EASY EATS – AWESOME ADVENTURES
Pizzas, BBQ, Breads, Italian, Mexican, Polynesian, Seafood & Korean.
With all the hype on culinary creations in the media you’ve probably watched countless TV shows about cooking. And the dishes created were probably looked mouth watering, however most of the time the ingredients used to create these meals are often not in your pantry or the spices not in your spice rack. So to reproduce the meal required going to the market and purchasing the necessary ingredients. And more often than not you probably made the meal and enjoyed your newfound creation, awesome. After finishing the cooking the recently purchased spices were probably placed in an ever expanding spice collection and left to age a peaceful death, amen! What if you could easily create delicious Pizzas, BBQ, Breads, Italian, Mexican, Polynesian, Asian & Seafood dishes by just using a handful of spices and simple cooking tools? If this sounds interesting to you then, Welcome to Kitchen Hui.
Who am I and where did I learn to cook?
I began my culinary journey at a very young age. My motivation at the time to cook was not so much for enjoyment but to be deceitful. It began early one Sunday morning when my sisters and I decided to make breakfast for our parents. The meal was simple, cereal, fruit and toast delivered to our parent’s bedside. They enjoyed the treat relinquishing in the luxury for a few hours which just so happened to be long enough for the family to miss the “Sunday Service” at our church. My sister’s and I couldn’t have been more overjoyed as going to church was far from being our favorite activity. So the following Sunday we rose early and made a full three course breakfast for our parents. This again achieved the desired results, awesome we thought we were on to something big! However the following Sunday when we shot for round number three we were intercepted by our parents mid-way thru our cooking and told to get dressed for church. Those Sunday breakfasts got me going and I began to develop a keen interest in cooking, I had the culinary bug. I was in the Cub Scouts around that time and in addition to the soap box car derby and overnight camping trips they offered a cake baking contest. For the competition I made a gingerbread house cake and low and behold won first place (I was at my mother’s house this past summer cleaning out her basement as she’s
preparing to sell her house, my childhood home. While going thru some boxes I discovered the 1st place trophy from my Cub Scout competition, WOW!). As a child my mother taught me how, what and why to cook.
Over my childhood years Christmas and birthday gifts ranged from the original “Easy Bake Oven” to a crape maker and later a “Fry Daddy” deep fryer. We often had holiday guests over for dinner with my mother and I working in the kitchen together producing wonderful meals. Her lasagnas were and still are legendary as was her baked Ziti’s, antipasto salads and desserts. And while most kids at the time were watching The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family on TV, I was hooked on the Galloping Gourmet and Julia Child’s shows. The cooking continued and by the time I was a Jr. in high school I was hosting “dinner parties” on the weekends. These were full-on affairs from making appetizers to proper place settings for the table. As the years went by I continued to enrich and enhanced my culinary skills. Working as a bus boy and dish washer at the local country club during my junior and senior years in high school were very formative. At the country club head Chef Tony Marsella taught me how to make wonderful dishes such as Veal Francaise, Chicken Parmesan and Chicken Marsella as well as how to properly cook and serve Prime Rib and Rack of Lamb. My last cooking adventure before heading off to college in Colorado was at a classic beach bar. I talked my way into a summer cooking job at Donovan’s Reef Bar and Grill located on the beach in Sea Bright, NJ. The “Grill” part of the establishment was located at one end of the bar and consisted of a fryer, small refrigerator – freezer, tiny sink and cutting board and a 2ft by 2ft grill. There was a takeout window facing the beach which on peak summer days had a line. Although the menu was your basic burgers, hot dogs and fries the experience taught me how to cook and use space efficiently while quickly serving customers. On a busy weekend I would cook for and serve several hundred customers a day.
Once in college my cooking took on an interesting and unexpected turn. I still enjoyed creating culinary delights in the kitchen which proved to be quite beneficial. I was an avid skier; my main reason for going to school in Colorado was to hit its world famous slopes. I got luck in that my roommate, Walt was at the time one of the top ski racers in Colorado and very “well connected”. Colo St. U. was located in Ft. Collins which was several hours drive from the closest ski area. This requiring waking at O dark thirty to make it to a ski area by opening. And if you wanted to ski that fresh Rocky Mountain powder you best be there at opening. Walt had spent his high school years living in Summit Co home to Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapaho Basin and Copper Mt resorts. He had an extensive network of friend who were year round ski country residents with homes or condos within sight of the slopes. So we’d often couch surfed our weekends at one of Walt’s friend’s. As a “payback” for the free ski town lodging I would often cook our host dinner. That first winter it wasn’t long before the phone in our dorm room would be ringing on Wed. or Thur. evenings with one of our ski town friends inquiring if we were headed their way.
While in college in addition to cooking for couch space I changed majors from Geology to Chemistry, specifically Organic Chemistry which to me was essentially cooking with chemicals. Organic as currently understood by the masses has to do with limiting the use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. The scientific designation of organic chemistry is actually defined as any chemistry involving carbon, hence pesticides, herbicides and insecticides all contain mainly carbon and are classified as organic compounds, don’t get me going! While earning my BS in Chemistry I was educated on various culinary topics from how heat affects proteins to what vitamins and enzymes do to the difference between a Calorie and calorie.
It was during my summer break between Jr. and Sr. years when I met my wife, Katie. For our first date I offered to cook her dinner. I made a tray of my mother’s lasagna which in addition to smelling great came out of the oven in perfect condition. However while Katie was in the bathroom I dropped the pan on the floor upside-down with the lasagna’s multiple layers in disarray. I was able to reassemble the dish before I heard the toilet flush. It would be years later before I told Katie about the mishap in the kitchen on our first date.
Katie and I were married a few years after I graduated college. While there were certain aspects of our wedding that were traditional many were not. We got married on a Saturday in the summer, I wore a suit and Katie a wedding dress, we had a judge perform the ceremony, we both had rings and she had flowers (wildflowers her niece picked that morning). That’s where the tradition ended; we had our ceremony on an island on Lake Dillon where 100+ guests had to arrive by boat. We had our reception at a log-house with me doing all the cooking and Katie baking the cake. I served traditional and shrimp Alfredo lasagnas, several types of pizzas, salads and homemade breads. I was later told by many of the guests that our wedding was one of the best they’ve ever been to!
During our first year of marriage Katie and I started a small catering business, Caroselli’s Cruising Cuisine. We ended up catering several times each month, for dessert we had our guests hand crank an ice cream maker which was a big hit. Within a year we scored our first major gig, cooking a dinner for 85 members of the 10th Mountain Division annual ski rendezvous. The dinner was a huge success with them selecting us to cater all three of their dinners for the following years rendezvous.
The following year we moved into a cabin located in the forest next to Keystone Resort. This cabin totally off the grid and was an awesome place to live; gas for cooking, lights and refrigeration and plenty of wood for heating the cabin and sauna. The cabin was two stories with 2 bedrooms on the second floor. We used one bedroom by adjusting the windows in the other I turned it into a walk-in refrigerator – freezer. We were able to drive our truck up the ½ mile, 750 ft. elevation gain, access road until the first snowfall which happened to occur late October that year. After that we walked or skied to and from the cabin to the cabin. Over the course of that winter I built a ¼ mile luge run down from the cabin. We used boat type plastic sleds to fly down the run. By mid-winter the luge run had become quite impressive with 10 ft. high walled bank turns and the ability for a sled to go down unattended, perfect for a half-dozen cheese cakes or several trays of lasagna! That year we continued to cater the challenge came when we had to cook 2 dinners for the 10th Mt. gang.
I decided to make Chicken Huli-Huli for one dinner and lasagnas for the other. During those years living in Colorado Katie and I would spend a month or two each summer windsurfing on Maui. It was there where I was introduced to Polynesian, Japanese and Korean cooking. Chicken Huli-Huli literately chicken going round and round in Hawaiian was a local dish which I loved. The chicken was marinated for several days in a mixture of soy sauce, fresh ginger, pineapple, brown sugar and basil. The well marinated chicken was cooked over an open flame grill while spinning round and round. The 10th mountain crew loved both meals.
After 13 years living in Colorado we sold our house and moved to Hawaii, specifically the island of Maui. Once there I went back to school and earned a teaching certificate and shortly after a license to teach secondary school Chemistry and science. It was at the same time that we purchased 3 acres of land on the slopes of Pu’u Kukui to build our home and farm. After several years the home was finished and the farm was producing fruits and vegetables while we also developed a line of Sea Salt products. We sold our creations at a self-serve stand near our house, we had a blast! On the property I built a imu. An imu is a 4-5 ft. deep pit which Hawaiians use to cook food in for a luau. There are specific rocks which must be used which took me the better part of a month to locate. Every Thanksgiving and Easter we fired up the imu and hosted a meal for our Hui. After almost a decade of living on Maui we sold the farm and moved aboard our current home the sailing catamaran Makana.
For the past ten years we’ve spent most of the year living aboard our boat Makana. We’ve been running charters in Camden, Maine during the summers and spending the winters in the Bahamas and Cuba. Our travels aboard Makana have taken us from South Africa to Maine.
Our chartering website Makana’s Charters
Rick Caroselli has a BS in Chemistry and is a licensed/certified secondary school instructor he is not a trained dietitian, nutritionist, or medical professional. The information on this blog is based on facts, research, and personal experiences. This information is not intended to prevent, treat or cure any disease or illness. The author shall in no event be held liable for any loss or other damages incurred from the information on this web site.