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


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to huck with it

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Recipe: huckleberry jam

There is never a dull moment in summer. It feels like EVERYTHING happens at the same time! At least it felt that way last week. I suppose that’s to be expected right before a major summer holiday weekend. Or maybe it’s the heat? The heat makes me lose my mind. Luckily, I managed to up my longest distance to a 20.6 mile run on the coolest day of the week. Then I spent a good bit of time prepping food for our Fourth of July barbecue. Originally we had planned to have my parents and several of our friends up for dinner and then fireworks at our local reservoir. But our town, Nederland, has decided to stop doing its annual fireworks display this year, so everyone came over to our place and just ate a ton of food.


our natural version of a fireworks display



Kaweah was not doing well in the days leading up to the party. It worried us enough to think that this week we’d have to take her in for one last visit at the vet’s office. During the party, the loud voices and commotion stressed her out even though she was safely sequestered on another floor. After most guests had left, we brought her up to the main floor and she immediately hid in the office. I went to bed that night trying to prepare myself for the inevitable and crying into the darkness. The next day was dedicated to Kaweah. We didn’t move any furniture around or run the vacuum cleaner. We kept it quiet and calm. She snacked on raw beef and banana pupsicles and received lots of puppy massages and cuddles.

me and my pup



And what do you know? Kaweah was relaxed and happy. She was in good spirits and pretty mobile (as mobile goes for a 15.5 year old lab). Over the next two days her energy and mood were improved. Jeremy and I have been preparing ourselves for the end for so long now that we just don’t assume anything anymore. We take it one day at a time and play it by ear according to Kaweah’s needs. Emotional roller coaster? You bet it is. Kaweah has never been much of a planner, so it seems that this is all par for the course. Each day as it comes. Every day is a gift.

maybe the camera has a treat



Of course, I *am* a planner. I’ve been waiting for July to get here since last August. “Why is that?” you may ask. Because the season is fast upon us…

a porcini with a 77mm lens cap for scale



Yes, porcini season is right around the corner, but it’s not the porcini in the picture that I’m super psyched over. See all those green plants that the mushroom is nestled in? Those are huckleberry plants, and huckleberries are what I’m ALL about.

flowering huckleberries



Huckleberries are the number one single most awesomest bestest berries in this whole wide world. I am obsessed with huckleberries and they are coming into season in my local mountains this month. It takes a lot of time and patience to hand-pick hucks in the wild because the plants are low to the ground and the berries are underneath the leaves. That means your quads, buttocks, and calves will get a GREAT workout. I can pick about 1 cup of hucks in one hour and it takes about 2.5-3 cups of berries to make a pound.

two pounds of hucks from last summer (frozen)

thawing out the berries



**Jump for more butter**

refresh me

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Recipe: mint lime syrup

Most of you know what a heat wimp I am. As we move firmly into summer and our runs increase in distance and duration, I’ve taken to 4 am wake ups to avoid running in direct sunlight as much as possible. In the mountains, we start our runs in 30-40°F temperatures, which tragically climb into the 60s and 70s as the sun rises in the sky. 80s on the really hot days. I know many people think 60s and 70s are positively balmy, but that sun is intensely strong at 10,000 feet when you are sucking air like a Hoover running up a steep trail. But yeah, I am a heat wimp.

Besides sticking my head in the freezer (there is no air conditioning in the mountains), I keep cool by lurking about in the shade (dry heat) and keeping hydrated. I drink water and unsweetened iced tea almost exclusively, but when we entertain, I like to splurge on some kind of fruity infusion beverage. Entertaining season is upon us! While I was flipping through Marisa’s new book Preserving by the Pint, her mint lime syrup caught my eye.


preserving by the pint, marisa’s second book

so many lovely recipes and photographs



Actually, there are a ton of recipes in her book that piqued my interest. It’s full of quick recipes for small batches of pickles, jams, salsas, butters, sauces, etc. So instead of processing 20 pounds of peaches in one never-ending canning session, you have a lovely guide for making a single jar of pickles or two half-pints of strawberry jam in under an hour. Nice.

mint, limes, sugar, water

pluck the mint leaves, juice the limes

pouring water into the sugar to make a simple syrup



**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**