths there, so I only packed water, some fruit and pistachios. Our booth was right across from the food so as soon as they started cooking the aromas wafted into our tent and began to entice us. I was pretty sure I had eaten breakfast already but the scents made my stomach think it had not been fed in days. The first thing we tried was the seafood chowder from Hula Grill. It was a very unique chowder – more like a coconut curry soup and oh so delicious. After a few more hours we split a piece of pizza from Flatbread Pizza in Paia. The thing I really like about the pizza is the crust is thin and crispy so it’s more about the flavors on top. Next it was onto some sushi from Sansei Seafood Restaurant. I have to admit my favorite of all three was the chowder.

It’s time now to tear all the tent down and pack up to go home. I am so grateful that I thought ahead and prepared some ribs to throw on the grill when we got home. What do you think would go best with ribs? Just what I thought – Cole Slaw. After the ribs and cole slaw, I plopped down in my chair with the heating pad, a couple of tennis balls and my stretchy thingy in hopes of working out the kinks.

May 6, 2011

Had a great rainfall most of the night. Although I love the rain and it should make me sleep, It has been so drought-like that it actually wakes me up in anticipation of a more hopeful future. I remember back when rainy days made me lazy. Now they are unusually stimulating. What’s up with that?

Coffee was had at 4:45. I really tried to stay in bed until after 5 but oh well. I was hungry this morning. There was no way I was going to wait until 11 am for breakfast. It’s still raining. I have a hard time showering or eating if I don’t get some kind of outdoor activity first. It’s hard for me to imagine living in an area that you can’t go outside. It was imperative that I got the dogs out to pee and poo while it was sprinkling instead of pouring. Last time we had an all morning rain, Sargent couldn’t hold it any longer (ok we were down in the office and ignored his needs), he just let it go. We were downstairs in the office and Amy noticed that there was some rain leaking into the middle room. Wait…the middle room couldn’t possibly get rain. Not only that, but it was yellow. Turns out Sargent had to relieve himself and we were the recipients of yellow rain (not good no matter how you interpret this). Since that day, I have always made sure the dogs got their regular outings – rain OR shine.

That’s it…I need to eat. Today is bacon and eggs. Ok, not just ANY eggs. We had just enough of those leftover crab stuffed mushrooms to make another “Scrambled Madness”. Compliment this with bacon and toast, well ’nuff sed. Today is the big Prep day for the Seabury Craft Fair. Hope I will see some of you out there braving the weather. This weather condition is just trying to hang on long enough.

Lunch was a leftover heaven. Well, I have to admit I did add a small what not to it. Found the spaghetti squash that was left along with the amazing sauce. I knew this would not be enough food for all of us to I grabbed the leftover Cornish game hen and threw it in the pot. Along with that came 1/4 of a head of cabbage. What a lovely lunch.

Tomorrow (today by the time this is posted), is the annual Seabury Crafts Fair. Therefore, a lot of the energy today has been focused on preparation. We needed to set up our tent this afternoon so we could concentrate on interior decorating tomorrow. After the tent was set up, Mark and fam came over for a barbee fest. He had picked up some nice fillets and we found some cold water lobster claws. Looks like a little surf and turf to me. To compliment this meal we added Kale salad and steamed asparagus. Oh, I almost forgot…while at Costco, we found some chocolate dipped strawberries. Guess I don’t have to make my own for Mother’s Day.

Cinco de Mayo, 2011

The weather service has promised us an unstable weather condition through the weekend. I had already decided that the lawn will be mowed today, so I was grateful the the rain only came in sprinkles and spurts. Randy was really hungry this morning so he opened a coconut before going to early morning prayer (5:30am). I was actually very glad because there was a gnawing in my stomach as well. My thinking is, that has something to do with an early dinner.

After the coconut and the lawn, it was time for shower and breakfast. For today’s meals I have thawed out some Pork Breakfast Sausage and some chicken thighs from Whole Foods. Here is my thought…we’ll have some sausage with breakfast (after all it is “breakfast” sausage), and the chicken for lunch. Well by the time I was done with the lawn and shower thing it was already about 9:30. My goal is to be done with the outside stuff by 9am or 10am at the latest. Then there was the prep of the sausage, and OH…I think I want hash browns today. I did have some russet potatoes and “Mr. Robot Coupe” was ready to help.

Let me explain Mr. Robot Coupe. Many years ago, after burning out more than my fair share of food processors, my husband decided that I needed an industrial strength food processor. Needless to say, I went several years without one as he thought it was useless to buy anything sub-standard. One day, for my birthday, Randy decided to seek out the biggest, baddest, most gnarly (I think you get the picture) food processor ever made. He called all (maybe 2 at the time) of the restaurant supply places on Maui and found the one that had the “machine” he wanted me to have. Let me introduce…”Mr. Robot Coupe“. He only has three settings – ON, OFF, and PULSE. What more do you need? It is so solid…well, some day you will have to see one to believe it.

As silently as possible, Mr. Robot Coupe grated the potato in seconds. I think it takes longer to rinse him clean than to use him. There is no better pan than a cast iron skillet to cook hash browns. There is no better grease than ghee to cook the potatoes in. Was that just a dangling participle? I was never that good at English and Grammar.

The hash browns turned out perfect and of coarse we had to have a perfectly poached egg on top. Mmmmmm, creamy goodness. Recapping today’s breakfast we had sausage, eggs and hash browns.

After the cleanup it was off to work. Today was very busy. A lot of phone calls and people stopping in, as well as our own preparation for the Seabury Crafts Fair. Yes, this weekend will be busy upcountry.

‘Round about 3pm, my tummy told me it was time for lunch. Henry made it clear to me that what I had fixed was not a late lunch but rather an early dinner. I had to agree as we did not begin to eat until about 4pm. So the dilemma was simply this – I knew I was going to grill some chicken thighs, but what could I serve with it? A quick perusal over the fridge told me that I needed to do something with cabbage. I could do a quick stir fry, but I just wasn’t interested in that flavor. I thought it might clash with the mesquite chicken. Cole slaw is what came to mind next, and I knew that it was just what we needed. I started with 1/2 head of cabbage and 1 carrot. The dressing consisted of 1/3 C of grape seed oil,1/2 lemon, 2 T apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1 lg. clove garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Then I added some raw sunflower seeds and pepitas (pumpkin seeds). I was right, it perfectly complimented the chicken. For desert we had a nice piece of dark chocolate made on the Big Island.

Once again, lunch was so late I had to opt for ice water for dinner. Randy, on the other hand, had to have a snack before bed. I think he made a quesadilla.