salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies sous vide hamburgers stir-fried fresh rice noodles with beef sourdough waffles

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2018 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

archive for gluten-free

food is caring, food is love

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Recipe: chia seed drink

We patiently waited for the snow and got our exercise with the usual uphill skis and laps around the limited Nordic trails this last week. While we might normally bring Neva with us on these activities, the uphill traffic has been rather high and the designated dog-friendly Nordic trails haven’t had enough snow to remain open. So little Neva has been getting her daily fetch sessions or bike rides, which she loves all the same. Still, we can’t help but feel that she has also been skunked on what should have been a snow-filled winter break.

found neva staring at the clock one night – thinking existential thoughts?

But finally, a much-needed storm arrived in Colorado and it delivered nearly double the forecast amount in Crested Butte. We watched the clouds pour into our little valley on Saturday afternoon and soon the white flakes followed. It snowed all night and when we woke up early Sunday morning, the skies were clearing and the mountain had received 11 inches in total from the storm. Time to rev up the snow blower and chuck the powder skis into the car.

this is what we want to see in winter

jeremy floats through the magical, fluffy powder

We drove back home to the Front Range today, ready to resume normal life. And by calling it normal life, I do not mean to imply that Crested Butte is vacation life. Crested Butte is more of a working vacation. The only reason we can spend as much time as we do in Crested Butte is because of the internet. Normal life is non-holiday life. The lead up to the holidays runs us completely ragged and so it’s no wonder that we spend the actual holidays mostly in hermit mode. After baking and shipping or delivering all of those cookies and candies, I thought I never wanted to see another cookie again. I was wrong.

Anita had mailed a box of Totoro linzer cookies and a sweet thank you note from her daughter for the quilt I made. I opened it in the car as we traveled west, deeper into the mountains. Neva’s nose was suddenly at my left ear, sniffing the contents of the box. There is something about homemade food that reminds me of my childhood. It stirs up that warmth in your heart when you feel loved and cared for – like when Grandma gave me a bowl of her Chinese noodle soup after pre-school or when Mom cooked my favorite meal for my birthday. Anita’s cookies were enough to make my day, but as we pulled into our neighborhood in Crested Butte, there was a package waiting in our mailbox from Jennie, filled with delectable spiced treats from her kitchen. I couldn’t stop smiling. My beautiful friends had reached across the country from opposite coasts to wrap me in a hug.

the cutest totoro linzer cookies

a tin filled with love

I don’t typically spend a lot of time cooking or baking in Crested Butte. I do enough of that at home. But lately I’ve been making an exception. Last summer, my friend asked for help with dog walking duties. Not her dogs, but someone else’s dog. Duke is a sweet, gentle ten year old black lab whose person was adjusting to life without legs. OF COURSE I volunteered to walk Duke, but it was infrequent because we don’t live in Crested Butte full-time. Still, I figured any little bit helped. Over Thanksgiving, my friend was away on travel, so she sent me a link to Duke’s schedule. For some reason I had naively assumed it was all about Duke, but what I found was a community of volunteers signing up to walk Duke, bring dinner to Duke’s person, and drive Duke’s person to medical appointments. I had not realized just how much help Duke’s person needed, because he never asked.

So I volunteered to bring dinner, because that seemed to be what most people didn’t sign up for and it’s something I am actually good at. Duke’s person was pretty excited about the meals, and I was grateful to have the opportunity to help. I consider the making of food to be an act of caring and love. We feed people in celebration, we feed the grief-stricken, we feed those in need, we feed to soothe and heal. My dear Tara commented on Instagram “I believe, in the Jewish tradition, we’re supposed to be thankful to those who are in need, because they allow us to experience the joy of giving.” I wasn’t familiar with this, but I liked it very much.

rice, indian lentil soup, thai tofu curry, some sugar plums for christmas

cooking potatoes in spices

I try hard to accommodate dietary restrictions. Several of my friends have Celiac disease, some have nut allergies, others like myself, are lactose intolerant. Duke’s person was easy by comparison: flexitarian (eats chicken and fish) and low sugar. The hard part was sourcing ingredients in a small mountain town, but I’m getting better at it. Now that I’m home, I can plan ahead for the next trip to Crested Butte and bring the hard-to-find ingredients to make more interesting dishes. The other nice thing about being home is resuming a more normal pattern of eating. Earlier last year, I incorporated a new (to me) source of non-dairy calcium in this almond vanilla chia seed pudding. Over the summer, I decided to get my chia seed fix in beverage form.

white and black chia seeds

Some folks have issues with the texture and consistency of chia seed pudding, but they may find it easier to enjoy chia seeds in a more dilute medium. You’ve probably seen some bottled chia seed drinks in grocery stores. I tried my first chia seed kombucha last spring and rather loved it, which got my hamster wheels spinning. It’s easy enough to make your own chia seed gel – just add water and let sit. The gel can store up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

stir water into the seeds

the chia seeds gel in as little as 10 minutes

**Jump for more butter**

another year

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Recipe: roasted broccoli

Welcome to a new year! I hope you had a good winter holiday. While my own pack passed an uneventful end of 2017 and start of 2018, some of the people in our lives suffered unexpected losses, got bad news, or have been dealt some tough circumstances. Let’s face it, Life doesn’t care about arbitrary calendar boundaries. Whether you are or are not the type of person who makes resolutions with the new year (I am not), I think it’s fair to say that the world can always use more compassion and kindness starting any time, but especially starting now. Maybe it means donating to charities that matter to you, or offering to help someone who is struggling, or volunteering your time. Whatever it is you do, I hope you do it with an open heart. And I thank you.

neva wishes you a happy new year

torchlight parade and fireworks on new year’s eve under a nearly full moon (composite)

more pretty fireworks

new year’s eve dinner: potstickers and chinese cellophane noodle soup

Santa Ullr brought a nice dump of snow on Christmas Day, and we’ve been trying to squeeze as much as we can from it because we have returned to the sunny and dry weather which has dominated much of the early season. The lack of snow meant that we hadn’t been logging many ski days until we got to Crested Butte. It also meant our bodies were not as ski-ready as they would normally be by this time on any given winter. We’ve been rotating through telemark skiing the mountain, uphill skiing, and skate skiing. And when the snow gets old and tired, I tell myself that this is still better than living almost anyplace else (except those mountains with more snow right now!).

jeremy is about to dive in on christmas day

early morning colors on our way to the mountain to uphill ski

skating the handful of open trails

There was a full (super) moon on New Year’s Day, so we thought it would be neat to skin (ski uphill) up the mountain to a good location and capture moonrise. When we left the house, the eastern horizon was clear of clouds. Of course, by the time we climbed to the top and unpacked and assembled all of my photo equipment, weather started spilling over the mountains where the moon was supposed to be. That was a bummer, but the mountains were still beautiful and the sunset in the opposite direction did not disappoint and it’s kind of amazing to be able to do this at all, right?

no moonrise, but such pretty alpenglow on the elk mountains

here’s the sunset opposite the clouded out moonrise

meta: my camera pointed at sunset while the groomer works the snow

skiing out by headlamp in the dark

I think my past self might have been super bummed over missing out on moonrise, but my present self didn’t miss a beat and captured the other magic going on around us. When we realized the cloud bank was too thick, Jeremy said he was sorry about that. I told him not to be sorry. I said it was fun to go on an uphill ski at sunset with him even if we had schlepped the gear up for nothing. Am I mellowing with age? Probably. I think more importantly, I have learned to savor the ordinary for being anything but.

That includes broccoli. What are your feelings about broccoli? I mean your true feelings? I grew up eating bright green, crunchy broccoli sautéed Chinese-style with garlic at home. I never understood the ubiquitous sad, boiled florets slapped onto cafeteria trays as the token green in restaurants or in the lunch room. If you wanted to dishonor a vegetable, that was certainly the way to do it. Lately, one of my favorite ways to serve broccoli is by simply roasting it.

broccoli, salt, pepper, olive oil

**Jump for more butter**

the sprint marathon

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Recipe: roasted potatoes

It’s coming down to the wire over here. I have three days to finish (well, start) my holiday baking. You might think that I should have a lot of extra time since there’s very very very little snow to ski in these parts, but there were these flannel rag quilts I was sewing… nine flannel rag quilts. That took a big chunk of the last two weeks. I should clarify that while I haven’t begun my holiday baking, I have most of my holiday candymaking completed. Variety is the spice of life and all that good stuff.

Life is a bit of a frenzy right now, but I did take a few hours off recently to see a rare visitor to Colorado. Deb, of Smitten Kitchen (my favorite food blog), came through Boulder last week on her book tour. While I couldn’t make the actual event, we were able to finally meet in person over some noshes before her book signing.

such a lovely woman

flannel rag quilts in progress

candied orange peels and chocolate caramels

Despite being up to my armpits in chocolate, butter, sugar, cream, and flour, my mind has actually been puzzling over our upcoming holiday menu. Typically we ski our brains out on Christmas morning and I’m too wiped out to prepare anything more than a simple (but delicious) meal. Looking at the short-term forecast, our brains may very well remain securely in our heads due to the lack of snow. Even so, I still don’t want to spend a ton of time cooking. I know Jeremy would be delighted with a sous vide steak, some potatoes, and lots of greens. We have a new favorite way to enjoy roasted potatoes, too.

yukon gold potatoes, duck fat, baking soda, salt, garlic, parsley, black pepper

It’s unclear to me how I found Kenji’s recipe or who turned me on to it (it may have been Kenji’s Instagram), but when I see the words “Best Roast Potatoes” coming from a trusted source, the logical next step is to try it out. I’ve made the potatoes a couple of times now – the first time with olive oil and the second time with duck fat. The olive oil version was good, but holy moly the duck fat version is the stuff of dreams. Kenji’s technique basically parboils potatoes in an alkaline environment to create a roughed starchy exterior, tosses them with fat, and roasts the potatoes to yield crisp outer crusts with fluffy interiors.

quartering peeled potatoes

adding salt, baking soda, and potatoes to the hot water

**Jump for more butter**