Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Let me attempt this again - not that anyone but my wife is reading, and maybe a family member, or someone wandering the world wide web who accidentally took a wrong turn onto my blog.
Once again it's been quite some time since my last blog. Although there's been a lot to write about since Jodi and I moved to New York last September - and really, I should post pictures and commentary on some of our past NYC weekend adventures. I guess, quite honestly, I've fallen into the daily in and outs of services at Pulino's that I haven't been feeling inspired to write lately.
However, just last week on October 29th we got hit by hurricane Sandy, and that left Jodi and I trapped in our Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn apartment, sitting at our little white IKEA dinner table with table with not much to do other than tinker with our iPhones - calling our worried parents and checking the updates on our social networks. As the storm got worse our wifi struggled to connect for at least a week. This was the modern day equivalent of the phone lines being tied up durning these type of natural disaster emergencies where far too many people frantically and unnecessarily make non-emergency calls. But these days everyone was trying to capture the best storm picture so they could Facebook, Tweet, or instagram it.
The day after the storm hit, we were still on lock down in our neighborhood. From all the flooding and heavy winds the trains were down, trees had fallen everywhere, and hundreds of thousands had lost power through the boroughs, so It was probably in our best interest us to stay indoors and off the streets. But, thank the Lord, our neighborhood made out quite well. So well that our neighborhood coffee shop was able to open for half the day for all of us to get a very needed coffee from our restless sleep through the storm and to do a little surveillance of our neighborhood.
Finally, however, I did something appropriate. I decided to get off the major intermet highways and write. What was meant to be a short letter of thanks to our family for praying for us, also turned into a reflection of our uneasy experience through hurricane Sandy.

Dear Family,
Jodi and I would like to thank you for all your prayers through Hurricane Sandy! The Lord was definitely keeping us safe from harm - especially our little corner of Greenwood Ave and E. 3rd Street!
Our neighborhood shops were awesome at opening for half the day on Monday so that we could get some last minute provisions - Steeplechase for coffee & donuts, Mr. Tong's for Chinese take-out, and the gas station for beer & chips (haha, i know not really ALL THAT important...). But God bless them. They're also open today for another half day!
My chef, Tony Liu (God bless him and his family in Queens), was great the night before the storm at getting us all out of work early and out of the city as soon as possible. Since all the trains stopped running at 7pm on Sunday night he sent us all home in taxi's to our different boroughs in Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem and the Bronx.
Coach was great at making sure all their employees left the city well before the last trains ran. And they'll remain closed until it's safe to return back to the city.
I was pretty restless all Sunday night - checking on where Sandy was, and trying to figure out how bad she really would hit. Jodi did a great job at packing out emergency bags of clothes, food, and water in case we had to head to the basement or to the evacuation shelter several blocks away. And she made sure the house was clean -after all, if the windows blew out, a clean and orderly house would be safer than a messy house!
When Monday morning came it was windy but we had time to run out of the house for our last minute "provisions" which I mentioned. As the day went on Sandy blew harder and harder. By 8pm Monday night, just as the weather reports predicted, Sandy touched ground in New Jersey and that's when the winds blew the hardest. All throughout the evening I kept turning towards the window and gauging if this would be the gush of wind that would blow out our windows, or crack our tree outside and throw it right through our wall... (by the way for future reference "X"ing the windows with tape doesn't work. Rather, crack open all your windows so that it relieves pressure... ) The winds shook the house repeatedly. We could hear the sirens of emergency vehicles all night, and we could smell smoke from the fires around us. But, the Lord was with us. Even though we had faith that the Lord was with us, it wasn't until the day after that we could testify that He was! When we took a walk in the morning, all around our corner of the neighborhood tree's branches had split from their stumps, thrown into homes, and fallen on cars. But, besides being scared enough to turn to the Lord in prayer together and having the strength of faith in the Lord, we were practically untouched by the havoc of Sandy. We're so thankful that the Lord gave us this house, on this corner, in this neighborhood in Brooklyn - which one year ago when we moved here, we could've been less concerned about it's safety from a hurricane. God is good and merciful! We do not take His mercy and love for granted! And neither do we take all your prayers and love for granted either - it without a doubt, kept us safe!
Please continue to pray for our Brooklyn community, our NY friends, and all those that were affected by the storm. If at all you feel compelled, our church probably has a relief fund you could donate to. I currently am not getting consistent wifi because of the storm, so I can't give you the direct link. But our church probably has a link somewhere on the website.
Thank you again for your love and prayers, and for encouraging us in faith!

Mark & Jodi

Fear not...
He's our shield. (Genesis 15:1)
He's heard us. (Genesis 21:17)
He's our salvation. (Exodus 14:13)
He's our comforter. (Psalms 23:4)
He's our strength & courage. (1 Chronicles 38:20)
He's our deliverer. (Jeremiah 1:8)

The rock of a home that the Lord blessed us with a year ago (on the left, second floor). Monday morning. Winds starting to pick up.

Some photos several blocks around us. Minor compared to the rest of the boroughs.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Charcuterie Project #1 @PulinosNY: Sopressata

Started 12/12/11

Used Ruhlman's ratio for Sopressata.
Did a double recipe.

900 g Pork fat, hand cut, small dice
3600 g Pork shoulder
40 g Fermento
120 mL Distilled water
80 g Kosher salt
12 g InstaCure #2
140 g Powdered milk
60 g Dextrose
12 g Minced garlic
5 g Aleppo pepper (in place of regular dried chili flakes)
120 mL Pinot Bianco
10 ft Hog casing

12/12/11: Recorded start weight of each individual link. Hung in environment of 78 degrees.
12/14/11: Weighed and recorded weight loss.
12/15/11: Moved salumi into wine room.
Used a home humidifier as a control.
Specs of white appearing. May or may not be mold developing.
Drying into unique shaped links - very possible due to the difficulty i had stuffing the sausages.
Firm as a ripe avocado.
12/29/11: gotten much more firm.
Cut into sausage #1 to test - great smell & color, nice hand-cut fat, but not quite ready.
Don't think fermentation will happen. May have to adjust fermento ratio, check if there's an expiration date, use a liquid fermentation bath.

Charcuterie Project #3 @PulinosNY: Lonza

Started on 01/04/12
Brought all I ingredients for curing brine to a boil. Completely cooled before adding loins to a non reactive container. Container's an appropriate size so that there's no overlapping. Weighed down with ceramic plates to make sure loins are completely submerged.

Flipped the loins in curing brine. Loins have appropriately gotten more firm.

Charcuterie Project #2 @PulinosNY: Peperone

Followed Michael Ruhlman's recipe for peperone, making several adjustments.
One being the amount of Fermento - instead of following the amount in recipe, i followed the containers recommendation of 1 oz per 2 lbs of meat. Used 2 1/2 oz per 5 lbs meat.
No cayenne in house so substituted aleppo peppers.
Toasted fennel and all spice prior to grinding in spice grinder.
And by pure mistake, used wagyu steak! OMG!
All other directions were followed.

Start date 1/2/2012 pm
(image 1)

Yield per 5 lbs meat: 8, 8" links weighing an average of 175g.

About 1/2 lb of sausage mixture wasted b/c of sausage stuffer.

Left to hang in boiler room over night to incubate. Started at 1030 pm.

01/03/12: Unknown negligent treatment by late night staff or over night cleaners during incubation period: Time unknown, apparently taken down from my hanging apparatus to be left on a sheet pan on the floor until I came in at 3 pm 1/3/2012. Lost one link due to this treatment - broken casing.
Next project, create a large "do not touch!" sign.
Left them to hang until 630 pm which then I decided to move them into the wine room. (image 2)
01/09/12: (image 3) checked the peperone's. 6 days in the wine room. Still soft. No fermentation. Splotchy coloration - dark red and brown - possibly due to it's treatment during incubation. Pretty oily - maybe due to the wagyu's meat and fat content.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The best thing about New York...

This is probably going to sound cliche. And no, Jodi's not hovering over me to make sure I say the right thing. But, i have to just say, the best thing about New York is being with Jodi. There hasn't been one day where I don't find extreme joy in seeing her after work or being home again together! Surely, The Lord's blessed us in many ways here, but one of his greatest blessing's has been to bring us together. And it could never have been possible without his amazing love & grace!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A letter home from New York

Hey family and friends,

Just thought I'd send you all a quick hello.  Right now Jodi and I are on a bus, heading to DC to spend a few days with her family.  It' so new to me that you can just hop on a bus or train and be in completely different city in no time!  Prior to NY we were visiting Jodi's other family in Milwaukee, WI for a few days as well.  I feel like I'm on an undeserved vacation!  Lol.  
However, since we've been in New York we've done a tone of commuting around, getting familiar with Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Also our fair share of getting lost.  Oh my goodness, we even ended up in this "wrong" neighborhood because we were looking for a apartment listed on Craigslist.  Not to be stereotypical or judgmental, but you could tell we were out of place.  But thank God that it was raining hard and we were the only fools running around the neighborhood.  God is good in the way he teaches us a lesson... Lol!
And actually it's been raining quite hard for the past few days.  I'm down to my last pair of shoes 'cause the two shoe I wore on Tuesday and Wednesday are soaked!  Another lesson (and thank goodness we didn't move in winter) dress for the weather.  Never did ever think I'd have to buy rain boots!  Sure Hawaii rains, but never did I ever have to commute like we do here, and never did I have to be exposed to the cold for that long (i'd just hop in my car!).
But, through it all we're living it out!  And enjoying it!  
We still haven't found a apartment yet, but we're still living in Heather and Andy's in-laws place.  And they're so kind and gracious to let us stay there.  The neighborhood is what they call little Odessa because it's a Russian neighborhood, but it's really a nice community and we feel safe and, now, comfortable with the hour subway commute.
Jodi starts work on Monday.  Yay! But, I haven't found work yet, but then again I haven't really looked much because I just want to get a little familiar first and find our own apartment.  Jodi and I did however run into the chefs of one of the new restaurants I was in contact with to work at.  They just had their grand opening this past week, so I should be able to check them out again this next week. But, I'll need to do more this week and hopefully make some progress with the apartment hunt.  It's just so hard not knowing the neighborhoods and the Internet is so unreliable when it comes to honest agents. Maybe if you could help us pray for good direction (a miracle would be good too!) that would be great.
And one last thing, I feel like I may have found us a church!  Trinity Grace Church.  I listened to one of their recent messages online and it was really good.  I know you're all busy, but I'll share the link with you:
If you happen to listen to it, lemme know what you think.  We're gonna go to this Sundays service.  Hope it works for us.

Well, that's it for now.  We send our love to all of you.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you!  

Love & Blessings,
Mark & Jodi

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I know that if I just don't start writing I'll always have an excuse to not start. There's so much that has happened since my last blog entry. I have some writings from school that I'd eventually like to post, but for now I just need to start posting. Otherwise, years will go by and a rush of events, experiences and thoughts will just slip on by.
2010 has got to be the most amazing year in my life thus far. On April 17th I got bapatized by by Pastor Dale Vallejo-Sanderson of Wellspring Covenent Church. On May 13th I gratuated from culinary school from Kapiolani Community College. And on July 4th Jodi and I got married at the Foster Botanical Gardens with an awesome reception at the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island. Three HUGE events in 2010 and we're just past the half way point.
It's amazing to me. I'm so thankful and humbled for all that God has done in my life. These past few months has been a harvesting of God's love and grace for me. Since starting culinary school my renewed relationship with God has produced a renewed life - a degree, a career, a vision, pasision, new love, and an amazing wife.
So what's next... Plans for New York are in the making. Why New York? About a year ago I believe God called me and Jodi to New York. Since then I've been excited, but I still questioned why and how? Do I go to Culinary Institute o America? Do I go and work in the city? And how? With what money? As of now I still have a little bit of that anxiety and fear. But, I have total faith in my Lord that he will direct out path and place each step ahead of us as the time is right. "Faith the size of a mustard seed..." is all Jesus asks us. Not a.... Lychee seed, peach seed, or a avocado seed. Just a mustard seed, and anything is possible. My life's events this year may seem like normal events to most people. But at one point I didn't see it possible! But my faith in Jesus Christ has lead me, and is leading me into amazing directions!