Farm-to-Fork Restaurant Review: Kau Kau

Kau Kau is marketed as a “destination for Hawaiian soul food with an upscale-casual vibe in East Sacramento, California.”

I went there for lunch with a rice-industry friend of mine—we were interested in trying rice dishes and Hawaiian-style sounded very appealing. It was a bit of a challenge to find the restaurant, as it was tucked away in a small shopping center with a small sign on the front door. When we walked in, we noticed the beach themed decor, and the host led us to a table situated by the wall. After selecting our drinks from a menu of locally produced, microbrewed beers and ciders, we decided to order the starter that was listed as the special of the day: guanciale sliders. The black sesame and red pepper cured guanciale—a type of cured pork—was served on a trio of toasted king’s Hawaiian rolls with Napa cabbage and cucumber slaw, and housemade mango mustard. These sliders were absolutely delicious! The main course was chicken katsu: a crispy chicken breast cutlet served with mild Japanese curry sauce. It was a large portion of breaded, baked chicken that was moist, and the curry had a mild flavor. Most of the plates included the option of steamed sushi rice (which is medium-grain rice, the predominant type grown in California) or brown rice, and either pineapple slaw or macaroni salad. My friend and I decided to try both types of rice—she chose the sushi rice and I had the brown rice—and they were served as scoops of rice sprinkled with seasoning, which made for a pleasing presentation. I’ve been to Hawaii and fondly remember eating the macaroni salad, so this time I opted for the pineapple slaw. It was very fresh and tasty. We both enjoyed our meals and felt satisfied, but saved room for dessert. We had a decadent seasonal dessert that was a sweet pastry filled with mango, topped with whipped cream and garnished with a beautiful orchid flower.

My friend and I were very happy that we decided to go to Kau Kau and try their “Island Kine Grindz”! If you’re in the Sacramento area and are in the mood for Hawaiian food, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and Sunday brunch. It is located at 855 57th St., Suite C, East Sacramento CA 95819. (916) 431-7043.

Rice was the Main Attraction at Harvest Party

Summer Lane of the California Rice Commission is about to try the rice torta appetizer along with a cold glass of beer at a recent rice-industry event held at Farmers Brewing Co. near Princeton, California. The shindig was a harvest party hosted by the Rice Foundation Leadership Alumni of California and included a reception for the 2020 USA Rice Leadership Class. The evening event featured various rice dishes including sushi and cooked rice grown by California farmers. The rice torta was made by Winters High School culinary students under the direction of instructor Chris Novello. Farmers Brewing Co. utilizes grain produced in close proximity to the brewery, including rice grown on its own farm, to produce a large selection of beer. The lagers, ales and other beer were paired perfectly with all the rice-based food.

California Rice is a Key Ingredient at Field Day Luncheon

Retired rice geneticists Carl Johnson, left, and Neil Rutger enjoyed socializing during lunchtime at the 2022 California Rice Field Day, recently held at the Rice Experiment Station in Biggs. Hundreds of people attended the 110th annual event that included research-field tours and concluded with the ever-popular luncheon. In photo at right, Colusa County rice grower Christine Wylie stands by the buffet that featured sushi prepared by Rawbar Restaurant of Chico. The menu also included cooked rice varieties developed at the station and served by Jenkins Family Catering of Richvale.

Grandma’s Rollie-Up Crepes

This old family recipe was submitted by William A. “Bill” Chapman of the Clarence Scott Ranch, a ranch in western Yolo County, California that was originally homesteaded by Bill’s great-grandfather George Washington Scott (1829-1912) in 1850. Bill’s paternal grandmother, Louise Carin Gross Chapman (1882-1948), enjoyed making her famous rollie-up crepes and usually doubled the recipe for her large family. Louise was born to German parents in the seaport city of Odessa, Ukraine, and her family immigrated to South Dakota in 1886 and then to Oregon in 1888. Louise became a nurse and eventually moved to St. Helena, California to work at the Seventh-day Adventist Hospital. That’s where she met George Mandred Chapman, a young widower from nearby Winters, California, who needed help taking care of his infant daughter. Louise became the resident nanny and soon she and George were married.  Five children were born from that union; Bill’s father, George Walker Chapman III, was the eldest of those children. Grandma Louise’s family recipe was passed down to Bill’s father, who carried on the tradition, cooking 12-inch crepes on his large griddle. Bill has many happy memories of returning from church and eating rollie-up crepes for breakfast with his family. These delicious crepes use basic ingredients and are easy to make–enjoy!

Grandma’s Rollie-Up Crepes

1 Cup Milk

1 Cup Flour

1 Cup Water

1 Egg

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)

Combine all ingredients. Cook on a light-weight, buttered griddle with a handle. Place a ladle of batter on the medium-heated griddle. Lift and rotate the griddle to allow the batter to spread into a thin crepe covering a majority of the griddle area. Cook until light brown–edges will brown–then flip (turn crepe over) with a broad spatula; cook the underside to a light brown (allow the moisture bubbles to cook off, i.e., steam). Remove from the griddle and place on a serving plate. When served, add butter, jelly, jam, honey, etc.


Homemade Beef Stew

Beef stew is comfort food at its finest. The ordinary ingredients meld together into a satisfying, savory meal. The types of vegetables and herbs can be altered, resulting in endless variations of this classic recipe. You can also substitute venison for the beef. The following recipe serves 4; if you’re expecting more people, the ingredients can be doubled, tripled, etc. so everyone can enjoy a bit of good ole, down-home cooking.


6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1/2 cup flour

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 onion, peeled and diced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced

1 cup celery, sliced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 cup red or white wine

4 cups beef broth

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried herbs (oregano, thyme, savory, etc.)

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced

A few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper, as needed


Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Combine flour and pepper in a small bowl. Dredge the meat in the flour/pepper mixture. Sear a little meat at a time in the hot oil, turning the pieces until meat is browned on all sides; remove meat from pot. Add more oil as needed between each batch of meat.

In the same pot, sauté the onions, garlic, carrots and celery on medium-high heat. Remove vegetables from pot.

Deglaze the pot with red wine vinegar and wine, scraping bottom of pot with a spatula. Add beef broth, bay leaves and herbs. Add the meat and the vegetables to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour-and-a-half, stirring often, until the meat is fork-tender. Add the potatoes; cover and simmer about 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Ladle into bowls and serve. Tip: Serve with warm, crusty bread and butter.

Apple Hand Pies

Apple hand pies—also known as apple turnovers—are individual serving sizes of traditional apple pie, an all-American favorite. This old family recipe is easy to follow and quite versatile, as any type of pie filling will work. Hand pies make a delicious dessert and are easy to serve to a crowd. And for those who like to eat pie for breakfast, including those who are trying to get out the door, they are a very convenient to-go item!

Number of servings: 4



¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk


2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced

2 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon water


1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the crust, place the flour in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form. Add sugar and baking powder. Whisk egg and milk in a small bowl and stir; add to the flour mixture.

For the filling, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in apples; sprinkle with salt, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon; add water. Cook and stir apple mixture until apples are softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer apple filling to a plate and set aside to cool.

Form the dough into four balls; place one dough ball on a floured surface and roll into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Spoon about 1/3 cup of apple filling into center of circle. Fold over dough and press the edges together with a lightly-floured fork. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place hand pies on an ungreased baking sheet (or line baking sheet with parchment paper).

For the topping, whisk egg with milk; brush top of each hand pie with egg mixture, sprinkle with about ¼ tablespoon sugar and cut three small vent holes on top of each pie crust.

Bake in the preheated oven until hand pies are golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Grandma Newell’s White Cake with Lemon Filling

Left, Bruce Frank and Linda Emmerton pose on their wedding day in 1970 with the lovely wedding cake that was custom-made by her maternal grandmother, Minda Newell.  Right, the cake has a lemon filling and white frosting.

“This recipe is from a book my maternal grandmother used to make my wedding cake in 1970,” Linda Emmerton Frank said. “My grandma Newell took classes to make it for me. I remember Grandma working on it in her apartment behind our house. I would go upstairs and watch her as she decorated it. It is a sweet memory. She set up the cake in the reception area too. She was a special lady. It was beautiful.”

I met Linda when I was doing research on the history of a ranch that my family owns. The property used to be owned by her great-uncle Orville Colburn, whose family moved from Maine to California in the 1860s, and his wife, Lillian Emmerton Colburn.

This white cake recipe was very easy to make from scratch and tastes absolutely delicious.  

Grandma Newell’s White Cake with Lemon Filling

Servings: 12


2 ½ cups cake flour

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup shortening

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup milk

½ teaspoon lemon extract

5 egg whites

½ cup sugar


Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

Combine, cake flour, salt, shortening, baking powder and sugar; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Combine milk and lemon extract; add to flour mixture and beat 1 more minute. In a separate bowl, combine the egg whites and ½ cup sugar; then add to flour mixture and beat 1 minute. Pour batter into two 8-inch round layer pans and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, make lemon filling as follows:

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 eggs

1 cup water

Juice of 2 large lemons

Grated rind of 1 lemon

¼ stick butter

Mix the sugar and cornstarch. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a rotary beater and add water, lemon juice and lemon rind. Combine with sugar mixture. Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler. Add the sugar mixture and stir. Place the pan over boiling water and stir constantly until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Remove from heat and cool.

Spread the filling on top of the first cake layer. Gently set the second cake layer on top.

Frost the layer cake with white frosting. Here’s an easy recipe:

2 egg whites

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ teaspoons light corn syrup

Dash of salt

1/3 cup cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, salt and water in the top of a double boiler. Beat for 1 minute with a rotary or electric beater. Place the pan over boiling water and beat constantly until the frosting forms peaks, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the boiling water. Add vanilla and beat until the frosting is of a spreading consistency, about 2 minutes. Chill frosting in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Frost the tops and sides of the layer cake.

Garnish the cake with fresh flowers and serve.

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread is a delicious and festive way to enjoy the fall season. This recipe makes two tasty loaves–enough to share with someone special!


2 2/3 cups sugar

2/3 cup butter

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

2/3 cup water

4 eggs

3 1/3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup chopped nuts

2/3 cup raisins


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two loaf pans, 9 x 5 x 3 inches.

Mix sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add pumpkin, water and eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder. Add nuts and raisins.

Pour into pans and bake 70 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool pans on a wire rack about 10 minutes, then gently loosen the loaves from the pan with a sharp knife or spatula. Remove from pans and let cool before slicing.