roasted broccoli and farro salad with feta sparkling champagne margaritas cranberry hazelnut seed crisps cioppino


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sharing the wonderful things

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Recipe: cranberry hazelnut seed crisps

I could have very easily slipped on some yoga pants and settled down to work on the computer that grey, chilly morning last week. Instead, I went about gathering my running vest, water bladder, some fuel bloks, a ziploc for my phone, my dirty girl gaiters, trail runners… I had no idea how far I’d run, if I would get caught in the rain, if it would suck or if it would be great. The run was a little bit of everything. I did get caught in the rain for the last 6 miles and my muscles did get tight in the cold. But I managed a half marathon (a distance I haven’t run in almost 2 months) and I also caught the remainder of our local fall colors, which is both thrilling and beautiful. It was my first trail run with my upgraded iphone, so I took a few detours to test drive the camera.


a lone aspen with red fringe

the grasses are turning lovely shades of red and gold

the browse line marks the extent of where the elk and moose feed on the aspen bark (thanks, twila!)



Is it terrible that my favorite part of trail running is when I’m done with the trail run? Oh, but a close second is when I get into that groove and find a nice pace that feels like I’m not even there. And I like feeling the soreness in my muscles the following day. I could feel the mild pull on my quads as I hustled through the fog the next morning. I was lugging that 500mm lens around trying to position myself to shoot the elk rut in Rocky Mountain National Park once again. This time, Jeremy joined me after I convinced him to forgo 3 hours of sleep. My shooting the elk rut does not require Jeremy’s presence nor his assistance. I just knew that he would absolutely love seeing them so close as he had never witnessed the rut before. Of course, it was an extra bonus that he shot a little video with his phone that captured a bull elk bugling.



In contrast to the sunny morning earlier in the week (when I photographed the rut), this morning was cold and thick with mist and fog. Clouds clung to the mountains and drifted in and out of the valleys like slow-motion waves. If you watched closely, you could see the antlers of a bull elk emerge in the distance. If you watched really closely, you would notice the pack of coyotes trying to sneak past him or the rafter of wild turkeys picking their way into the woods. As we drove around with our windows down to listen for the bugling, Jeremy reached for my icy cold hand and gave it a squeeze. He thanked me for talking him into seeing the elk rut and said it was incredibly special to share the experience.

lone tree in the valley

coyotes on the move

wild turkey foraging

bugling into the fog

beautiful creature

this fellow was yawning, not bugling



It is both exhilarating and a bummer when I am running alone and encounter a giant moose, or see a huge bird of prey take off from a branch just above me, or watch an ermine bring down a chipmunk and carry it away. The mini-safari aspect is pretty awesome, but then I find myself standing there looking around for someone I can yell “Did you see that?!” to. Food blogging is a little less dramatic than that, but it can be just as exciting when you find a recipe that is extra delicious, super easy, or saves you a ton of money. That’s why I still food blog after all these years. I like finding great recipes and sharing them. It just so happens that one of my lovely readers pointed me to this recipe. Have you ever tried raincoast crisps? They are a slightly sweet cracker/crisp made with dried fruits and nuts and seeds. I picked up a packet for a party and quite liked them, but they are stupid expensive.

whole wheat flour, buttermilk, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, baking soda, maple syrup, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, sesame seeds, salt, cranberries, hazelnuts



**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**

chin up

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Recipe: ginger peanut asian slaw

Jeremy has been on travel for the last 8 days and so it has been me and Kaweah. It’s been tough – tougher than usual. Jeremy checks in each morning and evening to see how she’s doing, but this hasn’t been a great week for her. As I was loading the washer with her dirty towels and dog bed covers, the tears spilled down my face and I wondered if this would be the last time I washed her doggy things. [The answer is no, because the following morning at 5 am, she unwittingly dropped a few turds on a freshly laundered towel in her sleep... yay.] She made it to May, but I’m not sure she’ll make it past May.

The first of May is the anniversary of my sister’s death. 2014 marks a decade. My brain has been grappling with that measure of time. Ten years. All of the things that happened in the last ten years happened without Kris and that gives me a sick feeling in my gut. I started blogging in 2004 as a way to cope with my heartache, as an attempt to unravel the emotions all wound up inside my chest. She still enters my thoughts daily and on rare occasion, she’ll appear in a dream. For that brief waking moment, it’s like Kris never left.


freesia

radiant, like kris



Because of this anniversary and because I know each day that passes brings us closer to saying good-bye to Kaweah, my feelings have been tender of late. That, and my appetite has diminished somewhat… or maybe I’m just tired from all of the 5 am poop surprises. I figure it’s partly because cooking for one is a lot less exciting than cooking for two. That will surely change when Jeremy gets home this week, but one of the recipes I’ve been enjoying this week is a cabbage slaw with an Asian twist. My inspiration came from a particularly busy day a few weeks ago when I picked up a prepared salad at Trader Joe’s – the Asian slaw salad.

for the dressing: sesame oil, chili oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, creamy peanut butter, honey



It was so much better than I expected it to be. Being the huge fan of cabbage that I am, I set about making my own version at home. TJ’s skimps on some of the good stuff like cilantro, celery, and carrot, so I made sure to bump the quantities. And instead of the crispy fried wonton strips in their salad, I used a healthier crunchy substitute: jicama.

grate the ginger and garlic

add rice vinegar

pour some chili oil (more if you like)

whisk it all together



**Jump for more butter**