meet neva gin oysters chocolate budino miso soup


copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2015 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

archive for frozen

semifreddo, but todo rico

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Recipe: strawberry semifreddo

Easter always sneaks up on me because we don’t celebrate it. My heathen ritual is to buy a bag of Whopper mini eggs when they go on sale the following Monday and then promptly forget about it for another year. But I happen to have a lovely dessert that is good enough for spring holidays, weekend projects, special dinners, or basically any time you can get your hands on sweet sweet strawberries. California and Mexico strawberries have been in our stores lately, but I held off until they were the right color and smelled like candy.


here’s what i made



That’s a strawberry semifreddo – creamy, half-frozen, soft, fruity, slightly tangy, like a frozen mousse. I’ve had the recipe for many years, but never made it until yesterday. Back in the day, I took a terrific 10-week pastry skills course in Boulder as my reward for defending my dissertation. It was fast-paced and fun, but there wasn’t enough time to make all of the recipes. We were split into teams of two and each pair tackled a different pastry (or two) each week. At the end of every class, we divvied up our finished masterpieces and took them home. Except I never took the strawberry semifreddo home because it was summer and I had a 45-minute drive back to the house. But it sure looked good. Seeing the strawberries in the market the other day, I realized I wanted to finally make that semifreddo.

grand marnier, sugar, lemon, strawberries

wash, hull, and halve the strawberries

strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, grand marnier

toss it all together and macerate



I adapted the recipe from my class, which was adapted from Sherry Yard’s recipe. Her version has a pâte sucrée base, but I didn’t want to deal with baking anything, so I went with a vanilla cookie crumb base like you might find on a cheesecake. You can use graham cracker crumbs if you like. I thought vanilla cookies (scavenged from vanilla sandwich cookies) would be fun. You can leave the creme filling in, if you like, but I scrape it off. Or you can use lemon cookies or vanilla wafers.

sugar, butter, cookies (nor pictured: salt)

scraping off the vanilla bean creme

pile the cookies into the food processor

cookie crumbs



**Jump for more butter**

getting after it

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Recipe: bananas foster

Winter is coming and going, but mostly it’s going. If I can stand on the deck at sunset in short sleeves, then winter is most certainly on her way out. The R-word has entered the forecasts… Rain. When I look toward the local ski resort from our house, I can see if there is weather over the mountain. But lately, the weather up the valley has been darker with more streaks. That’s rain.


a late evening surprise sunset



We are both wondering if we’ll be able to start lacing up our trail runners this month around here. April, sure. March? That’s a little disheartening. And even though the sun and atmosphere have conspired to kill our snowpack, we’re gonna ski until we can’t. Besides, you can always count on getting that 1-2 foot dump the day after the local ski hill closes for the season. And it always manages to snow on Mother’s Day. Plenty to look forward to. For now, we’ll make due with what we’ve got.

high sun at 5pm

great views of the surrounding high country

ready for some turns

time to ski out and get some dinner



I am adjusting with the seasons. Jeremy always puts the kettle on when we get home from skiing. He sweetly asks me what I’d like: hot cocoa, hot cider, tea? Something to warm me up from the cold. Except it hasn’t been very cold lately, so I politely decline and grab a glass of cold water – maybe drop two or three big ice cubes into it. That’s how stupidly warm it has been. Jeremy still likes a mug of hot coffee or hot tea and won’t transition to cold beverages until the dead of summer when you feel like your skin is going to go up in flames. This intermediate period is a good time for a compromise – hot and cold. Something for everyone. Like bananas foster!

vanilla, rum, amaretto, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon , salt, bananas

quarter the bananas

it goes quickly, so get your mise en place!



**Jump for more butter**

sweet things in the year of the goat

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate peanut butter chip pizookie

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Tsai! It’s the year of the goat, or sheep, or ram! I’m not really sure which one it’s supposed to be, but you get the gist. The house is clean (more or less), the symbol for luck is upside down on the front door, and I made several traditional foods on New Year’s Eve to ensure luck, health, happiness, and all the good stuff. Some of the recipes require quite a bit of time to prepare – there is no rushing through them. As I sliced and minced countless ingredients and plucked the ends off the soybean sprouts, it gave me time to contemplate the previous year, loved ones who are still with us and the loved ones who have gone. The new year is a joyful time, but it is also a time of remembrance and perhaps a little heartache.


round whole fruits are good luck (and hong bao have cash!)

the character for “luck” upside down at the front door (luck arrives)

lucky ten ingredient vegetables



You’d think a Chinese recipe would be appropriate for today, but practically speaking, if you’re trying to celebrate the lunar new year, you should have cooked everything yesterday (new year’s eve) because you’re not supposed to use sharp objects (knives) today. Another superstition, don’t you know. There’s no need for knives in this recipe AND it’s something sweet – which is good because you want to eat something sweet on Chinese New Year’s Day so sweet things come out of your mouth all year.

So I have to share this guilty pleasure with you, because it’s ridiculous stuff. Years ago, my good friends Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple posted about pizookies: a deep dish cookie topped with ice cream. They were crazy about pizookies and have several recipes from which to choose. Over the winter holidays, I had some extra cookie dough and asked Jeremy if he wanted a pizookie. “A what?!” he asked. I had already popped it into the oven and just told him he wanted one. I was right.


peanut butter chips, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, butter, salt, vanilla, baking soda

cream the butter and sugars

beat in the eggs and vanilla



**Jump for more butter**