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very lucky

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Recipe: mexican grilled corn salad

Rounding hairpin turns, blinded by the rising sun, I squinted at the clock on the dash. I was late. But you can’t step on the gas and hurry because there are all those Honda Civic-sized potholes to dodge as well as wild animals to watch for. I figured if they’re there, great. If they’ve already moved on, so be it. It is what it is, my first morning NOT dedicated to a trail run or a hike, but to photograph moose. I was in luck.


it seems all they ever do is eat

and eat



Our local moose have a feeding pattern in summer that draws the photographers out each morning like flies. They feed in the low meadows and then move on up to higher ground. It varies. Sometimes they will hang out until well after noon and other times they’ll sneak away only to return later. It’s their home. About 100 moose live in the Brainard Lake area alone, plus more in the surrounding mountains. These are my neighbors.

time to move on

way too close for my comfort



I managed to catch the tail end of the show, about 15 minutes’ worth of shooting. No biggie. I just wanted to see and maybe photograph moose and was able to do both. Chatting with a few gentlemen who were also shooting the moose, I learned they traveled a couple of hours just for this. They do it once a week. When they learned I lived nearby and ran/hiked here all the time, one fellow smiled and said with the utmost sincerity, “You are very lucky.” I nodded to confirm this statement – yes, I am VERY lucky. We wished one another well and said good-bye.

On the drive back home, I thought about luck. It would be easy to look at all of the negatives in my life (and I’ve had my share, thank you) and let that set the tone for the rest of my life, but what’s the point in that? Wallowing in self-pity has never been my cup of tea. There are so many more positives from a simple sunrise to helping a stranger to cherishing every hug from my mom to packing a lunch for Jeremy. I’m just grateful to be here, really. Sometimes I think about how much time I have left – I don’t really know how much time I have… it could be another 40 years or it could be a few days. Regardless, time is short. Life is short. There isn’t enough time in another 40 years to do everything I want let alone waste it on bad relationships, jonesing, terrible food, buying “stuff”, being unkind, not being honest, trying to be someone I am not, worrying what others think of me. It’s taken me a few decades to get to the point where I can trim away most of the “bullshit”, but it’s liberating and I think it makes my life feel lucky. It certainly feels GOOD.

The other day I went hiking in the high country with my friend, Erin (another Erin, but both of my Erins are awesome ladies), and her pup, Banjo. How nice to have much-needed doggie time as well as friend time. I love it when you find someone who doesn’t need to talk the talk, because she totally rocks the walk. That’s Erin. We spent the entire day hiking, foraging, and talking under sun, clouds, and pouring rain. When we weren’t chatting it up on the trail, I just sang “Banjooooo” in rhythm with my stride because he’s such a good and sweet boy. It made me think of my little Kaweah and how utterly bad she was on the trail (but cute!).


erin holds a mushroom (a kind i don’t eat)

banjo is such a good pup

and the wildflowers were out in force

clouds move in over the lovely alpine lake



Erin just had a major birthday and I wanted to do something nice. I thought of baking a flourless chocolate cake and packing it up to the high country to surprise her. Or maybe making French macarons to bust out at the lake. But the reality was that my schedule was overly full, so I bought her a Chuao bar (triple nut temptation dark chocolate – Jeremy’s favorite), tied a ribbon on it, wrote a card, and called it good. Jeremy commented that the old me would have stayed up late baking, lost sleep, and been exhausted and not enjoyed my hike. It’s true. The current me has a little more sense (just slightly) than the old me.

The idea of keeping things simple is a good one. That’s why this corn salad is so appealing. It’s like the Mexico City-style roasted corn, but it’s easier to prepare and way less messy to eat. I found the recipe on Kevin’s site, Closet Cooking, which is a great blog full of cheesy, melty, juicy, amazing recipes. Since summer is in full swing, we must partake of the corn.


chipotle powder, salt, garlic, green onions, jalapeƱo, lime, mayonnaise, corn, cotija cheese, cilantro, vegetable oil



**Jump for more butter**

discoveries and rediscoveries

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Recipe: galbi korean bbq short ribs

There’s something comforting in traveling a familiar trail where you know the curves, hills, rocks, trees, and stream crossings by heart. When, even in winter, you know that this very spot where the path bends will be covered with flowers in three months’ time. You know this because you’ve seen it year after year. And then there are the new trails. When you see a new trail leading off into the woods, and your eyes light up with curiosity and excitement. It calls to you. I always want to know where that trail leads. How many times have you said, “I’ll just hike up to the top of that ridge for a look” only to continue on to the next ridge and the next?


crimson columbine and violets

gothic mountain

winding through the wildflowers



On rare occasion, we’ll hike a new trail only to learn that we don’t ever need to hike that trail again (poorly marked, unmaintained, too hot, too buggy, too dangerous, too crowded). But most of the time, it’s a delightful discovery. I am especially fond of shady hikes with good breezes, nice views, and lots of huckleberry plants growing on the hillslopes. We found one of those today. I’ll be sure to revisit that one often – particularly when the hucks start to bear their precious berries.

It’s that way with recipes too when you revisit an old one that you loved but had forgotten about. I made galbi – Korean barbecue short ribs – for my parents a couple of weeks ago. When I went to dig up my recipe from the archives, I noticed the post was nearly seven years old. That was back in the day when our local Whole Foods had no clue what flanken-style ribs were. These days, they do know, but we now have a couple of Asian grocers within striking distance that also provide flanken-style beef short ribs. The Asianification of Colorado – slow, but happening. So let’s do this properly.


flanken-style short ribs, kiwis, fresh ginger, pepper, water, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, yellow onion, sugar, garlic (hidden behind the beef ribs)

soak the ribs in water



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bust out the chops

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Recipe: grilled pork chops

I managed to run my first ever half-marathon distance this week… well, it was 14.2 miles. That still counts! Jeremy and I have somehow convinced ourselves that ultra trail running is worth trying this summer. We’ve been training. Snowline is hovering around 10,000 feet, so running trails that climb high and go far has been limited – but it’s melting. I’ve always been impatient for the intermediate stage where the snow is degrading too quickly to ski, but is still an obstacle to running or biking. Meanwhile, I’ve been doing my best to clean out the freezer and refrigerator in order to make space for summer’s bounty.


used up all my old frozen bananas for chocolate chip banana bread



My parents flew in to Colorado this week. I usually stock their place with a few groceries (including a loaf of that chocolate chip banana bread), fresh flowers, and other things they might need before they arrive. Even though they are getting older and slowing down, they aren’t really slowing down. Dad always wants to know what The Plan is, so it’s my job to do the research and make The Plan.

mom and dad at the denver botanic gardens



Jeremy and I took my folks to the Denver Botanic Gardens to see the Chihuly exhibit that officially opens June 14th, but had most of the installations up this week before the opening. It’s such a gorgeous time of year to visit because it isn’t too hot (as Denver goes) and so many beautiful flowers were in bloom with happy bees, dragonflies, and birds zipping about. The Chihuly exhibit will be at DBG through November 2014 and it is definitely worth a trip if you are in the area.



Of course, this weekend is Father’s Day, so we’re having Mom and Dad up for a nice dinner. I’m preparing a menu of All Things Dad Loves. But Dad pointed out that he really wanted to see his “little girl”, and he did not mean me. He meant Kaweah. She’s going to be utterly thrilled to visit with him.

Today’s recipe is all about summer, grilling, and celebrating dads and fathers and papas and babas and all of the good folk who step up to be a father to someone. It’s simple and easy, and isn’t that all we want in June when we should be spending our time playing outside and rejoicing in summer’s arrival?


pork chops, water, cider vinegar, kosher salt, brown sugar, juniper berries, black pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme

combine the dry ingredients

add the water and vinegar

stir to dissolve the sugar and salt



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