huckleberry cheesecake ice cream coconut shrimp spruce tip syrup and the muir cocktail cherry (ice cream) bombes


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jacuzzi time

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Recipe: sous vide meyer lemon cheesecake with raspberry sauce

Well thank goodness the snow is back. I was about to lose my marbles there, because skiing ice is a little hard on my knee, which I hyper-extended thanks to jamming my ski under some wind slab in the backcountry. My knee is mostly fine, but I’m icing, doing strengthening exercises, and a little bit of skiing. Just a little bit.


“is there snow on my face?”

jeremy grabs some turns before starting the work day



So if you follow my personal account on Instagram (https://instagram.com/jenyuphoto/), you may have noticed that I have been busy experimenting with my sous vide cooker. Sure, it’s great for steaks and chops and chicken and fish and eggs, but… what about sweets? I decided to try it out on cheesecake, because I’ve baked cheesecakes in a water bath in the oven before. It’s like a jacuzzi for cheesecakes. The thing is, I can only make individual cheesecakes with my sous vide cooker. You CAN make whole cheesecakes in a sous vide oven, or you can sous vide the filling in a bag and squeeze the contents onto a crust (but that sounds a little janky to me). I’ve been excited to try a lemon cheesecake for some time, because the citrus adds a nice bit of zip, zest, and brightness to cream cheese, which I find to be incredibly flat tasting. But first, let’s make the raspberry sauce. I use frozen organic raspberries because they are cheaper than fresh and work just as well for our purposes.

lemon juice, water, sugar, frozen raspberries

combine water and raspberries in a saucepan

simmer until the berries break down



**Jump for more butter**

spring, is that you?

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Recipe: passion fruit meringues

I knew it would snow again. How awesome for us that we could backcountry ski fresh snow in our local mountains one day, then go for a trail run in these same mountains the next day. The weather is a spring mix bouquet – it’s got a little bit of everything going on right now. We are rolling with it, because staying indoors is not an option.


sunrise clouds revealing new snow

a fast-moving thunderstorm at sunset



Jeremy and I have been waiting for a window of good weather all month when the snow is still decent in the high country. Active storms, cooler weather, and work obligations finally cleared this weekend. We pounced on the opportunity to get Neva out for her first ski backpack. It was an overnight trip into our local backcountry and we kept it simple for our own sanity as well as Neva’s safety. Unlike summer backpacking, early season backpacking involves more bulk and weight to account for cold nights, camping on snow, potential storms, and ski equipment. Although the forecast thunderstorms never materialized, we camped below treeline to be safe. Of course, Neva had the time of her life romping in the snow, getting extra food and snacks (she burned a lot of calories), catching the scent of a bazillion wild animals, and hogging our sleeping bags all night.

neva cools off in the snow – it was a scorching 70°f

skinning uphill with a heavy pack and a dog that likes to pull every which way is hard work

clouds building on the divide

home for the night



When Jeremy first introduced me to backpacking in March of 1993, he explained that it is “the endeavor of a thousand little discomforts”. But with experience, we learned to minimize, ignore, or accept those discomforts in exchange for the freedom of the hills. Ski backpacking with a one-year old crazy dog definitely adds more complexity and even pain. An outsider might regard this activity as recreation, but Jeremy and I definitely classify it as fun #2. Worth it? Absolutely. Will we take Neva again? We’ll see.

pre-dawn colors in the east

breaking down camp at 6:30 am

hiking the last couple of miles out



As the sun lingers in the sky for a few more minutes each day, my mind turns to tropical flavors. If anything tastes like sunshine, it is passion fruit. I’ve gone to great lengths in the past to procure fresh passion fruit, but sometimes I have to suck it up and buy some at outrageous prices here in Colorado for a shoot. Never let it be said that I have ever allowed a passion fruit to go to waste. Actually, I hate waste in general, which is why I wound up making these passion fruit meringues – because I always have an excess of egg whites in my refrigerator!

eggs, sugar, passion fruit

precious pulp and juice



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never gonna give you up

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Recipe: cornflake chocolate chip cookies

Remember what I said about everything being relative and how enduring terrible windstorms made the horrible windstorms seem not so bad after all? Right. The winds were only gusting to 55 mph the other day, so we packed up the pup and some gear for a little ski tour. It always feels worse in the parking lot because parking lots offer zero shelter, but once you are in the trees, it gets better. Except this time the couple of inches of fresh snow turned into a ground blizzard even in the trees. Still, we were happy to get outside and get the lungs pumping. Neva couldn’t care less about blowing snow or mature conifers dancing in the wind as if it were a rave. That pup is clearly happiest romping through the snow. None of us can give up snow.


a ground blizzard starting up



Sometimes we ski down with Neva on a leash, which requires that the skier maintain a steady speed and remain in complete control so that no puppies or people are harmed. Other times, Jeremy will ski down first while I hold Neva on leash. When he gets to a stopping point, he’ll call out and I’ll tell her to go find Jeremy and let her go. She tears off like a maniac and usually ends up wherever he is. A couple of times though, Neva has veered off into the woods. The last time she did it, she got stuck in a big snow drift and when I called to her, she ran back to me then ran to Jeremy upon my command. Treats don’t seem to have greater value than “sweet sweet freedom”, but we figured out what does (for now): her tennis ball. I tucked it into Jeremy’s pack before we left the house.

The whole way up, we worked on “heel” and “trail” to keep Neva from wandering in front of our skis or pulling orthogonally. It’s hard for her to control herself because the snow makes her SO EXCITED, but she is improving each time we ski with her. On the way back down, we ripped (climbing) skins and locked into ski mode. Neva did great running alongside Jeremy. For steeper sections, it’s more fun for all involved if we can take the hills unattached (no leash). I had Neva’s leash in my hand and before Jeremy took off down the hill, he produced the orange tennis ball. Suddenly, all of her world became that ball. He skied off and I told her to wait. She sat in the snow, but her front legs were trembling with eagerness and you could hear Neva whimpering over the howling wind. The moment Jeremy came to a stop, her front paw began to twitch. He waved to me and I said, “Go!” as Neva flew down the hill leaving cold smoke in her wake. I think I’m going to order 60 more of those orange balls (she likes the orange ones, the yellow ones aren’t as interesting for some reason).


now that’s a happy girl



Once home, Neva took a big drink of water, ate some snacks, and then sprawled out in a sunny spot on the floor for a well-deserved nap. As Jeremy reached for a chocolate chip cookie on the counter, I stopped him mid-reach. “Not that batch,” I pointed, “THAT batch.” I had been recipe testing cookies over the weekend because I hadn’t made chocolate chip cookies in years. It’s a wonderful feeling to have a recipe you can always count on. I used to bake a cornflake chocolate chip cookie recipe all the time when I lived at sea level. It’s a recipe I got from an ex-boyfriend’s mother that was a hit with all of my co-workers, graduate department, and colleagues for over a decade. Then I moved to Colorado and the cookies didn’t bake right anymore. I made several adjustments and tanked several batches for the first year. After a while, I gave up. You hear this from a lot of people who moved from sea level to high altitudes – they just stopped baking cookies.

With another decade of baking – this time at elevation – under my belt, and this great article on the science of chocolate chip cookies from The Food Lab (it’s Kenji week here at Butter headquarters), I decided to give it another shot. It’s not the ultimate chocolate chip cookie that I am after, I just want my cornflake chocolate chip cookies to not suck.


vanilla, cornflakes, flour, dark chocolate, eggs, sugar, baking soda, salt, dark brown sugar, butter



The first rule for high altitude baking is to stick with the original recipe. Sometimes they turn out with zero alterations, other times it’s just a small tweak, and then on rare occasion it requires a massive overhaul of the original recipe. I basically went with a mashup of Kenji’s recipe and my cornflake chocolate chip cookie recipe – which is a chocolate chip cookie with crushed cornflakes in the dough.

whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together

crush the cornflakes with a rolling pin

chop the chocolate



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