Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hot Coffee in the Morning with Fresh Banana/Oatmeal Muffins

After an all day BBQ affair, the clean up afterwards, and a good nights sleep, how would you start your morning? How about a good cup of freshly ground Columbian coffee and freshly baked banana/oatmeal muffins? Believe me, I could think of worst ways to start out the day. 

Here is a recipe for those muffins using fresh bananas. 

First we have to go and pick the fresh bananas from the tree.

Close up of a stalk of bananas still green but ready for harvesting.

Once picked, allow the bananas to ripen to the point that they are soft. This would make the banana a lot easier to mix into the dough as you follow the recipe.

If you follow the recipe and bring it all together it will turn out like these. Cooking courtesy of my wife Lupe.

And the recipe.........


Oatmeal Banana Muffins
3          cups flour
2          cups oatmeal
1          tsp. baking powder
1          tsp. baking soda
1          tsp. salt
6          medium sized bananas, smashed
4          eggs
½        cup molasses
½        cup honey
2          cups salted butter

·         Mix and cream the sugar, butter, honey and molasses together first.
·         Then add eggs, bananas and other dry ingredients and mix well together.
·         Pour into your muffin pan.
·         Bake at 350° for 25 min.
·         Allow to cool for 10 min.

Makes about 3 dozen medium sized muffins.

Be careful. Once you start dipping these muffins in your coffee, it is hard to stop. I found out the hard way.

Adios from the Guam Firehouse Cook.

Until next time....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BBQ back in Santa Maria, Ca.

I am originally from Santa Maria, Calif. Some of you may have heard of Santa Maria and know that it is home to the world famous Santa Maria Style BBQ.
Official site:
Unofficial site:

Anyway, I go back home from time to time, usually for about 2 weeks, and we always have at least two big events. The family BBQ and the family Taco Night. I can safely say that I normally gain anywhere from 5-10 pounds in those 2 weeks. Oh, did I mention that we go out to eat, usually BBQ, on most of the other nights. It's a rough life, but someone's got to do it.

Here are a few pictures of one of those BBQs. My Uncle John Centeno, was the Grillmaster on this day and let me tell you, his BBQ reminded me who is the teacher and who is the student. Just plain fantastic!!!!

The "Pit" at my folks home. The grill is electrically moved up and down by the lever on the right side. The components are all custom made by my uncles. The brick is all used brick salvaged from old fireplaces.

The fire box is loaded with red oak.

My Step-father, Fred Quigley, has the fire going strong. This will be allowed to burn down to larger coals for grilling. These red oak coals will last until all the cooking is done and then some.

The "Master" Johnny Centeno, at work rubbing down his pork loins.

The Grillmaster is gearing up for some cold weather BBQ. Temp in the 50s which is cold for me. Guam's average temperature is about 85 in the daytime. Overall about 81 for the year. So 50s is cold!!!

The fire has burned down so now we need to check the coals.

The Supervisors doing what Supervisors do best at any BBQ, HYDRATE!!!  Hey, we've gotta stay warm is what they told me. Who can argue with that?

Rubbed down chicken halves and big, fat pork loins.

Of course I did have to put on a few baby backs, one of my favorites. Also we've got the french bread going on.

Flipping the french bread over, then we apply the garlic butter and Santa Maria seasoning (rub). The basic SM rub mix is:
2     tbsp table salt
2     tbsp granulated garlic powder
1/2  teaspoon dried parsley, ground
1/4  tsp black pepper, medium grind
1/4  tsp Accent (MSG)
Up to you if you want to leave the MSG in. But it definitely brings out flavor and tenderizes.

Finishing up the ends of the pork loins.

The BBQ crew. That's me in the green t-shirt and don't ask me if I ride a lot of horses.

Chow time!!  We have pictured sliced french bread, BBQ'd chicken, BBQ'd pork loin, baked Halibut, potato salad, chili beans, fresh homemade salsa, lemon finadene, BBQ'd baby back ribs, white rice and fresh garden salad. Just a little bit of everything. And of course desert...more "cocktails" so that no one dehydrates.

OK, let's keep the line moving Mom....

It was another great family get together in the great Santa Maria tradition. And guess what? No one dehydrated!!!! I love it when a plan works.

Until next time....

BBQing Baby Backs for old friends from Santa Maria, Ca.

You know, it truly is a small world. One of our former "across the street" neighbors from Santa Maria, Ca. from back in the 70s gave us a call and said she would be coming to Guam because her daughter, who is in the Air Force, is stationed at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam. She, Joyce, was coming for a visit.

Well, I told Joyce that would be fantastic since we hadn't seen each other since 1980. And of course I told her that we would have to BBQ for her and her family at our house when she came over for a visit.

And that's what we did.

Here are some of the photos that were taken of this occasion:

My wife Lupe (dark hair) and Joyce (former neighbor). You can tell old friends are never forgotten and they are very happy to see each other.

Party area. Outdoors where it is nice and relaxing.

This is where the food will be set up.

I decided on rubbed baby backs and marinaded chicken wings.

The baby backs were rubbed with my special "Rueben's Rub" which contains, garlic powder, sea salt, kosher salt, black pepper, celery salt, onion powder, Ajinamoto (Accent), and ground dry parsley flakes. And I topped this rub off with a liberal coating of Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple rub. Great stuff. Of course I rubbed it all down the night before and let it sit in the refer until the next day.

The chicken was marinated in my Guam soy-based marinade with fresh grated ginger. Click here for the recipe: The chicken was also marinated over night.

Here, Joyce is digging into the Red Rice. This is similar to spanish rice but the coloring comes from annato powder. We mix it in the water we use to cook the rice. Then it is seasoned with a little salt and garlic. You can also see the white rice (Jasmine), baby backs, and chicken in the upper left corner.

Joyce is now spooning into some potato salad. We use red potatoes (a little sweeter than russet) with the skin left on and cooked to a firm consistency, pimentos, green onions, eggs, a little yellow mustard, sliced olives, salt and fresh ground black pepper and of course mayo. Also on the table here is the fresh pico de gallo salsa,  soy based finadene, vegetable platter with ranch dressing and beans.
My wife offering beans to the little one.

More of the family and friends "chowing down".

At the end of the night, everyone had full stomachs and were happy campers. Can't you tell?

BBQs are fun but it really is all about who you have fun with. And I feel that it doesn't get any better than seeing everyone enjoying the heck out of themselves when you have a gathering. It makes all the prep worth it. 

Next time Joyce and family come for a visit, we are going to do it all over again, but I will change up the menu. Can't wait.

Until next time....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Richard's Spareribs at the firehouse

When we don't BBQ our food at the firehouse, referred to as a fire station on Guam, we just love to bake or broil our meats. And spareribs are no exception.

Firefighter Richard Tareyama baked us some great pork spareribs for our dinner last night. Here is what he did.

First, after removing the membrane (pleura) from the ribs, he cut them into 2 sections. Then he separated the rib tips from the ribs and marinated everything. Richard doesn't use measuring devices as he goes by his vast cooking experience which quite a few fireman have for some reason.

Richard basically poured in equal parts of soy sauce (Kikkoman) and white vinegar. He then added granulated garlic powder and black pepper to taste. He left this to marinate for a few hours.

When it came time for the baking, he baked the ribs, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 3 hours. This cooking time depends on your oven. Many home ovens, especially the inexpensive types like the one we have at the station, cook differently. It's like they have a mind of their own.

About the last hour and a half, Richard covers the ribs with sliced onions. This baking time is just right for the onions to caramelize.

When the cooked ribs were removed from the oven, they looked great.

Here are some pictures that I took. Unfortunately I was not available to take pictures while Richard was preparing the spare ribs so there are no pictures of that part of the process.

Richard and his "Cook Helper I" Joe DeVera preparing the Lemon Finadene. Click here for the Lemon Finadene recipe:

They are using a different type of lemon. This lemon is called Calamansi. It is tart but has a slight sweetness to it. And of course it is very small. It's actually a type of orange as it turns orange when mature. But it has the tartness of a lemon. Great flavor. Great for cooking.

Joe squeezing the juice out of the Calamansi lemons.

Close up of the lemon squeezing.

The strainer catches all the seeds. By the number of pictures taken of the finadene process here you can tell this is an important part of the meal. As a matter of fact, every meal has finadene served.

"Chef" Richard with the finished product.

These ribs were cooked perfect.....a nice mahogany brown on the outside and the meat was juicy and tender but not falling off the bone. We like firm with a bite. The onions were so sweet. This was served up with cold slaw, fried rice and plain white rice and of course the lemon finadene.

Just another satisfying meal at the fire station.

Until next time....

Monday, April 25, 2011

Makeshift "Tupperware" containers for BBQs

Plastic containers can be expensive to buy and even more expensive when you leave them somewhere other than at home. And then there is the "not returning the container to its proper owner" repercussions. Well, if you don't already employ this alternative, here is one that may save you a lot of anguish at your next BBQ.

Give "Makeshift" Tupperwares a try.

You take two beer case boxes like these.

Get a roll of tin foil, heavy duty type is preferable.

Tear either 1 or 2 equal lengths of foil. This depends on the width of the box and tin foil. You will need it to seamlessly cover the bottom of the box and sides. If you need 2 pieces to do the job then lay the two edges together and folder them over a couple of times to join the 2 pieces.

Line the inside of the box as shown.

And there you have it. Use the other box for the top as a cover.

Container all covered up protecting the contents.

There are many advantages to this type of container. For one, it's cheap. You don't have to worry about taking it back home. No clean up. And the most important reason to use this type of container is that it will give you another excuse to buy more beer so that you will have plenty of meat and food containers on hand at your BBQ. Word of caution, soda containers will not work. For some reason the food doesn't hold as well. Better off sticking with the beer boxes (Just a funnin').

Until next time....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tumeric Chicken (Kadon Pika Mannok Mango' gi Lechen Niyok) in Coconut Milk

Everybody loves to eat chicken. There are a thousand different ways to cook it. Here is one of my favorites that is popular around the firehouse.



1 whole chicken fryer
1/2 cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce
1/2 cup White Vinegar
1/2 medium Yellow Onion diced
4 medium to large cloves Garlic minced
1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Tumeric Powder 
2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Can 15 oz. Coconut Milk
10 plus fresh hot peppers or as many as you can handle.

Cut up whole chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Rinse and drain chicken.
Dice onions and mince garlic and sauté in the olive oil.
Add chicken and cook until browned.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the coconut milk, and cook.
Stir occasionally until chicken is cooked but still firm. Do not overcook chicken. You do not want the chicken falling off the bone.
Once cooked to the right consistency, add the coconut milk and cook for 2 more minutes.
Serve over freshly cooked hot Jasmine Rice. 

Here is a picture of all the ingredients.

Cut the chicken into frying pieces. But I prefer them cut smaller into bite-sized pieces. It is up to you. It will all taste the same.

Dice the onion.

Mince the garlic.

Have your can of coconut milk opened and on stand-by.

Pour in your olive oil, medium heat.

Saute' the onions and garlic until slightly browned.

Drop in your chicken pieces, turn the heat to high.

Cook the chicken until browned.

Pour in your soy sauce and vinegar. Stir this until the chicken is evenly coated. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.

Make sure you smash up the hot peppers before adding them into the pot. Pour some of  the "soup" mix from the pot into your hot pepper bowl and add that back to the pot. You don't want to waste any of that delicious hot pepper. 

Once everything is in the pot, except the coconut milk, it should look like this. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 20 min. to 1/2 hour. This should be just enough to cook everything just right keeping the chicken firm and not falling off the bone.

Once it is cooked, then add the can of coconut milk and cook for 2 min. more and your Tumeric Chicken should be done.

Here is the finished product served over Jasmine white rice. Don't use any instant rice. That's just not right!!!!

I hope you try this out. I'm sure you will enjoy it. I cook this every time I come over to the mainland from Guam due to popular demand.

Until next time....