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archive for nuts

while you can

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate hazelnut sandies

This past weekend was closing weekend for our local ski hill. We considered the mobs of people trying to squeeze in one last ski day of the season and decided to head in the opposite direction. Backcountry skiing is more effort than resort skiing. In essence, you are your own ski lift. But the rewards are many and include fresh tracks, solitude, spectacular views, and a great workout. The snow is skiing the way it typically does in early May, so unless we get some promising storms, our ski days are numbered.


skinning up

pausing to admire our backyard

whoop whoop!

skiing out



I’m actually okay with the ski season coming to an end – I mean, my big toenail is okay with ski season coming to an end. I injured it in late January on a ski tour and it has since turned dark purple, doing those things that tell you it is going to fall off in 6 or 9 months. The plan is to ski as long as there is snow and just ignore any pain. So far, so good!

Now on to the recipe. As a rule, when I blog a recipe, I try to have double the amount of impossible-to-get-in-my-mountain-town ingredients needed in case something tanks. I’m happy to say that the backup ingredients are rarely (but not never!) required, which leaves me with extra ingredients. Sometimes they get incorporated into our meals, sometimes they get bumped to the next recipe. Other times, they spark new ideas – like these chocolate hazelnut sandies. It’s a pecan sandie, but chocolate with a different nut!


toasted hazelnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, butter, flour, vanilla extract, hazelnut liqueur

mix the cocoa powder and flour together

chop the hazelnuts into a coarse grind

ground hazelnuts, flour-cocoa mixture, powdered sugar



**Jump for more butter**

spraang break!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Recipe: asian chicken salad with ginger dressing

It’s springtime in the Rockies and it also happens to be spring break for a lot of schools. We’re in Crested Butte to enjoy what remains of both the mountain and nordic ski seasons. The high, strong sun has been delivering a pounding to the snow – visibly shrinking it by inches each day. The birds are back feeding off the patches of bare ground and filling the air with the sweet chorus of bird songs. The Slate River flows faster and fuller. If we’re lucky, we’ll squeeze out a few spring storms to keep the backcountry fresh a little longer. Either way, we’re enjoying it.


bison outside of buena vista

the collegiates

sunset over the town of crested butte

cotton candy over whetstone mountain

skate skiing before it disappears

making a snowball in spring, because rocky mountain powder is too fluffy in winter



I’ve kept our menu simple since the kitchen in Crested Butte is serviceable, but not tricked out like my kitchen back home. Besides, I don’t come here to cook. Obviously. And with the warmer weather, I’m migrating towards salads and sandwiches. So, a couple of weeks ago, we drove into Denver to shop around for a new washing machine. We didn’t find a washing machine that we liked, but we did find 2 cases of wine – go figure! I swear this is related. On our way home, we popped by Souplantation (aka Sweet Tomatoes) to grab a late lunch. One of Jeremy’s favorite salads is their wonton chicken salad. Surely I could make an even better version at home, right?

There are three components to the salad: the chicken, the ginger dressing, and the salad (vegetables and such). I guess it’s four components if you count the wonton strips, but those are optional. The chicken is simple – marinate for 30 minutes then bake for 20 minutes. You might be tempted to boil the chicken and shred it, which is perfectly acceptable, but you’d be missing out. The extra flavor from the marinade is worth the itsy bitsy amount of effort.


the chicken: chicken breasts, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper

place it all in a bag

marinate for 30 minutes

place in a baking dish to bake



**Jump for more butter**

fluff puff stuff

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate cinnamon hazelnut cacao nib meringues

Well, I finally overcame my issues with square photos, took the plunge, and got an Instagram account. You can find me and my random shenanigans over at @jenyuphoto. Rather than bore you with stories of skiing slush and trouble shooting our broken washing machine, let’s talk about meringues. I’m specifically referring to giant palm-sized clouds of sugar. While the huckleberry meringues were beautiful to look at, it felt like I was just biting into a big puffball of sugar with a veneer of huckleberry sauce. So I got to thinking about and researching other flavors and textures.


superfine sugar, cacao nibs, toasted hazelnuts, egg whites, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, salt



I found a recipe on Leite’s Culinaria for chocolate cinnamon meringues as big as the ones I made based on Ottolenghi’s recipe. It’s a similar technique, too – pouring hot sugar into the egg whites. This is what creates the chewy interior of the meringue (which I love). The bitter, earthy, and spicy flavors of unsweetened cocoa powder and ground cinnamon would temper the sugary sweetness of the meringue. Then, taking a cue from another Ottolenghi recipe (the pistachio-rose meringues), I decided to coat the base of each meringue with a combination of chopped toasted hazelnuts and cacao nibs. It sounded like a good combination in my brain.

ready to bake the sugar

whisk the cocoa powder and cinnamon together

chop the hazelnuts

toss the hazelnuts and cacao nibs in a bowl



**Jump for more butter**