huckleberry brioche pan-seared pork chops spicy tuna inari baked strawberry doughnuts


copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2016 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

archive for booze

the pursuit of crispiness

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Recipe: onion rings

We’ve had a short dry spell of windy, sunny days this week which makes a powder hound whimper and cry. But lack of powder merely means it is high time to hit the Nordic trails. What I love about the network of Nordic trails at our local hill (Eldora) is that they are forested and thus protected from those notorious winds that batter us from October to May. Clouds race across the sky throughout the day, giving us a shot at some nice displays come sunset if the clouds and the sun are in the right place at the right time.


things that make you smile

skate skiing in a hall of trees



Neva had such a fun time at doggy day care on Tuesday that she was sacked out all of Tuesday night and most of Wednesday day. She curled up in her dog bed while I worked – dozing away or lazily watching me. Each time I walked past her, I would cover her with her blankie (Kaweah’s old blanket), add a toy for her to play with, or feed her a treat. Neva was feeling loungy and enjoying it. I enjoyed it, too!

she is still a baby puppy to me



I’m feeling peppier these days and I realized it’s because the sun is setting later. I know this because our living room lamp timer was last set to come on when it got dark – around 4:30 in late December. Now, it clicks on while daylight is still spilling into our house. It also means Chinese new year is on the horizon. This year, it starts February 8, requiring all of the preparation and cleaning to be done by February 7 – lunar new year’s eve. February 7 is also the Superbowl, which means very little to me other than empty ski slopes Sunday afternoon. But the Superbowl is one of those events that even the non-sportsball fans can enjoy because there are gatherings full of sportsball party foods.

One such staple would have to be the onion ring. Make that a beer-battered onion ring. I have been searching lo these many years for a good onion ring recipe and I finally found one – from the Food Lab at Serious Eats.


onions, cornstarch, beer, paprika, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flour, vodka



A key to J. Kenji López-Alt’s foolproof onion rings is to remove the thin inner membrane of each onion ring. This helps to keep the onion tender on the inside and ensures that the onion breaks with each bite instead of snaking out of the fried batter when you first bite into it. The easiest way to get rid of the membrane is to freeze the onion slices, thaw them in lukewarm water, and pull the membrane away.

separate the rings

freeze for an hour or up to a month

thaw in lukewarm water

the membrane should peel right off



**Jump for more butter**

time for a bowl of soup

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Recipe: cream of chanterelle soup

I suppose I have to just will my way into autumn if the weather won’t cooperate. While it’s no longer scorching hot, the weather is still what one would classify as Indian Summer. Sunny and comfortably warm. I no longer have to worry about Neva roasting her brains out on the deck, so she’s been enjoying the coolish mornings while the sun makes its way up into the sky. It’s also nice that she has stopped barking and whining at every single creature that moves in front of our deck – like neighbors, random dogs, bunnies, birds (so many birds…), foxes, deer, etc. Although I did see her lunging after a fly as it unknowingly entered Neva’s air space.


she loves it when i put her bed in the sunny corner



Jeremy and I took Neva up to Blue Lake over the weekend since the road leading into the Brainard Lake Recreation Area closed on Sunday for the season. I’m happy to report that despite the 32°F temperature at the trailhead, I felt downright warm. My internal winter thermostat is on track, at least. As it was the weekend, Neva got to meet lots of other dogs – some friendly, some not interested, some just plain crazy. She had a blast.

mitchell lake was as smooth as glass

autumn hiking is the best

neva even swam several laps at blue lake



That was all well and good, but every “landmark” we encountered elicited remarks from me or Jeremy regarding that section of trail in winter and spring – when snow transforms the landscape. Hiking is hiking, but on skis you think about gradients both up and down. My hope is that Neva will transition easily to ski tours into the backcountry and love the snow as much as Kaweah did. I’d love to start her training except WE HAVE NO SNOW. So I’m posting a soup recipe in the hopes that it will jumpstart some form of frozen precipitation around here. Next, I’m going to wash my car… I think the weather is supposed to turn overcast, rainy, and cooler this week. Fingers crossed.

I made this cream of chanterelle soup back in the summer when I found and foraged my very first batch of chanterelles. It was amazing back in August, so I’m confident that it will be even better now as we zip toward Halloween. Chanterelles are in the grocery stores – I’ve seen them at Whole Foods for an arm and a leg as well as at Costco. Those store chanterelles aren’t going to compare with the ones you forage yourself, but they’ll work.


chanterelles, chicken broth, shallots, eggs, butter, cream, brandy, salt, saffron, flour, more butter (yay!)

chop the mushrooms into a small dice

ingredients prepped for the soup base



**Jump for more butter**

dinner party fare

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Recipe: bourbon-glazed beef tenderloin

Fall is shaping up to be something good. Except that it’s still sunny and warm. Once the weather turns the corner, I’ll be a truly happy camper. But we are making progress on so many fronts now. Neva is no longer a fountain of drool when she gets in the car (although she makes a few quiet whimpers if we drive for more than 20 minutes). She has also started to curl up at my feet for a nap when I am working on the computer, which is a huge improvement over what she used to do (she used to go under my desk and attack the cardboard recycling). Best of all, we’ve discovered when she makes her little “mmmmm” noises at 5:30 am each day, I can reach over in the dark to open her crate door and she’ll jump up on the bed and cuddle between us for another 30 minutes. That extra 30 minutes makes all the difference to the humans.

With doggy day care once a week, Neva gets lots of playtime and socialization and then the following day is “downtime” for her, a.k.a. a really long nappy loungy day. That’s two days in a row allowing me large blocks of time to get work done, and maybe a trail run, and lunch with friends. I like the dog Neva is becoming. Do I miss the adorable little puppy she was just a few months ago? Yes and no. I miss how cute and itty bitty she was. I don’t miss the feral, high-energy, in-need-of-constant-supervision, sharp-puppy-toothed ball of destruction.


no-stress neva chilling in the back of the car

still a few torch-like aspens on my trail run

i got to have lunch with my friend’s adorable little girl



A few weeks ago when I was in Crested Butte, our good friend and neighbor, Eileen, pulled up next to me while I was walking Neva. We chatted and when she learned Jeremy would be coming out for the weekend before we headed back to Nederland, she said, “How about dinner at my house? We’ll grill steaks.” The last time we had dinner at James’ and Eileen’s house, Jeremy and I took turns running back down the street to check on Neva, who was crying and barking in her crate as she suffered from major FOMO (fear of missing out). This time, months later, she was quiet – alternating between dozing off and chewing quietly on her toys. Good girl.

Dinner was a team effort as I supplied a few appetizers, Eileen took care of the main and sides, and Wendy and Denise brought desserts. And there is always exceptional wine with these good folk. As I loaded my plate and crossed the room, Wyatt, Denise’s giant fur baby, tracked me – or rather the steak – to my seat.


wyatt wants to know if we could maybe share that steak



Wyatt had good reason. That steak was off the hook. James and Eileen often entertain large groups, so they will usually grill at least one hunk of protein to feed the masses. When last they served this steak over the fourth of July, the carving board was picked clean by the time I got back from checking on Neva. Over dinner, Eileen asked for my gougères recipe and I in turn requested the recipe for her steak. It was one of those “oh I just throw together x, y, and z” recipes, which I promptly forgot when Jeremy and I walked home under the sparkling night sky. The next day, Eileen was sweet enough to email me a recipe and I am sharing it with you – because it is TOO GOOD not to share.

One ingredient Eileen mentioned was Montreal steak seasoning, which she said you can find in any grocery store’s spice section. She uses that with salt and pepper as part of the dry rub. I had never heard of it, but I was pretty sure I could make it from scratch. The recipes online vary somewhat, but overall they have many of the same components. I chose the one that uses dill seed because I have a ton of it to use up.


black pepper, paprika, granulated onion, sea salt, dill seed, cayenne, granulated garlic, ground coriander

whisk everything together

now you have montreal steak seasoning



**Jump for more butter**