gougères vanilla sugar boozy mississippi bourbon mud pie linguine with clams


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

archive for cheese

stay on target

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Recipe: gougères

For some reason, I had this naive notion in my head that there was plenty of time to get all of the holiday, work, house, and social tasks done before leaving town. I hadn’t counted on losing three of those days to back pain which turned my three remaining days into an all out assault on my to-do list. Do you bakers ever think to yourself in the middle of mixing a batch of cookie dough, “Maybe I’ll just give them three kinds of cookies instead of four…”? Because I think that quite a bit – especially when I reach up to scratch my forehead and wind up leaving a smear of creamed butter and brown sugar where the itch was. Still, I stuck with four types of cookies and tossed in a batch of brittle at the last minute to boot! At some point around midnight, I looked up from the hundreds of cookies on cooling racks covering every known inch of counter space and said, “I hate cookies.” Jeremy, who was in the final stretch of his exam-grading marathon held his hand up, his gaze still fixed upon the exam, muttering, “I’ll commiserate with you in just a moment.”

Truth is, I love giving cookies to people and watching their faces light up with smiles. Cookies are miniature edible gifts. Kids love cookies, adults love cookies, strangers love cookies. Most are hand-delivered although a few get shipped. If I happen to see you in that 48-hour window of time between The End of Baking and when I leave town, you should probably expect cookies. Wednesday was the day to wrap up all business, clean the house (because it sucks to come back home to a dirty house), deliver cookies, pack for Crested Butte, and meet up with people I don’t get to see very often.


ramen lunch at oak with erin

happy hour selfie with my baby cousin!



My aunt, cousins, and cousin-in-law made a detour to Boulder en route to Vail for a happy hour get together. When Mom learned that her younger sister was going to be seeing us in Colorado, she instructed me to gift them a bunch of food stuffs because… well, because Chinese mothers always think you will starve. I tucked four kinds of cookies in the bag, too. My aunt was recovering from the flu and she apologized for not making some cookies to give us. I reassured her that cookies were the last things I wanted to see for a while. The hope is that my immediate future involves three flavors of skiing, savory snacks, and time spent with my guy. Now, if you are knee-deep in party season, I have a nice savory appetizer to share. It’s cheesy, elegant, and has a French name.

gougères: water, white pepper, flour, gruyère, eggs, salt, sugar, butter



Gougères are savory little baked puffs of choux pastry. It’s similar to the puffs in cream puffs, but these are baked with cheese. You can use all sorts of cheeses, but Gruyère is my favorite in gougères. They even rhyme!

combine the butter, sugar, salt, and water in a pan

add the flour all at once

quickly stir the flour into the liquid



**Jump for more butter**

running hot and cold

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Recipe: chicken tortilla soup

I’m more patient than I was in my youth, but it’s still not my strong suit. By November, we should be getting nice deliveries of snow piling up in the mountains. As it is, we have very little due to unseasonably warm weather. Well, that’s not such a terrible thing because the lack of snow meant I could spend the weekend resting my shoulder and spending time with my favorite guy instead of reinjuring myself on early season obstacles in the snow. Saturday was our 22-year smoochiversary, so we worked all day and then got out for a quick late day hike as the sun sat low in the sky.


22 wonderful years together

ice shards piled up against the shore

neat patterns

colorful sunset



We have arrived at that stage where I inform Jeremy at least once each day, but more like three or four times a day, “I want a puppy.” It’s hard for me to tell if what I’m saying is, “I want a new puppy” or “I miss my baby puppy.” I suppose in my heart, I mean both. Jeremy isn’t ready and we will wait until he is. It just feels a little empty without some fur ball wandering around the house distributing hair and putting nose prints on the glass doors. Patience for winter. Patience for a puppy. Like I said, not my strong suit.

Actually, we are due for some snow in the morning (Monday), which is a start. A late start. Some resorts have postponed their opening days because it’s been too warm to even make snow at night. In anticipation of cooler nights, I’ve been making soup – tortilla soup. Technically, any soup with tortilla strips in it is a tortilla soup. For years I made one with all manner of leftover vegetables, but decided it was high time I looked up a proper recipe. There are so many variations, but this one I settled on is a mega winner – especially if you make your own chicken broth/stock. Of course, if you’re short on time, there is nothing wrong with using store-bought broth and chicken, which makes the recipe super easy and quick.


for the chicken and broth: whole legs, olive oil, salt, and pepper

season the chicken

brown the chicken

cover with water and simmer (or pressure cook, as I did here)



**Jump for more butter**

choppin’ broccoli

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Recipe: roasted broccoli and farro salad with feta

I’ve spent the past two weeks trying to get myself back into the groove over here. Somehow, I managed to catch the tail end of tomato season so I could process and can those precious red orbs for our long winter ahead. And there are those things we do every fall like trim mistletoe from our trees, clean out the gutters while the squirrels chatter angrily at you, spread all of that dark and earthy compost in the yard to make room in the composter for the winter. I’m attempting to get back to a regular trail running regimen as thoughts turn to ski season and limited days on clear trails by foot. Last week, I passed a woman with a black lab puppy on a leash near the elementary school. Ten weeks old, she told me as it sat on its little haunches trying to eat its leash. I smiled and continued on my way, thankful that the trails were empty, running through the woods wiping away the tears. But the good thing about long trail runs is that my mind won’t linger on one topic for too long. Eventually it will turn to the client shoot I have to finish or those photos from the fall shoot that I haven’t even looked at since capturing them weeks ago.


a sea of clouds at sunset

pink clouds hugging the mountain top at sunset

first light hitting blowing snow



While I was on the fall shoot, I spent a good bit of time driving and hiking around the mountains by myself. My brain never shuts up and I’ll be the first to admit that food is always on my mind. So I began compiling a list of recipes I wanted to try that popped into my head while hunting aspens. My kitchen in Nederland is my headquarters – my base of operations. Once home, I couldn’t wait to get started. Something I had been craving was a hearty grain salad.

green onions, salt, red pepper flakes, feta, farro, parsley, broccoli, olive oil, red wine vinegar, black pepper

cut the crowns into bite-size florets

slice the stalks



**Jump for more butter**