angry edamame huckleberry syrup grilled brie porcini and caramelized onion sandwich thai sweet chili sauce


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

archive for chinese

always learning

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Recipe: chinese chive turnovers (he zi)

Ahhhhh, finally finally finally, the much awaited cool down arrived. It was no longer sheer misery to run or hike or even stand outside. To celebrate, I put my trail runners on and headed out early Monday morning. I never take a cool weather day for granted! The wildflowers are still going strong, but they are different flowers from a month ago. Asters, fireweed, harebells, and columbine are all out in force now. I spotted another moose too, this time a female (cow), but she was but a speck in the distance by the time I got my iphone out. On my non-run days, I hike the trails to stretch my legs and check on my huckleberries. I say “my” huckleberries because I feel like we’re all good friends by now. And I’m still naming the porcini I find because there are so very few… well, thus far there have been all of two.


me in a field of noxious weeds (ox-eye daisies?)

the single ripe huckleberry, which i ate

a lone, handsome porcini named claudio



A large storm system has been sitting over us for a couple of days, delivering a lot of rain and much cooler temperatures. That’s both good (we need it) and bad (we don’t need it all at once, please!). So far there hasn’t been any major flooding – whew! I rather love the dreary, rainy days. It takes the edge off of summer for me and makes me feel like cooking again. Last week, I had asked my parents about a Chinese snack my Grandma used to make and they immediately rattled off how to make them. I translated their instructions into recipe form. It’s one thing to know how to make something, it’s something else entirely to communicate how to make it to someone who may or may not know how to cook. They called me the next day and excitedly informed me that when I came to see them later, they would demo how to make the snacks. It was really cute.

team effort

“daddy will show you how to do this right”



These are known as Chinese chive turnovers or jiu cai he zi. Chinese chives (or Chinese leeks) have a wonderfully garlicky flavor to them. They are some of my favorite Chinese greens. You can find them in Asian grocery stores that have well-stocked produce sections. Since my parents didn’t have any on hand, they used Napa cabbage and pork for the filling, but I got the gist of it. The pastry is made from a hot water dough similar to the kind you use for Chinese dumplings. Traditionally, the turnovers are made with Chinese chives, egg, and sometimes pork and sometimes glass noodles (mung bean thread noodles). They don’t have to be turnovers either. My parents demoed the pancake style, which is equally delicious. I’ll show you how to make both.

chinese chives, full of garlicky goodness

chinese chives, salt, ground pork, flour, sesame oil, soy sauce, vegetable oil (for frying)



**Jump for more butter**

a weekend of celebrations

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Recipe: pan-seared sichuan shrimp with glass noodles

You know it was a good weekend when you make food for three separate parties. I’m essentially partied out. But they were all wonderful, excellent, very good celebrations. The most important was Kaweah’s half birthday – her 15.5 birthday to be exact. Jeremy and I are still in awe that she is not only here with us, but generally in good spirits and always happy to eat. While we don’t normally celebrate her half birthdays, we felt it was appropriate to celebrate this one. I seared a few meatballs (ground beef, milk, bread, salt), fried a couple of bacon strips, and procured a proper filet mignon. Kaweah gets ALL of the good stuff.


kaweah loves birthdays and half birthdays



Kaweah gets so excited when we set a plate of goodies in front of her. She looks from the meatball to the filet to the bacon, to me, to Jeremy, then back to the meatball – over and over. All the while, she is trying to be a good girl, waiting for her release word… except she’s almost completely deaf. Instead of letting her eat off the plate, we hand-fed her (and I sliced that steak) so she wouldn’t choke on anything. I dare say she had a really really good time!

jeremy blows out the candles while kaweah stares at the meatballs

the tip of her tongue is sticking out in anticipation

chomp!



The rest of the weekend, we attended our friends’ birthday party and then prepped for and hosted a dinner party for my parents for Father’s Day. I know that I’m very lucky to have my parents here with me – even luckier that I can cook a special meal for them that they enjoy. But now that the weekend is over, I need to get back to simpler fare! I love the prep and great flavors of this shrimp and glass noodles dish.

shrimp, snow peas, vegetable oil, sichuan peppercorns, white pepper, salt, ginger, green onions, chili oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, glass noodles

grind the peppercorns

grate the ginger and slice the green onions



**Jump for more butter**

learning and teaching

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Recipe: chinese turnip pastries

A small pulse of winter weather delivered some snow to our local hill last week. Three inches does not a powder day make, but we had a lovely time nonetheless because the air was completely calm. Our typically scoured high peaks were all sporting beautiful blankets of snow that morning. Snowflakes floated through the air, glistening in the sun. I love me a sun shower, but sun snow is one of the best things ever.


the view from my favorite run at eldora (muleshoe)

sun snow!



Trent mentioned that he was taking his 3-year old to the local hill for her first ski day this past weekend and asked if we were planning to go. Jeremy and I are what you would call spoiled brats. We don’t go to ski resorts on weekends unless there is a foot of fresh powder. But… I thought it would be nice to offer our moral support and it’s been a while since I’ve brought my camera (as opposed to my iphone) with me to the slopes. We rode the magic carpet (I’ve never ridden the magic carpet with skis before), we skied the bunny hill, and we shouted encouragement to little Paloma. It’s a lot for a little one to take in – all of the commotion, this strange form of travel (skis), people yard-saling it left and right, potty breaks, snacks, and trying to learn to ski on top of all that. She did so well! I have to say that Trent gets major points for being so patient, caring for his little girl in this new-to-her environment while teaching her the fundamentals of skiing, and ensuring she has fun.

trent teaching pizza (wedge) while paloma goes straight to french fries (parallel)

proud dad watches as she takes off on her own

skiing is FUN!



Watching my friends interact with and teach their children is fascinating. It simultaneously impresses and terrifies me. Impresses, because my friends are amazing parents with infinite patience and dedication. Terrifies, because I don’t know what to do with kids outside the realm of “fun auntie”. They cry and I immediately surrender. And because it’s so much work, it makes me realize all the more how wonderful my parents and grandma were to me in my youth.

As Chinese New Year approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about Grandma. I sure do miss her and all of the little special things about our visits together. She had a friend who made these delectable savory turnip pastries, and whenever I came to see Grandma in California, she’d have bought several of these pastries for me. My aunt and I tried to analyze and reverse engineer how to make them on one visit and Grandma waved her hand at us and said, “It’s quite complicated.” But after making the egg custard tarts, I decided to give the savory turnip pastries a go.


start with chinese sausages

salt, daikon radish, chinese sausage, sesame oil, pepper



**Jump for more butter**