Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ching Ming

The Chinese have a tradition where we honor our ancestors with the ritual of putting out food and popping fireworks and burning fake money. We went to my grandma's grave this weekend and practiced our yearly tradition. It's a neat tradition, and it's fun burning things too.

Korean burger

We had some Korean bbq turkey burgers the other night, and I decided to pimp by burger, Korean style. I started with a Ko Chu Jung aioli, which was Korean hot bean paste (Ko Chu Jang), mayo, and a dash of sesame oil. I spread that over the bun and added the turkey burger (actually a turkey burger made with Park's brand Korean bbq sauce), and topped with kim chee (fermented cabbage), takuan (pickled radish), and taegu (seasoned cod). It was awesome!!

Craigslist score

I scored this really cool 1979 Ibanez guitar on Craigslist the other day. It was made during Ibanez's transition from being a copy company, to a company that came out with original designs. They seemed to pull all the stops on this one - neck through body, mahogany core with ash wings, big bridge and tailpiece, coil splits and taps on the pickups, etc.

And the condition was really good for a 32 year old guitar. I was pretty happy with this find, and I bought it for less than the price of three good stompboxes.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Home made won ton soup

Last night my daughter wanted to make homemade won tons.

I bought the won ton wrappers at a noodle shop in Chinatown. They had such an assortment of won ton wrappers, from Hong Kong style (thinner) to local style, square, round, for boiling, for frying...... I ended up buying the local style square for boiling.

After I picked up my daughter from school, we went to the market. They didn't have any pork bones for broth, so I bought a whole pork shoulder and broke it down into different pieces for the soup.

First I cut most of the meat off of the bone. I managed to get a nicely shaped, fairly lean piece, which I boiled to make the kind of pork that the Japanese put into their ramen. I never really assign any kinds of time when I cook, I generally go by feel. This pork came out perfect - cooked nicely through, and very tender. It was also very easy to slice - sometimes when you boil meat too long, it shreds when you try to slice it, but this one sliced really thin.

The bone itself, along with the pork above, was boiled to make the broth. The boiling liquid consisted of dashi no moto, konbu and chicken stock.

There were several pieces of meat cut off the bone that were in odd shapes - which wouldn't have boiled well. This was perfect to throw into the food processor to make ground pork, which was the filling for the won tons. I added some salt, white pepper, Shao Xing cooking wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, water chestnuts, and green onions. I taught my daughter how to wrap them, and in no time she made the entire package of something like 50 won tons!!

Look at the perfect shape! She is an iron chef in the making!!

Here's the finished product. It ended up being a bit of a hybrid between local style won ton min, and Japanese style ramen (with the pork slices) and beansprouts.

We ate a lot of saimin and won tons last night!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Saturday morning holo holo

We finally had a free Saturday after months of Soccer Saturdays. We decided to go "holo holo", which in Hawaiian pidgen English means "to go out".

First we visited Palama Market, which is a Korean market, to buy bowls for my aunt's birthday. Palama Market has a really neat selection of namul, which are various seasoned vegetables. This was only part of the whole namul / kim chee bar, there were literally dozens of different types.

After Palama Market, we went to Tanioka's fishmarket. It was insanely crazy there, with a line about 30 deep. Here we bought soy beans, poke (raw fish), a chicken edamame musubi, a salami musubi, and fish patties. We came home and made the lunch plate below, adding stuff we bought from Palama Market (Korean sushi and mini potatoes). It was SO good!!! This truly is a plate lunch that you can only get here in Hawaii.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kirk Banks Tournament 2011

My boys did really well at the Kirk Banks tournament this weekend. After losing our first two games on Friday, we won our two games by pretty good margins on Saturday and advanced to the Sunday game. We won our Sunday game 3 to 2, and it was a great game. We had two subs play on our team, and they fit in really well and apparently enjoyed playing on our team.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I am really loving playing drums right now. It's the one rock instrument that I haven't gotten proficient at. I think I'm almost good enough to play in a band. I sat behind the kit with some friends on guitar and bass awhile ago, and I was hooked.

These Roland drums are really great. The mesh heads provide a really nice bounce for the sticks, and playing "real" drums for my recordings allows nuances that are hard to do with programmed drums. And I love the range of tones too.

Now I just have to work up my double bass speed to do death metal. I was jamming to some Deicide yesterday and I can almost keep up with the drummer. For about 8 seconds.

The Governor

At the Supreme Court Justice swearing in ceremony for the partner of one of our friends, we found the Governor of Hawaii in the lobby, and asked his security guy if we could get a picture with the kids. My son has just about a foot more to be the same height!

My girls for the Winter 2011 season

I am really going to miss this team. They were just the most fun set of kids I've ever coached. Great positive attitudes and some good teamwork and skills. We didn't win every game, but we had a lot of fun and the kids developed some good strategies and foot skills. And really, that's what AYSO is all about.

The first picture is from my gift to the kids, a trip to the yogurt shop, to celebrate the end of the season. The second pic is from our trophy ceremony.

The Recyclecoaster

My son and I worked on a school project / contest to make a carnival ride out of recycled materials. We opted to do a cardboard box roller coaster. I wish we had more time to work on it. I would have tried to make the loop a little bigger, so the riders wouldn't be banging their heads while they went on it. We did try to score some voter points by including the principal, the teacher, and strategically selected students. I think we would have benefited from more color too. Though we didn't win the contest (the competition was stiff!), we were pretty proud of it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Flame maple

I am a SUCKER for flame maple on guitars. On high quality guitars, this maple face is glued onto the top of the guitar, and is usually at least 1/4" thick. On cheaper instruments, there is a really thin veneer glued onto the top.

The most beautiful piece of flame maple I own is on my Ibanez BTB 1005 bass. It's such a deep, rich flame that doesn't disappear whatever angle you view it at. And look at how thick that top is!!

I think the flame on my Dean Time Capsule V is tied with the Ibanez above. The flame is slightly more obscured because of the transparent black finish, but you can still see the ripply effect:

The flame on my Paul Reed Smith Custom 22, in contrast, is very obscured by the red dye, which is also super hard to photograph. I'm considering having this guitar refinished to have the grain pop more. IMO the dye is a waste of a really high quality PRS top, which (for you guitar nerds) would now be classified as an artist series top or maybe even a private stock:

My new Les Paul Axcess has a beautiful top, and I'm starting to appreciate the fact that it is very unique and nowhere as perfect looking as my other guitars.

My MTD Kingston Heir 5 string fretless has a really nice flamed maple top:

Here's the back of my Gibson J-100 acoustic guitar, with the thin flames that I think is usually referred to as fiddleback maple.

My dad even bought me a bookmatched flamed maple set, which I hope to someday have commissioned into a custom guitar.

What I like most is that flame maple is an anomaly found in nature and you will have little imperfections that make a figure unique. I hate coming upon a nice flame maple topped guitar - makes me want to buy it!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The greatest commercial ever

I love this commercial. It's the perfect blend of funny elements. First off, you have the tragically dorky Carl, who you kinda feel sorry for while you're laughing at him. Then you have the chick that just wants to be left alone and enjoy her cereal. The guy with the condescending voice is so out of place. And the girl that waves to Carl at the end is a funny touch.

The expressions on their faces are great. I love how Carl slides into the chair. I love how Carl can't make eye contact with the condescending guy. I love how condescending guy preaches while he's dipping his teabag.

It doesn't hurt that I'm a big proponent of fiber. I try to get as much fiber a day as I can, without going overboard and, ummm, suffering the consequences. I can easily get 25 grams of fiber a day. And by the way, did I mention that I care about your fiber too? If you're reading this, I hope you get a lot of fiber. Just please don't point to someone else's blog and tell me to care about their fiber.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My U8 girls' team

I really love my AYSO U8 girls' team as well. The girls have a lot of heart. They all listen to me, and we have a lot of skilled players on this team. Most of the girls are really sweet outside of soccer (and even during practice), but on the field they are really aggressive and competitive!! As this season is winding down, I know I'm going to miss this team too.

My U10 boys' team

My AYSO U10 boys' team is doing really well this season. There's so much talent on this team and there is a core of 4 boys that get along so well, hang out with each other after their games and practices, and really bring so much to the team in terms of skill and attitude.

Yesterday we played short with only 5 boys (a sixth joined us in the second half) and the boys scored so many goals that we had to let up and allow the opposing team to score a point.

Our regular season is almost over and we'll have a few tournaments to play. I'm bummed that the season is almost over, as this has by far been my favorite boys' team to coach.

Organic food

I've read a lot of information about pesticide residue, and organic food safety, but organic food is really expensive if and when you can find it at the grocery store. Costco has an awesome selection of organic foods, and they appear to be really popular as they were sold out of organic chicken thighs this weekend. Still, in my last two shopping trips I bought a lot of organic foods - from fresh fruit like apples, to canned stuff like tomatoes, vegetarian chili and lentils, brown rice, pasta, olive oil and lemon juice. The other thing I love about Costco is that they source a lot of local produce, so I can buy stuff like local tomatoes, cucumbers, bananas, etc. I wish everything they had was local!

I really hope Costco continues this trend.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Vegan day 3

I woke up this morning and weighed myself, and after a week of good eating and two days of vegan eating I lost 0.7 pounds. Fortunately in the past week I got in about 2 hours worth of walking and a few hours of running around with the kids on the soccer field. Overall last week was a good one for eating well and fitness.

I made fried rice for the kids for breakfast, but I left out meat and oyster sauce so I could have some, then added it after. I had some super spicy kim chee over the fried rice, and had a Morningstar Farm veggie patty (I am addicted to those).

For lunch, I made scratch made pizzas for the family but for mine, I skipped the cheese.

For dinner I had Amy's lentil soup again, and a cup of blueberries. I had to try to take an artsy iPhone pic because the food is kinda boring.

I did it! I survived 3 days of vegan eating. I feel really good. I think I will try to incorporate at least 5 vegan meals a week from now on. Breakfasts are kind of easy because I already eat very close to vegan with the exception of egg substitute and margarine (which I do miss). The only hard part is that I need to cook for the family, and it's hard to make 2 different meals, and I think I'd get tired of the ready made stuff that I've been eating the past three days.

Vegan day 2

I felt pretty good after my first day yesterday, so I decided to start up with the same breakfast. I added some wakame chazuke into my oatmeal. Wakame chazuke is usually added to rice and tea to make a salty broth, but adding it to oatmeal is kind of similar. It makes the oatmeal taste Japanese and more interesting than plain oatmeal.

For lunch I had Amy's organic vegetarian chili and rice, with some sliced oranges that I got from the soccer field.

In the afternoon I had an all-fruit Jamba Juice peach perfection, and some leftover white rice from the soccer snacks from my second game. For dinner I had two Don Lee Farms veggie patties and some takuan (pickled radish). I was still hungry afterward but fortunately we went to a party where there were lots of vegetable sides (mushrooms, grilled peppers, etc.) and I was satisfied!

I think I got in maybe 4 servings of fruits and vegetables, which is not bad, but I think I'll need to snack on more fruits for day 3. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My foray into veganism, day 1

Inspired by Oprah Winfrey's staff's recent 1 week experiment with veganism, along with my recent viewing of Food Inc., I decided to attempt three days of vegan eating. This will be difficult for several reasons. Obviously, the first is that I love eating fish and dairy (see previous posts)! The second is that I have to also accommodate my family, who are not and will not be vegans. Finally, since I am on Weight Watchers and have so far lost 20 pounds, I need to make sure I find enough foods to fill out my allowance of points.

Since I typically don't eat meat for breakfast, my breakfast this morning was pretty typical, though I had to cut a few items out. Every day, I eat plain oatmeal with a little bit of olive oil butter, a piece of double fiber whole wheat toast with olive oil butter, two veggie sausages, and some egg substitute scramble. Since vegan restricts both dairy and eggs, I took out the olive oil butter (which is made with cream) and the egg substitute. Oh, and I also had a handful of almonds.

For lunch, I usually eat a lot of fruits in addition to some kind of protein. Today for lunch I had Amy's organic lentil soup, organic tortilla chips, organic salsa, and some strawberries and blueberries.

I had a FiberPlus Antioxidants bar for an afternoon snack, then for dinner I had a Morningstar Farms veggie patty, some zucchini with Italian dressing, and a cup of unsweetened apple sauce.

I also walked down to school to pick up my kids, and I cleaned the tiles in the back. But despite (or perhaps because of) eating no meat or dairy today, I feel really good! Day 1 was a success!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Alan Wong's

All we did was eat this weekend. Well, aside from soccer. Last night we went to Alan Wong's restaurant in Honolulu. This restaurant has become famous lately as they are annual stops for Barack Obama when he visits Hawaii.

For my starter I had a beet, tomato and avocado salad with a li hing mui reduction dressing. The vegetables were nice and fresh.

For dinner I had the ginger crusted onaga, which was done perfectly.

The people we rode in the elevator recommended this dessert, which was coconut sorbet in a chocolate coconut "shell". This was really good!!

Sushi Ten

More eating. This time we went to Sushi Ten, which is the restaurant at the Waikele Golf Club. I had the steamed basa. It was insanely good. Steamed white fish on a bed of Napa cabbage, smothered in green onions, cilantro and ginger, and topped with hot oil and shoyu. The portion was huge too!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Morimoto Waikiki

For lunch today we went to Morimoto Waikiki. For those that don't know, Masaharu Morimoto was the former head chef of Nobu who went on to become an Iron Chef in Japan and on the Food Network, and also opened several restaurants, the most recent in Waikiki. He is also my doppleganger, or more accurately I am his, being the eviler of the two. Though I must admit, I don't look so evil in this pic:

After reviewing the menu for several minutes, our party of 4 wanted to try the "omakase". Omakase in Japanese means "It's up to you". In this case, it was the Chef's 7 course selection, and we are glad we tried it.

The first course was the toro and hamachi tartare. This was finely chopped toto (fatty tuna) and hamachi (yellowtail), served with the condiments in the middle, from top to bottom: nori, sour cream, wasabi, grated Maui onions, avocado, and rice cracker balls. There's also an ume that was made with a lumpy Japanese plum that was very different from most ume that I've had.

The second course was a white fish carpaccio, drizzled with hot oil, shoyu, ginger, cilantro (basically Chinatown style), a little bit of garlic, and some tomatoes and a caper berry. I could have eaten 5 plates of this, it was SO good.

The third course was a bagna cauda, which was a garlic and anchovy paste in hot oil (the dish actually has a little flame underneath it that makes the oil boil and bubble), served with vegetables and bread to be dipped fondue style. I felt like I was a judge on the Iron Chef!

Course 4 was a palate cleanser that was a tea, but it was salty. It was like having sea water!

The fifth course was sushi. What can I say, it was so good. Though not prepared by the master himself, it could have been.

My entree was the Wagyu filet mignon, medium rare, with salted fingerling potatoes and a Maui onion jus. Everything was delicious but the jus was outstanding.

The other three diners on my table had lobster, done with Indian spices and a creme freche.

We also ordered some wasabi fries on the side out of curiosity. The slight hint of wasabi was so nice.

Dessert was a coconut panna cotta with lilikoi gelee, coconut tuile and berries. A beautifully light ending to an awesome lunch.

One of the other diners on our table said it was the best lunch he has ever had, and I have to agree!! It is my new favorite restaurant!!