Saturday, August 28, 2010

Roasted Asparagus and Shrimp Salad

Roasted Asparagus and Shrimp Salad

Summer is almost coming to an end, almost.  I’m still enjoying the hot weather before I have to re-arrange my closet (and my kids’) again.  Packing up the summer clothes and digging out the sweaters and jackets... the thoughts of them give me headache when thinking about it.  Instead, let me enjoy a plate of refreshing salad and wash it all down with a passion fruit ice tea.  I’ve been having salad for dinner quite often lately, at least 4 time a week, hoping to offset the sugar intake from the first half of the year.  Hahaha….does it work that way?  Probably not, but it makes me feel good, both physically and mentally, when I’m eating healthy.

Roasted Asparagus and Shrimp Salad

The Roasted Asparagus and Shrimp Salad is one of my favorite.  It's flavorful and satisfying!  Not to mention that it is also very figure friendly and nutritious.  I always make my own salad dressings so they match perfectly with the ingredients.  Besides, I think the "store shelf" dressings are just too greasy…. with ingredients that are difficult to pronounce!  When it’s super simple to make your own, why pay more for the preservative or whatever they put into that bottle?!

With a salad this yummy, who wants summer to end so soon!?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Paper Wrapped Cakes (紙包蛋糕)

Paper Wrapped Cake

It’s so hot out there these few days makes people want to be lazy and stay home;  Turn on the AC and just relaxed.  We seldom turn on the AC (I say less than 10 days a year) since we are cheap live just 10 miles from the ocean and the temperature here is usually lower than other cities in L.A.  Normally, I rather get the fresh air than having the AC on.  However, today is one of those 10 days of the year.  Excessive Heat Warnings was issued for Southern California!  Click here for the news if you care!

Paper Wrap Cake merged 
Since the news advised us to stay out of the sun, so we did.  Plus, the kids are already a bit under the weather for a few days, I don’t want them to get any worse.  So, we all stayed home with the AC on, baking up a batch of these scrumptious “Paper Wrapped Sponge Cakes” (紙包蛋糕)"!  My son calls them “軟林林蛋糕, literally means super soft cakes.  And you bet they are, super soft and fluffy.

Paper Wrapped Cake

These Paper Wrapped Sponge Cakes are very popular in Hong Kong style bakery stores.  My kids adore them.  Unfortunately, we don’t live closed-by to a HKG style bakery.  So, I learned how to make them to ensure we have fresh cakes on hand any day of the week, whenever we crave one.  Plus, you know what goes into the cake when you bake your own.  :)  If you like cakes and desserts that are not too sweet, you’ll love this cake.  Plus, they are so light and fluffy, you might (I always) think they are zero calories!

Paper Wrapped Cake

Update:  If you don't have the cake mold for these Paper Wrapped Cakes, you can use a large muffin pan and it works the same.  Click here for the pan.  Since a batch yields 10 cakes, you'll need 2 of these pans.

If you don't want to fold your own cupcake liners with parchment paper, click here for the link where you can purchase ready made liners.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

It was Daddy’s birthday yesterday!  As usual, we celebrated with food!  To be exact, Japanese food, which is one of Daddy’s favorites.  In the past ten years, our family seldom purchased any fish from the supermarket.  Not that we don’t like fish.  It was just because we always have the freshest supply, free.  Yes, I said FREE!  That’s because daddy loves fishing!  If you’ve ever tasted a piece of sashimi from the fish that was just swimming in the ocean minutes ago, you know what is fresh.  The sweetness of the flesh, and melt in the mouth texture is indescribable!
Back to the birthday celebration, we went to RA Sushi Bar Restaurant in Torrance.  I rated this place 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5.  I picked this restaurant because it’s closed to our house and they have pretty decent sashimi and rolls.  Plus, I know they have high chairs available.  This place is spacious and usually not packed.  Also, it’s in the Del Amo Fashion Center, so, there are plenty of parking spaces available.  Of course, there are many other (better) sushi restaurants to choose from in Torrance if you don’t have to consider high chair availability, wait time and parking distance. 
Let’s see what we have ordered…
Assorted Sashimi Set LunchAssorted Sashimi Set Lunch—Tuna, Salmon and Yellowtail Served with Salad, Miso Soup and a bowl of white rice
The Set lunch is good value, but the fish wasn’t top quality.  I would rather order a la carte next time.

Sushi--Tuna, Uni and Ebi Sushi—Tuna, Uni and Ebi
The Uni sushi are great, very fresh and sweet.  Didn’t try the other 2.

Seared Tuna with Ginger Sauce  Seared Tuna with Ginger Sauce
This one is yummy.  Something different.  I love the greens on top adding a little crunch.  The ginger sauce is flavorful but not too strong.

Garlic Citrus YellowtailGarlic Citrus Yellowtail 
The citrus dressing is very light, very refreshing.  It’s perfect with a dab of wasabi.

Yellowtail Sashimi Yellowtail Sashimi
Good quality, better than those from the set lunch. 

Salmon SashimiSalmon Sashimi 
The salmons were just okay.  Not fat enough for my liking.

Spicy Tuna Roll Spicy Tuna Roll
Not bad, tuna is spicy enough.  However, I think I can make the roll prettier that this! 

Shrimp Tempura Udon  Shrimp Tempura Udon
Shrimp Tempura Udon
Shrimp Tempura Udon
The Udon is very flavorful, lots of bay scallops, carrots and mushrooms make the broth very sweet.

Beef Tataki Roll Beef Tataki Roll
This is one of my favorite, the dipping sauce is great too, a little sweet and a little tangy.  The beef is fresh and melt in your mouth.  The asparagus adds a little bit crunch. 

Scallop Sashimi Scallop Sashimi
This is my favorite of the day.  Fresh, sweet, melt in your mouth goodness.

So, what’s the damage……drum roll please…
The Bill
Just a tip for you, if you want to try RA, go during their happy hours.  You get discount on beers and sake (not sure how much though), appetizers and rolls are 50% off!   That’s not a bad deal at all.

We had a great time.  I’m sure my little ones enjoyed the lunch, too.  There were lots of laughter, noise and mess from them.  Nothing is better than spending quality time with family.  (Too bad my hubby couldn’t join us this time.)  To me, food is the most delicious when shared with family and love ones.  Happy Birthday again, Daddy!  I love you.