huckleberry fudge california hand roll (temaki) hot smoked salmon and asparagus pasta kaweah


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

archive for dessert

coming home

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Recipe: huckleberry fudge

We returned to Nederland a couple of days ago only to be greeted by a furnace blast of a heat wave. Man, is it hot – even in the mountains! We usually find relief at night when we can draw cool air into the house (most mountain homes don’t have air conditioning as we usually don’t need it), but the evenings haven’t offered much of that either. I feel such ambivalence toward summer. On the one hand I cannot stand the heat and I hide from the sun as much as I can, but on the other hand it is the short time when tons of fun and beautiful things happen.

I stopped by the vet’s office on Wednesday afternoon and told the assistant at the desk that I was there to receive Kaweah’s ashes. She walked to the back and looked at four different sized boxes and picked up a medium-ish one. Instead of handing it to me across the front desk, she came around to where I stood and offered me a hug and said she was so sorry. I thought I was getting better about keeping it together when people gave their condolences, but apparently I wasn’t. Blinking back tears, I thanked her and she told me how much the office loved Kaweah and what a remarkable little girl she was. Stepping outside the office into the breeze coming off the mountains, I cradled the box in my arms. It’s so light – so much lighter than the 55 pounds of pup we were used to carrying around in her old age… 55 pounds of mostly water and carbon, reduced to carbon. I know this isn’t my Kaweah. My Kaweah is gone. But she’s also in my heart – so not really gone.


kaweah’s ashes and two framed photos – one for her vet and one for us



Thursday morning presented itself at 5:30 am. That decision, of whether or not to get up and get outside when you’re short on sleep, can be a tough one. I know from experience that I usually won’t regret getting up, but I might regret not getting up. Our dedication was rewarded first thing in the morning with wildlife sightings, colorful wildflowers strewn across the meadows like confetti, and clear views of the high country.

that’s a moose

a big moose

don’t mess with the moose

potpourri

morning light on delicate blossoms

looking east

the indian peaks high country



It is a great time to catch wildflowers in the mountains around here. They seem to be peaking around 10,000 feet right now. Believe it or not, my whole motivation for hiking was not to see moose or the wildflowers (but both are TOTALLY BONUS!!), it was to check on the huckleberries. Oh, and to get exercise, but… huckleberries. They were green and plumping up nicely in Crested Butte on my last trail run. Here in the Front Range, they’re a little behind their Crested Butte brethren. Still, it’s coming along nicely. Hiking is my finger on the pulse of the hucks.

green hucks in crested butte



What do I plan to do with the huckleberries? Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ve been planning ALL YEAR for this moment in time. One of the treats I’ve been wanting to make is huckleberry fudge. If you’ve ever traveled to Montana and visited a gift shop, you will have seen and possibly sampled huckleberry fudge. I did just that (many) years ago when Jeremy and I took a 6-week detour through the Rocky Mountains on our cross-country move from Pasadena, California to Ithaca, New York. I’m not a big fan of fudge, but huckleberry fudge is something else entirely.

white chocolate, cream cheese, powdered sugar, huckleberry jam



**Jump for more butter**

summer approacheth

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Recipe: peanut butter caramel sauce

All signs point to summer: the blazing sun, rising mercury, pine pollen, afternoon thunderstorms, open windows at night, wild strawberry blossoms along my trail runs, and the impending solstice. Oh, but the best is yet to come when the snow in the high country finally recedes and the huckleberries and porcini emerge alongside colorful alpine wildflowers. It’s weeks away and yet I can already anticipate it will be here before I know it because everything seems to take place in these short summer months. Earlier in the week we enjoyed a lovely happy hour at The Flagstaff House with my parents. I have a feeling summer will kick into high gear very soon.


my rocky mountain cucumber cocktail (sans alcohol)

tuna tartare

fried oysters on polenta (if you go there, order this – so good!)

my queen of the night bloomed (symbolizes good luck!)

our aspen stands have turned lush and green



Before my parents arrived in Colorado, I had lunch with my friend, Ellen of Helliemae’s Caramels. She gave me a bag of her jasmine caramels to welcome my parents, a box of coffee caramels for Jeremy (the coffee fiend), and a bag of peanut butter caramels. It’s a sort of ritual among certain friends of mine that whenever we see each other, we bring gifts like pickled okra or organic adzuki beans or a little box of Maldon sea salt or a jar of homemade kimchi or a bottle of homemade foraged elderflower cordial – but Ellen is the master of caramels. It’s her thing.

creamy, smooth peanut butter caramels



I enjoy the first couple of caramels for what they are and then by the third, I start imagining how awesome they would be in other recipes. One of Jeremy’s favorite items from Helliemae’s is the Chili Palmer caramel sauce. He puts it on ice cream like it is going out of fashion, which got me thinking about peanut butter caramel sauce and the awesomeness that would be a sundae with said sauce. I didn’t have enough caramels left (oops!) to make a sauce out of them, so I made it from scratch.

sugar, cream, peanut butter



**Jump for more butter**

so many ways about it

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Recipe: orange creamsicle frozen yogurt two ways

There is a short window of time in late spring when: 1) the road to the trailhead is closed to cars, but clear of snow 2) the trail is completely under snow and 3) the snow is firm enough to hoof it on foot. I live for this window because it’s when we do the bike-hike-ski, a triumvirate of springtime mountain activities. And it was HOT. 60°F at 10,000 feet with the sun roasting us from above (so more like broiling). There are always ways to get your ski on, it’s just a matter of how determined you are to get it. And we are not the only ones out there.

[Many of you inquired after the sunblock I had tested and liked. It is TerraSport SPF 30 which is not only non-greasy, rubs in well, non-sticky, and waterproof for 80 minutes, but it rates well on the Environmental Working Group site, which I trust. We are also in the process of testing Vanicream for sensitive skin.]


biking up to the trailhead

stashing the bikes in the trees

hiking up to the basin

skiing out

switching from skis to bikes (what a junk show)

ready to ride out



I love the snow, really love it. When we paused in the shade to fuel up and throw on some long-sleeve shirts (the sun at high altitude can be really harsh), I happily dropped my pack and plopped my butt in the snow. FELT GREAT. I know why Kaweah used to roll around in snow patches on summer hikes. I do it too. But at our house, the snow is a mere memory from a few weeks ago. The earliest wildflowers are starting to show their color in the yard and the hummingbirds are zipping about in super-aggro mode. Where is the relief from the sun? It’s in my freezer and it’s easy to make, so you can have relief in your freezer too. I’m talking about orange creamsicle frozen yogurt. Remember those orange creamsicle pops from the 70s, the decade that tried to kill us all with fake colors and flavors? It was so excellent, I made two versions.

smooth version: vanilla extract, grand marnier, oranges, sugar, plain yogurt

grate the orange zest

juice the oranges



**Jump for more butter**