Tuesday, August 17, 2010
7905 Engineer Rd.
San Diego, Ca 92111
This past weekend we celebrated Baby Bro's girlfriend's bday. The birthday girl requested sushi for her birthday dinner. She originally wanted to try Sushi Ota, but the earliest reservation time we could get was 9:30. Way too late for dinner.
So then my sister asked me if I had any suggestions. The criteria were as follows: 1) somewhere new, 2) sushi, 3) close by. I immediately thought of Sushi Yaro. As you may recall, I've tried to eat at Sushi Yaro twice now, but failed because I went at the wrong hours.
Sushi Yaro is owned by sushi chef Sam, who is pretty well known in San Diego. By the time I learned of him through other bloggers, he had taken a break from the restaurant biz in San Diego. Now he is back with a new restaurant, so I have been eager to check it out.
Our reservation was for a Saturday night. When we arrived the place was packed. Being Saturday, I wasn't too surprised. However, the staff seemed surprised and overwhelmed by how busy they were. In fact they were so busy, that despite our reservation, we weren't seated until almost forty minutes after our reservation time. And we didn't all get our food until about an hour after that.
It was a bit frustrating, but it was hard to be annoyed because the staff was really friendly and kept apologizing.
Usually I'm not much of a sashimi eater, but it seems to have been growing on me. In fact, in the weeks leading up to this dinner, I had a serious craving for some fresh sushi. Since we were sitting at a table that night and not at the bar though, we didn't order much sashimi.
The menu can be found on their website. Here is what we had that night:
While we waited for our food, we were served bowls of shredded pickled radish.
Fried calamari. This was served with sweet potato fries. In addition to the regular dipping sauce, we were given some dumpling dipping sauce, which the waitress told us Sam said was delicious with the calamari.
Yaro Special #1
I loved the detail in the front and also the little butterfly on top of the stick.
Toro special that was on the board that night. For $9.50, we got 8 pieces of soft, yummy toro:
BBQ beef dinner, served with macaroni salad
Some of the sushi rolls have interesting names..One that caught our attention was "One night stand," which is basically a special roll of the chef's choice. When I read the name, I assumed that it just meant a roll that tastes unbelievably good. Birthday girl ordered the roll, and what was put in front of her is one of the most amusing food images I've ever seen:
Apparently the name actually comes from this presentation of the sushi…It had our table in a fit of giggles. The birthday girl turned all shades of red.
A spicy ramen that was on the board special
Six in a box:
This looked pretty intricate. The outside was seared. The inside has different fish that are placed in different compartments of the roll. There is also supposed to be uni in here, but I didn't taste or see it.I think it may have been overwhelmed by the other ingredients.
Another roll with an interesting name was the "Oh My God" roll. It's supposed to be very spicy, making one exclaim "Oh My God"
So how spicy was it? People had different reactions. For those who have a pretty weak tolerance like BF, it was really spicy and he did utter "Oh My God." Birthday girl was equally intolerant and had tears come to her eyes. However, for others at the table that have a higher tolerance, the roll wasn't so bad.
For anyone celebrating their birthday, they are presented with some ice cream mochi and candles and a song. There were quite a few birthdays being celebrated the night we went:
Towards the end of our meal, one of the waitresses came over to ask us how we had heard of Sushi Yaro because Sam was curious. I told her that we had learned of them through Kirk of mmm-yoso.
A few minutes later, another waitress popped in on us and asked us if we were students. I was confused by the question, and we told her that some were, some weren't. She said the reason she was asking was that they aren't used to getting new customers and that most people who show up are regulars, like Kirk. She seemed confused on how we knew Kirk. In hindsight, I should have explained that I knew Kirk through blogging, but I wasn't quite thinking straight that night (moving all day will do that to a person), so I don't think my answer really cleared anything up.
To end the night, we were treated to some complimentary beef skewers.
I love skewers of meat.
By this time, the sushi bar had quieted down. Sushi Chef Sam came over to talk to us for a little bit.
At the end of the night, I asked everyone what they thought. We all agreed that we would avoid coming here on a Saturday, but would enjoy coming here on a less crowded night and eating at the bar. Sam was so friendly and seemed like a great person to converse with while eating at the bar.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Out of all the baked donuts I've made, my favorite have been the sugar donut muffins. I've tried really hard to turn the batter into mini donuts, but these donut muffins seem to have an identity crisis. They bake and pop out easily as muffins, but they just don't seem to want to conform to a donut shape.
Usually I have no problem using my donut pan, but these babies just don't pop out easily. I've tried greasing, not greasing, baking longer, the results are still the same. I overbaked this batch in an attempt to make them come out easier.
I guess I will have to continue to search for a baked donut batter that I can successfully bake into mini donut shapes. I do love how these taste though, but I guess they are destined to stay as donut muffins.
A thick layer of frosting helped cover the uneven, hole filled tops of these donuts. I really like pastel spring/summer colors, so I made some frosting and added the slightest drop of food coloring.
Mini baked sugar donuts (adapted from Stylish Cuisine)
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a donut pan with cooking spray
or vegetable oil.
2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and
nutmeg. Pour into egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour in vegetable
oil, milk and vanilla extract.
4. Fill mini donut pan with batter, about 2/3 full.
5. Bake for 11-12 minutes
for mini donuts, until a tester inserted into the center comes out
6. Use a small spatula and loosen around the circle of the donut to help ease the removal from the pan.
7. Frost when cooled.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Ever since making my successful chocolate macarons batch, I've been making macarons like crazy. Unfortunately, I had several failed attempts following my early success. One of the biggest problems I was having was that after my macarons left the oven, the shells seemed to be too thin, causing an opaque top layer. They were fine when they exited the oven, but after they cooled, part of the bottom separated from the top skin layer.
So last week, I did some more research and went back to the basics. And while these macarons didn't come out as great at the chocolate macarons, they are a big improvement over my last few attempts.
As I've been baking with matcha green tea, I've noticed that a lot of other food bloggers have matcha desserts with a much deeper green color. So I've been asking around to see what kind of powder everyone is using. Roxan from Kitchen Mediation, was kind enough to remember to look up what brand she uses. She uses a Maeda-En matcha green tea powder, which I was able to find at my Nijiya supermarket. The matcha powder comes in a little can and is a bit pricey, but right away I noticed the difference.
The powder is a much darker, vibrant green. The taste is also much stronger in my baked goods. One of the problems I've been having with my previous matcha powders is that once they bake, they turn a yellowish green or start to brown. With this powder, while the green got lighter after it baked, my macarons stayed green.
There were quite a few different fillings I thought of trying, but in the end I simply didn't have time to make them. So I filled them with ready made red bean paste (azuki), something you can buy in your local asian grocery store. Red bean paste is often matched with matcha (especially in mochi), so the combination makes sense.
Matcha macarons with red bean paste filling (adapted from Annie's Eats)
For the macarons:
110 gm blanched almond flour (I used JK Gourmet Almond Flour)
200 gm minus 1 1/2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tbsp matcha powder
100 gm egg whites (from about 3 eggs), aged at room temperature for 24-48 hours
50 gm granulated sugar
1. Add the confectioners' sugar, almond flour and matcha powder to the bowl and process
until blended. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk
attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy.
Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until a smooth,
shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms. Add the ground almond mixture
to the bowl with the meringue and quickly but gently fold together using
a wide rubber spatula until no streaks remain. You want to achieve a
thick batter that ribbons or flows from the spatula when lifted.
two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Transfer the batter to a
piping bag fitted with a plain wide round tip. Pipe into small rounds
on the prepared baking sheets (each round should be about 1-1½ inches in
diameter), spaced about 2 inches apart. Let sit at room temperature for
about an hour to develop a hard shell.
3. Preheat the oven to
300?F. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Transfer the pans to a
wire cooling rack and let cool completely before moving the cookies.
4. Once the cookies are totally cooled, match them up by
size. Pipe with red bean paste. Sandwich together with the remaining cookie, pushing the filling
to the edges. Store in an airtight container. Macarons can be stored in the freezer.