moving to a new space

After having wanting to make the jump with my blog going onto the next phase for quite a few months, I’ve finally done it! The .dash of food. blog has a new web address now :) You can see the changes over at! Hope you enjoy your visit there, and please update your RSS reader with the new feed address as well. For those subscribing to the feeds by email updates, I will shortly update the feed link, so you shouldn’t have to do anything to continue receiving the email updates from the new site.

Thank you for following along my sporatic adventures in and outside the kitchen. With the update of the site, I hope to become better at posting more often and making your visits and reads worthwhile.

Basil Pistachio Pesto

Photograph by kaishin chu © 2009.

The Bonus – Basil Pistachio Pesto

Well, after lamenting over the loss of production from my basil plants, I had a colander full of uninfested basil leaves that were rescued one by one from the culled stalks. J washed and cleaned these one by one to make sure there were no hidden baby scale bugs still attached. I had never before made fresh basil pesto before, but seen many different recipes, so figured I couldn’t go too wrong. One thing missing though, was Pine nuts. I haven’t seen pine nuts here yet, though I know China produces them and does eat them in the north country. I figured I would try substituting with the excellent pistachios we had on hand for sake of experimenting. It turned out great and was delicious :)


Phase 1:
2 cups fresh basil, packed
2 med – large cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped (about 2 tbsp, or half this, if you prefer)
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, shelled
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp.fresh lemon zest
optional: 1/4 cup grated parmesan ( I choose to be frugal with my hard to come by parmesan stock, and only used it ontop of the pasta at the end)

Phase 2:
1 -1.5 cup(s) extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

1. Put all ingredients from phase 1 into a blender. Pulse to rough chop and blend ingredients.
2. Pour 1/2 the oil into mixture and blend, drizzle in remainder of oil when mixture starts to appear smooth.
3. add salt and pepper to flavor to your liking.

Makes enough for 4 servings. (mixture can be saved for upto one week in fridge or longer in freezer. Put mixer into air tight container and layer olive oil to cover mixture, to seal air out.

Cook up linguini 1 min less than fully cooked, using a pasta scooper, scoop pasta into pasta bowl, add pesto and mix, adding a little of the cooking water if needed too dry, or use olive oil.

Serve while hot with fresh shaved/grated parmesan and cracked black pepper. Buono Appetito!

Roasted Warm & Rich

3235349865_4380cf2cd5Photography: kaishin chu © 2009.

One thing both J and I love to smell during the winter months esp. is the smell of garlic roasitng in the house. It is intoxicating. We figured out the settings needed for our toaster oven to do a proper job, and we are so happy for it.

(it’s been much cooler in the month of Dec – Feb here, temp avg. around 11-17C, and with non insulated housing [ for the humid months] and no central heating, it took a bit of playing around to get the right temp to cook it in the proper time.)


Cut top off, drizzle olive oil, dash of salt, cover with foil in pan, roast, enjoy aromas, then devour.

Toaster oven in winter: 375F for 1-1/4 hour, then left inside to cool down for 1/2 hour.

In our Vancouver convection oven: 325F for 45 min, and left inside to cool down for 1/2 – 1 hour.

If you like it less pungent, lower temp and lengthen roast time :)

Kona Blue | Kona Kapachi

Has anyone seen this in the Vancouver markets and tried it? A sustainable tuna, yum!!

Kona Kampachi® is a delicious, sushi-grade Hawaiian yellowtail, sustainably raised in the pristine open ocean off the coast of Hawaii.

In the wild, Seriola rivoliana would be known as Almaco Jack or kahala, but Kona Kampachi® is substantially different from its wild counterpart. Kona Blue nurtures its Kona Kampachi® through its entire life cycle from hatch to harvest, yielding one of the healthiest and most delicious fish on the market today.

Balsamic Vinegar Pancakes

Balsamic Vinegar Pancakes
Photos posted by Kaishin Chu © 2009.

I created this recipe a few years back while we vacationed in Tofino in a log cabin. I had hoped to make buttermilk pancakes (a recipe originally developed in my college days), but we couldn’t find any buttermilk to purchase at the local little market on our way into town. Since I often adapt recipes in lieu of missing ingredients, so in this case seeing that I had brought a container of strawberries macerating in balsamic vinegar, I thought I would use the vinegar with milk to create something similar to buttermilk. I figured it couldn’t hurt.

Balsamic Vinegar Pancakes
Photos posted by Kaishin Chu © 2009.

The breakfast turned out amazing, the pancakes were fluffy yet substantial, moist and full of flavour, esp. with maple syrup… After the meal, the idea for a proper recipe was set forth. Last year, I dreamt up another delectable recipe using balsamic vinegar left over from macerating fruit, to make panna cotta… I’ll save that recipe to share with you for another day ;)

Balsamic Vinegar Pancakes
Photos posted by Kaishin Chu © 2009.

Balsamic Vinegar Pancakes

In med/lrg bowl, mix the following dry ingredients together:
1 c flour
35 ml sugar
15 ml baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 dash of cinnamon

In small bowl or larg measuring cup, combine and mix well:
10 ml vanilla
15 ml balsamic vinegar
150 ml milk (+50ml for extra if needed)
50 ml vegetable oil
2 med eggs

Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour in the liquid ingredients. Mix with fork or whisk by hand, until just mixed with small lumps in the batter. If the batter seems too thick, you can use the extra bit of milk to thin it down.

Heat up a skillet on med high heat, and using a pat of butter or some vegetable oil to fry/cook up the pancakes. (I personally like butter for the lovely flavour, and since I’m indulging myself with pancakes, why not go all the way, right?) Using a 3/4 c measuring cup, scoop batter and drop into pan. When bubbles appear all over the top, flip pancake and cook until underside is nice and golden brown. You may need to adjust your heat to get the best result. I’ve used a gas stove and light non-stick skillet in this case. Keep the cooked pancakes in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve.

Makes 6 med. pancakes (approx 6″ width) or 8 small pancakes (3-4″)

Serve with Maple syrup and/or balsamic vinegar macerated strawberries on top (and maybe a little whipping cream too) :)

You can pre-prep the dry and even wet ingredients into separate containers to take with you on a camping trip say, and then make yourself the most popular person on the trip ;) Trust me.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1985

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1985, Photos by: kaishin chu © 2008

J had this one in his wine collection, and since we’ve decided to travel abroad indefinitely for the time being, he decided that there was no time like the present to open it with family for Christmas Day dinner.

Though it did need a bit of time to breathe, it was still drinkable, a bit too ‘old’ tasting for my taste, but perhaps it was due to the disintegrating cork.

Teriyaki Chicken Sushi Rolls

Photos posted by Kaishin Chu © 2008.

This was my first attempt at making sushi rolls in Zhuhai, had to be a little bit creative with ingredients. Since then, I’ve managed to find all the ingredients needed :)

Chicken Breast – cut into strips and sautée, then add a bit of water to thin the sauce (marinated in soysauce, brown sugar, crushed garlic, cornstarch, cooking wine)
Cucumber – julienned
Mayonaise (Kewpie Mayanaise used here)
Green Onion – slivered
Avocado (not pictured, as we couldn’t find this product here yet)
Short Grain rice – cooked and cooled
Seaweed Sheets
Bamboo Rolling Mat

1. wrap your bamboo mat with plastic wrap
2. place seaweed sheet 1/4″ from the edge closest to you
3. fill rice layer right to edges of only 3 sides, leaving the edge away from you with 3/4′ empty. Works best if your rice is lukewarm, as it’s more pliable and it will help to soften seaweed just enough for it to stick and make it easier to cut.
4. put filling just above the halfway mark of the rice bed, towards you.
5.put mayo or sauce down first, then the most loose items, then the last the sturdy straight items, such as cucumber. about 3/4″ diameter of filling is needed if your rice bed is about 1/4″. The rice ratio vs. filling ratio is usually were it determines if the roll will be successful.
6. when rolling edge in, use fingers and the mat to cram the edge right around the underside of filling and squeeze the roll to get the rice on rice contact for binding, then pull mat edge out, then finish up the roll. (this is where the plastic wrap comes in real handy, no rice and filling crammed into the slats to clean up )
7. place side with flap of sushi down on a flat surface to rest while you roll the next roll. Then cut the first one, after you rolled the second one. This allows the flap to seal, and allow the seaweed to soften up a bit, but not too much were it gets elasticy, allowing better cut surface.
8. cut with cleanly wiped damp knife with each cut, Z sliding movement. Keep a damp cloth handy, wiping the knife after each or every other cut.

Enjoy :)