hot chorizo sweet onion dip huckleberry fudge california hand roll (temaki) hot smoked salmon and asparagus pasta


copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2014 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

archive for beverage

refresh me

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Recipe: mint lime syrup

Most of you know what a heat wimp I am. As we move firmly into summer and our runs increase in distance and duration, I’ve taken to 4 am wake ups to avoid running in direct sunlight as much as possible. In the mountains, we start our runs in 30-40°F temperatures, which tragically climb into the 60s and 70s as the sun rises in the sky. 80s on the really hot days. I know many people think 60s and 70s are positively balmy, but that sun is intensely strong at 10,000 feet when you are sucking air like a Hoover running up a steep trail. But yeah, I am a heat wimp.

Besides sticking my head in the freezer (there is no air conditioning in the mountains), I keep cool by lurking about in the shade (dry heat) and keeping hydrated. I drink water and unsweetened iced tea almost exclusively, but when we entertain, I like to splurge on some kind of fruity infusion beverage. Entertaining season is upon us! While I was flipping through Marisa’s new book Preserving by the Pint, her mint lime syrup caught my eye.


preserving by the pint, marisa’s second book

so many lovely recipes and photographs



Actually, there are a ton of recipes in her book that piqued my interest. It’s full of quick recipes for small batches of pickles, jams, salsas, butters, sauces, etc. So instead of processing 20 pounds of peaches in one never-ending canning session, you have a lovely guide for making a single jar of pickles or two half-pints of strawberry jam in under an hour. Nice.

mint, limes, sugar, water

pluck the mint leaves, juice the limes

pouring water into the sugar to make a simple syrup



**Jump for more butter**

don’t forget to cool down

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Recipe: frozen strawberry basil lemonade

We wrapped up our time in Crested Butte with more riding, more trail running, and a fun dinner at our neighbors’ place. [Talk about a small world - our neighbor knows my uncle!] Then we packed up before sunrise Saturday morning and headed east. Kaweah did so well on the drive home. Normally she’s nervous and fidgety, but this time it was warm enough to have the windows down so she could sniff and watch all of the scenery go by. Kaweah was such a good girl. Everything seems to be an order of magnitude easier in summer: the packing, the travel, less gear, road conditions, weather, the dog.


riding at hartman rocks in gunnison

the lemon tart i brought for dessert at our neighbors’ place



Once home, we were greeted with fog and drizzle, a welcome reprieve from the relentless sunshine that can dominate mountain summers. Apparently, Nederland had received a good bit of moisture while we were away because every known weed had commandeered our front yard and walkway like a scene from some post-apocalyptic movie. But it was beautiful, lush, and green. The yard is dotted with colorful wildflower blooms and when you stand outside, all you can hear is the sound of hummingbirds zipping up, down, all around. Our trails continue to melt out slowly, but we are able to get more and more miles as winter retreats to the higher elevations.

gold banner dotted in morning dew

in search of trails that climb



Jeremy and I live for those cool, overcast summer days when we can slip out onto the trails without the sun beating down on us. More often than not, the sun is out and it is intense when you are above treeline and two miles above sea level. We make sure to drink plenty of water on the trail and post-workout. But it’s hard to resist one of those fruity, tart, sweet, frozen slushies in the late day sun. I was turned on to the frozen strawberry basil lemonade at The Secret Stash in Crested Butte, but when I’m home in Nederland, it’s easy enough to whip it up myself.

all you need: sugar, water, ice, basil, lemons, strawberries

combine the sugar and water to make a simple syrup

juice the lemons

hull the strawberries



**Jump for more butter**

tastes like purple

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Recipe: violet syrup (and soda)

There’s a slow-moving storm with its haunches resting squarely on Colorado right now. It doesn’t feel much like a spring storm, but more like the storms of winter – cold, very windy, and horizontal snow. I’m hoping some of it sticks in the high country because everything around my house seems to be in a rush to get to Kansas. Right before the snow and winds arrived, the weather was pleasantly sunny and I heard the first hummingbirds of the season zipping around in the yard. I knew this storm would keep Kaweah inside for most of the coming week, so I let her lounge about on the deck more than usual while it was nice out.


her blanket to keep the chill at bay and the grill (her favorite) nearby for company



Just over a week ago I was riding the trails on the flats with Wendy, dropping our bikes to check out asparagus sites and crawling about in the bushes so I could learn more edible plants. The plums were in bloom and the apple blossoms were just starting to bud. It was hot under the sun which Wendy and I both dislike, but the plants apparently love.

plum blossoms on a bluebird day

happy buzzy bee



At one point, we walked our bikes into a little shady corner of the woods where Wendy stopped and turned to me. “Okay, what do you smell?” she grinned. I took a deep breath and parsed the scents on the air. Lots of green and wood and… “Purple! I smell purple!” It’s what I had been wanting to forage since last year and Wendy promised this season that she would lead me to some. Her eyes lit up and then she gazed down where violets (Viola sp.) daintily dotted the leafy mats at our feet.

green and purple

we gathered a half cup in a few minutes



Now, when I say purple, I really mean that the scent of violets is like a sophisticated floral grape flavor. In fact, the smell of violets is so dreamy and soothing that just opening the container and breathing in the perfume is an addiction of which we are both guilty. Violets tend to bloom in spring. According to Wendy, our violet season is a few weeks into spring proper. There are white violets too. They won’t turn things purple, but they do have the flavor and scent of their purple brethren. If you want to forage violets, here are a few things to note:

1) AFRICAN VIOLETS ARE NOT THE SAME AS VIOLETS. AFRICAN VIOLETS ARE NOT EDIBLE. So just… don’t do that.
2) Make sure the violets you forage are in an area that is not sprayed with chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, whatnot). If you don’t know, then don’t pick.
3) Your best bet is to forage for violets on a sunny day after the violets have had time to open up in the morning under the sun. Mid to late morning is a good bet.
4) Pick the blossoms that are fully open as they have the best flavor and odor. Leave the closed buds to open later.
5) Place the violets in a hard-sided container with a lid. This prevents crushing the delicate flowers. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days, although using them right away is best.


all the pretty

and a white one for contrast



**Jump for more butter**