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yukes and neeves

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Recipe: italian marinated porcini mushrooms

If anything has become apparent in the last week, it is this: Neva gives Yuki courage and Yuki helps Neva relax. When Yuki is uncertain or confused, she sits down or gets to a safe place. This is how she has learned to deal with stress and it’s a pretty good coping mechanism.

On a hike last week, we crossed a narrow footbridge that spanned a raging mountain stream. Jeremy and Neva led and then Yuki and I followed. Yuki was doing just fine until we got to the middle of the footbridge and she happened to glance down at the frothing white water below. She froze and crouched low, backing up until she was safely off the bridge. I tried to encourage her, but she wouldn’t budge. I didn’t want to pick her up and carry her across because she needs to learn how to cross bridges. [Note: Neva also had issues first crossing bridges as a puppy – she barked at the bridges, too.] I whistled to Jeremy and had him come back with Neva. Yuki watched as Neva gracefully trotted across the bridge to her. They touched noses and then Jeremy slowly led Neva back onto the bridge, just a few feet in, and waited. Yuki really wanted to be with Neva. You could see her mustering up her little puppy gumption as she placed her front paws on the first boulder step leading to the bridge, tail wagging. She paused, and then went for it! She clambered up onto the footbridge and followed close behind Neva, never looking back. We were so proud of her and proud of Neva for leading by example.


my sweet girls



We brought Yuki out to Crested Butte for the first time this week. It’s a 5+ hour car ride from house to house, and we didn’t know how it would go down. When we packed the girls into the car on Monday morning for our road trip, they each settled into their dog beds. Neva usually cries for a few hours then paces about in her dog bed as prey drive kicks into gear with every vehicle on the road or field of cattle we pass. This time, Neva sat quietly, sniffing the air when the windows were open, and even lying down for a quarter of the trip. Yuki snoozed most of the way. It was by far Neva’s best road trip. My friend, Ellen, says Yuki is Neva’s stable goat. I had to google what a stable goat is, and she’s absolutely right!

yukes and neeves resting on a hike

little pups, big views



Even though it’s early season for porcini, I keep my eyes peeled when I’m on the trails in summer. There are always some early bolters. I recently managed to spy a handful despite wrangling a puppy who is low to the ground and likes to pick up all sorts of things with her mouth. It was nice to introduce Yuki to the porcini because “porcini” is her release word (“raspberry” is Neva’s release word).

remember this scent, young padawan



I don’t know if the kings (porcini, king boletes, boletus rubriceps) will flush this year like they did last year. One can only hope for two consecutive years of crazy goodness. If they do, I plan to make more of these Italian marinated porcini because I cried real tears when I polished off my last jar from the 2017 season. The recipe comes from Hank Shaw’s most excellent Hunter Angler Gardener Cook blog. It’s a winner. There aren’t many ingredients, but the technique requires time. It took me about a day. Do you need to use porcini? Hank recommends meaty mushrooms, like boletes or cremini or shiitake. Meaty.

fresh porcini, salt, olive oil, vinegar, lemon, oregano, red chili

slice the porcini 1/2-inch thick



If you’ve worked with porcini before, you’ll know that the more mature mushrooms have yellow pores attached to the cap. Hank peels these off (and dries and grinds them for porcini powder) because he says they acquire an unpleasant texture during the pickling. Since I was using mostly bouchons, I left the pores – which are cream colored when young – in place and they were fine.

A large percentage of fresh porcini is water. We remove the water by laying the mushroom slices on a layer of salt, and then sprinkling more salt on top of the mushrooms and allow them to sit for a couple of hours. This draws out the water until you have mushroom slices in a salty slurry. Press each slice between paper towels to extract more moisture. If you have cuts on your hands, I highly recommend using some disposable gloves to handle the mushrooms. Because… OW!


sprinkle the salt on top of the mushrooms

let the mushrooms sit for a few hours

water is drawn out of the mushrooms

press more moisture out of the slices



**Jump for more butter**

january is on the move

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Recipe: blood orange marmalade

Jeremy often comments on the amount of daylight we get in December – or rather the lack of daylight. Every evening when the low sun slipped behind the mountains, he noted the time with an Eeyore-esque sadness in his voice. The only reason I had any awareness of the short days was because I received this daily reminder from Jeremy. It doesn’t get to me. But I will say that January offers something refreshing. It’s not just that we’re on an upswing from the daytime minimum, but it feels like the world is in motion again. These days, the world is moving a little faster… on skate skis. I think of skate skiing as the third in our triumvirate of free-heel skiing (telemark and classic nordic being the other two) and the winter sibling of trail running. It’s probably the most challenging skiing technique I’ve learned to date. Twila warned me of this when I inquired about it over the summer, so I didn’t have unrealistic expectations going into skating.


a morning of skate practice

beautiful sunlit fog



While I’m spending a good bit of time clambering up that (steep) learning curve for skate skiing, it’s important to mix it up with some turns on the mountain or a ski tour into the high country. Getting outside every day obliterates that disconnect that so many feel in winter from being holed up indoors. And with each snowstorm or bout of sunny weather, I have this intimate feel for January in the mountains. It’s lovely and invigorating. There are no winter blues over here.

it’s extra nice when i get puppy time

jeremy, erin, and banjo under falling snow

banjo wants us to go!!!



Another thing I look forward to in January is the arrival of blood oranges. Citrus is delightful in winter – but blood oranges are just so beautiful and fun. In my opinion, they don’t really have a superior flavor to other varieties like satsuma mandarins or Cara Cara, but they make beautiful gifts. I’ve been waiting months to get my hands on some blood oranges so I could make marmalade. Sure, I could have used other oranges earlier in the season, but blood oranges have that lovely reddish jewel hue that is hard to resist.

gorgeous color – amiright?

blood oranges, sugar, and powdered pectin (optional)

give the oranges a little soapy scrub a dub dub



**Jump for more butter**

patience rewarded

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Recipe: blueberry jam

We’re just a couple weeks away from summer and everyone I know is busy doing stuff. I can’t keep track of who is where and doing what and when anymore (forget about keeping track on Facebook, the only thing in my feed the past few days has been the Red Wedding). We have been working on so many things around here that the local flora has been popping up like a surprise party.


suprise! gold banner



Last year, when I started on my canning kick, I felt like I was in a frenzy to grab up the local peaches and ripe strawberries and ripe local luscious wonderful tomatoes. But when I said (in my head) that I would like to make some blueberry jam, I found that organic blueberries were prohibitively expensive. At $6 a pint, one batch of jam would cost me $36 for the blueberries alone. Screw that, I said to myself. Besides, I had a hundred pounds of tomatoes to can. No blueberry jam.

My friend, Laura, gave me a heads up on a one-day special at Whole Foods Boulder last Friday: $1.99 per pint of organic blueberries. Hello?! I was in town that day. I bought a case. Weekend project: blueberry jam.


you are mine

six pints of blueberries

all you need: sugar, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, pectin, and blueberries



The first thing to do is squish the blueberries. I tried mashing them with a heavy meat tenderizer and they sort of went zipping out of the bowl. I set the meat tenderizer down and decided to squash them by hand, one by one. The point is to break the skin so the juices release and come into contact with the sugar otherwise the sugar will be too dry and may burn during the jamming process. It’s a good activity for non-skilled associates (children, spouses, other relations, friends, even strangers), but I don’t recommend asking the dog to help. I found it to be rather therapeutic. Also, my fingers didn’t stain (much) because blueberry guts are almost colorless and the skins didn’t seem to release much of their deep color on my hands.

i’m crushing your head (who remembers that skit?!)

mix the sugar with the crushed berries

zest and juice the lemon while the berries boil



**Jump for more butter**