green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies roasted carrots


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archive for September 2012

rolling solo

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Dear readers, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your comments on the giveaway post. You people are fascinating and hilarious and awesome and sweet! These interesting little tidbits you have shared with me (and the rest of the interwebs) have been a true joy to read while I’m on the road. My readers are THE BEST. Thanks for the smiles and laughs and all around fabulousness. If you haven’t entered yet, please do so! Lurkers, I’ve got your back!

So I’m writing from the great Colorado mountain town of Crested Butte. It’s a former mining town, but today the gold in the hills comes in the form of aspens. This is my eighth season shooting the fall colors and it never gets old. In fact, it just gets better because I feel like I know these places, these hillsides, these trees. It’s just me, the road, and Colorado.


and construction



There is a lot of construction going on in that last minute rush to beat the winter storms that are sure to arrive any day. This means a lot of waiting in your car with views of the mountains through the smoky haze of wildfires (from states to our west) and someone’s tailgate in your face.

also a good time to eat the sandwich i packed (iphone)



But most of the drive west is lovely, dotted with brilliantly yellow trees along creeks (cottonwoods) and roadsides (some aspen). And then you drive along the flanks of the tallest mountain in the state and a lump develops in your throat because it is just incredible to behold.

mount elbert and the forebay (iphone)

i never tire of roads like these



Traveling mid-week means a hefty reduction in the typical leaf-peeping traffic and I mostly had the roads to myself. But whenever and wherever I stopped, I almost always encountered other leaf enthusiasts. They were all there to relish the fall colors. These people were incredibly friendly and full of joy, with huge smiles on their faces. Some asked technical questions, others asked for local tips (where to go, what’s good to see), but everyone was super nice. One young couple pulled into an empty trailhead parking lot, jumped out of their car, threw their arms in the air and whooped and hollered. When they left they waved and I waved back. “Have an awesome day!” they shouted as they sped off. Colorado can do that to people.

me and my trusted subie, road trippin’

ah yes, more construction (this one cost me an hour)



Last year was the best display of colors I had seen since I started shooting fall colors here. And 2012… looks like it’s giving 2011 a run for its money. We are on the early side of peak, but peak colors are fast approaching and it’s all just unbelievably glorious. There are big swaths of green and yellow punctuated by a good showing of reds and oranges this year. Some patches are brown or spotted or dull, some patches are bare. It’s a complete mix.

finally arrived to see mount crested butte in the last hour of daylight (iphone)



**Jump for more butter**

some colorado lovin’

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Recipe: mexico city style roasted corn with chipotle mayonnaise

I just got back from a lovely dinner at Mizuna in Denver. I rarely get down to Denver (to be honest, I avoid the city – I’m a country mouse), but 1) I’ve been hearing about this restaurant for seven years 2) we were meeting with a super fun couple and 3) there was a hand off of goods. More on the goods in a second… I’m so glad we finally went to Mizuna because everything about it was terrific – the food, the wine, the service. Here are two of my favorite plates from tonight:


hamachi crudo with edamame and shishito peppers

lobster mac & cheese



Now what exactly was handed off, you ask? I brought three jars of Chinese hot chili sauces to my friend, Ellen, and she gave me a delivery of her delectable salt caramels. Why salt caramels?

Well, I needed them for a couple of care packages… for you!

This isn’t a sponsored any such thing, this is me saying thank you for being a wonderful, supportive, funny, kind, and friendly readership. I love my regular and irregular commenters as much as those who de-lurk to say hi as much as the folks who are too shy to comment, but send really touching emails to me directly. You know who you are – you’re all awesome! So I have put together a little bit of Colorado in two care packages to give away to two of my awesome saucesome readers. The packages will include:


helliemae’s salt caramels

a bag of whole bean coffee from boxcar coffee roasters

frasca‘s red pepper jelly from cured

a boulder county farmers market tote bag

a t-shirt of your choice from either salto coffee works or tin shed sports



That’s not all! I’m also tucking in a jar of organic Colorado peach jam and a jar of organic Colorado tomato jam, both from my kitchen.

ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY!

1) Introduce yourself to the rest of us by sharing one interesting fact about YOU in the comments section of this post.
2) One comment per person, please.
3) Entries will be accepted through Friday, September 28, 2012.
4) The care packages will ship worldwide.
5) Two winners will be selected at random by Kaweah.
6) Winners will be announced on Monday, October 1, 2012.

Good luck!

***************

Sometimes you find the best food in the darnedest places. For instance, when I was in Portland, Maine last month, everyone was telling me to eat lobster, lobster, and more lobster. Sleep on lobster, bathe in lobster. Lobster lobster lobster! The first night, we started at El Rayo Taqueria and then moved on to Cantina El Rayo next door. There was no lobster on our menu. But wait – someone casually set a plate of roasted corn covered in cotija cheese in front of us early on in the meal. The cobs were cut up into 2-inch wide nibbles and everyone politely sampled the corn. Joy was sitting across from me and later into the evening I saw her reach for a second one which totally made me feel okay about grabbing a second! We were pretty hooked on that corn.


nice, healthy ears of corn

give them a soak in cold water



My neighbors seated to my right were Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz of Ten Apple Farm. They wrote and photographed this brilliant book (among others!) that I received upon my arrival in Maine titled Portland, Maine Chef’s Table which is a collection of recipes from the best chefs around Portland. IT INCLUDES THE RECIPE FOR THIS FABULOUS CORN. When Karl and Margaret told me, I smiled and did a happy dance (Gangnam style) in my head.

chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, mayonnaise, garlic, cilantro, lime zest and juice

chopped, juiced, zested



As soon as my package of goodies from Maine arrived in the post, I opened the book and went straight to the recipe. The ingredients are relatively easy to source and corn is still in season although at the tail end. Get on this now.

purée the peppers, sauce, garlic, cilantro, zest, and lime juice together

stir the purée into the mayonnaise

chipotle mayonnaise



**Jump for more butter**

peachy

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Recipe: peach upside down cake

It would seem that everyone on the flats got word of the leaves turning and came in droves to the mountains over the weekend. Either that or they were looking for their final summer jaunt before the autumnal equinox arrives this Saturday. Bluebird skies and gold stands mark the start of my favorite season. We lose our daylight hours fastest this time of year.


cottonwoods gone yellow

sunsets don’t linger as long



We drove in the opposite direction from most of the traffic and joined my parents for dinner at our favorite sushi bar in Boulder. Fall is when they leave Colorado, because they aren’t big fans of winter. I think they had a nice summer here though, with all of the happy hours, exploring, dinners, lunches, visits, bottles of wine consumed, and Kaweah-time.

hamachili special



And the farmers market was abuzz with activity. People were looking to get their summer loving on, but it started to look like the season was winding down. At the northern end of the market, there was a sign where I normally bought my peaches, “Sold out! See you next year!” That was like a little knife in my gut.

greens, peppers, eggplants, onions…

and still some tomatoes



I promised if you came back today, I’d have something other than tomatoes. I did manage a few pounds of late season peaches from Colorado’s western slope. Sweet, juicy, almost buttery. Panic sets in when you realize these sunshiny orbs are on their way out for the year and a sudden urge to make yet another batch of jam overrides all reason. I did just that and still had a few pounds left over. It’s been a while since I’ve baked a cake…

peaches, butter, sugars, flour, milk, vanilla, eggs, baking soda, salt



There is an ever-growing list of recipes I want to make. I should say lists, because they reside on sticky notes – both virtual and physical, scraps of paper, notes on my iPhone, emails to myself. Fruity upside down cakes surfaced recently. They have great appeal because I’m more of a fruit girl than a cake girl and then there is that whole business of caramelized goodness. Why not use some of the last peaches?

melt the butter and brown sugar

cook until it bubbles



Something I learned about the peaches this summer was that different varieties marched through the markets. When I first got my grubby little hands on peaches for jamming in July, they were clingstone peaches. Good thing I was jamming them because it was like a peach murder scene trying to get those buggers off the pits. Thankfully, this late season batch was of the freestone variety – which easily releases from the pit and makes for pretty slices.

wonderful

arrange in the pan



**Jump for more butter**