Jan 29, 2008

Love It but I Can't Have It Anymore - Shirasu 吻仔魚

This is one of my childhood dish that my mom always made for me.
If you ever read my previous post about Hide Sushi,
You'll know that I'm having a big problem while encountering fish bones,
I do not like fish bones, even the tiny little ones that won't even hurt your throat.
I do not like fish bones. Period.
So my mom came up with an ultimate solution to make me eat fish when I was little.

Stir-Fry Shirasu 炒吻仔魚-


1 package of shirasu
*that's probably around 1 cup of shirasu, or just make it one medium plate-full of shirasu
1 stalk of scallion (chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
Sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil


Drizzle some olive oil in the pan,
Toss in the choppe garlic and chopped scallion,
Cook for a little bit before the garlic burns.
Be careful,
Burned garlic will ruin the whole dish,
In this case, that means hundreds, maybe thousands of little lives.

Quickly toss in those little fish,
Sprinkle some sea salt, don't add to much at first,
You can alway sprinkle more salt later on.
Just keep stir frying it till the fish appeared to be a little bit dry,
Or till the color turned to light brown on the side.
So simple,
My childhood love (even now) is done in....5 minutes?

There's no way I can find any fish bones in this dish,
Shirasu are too tiny,
I get to devour them before the bones are fully grown,

Cindy's Rating: 8 (I love my mom!)

End Note~
I did some research about shirasu later on,
Some said that shirasu is just a general name,
It's not a particular fish, shirasu is actually the babies from all kinds of big fish in the ocean.
That leads to a serious problem,
If we consume too much shirasu,
There won't be any big fish left in the ocean.

I don't know if our current technology allows us to breed shirasu,
Or we can only catch them from the ocean,
But I think from now on I'll eat less of those fish, way less....
Even though I love it so much...>_<.
Just for our mother nature's sake right?

Maybe I can substitute shirasu with shredded tuna meat for this recipe.

Jan 27, 2008

Hide Sushi - Where You Can Enjoy Simple and Delicious Sushi

Sushi for lunch!!!!!!
I'm like a kid getting all excited here.
Jumping up and down in order to burn more calories and gain more room in my stomach,
Because I am so gonna stuff my belly with all sorts of fresh and delicious Japanese sushi!

Here's my treasure hunt location-

I'm notorious among my friends for my willingness of traveling for food.
Today, me and one of my poor victim friend drove from Orange County to Sawtelle just for this lunch,
Which probably took us 1 hour and 30 minutes to get there,
(You know how bad the traffic is in LA, plus it's been raining, and we Californians don't really know how to drive when the sun is hiding)

Sushi Bar Area-

Highly recommended to sit at the bar if you ever decided to have an awesome sushi meal.
You get to see the "magic" behind that little rolls you're just about to put into your mouth.
Observe the interaction between the chef and the customers,
Look at how the chef handles the knife whiling cutting down that perfect piece of sashimi,
And the best treatment is almost guaranteed at this spot.
Instead of putting your order with the waitress,
You can talk directly to the chef,
Getting that instant service,
Who knows?
Maybe the chef can also show you something special that you can't find on the menu.

Hamachi Nigiri (Yellowtail) and Tamago Nigiri (Egg)-

Hide Sushi always has the freshiest fish, it's unbeatable.
My hamachi just melted in my mouth,

And their tamago is thick and fluffy.
Uni Nigiri (Sea Urchin)-

Many people are afraid to eat sea urchin because of that fishy taste,
That problem can be solved with fresh sea urchin,
You can totally tell if your uni is fresh or not,
The truly fresh uni carries a natural sweet taste, not mentioning that wonderful aroma from the ocean.
I'm not exaggerating, you can really "feel" the ocean in your mouth.

Bin Naga Nigiri (Albacore)-

Albacore is just another kind of tuna,
There's one easy way to differenciate albacore from other kinds of tuna,
Albacore has a white colored meat,
Unlike the others, which are usually red.

The chef topped this nigiri with grated ginger and chopped scallion,
These two ingredients help to bring out the natural flavor of albacore,
Highly recommended.

Toro Nigiri (Fatty Tuna) and Sake Nigiri (Salmon)-

Toro is not as good as I expected,
It's still fresh, just not as "fat" as I thought it would be.

Salmon is always another good option for nigiri. Compare to other fish, salmon is more moist with intense flavor.

Unagi Nigiri (Fresh Water Eel)-

I'm very picky about unagi,
If I ever find a bone in it, I'll probably never order it again in that restaurant.
I know that most of the bones left in the meat (if there's any) are very tiny,
It doesn't even sting when you chew on the meat,
It's just me, I can't take it.

So did Hide do a good job about the bones?
I only found one.
(Again, I'm just too anal about the bone part, it's so tiny..it's not even a bone anymore..)

Ankimo Nigiri (Monkfish Liver)-

Absolutely love it.

The slightly sour and sweet ponzu sauce and the creamy texture of ankimo just made me felt like I was in heaven.

Me and my friend ordered 12 set of nigiri,
Well, of course we didn't finish all that at once.
We actually took a short break after ordering our initial 6 or 7 nigiri sets,
When I was looking at the sushi chef after the break, getting ready to put more fish in my mouth,
The chef looked surprised and said:
"You are hungry again!?!?"
Me thinking:
"I haven't even told you I had lasagna for breakfast...and boba tea right before this meal.."

End Note~
So how much this meal costs for that amazing 12 orders?
Not bad huh? I shall come back and scare the sushi chef again.

Overall Rating: 7

Hide Sushi
2040 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 477-7242

Jan 24, 2008

Panna Cotta with Mixed Berries Sauce

I was craving for dessert the other night,
My fridge and cabinet almost turned up side down because I was searching so desperately for possible dessert ingredients.
I was able to pull out something and made this dessert.

Panna Cotta with Mixed Berries Sauce-

Ingredients (for 1 medium panna cotta)?

Panna Cotta:
0.25 ounce of gelatin powder
1 tablespoon of milk (preferably whole milk)
1 cup of heavy cream (half & half works too)
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Mixed Berries Sauce:
1 cup of mixed berries
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of milk


Simply mix the gelatin powder with milk first, set aside.

In a small pot,
Pour in the heavy cream or half & half together with honey,
Turn to medium heat, stir it constantly and bring to a boil.

After it's boiling, turn the heat down a little bit and add the gelatin mixture.
Keep stirring for about 30 seconds.
Add the vanilla extract.
Stir well and pour the liquid into a container.
Cup, small bowl, wine glass, they all work, just pick the one with the shape you like.
Let it cool for about an hour, uncovered.
After that,
Transfer the container to the fridge and refrigerate it overnight.

You can make the sauce before serving,
Simply combine all the ingredients for the sauce and puree them in the blender.

There you have it.
Panna cotta with mixed berries sauce.
I got to satisfy my craving after all,
Just had to wait overnight.

End Note:
I was trying to find a right angle while taking this picture,
Took me a while to figure out the setting,
I decided to wait no more,
That's why this panna cotta is missing a part...

Cindy's Rating: 7

Jan 20, 2008

Mentaiko Spaghetti 明太子義大利麵

This dish is so easy to make,
It'll be done right after the spaghetti is cooked!
(I beat Rachel Ray's 30 minutes meal for sure!)

Mentaiko Spaghetti 明太子義大利麵-

Ingredients (for two)?
2 sacs of mentaiko
1 1/2 cup of half & half
Japanese mayonnaise
Spaghetti for two people
Dried seaweed threads
Dried seaweed flakes
Sea salt
Half lemon juice


Simply cook the spaghetti according to the package,
Remember to sprinkle some salt in the water and cook the pasta till al dente.
Let's prepare our sauce.

This is our main ingredient of the day, mentaiko-

Mentaiko is Japanese marinated cod roe,
Usually served with rice or pasta,
However, there're many other ways to eat this delicacy:
Mentaiko onirigi (rice ball),
Baked fish with mentaiko,
Mentaiko monjayaki,
Baked potato with mentaiko,
So on and on..
I'll be more than happy to post other mentaiko recipes in the near future.

So here's what we have to do first for the roe-

Gently run the knife in the middle of mentaiko in order to remove the egg from its sac.
Have your pan ready,
Turn to medium heat and pour in half & half, you can also substitute it with cream.
Right before it's boiling,
Add mentaiko, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, half lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and mix them well.
The pasta should be ready by now,
Drain it and transfer to the pan,
Don't forget to save about 1/2 cup of pasta water and add it to the sauce mixture.
Give it a toss, add more mayonnaise and salt if desired.
Serve with dried seaweed threads.
Garnish with seaweed flakes.

Cindy's Rating: 6 or 7
Cindy's Friend's Rating: 6.8

Jan 17, 2008

Layer Cake Bakery

I was at Pho Bac Ky for dinner,
Thought that steamy hot soup noodles can make my strep throat feel better.
While pulling my car into the plaza,
I noticed that the new Tapioca Express is finally up and running,
Decided to grab a cup of tea after pho,
To wash down that onion taste in my mouth.
So me and my friend were walking along the side walk,

Layer Cake Bakery?
Since when there's a bakery in the plaza?
Right at that moment,
I completely throw Tapioca out of my mind, let's go and grab some dessert home!

Vanilla, Raspberry, and Pistachio Macaroon-

Ok, I have to admit it here,
I'm never a macaroon fan,
Somehow I have issues with this kind of texture,
Something like macaroon and meringue, just not my thing.
So why I still bought those?
I don't know, they were so cute!

Banana Cream Pie-

Perfect sweetness level, not too over-powering.
However, a little bit more fresh banana slices in the pie will be better.
This time I only got 2 things from the bakery,
So no ratings for now,
For sure I'll stop by some time and give other items a try.
Quick note,
The owner of the bakery was pretty nice,
Good service always gets Cindy's business!

Layer Cake Bakery
4250 Barranca Parkway, Ste 1
Irvine, CA 92604
(949) 786-0223

Jan 15, 2008

Post Injury

Approximately one month after my tailbone injury.

I'm glad that I can go snowboard again,
No more crazy moves this season (note: this season only),
I'm happy enough just sliding down the hills.

Jan 13, 2008

Pan-Seared Pork with Black Vinegar Sauce

I think I'm gradually falling sick here.
Every time I try to swallow my saliva,
My throat hurts.
I also feel hot,
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I'm cute or something,
Hot, by all means, my forehead is burning,
There's no doubt that I can make a sunny side up egg on my forehead now,
I got the heat, and I got the oil.

Usually I cook on Sundays so I'll have enough food to last me through out the week,
Unfortunately (maybe luckily),
My picky palate refused to let my body rest.
Instead of resting on the bed, eating frozen food for the next few days,
I decided to drag myself to the supermarket and step into the kitchen,
I don't wanna eat frozen food, no nO NO!

I did find a way to compromise this situation,
Making something simple and nutritious,
So I don't need to use up all my leftover energies in the kitchen,
Sending the frozen food back to the freezer with my smiley face.

Pan-Seared Pork with Black Vinegar Sauce


2 lbs of boneless pork loin (cut into large pieces)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves (peeled)
Extra virgin olive oil
Soy sauce

Black vinegar sauce:
6 stalks of scallion (chopped)
1/2 tablespoons of ginger (grated)
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of black vinegar
4 tablespoons of water


First we marinate the pork with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of mirin, and some ground pepper,
"Massage" the meat till fully covered with the sauce,
About 20 minutes.

Prepare a plate with about 1/2 cup of flour,
Coats every pork pieces evenly with the flour,
Set aside.

Drizzle some olive oil in the pan and toss in the garlic cloves,
When the garlic is slightly burned on the sides, toss in the pork pieces.
Cook till slightly browned on each sides,
Meanwhile, lets lay the paper towel on a plate.
Transfer the pork to the plate, let the paper towel absorb some excess oil.
Pick out the garlic and toss them away.

After absorbing the oil, transfer the pork to another plate,
Mix all ingredients together for the black vinegar sauce,
Drizzle on top of the pork pieces.

This dish is done, please enjoy it with hot steamy rice.

Black Vinegar contains a large amount of amino acid,
Which helps to boost up my immune system.
I shall munch on this dish for the next few days,
I can't be sick,
I wanna go snowboard!

Cindy's Rating: 7
Cindy's Friend's Rating: 8.2

Jan 10, 2008

CJ7 - 長江七號

Sorry to disappoint you if you think CJ7 is some kind of cocktail,
There's no recipe today for my blog entry,
Only my own babbling,
Babbling about this Hong Kong movie that I've been waiting for ages.


Directed by Steven Chow,
You should know who he is right?
The guy that raided the box office across the continents by God of Cookery, Shaolin Soccer, and Kung Fu Hustle.
He is also the guy that brought tears (because it's too FUNNY) and laughter into each and every Asian families.

CJ7 combines sci-fi with comedy,
The basic storyline evolves around Steven Chow (father) and his son,
And their encounter with a mysterious creature from outer space.
*I don't wanna talk too much about the story yet, go see it yourself!

One thing about Hong Kong movie is that sometimes besides using Cantonese language,
They also edit a Chinese version for other Asia markets.
I do highly recommend watching this movie in Cantonese,
It's way funnier,
Even if you don't understand it,
At least watch it with Chinese subtitles or English subtitles.
It's awesome!

Here's a trailer I got from YouTube, please enjoy-
(For trailer with English subtitles, please click on the international website link below)

CJ7 is currently scheduled to release on January 31st in USA (limited),I'll see you there in the movie theater!

International Official Website (Chinese pronunciation with English subtitles)

IMDB Website

Jan 9, 2008

Chicken Thigh Steak Rice 雞腿飯

Trust me,
I've been thinking about a proper name for this meal for quite some time,
I just can't figure out a title that describes it properly.
Chicken thigh steak rice seems like the only "ok" option I have.

So here were some of the lame ideas that came across my mind:
Chicken thigh with mushroom soy sauce (what about the rice?),
Asian style chicken thigh rice (It's not THAT Asian though..),
Chicken thigh steak rice with mushroom and soy sauce (Mmm...I don't know about that..),
So on and on and on....

My head hurts,
Maybe you can help me with an ideal name after reading the recipe.

Chicken Thigh Steak Rice 雞腿飯-


1 chicken thigh (with skin and bone)
1 stem of scallion (chopped)
1 egg
Small bundle bok choy
2 shitake mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 small onion (sliced)
Rice (around 1 cup)
1 cube of butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
Extra virgin olive oil
Soy sauce
Dried seaweed flakes


Run 4 deep cuts on the chicken thigh (skin side) so it'll cook through easily later on.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper on both sides,
Let's go ahead and prepare other ingredients now.

Have the cooked white rice ready in a bowl.

Heat up a small pot of water,
Bring to a boil and add one pinch of salt in it.
Toss in the bok choy and let it cook for about 1 minute,
Drain it and place on top of the rice.

Drizzle some olive oil in the pan and make a sunny side up egg.
(I don't need to include instructions on how to make sunny side up egg, do I?)
Transfer the egg to the rice bowl.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheits.

Drizzle some olive oil in the skillet,
When the oil gets really hot,
We can start pan-searing the chicken thigh, skin side down for about 2 to 3 minutes,
Turn to the other side for about 2 minutes.
Transfer that to a baking sheet, but leave the excess oil in the pan.
Top the chicken with one small cube of butter,
Into the oven for about 20 minutes.

In the mean time, we can start preparing for the sauce.
Since we still have oil in the skillet,
Just toss in the onions along with about 2 teaspoons of salt,
Cook for about 1 minute,
Sprinkle some red pepper flakes along with chopped scallions and keep cooking for another minute or two.
Toss in the mushroom slices and give it a toss,
Add about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of mirin, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and 1 1/2 cup of hot water,
Bring to a boil and let the sauce cook down till it thickens a little bit.

When the chicken is ready,
Take it out from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes,
Transfer to the rice bowl and drizzle the sauce we just made over it.

Served with dried seaweed flakes.
Our meal is done!

Chicken thigh chicken thigh,
No more brainstorming for a name,
My brain is like a storm already.

Cindy's Rating: 6
Cindy's Friend's Rating: 7.2

End Note:
Cindy's Friend's Rating will be added to my blog in the future,
Under the circumstances that one or a few of my poor friends get to be the white mouse to try out my dishes.
Muahahahhahaha (evil laugh).

Jan 6, 2008

Yi-Mei Deli 義美豆漿點心

This is probably my favorite breakfast joint in Southern California.
I always swing by Yi-Mei before my snowboarding trip,
Fill up my stomach with all kinds of delicious Taiwanese style dishes,
Making sure that I'll have lots of energy on the mountains throughout the day!

And I'm not the only person who's in love of Yi-Mei,
Look at the line inside the restaurant,
Sometimes it goes all the way out to the parking lot-

Can you see that person with newspaper?
Some elderly Chinese people like to read newspapers while eating breakfast.
Just like we kids like to watch TV during dinner time.
Fair game.

Egg Pancake 蛋餅-

Must have!
There are many version of egg pancakes in Taiwan,
Egg pancakes with cheese,
Egg pancakes with ham,
Egg pancakes with corn, so on and on.
Yi-Mei has the most traditional kind,
Beat few eggs together with chopped scallion and few pinches of salt first,
Drizzle some oil in a sizzling hot pan, toss in the egg mixture,
Simply top the semi-cooked egg mixture with flour pancake and cook for about another minute,
Roll them up and serve with garlic soy sauce and chili paste.

The pancake we used here is like a hybrid between French crepes and Mexican tortillas.
More chewy than crepes, and softer than tortillas.

I should make egg pancakes with cheese sometime and post the recipe here.

Cindy's Rating: 8

Rice Balls with Pork Flakes 肉鬆飯糰-

Made with glutinous rice,
It's more chewy than regular white rice and fills you up quicker too.
Usually they use pork flakes, fried flour roll, and some vegetables for the filling,
There is also a sweet version of rice ball too,
Which the fillings might be consist of red bean paste, peanuts, and granulated sugar.
How does it tastes?
I never order it, so far not a big fan of eating sweet things with rice.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Steamed Pork Dumplings 小籠包-

Served with white vinegar and fresh ginger slices.
Be careful while eating it,
The juice from the filling might splash out right after you bite into the dumplings.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Wanna try some authentic Taiwanese style breakfast items?
Come to Yi-Mei, you won't be disappointed.

Overall Rating: 8
Yi-Mei Deli 義美豆漿點心
18414 East Colima Road #I
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 854-9246

Jan 4, 2008

Frutti di Mare. Are you ready for fruits from the ocean?

Fruits from the ocean?
What in the world is that? There are no fruits coming from the ocean!
Don't be fooled by my direct translation of frutti di mare here,
I'm talking about the classic spaghetti recipe,
The spaghetti that is infused with the aroma of white wine and the juice of seafood.

Frutti di Mare-

Ingredients (for 3 large plates)?

2 large bundles of spaghetti (about 3/4 of the box)
2 shallots (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
15 medium or large shrimps (shelled and deveined)
10 mussels
1 can of diced tomatoes
Dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of basil leaves
Some parsley for garnish


Prepare a deep pot of boiling water,
Add about 2 pinches of salt and cook the spaghetti according to the instruction on the package.

Drizzle some olive oil on the skillet,
Toss in chopped garlic, shallots, and about 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes,
*Use more red pepper flakes if you're a fan of spicy food!
About 2 minutes,
Be careful don't burn the garlic, no one likes the bitter taste of burned garlic.

Pour in about 3/4 cup of dry white wine,
Keep cooking till the wine reduced to half.
Open the can tomatoes, drain the juice then pour it to the skillet,
Sprinkle some salt and pepper and let it cook for about one more minute.

Add the shrimps and mussels, give it a toss,
Keep cooking till the mussels are open,
If you have a lid, just go ahead and cover the skillet, steam it till mussels open.
Remember to throw away any mussels that refused to open,
They are bad!

Toss in some basil leaves,
Taste the sauce and add more salt if necessary.

The spaghetti should be ready by now,
Drain the pasta water and transfer them to the skillet,
Stir it till the spaghetti is fully coated with the sauce.

Garnish with basil and parsley before serving.

Let's dig in!

End note:
Me and my friend couldn't finished the whole thing,
I always have the tendency to cook more than I need,
What can I say, the more the merrier.
So I ended up with one extra plate of frutti di mare in the fridge.
The very next day,
I thought the spaghetti probably won't taste as good after I microwaved it,
The sauce was better than the first day,
Don't ask me, I have no idea,
Maybe I was just too hungry!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Jan 2, 2008

Double Chocolate Muffin

Let's start our new years with something sweet, shall we?
Double Chocolate Muffin *adapted from the recipe book "Chocolate Box"-

Ingredients (for six)?

3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/6 cup or 2 oz of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon of baking powder
3 tablespoon of melted butter
5 oz white chocolate (regular store package size, break into chunks)
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheits.

In a big bowl,
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder,
This step can ensure the smooth texture of our muffins.
Add the sugar and 3 oz of white chocolate chunks into the mixture and give it a stir.

In a separate big bowl,
Beat the butter and egg for couple minutes,
While stirring, gradually pour in the milk.
Now let's pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir till fully combined.

Line the muffin pan with muffin cups,
Pour in the mixture till about 3/4 full.
Don't get too greedy here,
Before I always thought that 3/4 looks so little, I don't wanna have tiny muffins!
Then I ended up with these gigantic muffin monsters....
Lesson learned,
3/4 is good enough.

Into the oven for about 20 minutes,
Transfer them to the rack and let it cool there.

What about the remaining white chocolate chunks?
Melt them in a double broiler,
Spray the sauce on top of each muffins.

Dust with cocoa powder if desired.

Because we used unsweetened cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate,
These muffins have the perfect balance of sweetness that you won't get sugar-sick afterwards.

We also used white chocolate chunks for the muffin,
So what's gonna happen when you first biting into these yummy treats?
Melted white chocolate pouring into your mouth,
Mmmmmm what are you waiting for,
Go bake!

Cindy's Rating: 7