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archive for pie

practice makes better

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Recipe: peach pie

For the past couple of years I’ve sent an email in August to a local organic farm in Boulder asking them to alert me when they have tomato seconds ready for sale. The email comes some time in September depending on the weather and the tomato crop. Each year, I pick up more poundage because I am so in love with home-canned tomatoes, I want to be sure we don’t run out. I use them to make pizza sauce, pasta sauce, stews, soups, chili. Last week, I received the email to come and get the tomatoes. I got 100 pounds and spent three days coring, scoring, blanching, peeling, dicing, simmering, and canning tomatoes. When I closed my eyes for my 5 hours of sleep at night, all I saw were tomatoes. 48 pints later and I have 20 pounds remaining for a different method because I ran out of Weck jars.

48 pints of the best tomatoes

Meanwhile, Neva is finding out that the start of the school year means no more daily excursions onto the trails or lakes. She still gets out every day, but we’re getting her used to being at home because when winter comes (and by winter, I mean the winds), there will be days when home is better than going outside. Plus, we’re finally able to leave her alone for up to 8 hours. Now that she’s nearly 18 months old, we’re noticing just how different she is from Kaweah. Kaweah was not a bright girl, but Neva is an even dimmer bulb. Based on our only other data point, Neva is slower to pick up just about everything. But that’s okay, we work with her a lot and she remains a happy, ridiculous, sweet little pup.

just as happy on a local hike as she is on a big mountain hike

caught lounging on the people bed

The fall colors are moving in around here. Our aspen trees are still more green than gold, but I think some areas will flip that balance in a week or less. I didn’t shoot much of the fall colors last year because of the puppy, but I wasn’t sure I was feeling it this year. These days I’m more likely to snap a photo on my phone (most pictures here are coming off the iPhone) or if I’m lugging it around, maybe my smaller dSLR. Of course, as soon as I stood under the canopy of a small stand of golden aspens this morning, I felt that mojo return. The worry was that I was rusty, but the ideas and creative thought process came back as soon as I looked up.

getting low to shoot this brilliant shrub from below

classic sunburst + aspens + colorado bluebird sky

golden canopy

I’m a firm believer in practicing to get better at something and that applies to pies! My friend recently commented that I don’t make pies very often. I laughed because she actually keeps track of the sweets and treats that come out of my kitchen… and because she’s correct. I don’t make many pies. Pie crusts drive me crazy and removing a slice of fruit pie practically ruins the whole pie. But I like pie. I like pie a lot. I decided that I needed to tackle some recipes until I found one or a couple of reliable and excellent pie crusts. With peach season drawing to a close in Colorado, I felt I needed to get some practice on a basic peach pie.

flour, ice water, cider vinegar, more flour, sugar, salt, more sugar, nutmeg, egg, lemon, butter, peaches

It’s really all about the pie crust. Pie crust should be flaky and tender and baked golden brown. I find that my pie crust dough is almost always too dry and crumbly. But when I add enough water to make it comfortably workable (i.e. not crumbling apart) it’s too wet or it’s overworked and the crust becomes more of a cardboard texture. So I was extra mindful of not adding more liquid than the recipe requires.

place the butter, flour, and salt in a food processor

pulse until the butter resembles little pebbles

beat the egg yolk, vinegar, and ice water together

drizzle the liquid into the dry ingredients

**Jump for more butter**

them apples

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Recipe: fried apple pies

It was bound to happen sooner or later, but honestly, I was hoping it would get here later rather than sooner. The winds have arrived. The other day we got a nice quick inch of snow and then we watched the winds carry those beautiful little flakes horizontally to the east. Snow and Blow. That’s what we call it here in Nederland. Even so, it makes for interesting cloud formations above which turn into pretty visuals for a few brief minutes at sunrise or sunset.


That window of comfortable weather and mild breezes may be coming to a close. I say this because Neva has really been enjoying her deck time while I’m working. I enjoy it too, since I’m not constantly telling her to get her nose out of the compost bucket in the kitchen. From our deck, Neva can watch three sets of dogs in three different yards/decks, and it’s just all so fascinating for her little puppy self. But when it’s really blowing or the snow is pelting her in the face, I’ll insist that she come inside. On the chilly days, she’ll curl up at my feet in her dog bed or invite herself (oops!) onto the couch. But given her druthers, she’d be outside romping through the snow. Her doggy day care person is on vacation for a couple of weeks, so Neva is now getting playtime with Dioji, our favorite neighbors’ pup. So far, so good. Dioji has the patience of a saint.

what a goofball

all four off the floor!

Autumn has been around for over a month now and we’re supposed to fall back an hour this coming weekend. I used to feel indifferent about the time change, but I must confess that I am really looking forward to it this year. Being woken up a few hours before sunrise each morning by a fully energized puppy is a little weird, because you didn’t get quite enough sleep, but you could conceivably get out of bed and get a jump start on the morning. Instead, it’s usually some drowsy disrupted half-sleep that we settle for which satisfies neither the sleep deprivation nor the hopes for greater productivity. I realized last week that I hadn’t touched any apples or pumpkins so far this season, although I have been happily stuffing my face with persimmons and pomegranates. And that got me thinking about pies. So I made pumpkin pie. And then I made these apple pies. Little apple pies. Little fried apple pies. Heaven help us.

apples, ice water, shortening, flour, cinnamon, sugar, salt

cut the shortening into the flour and salt

toss with ice water a tablespoon at a time

wrap up the dough and chill

**Jump for more butter**

six months

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Recipe: peach pie cinnamon rolls

Little Neva turned six months old today (the 27th) in Crested Butte. Despite what the vet instructed – no walks for 10-14 days – we’ve begun taking her on short easy walks after 5 days. She’s recovering well and quite active INSIDE the house, so we figured mellow activity would be good for her, especially since our neighborhood in Crested Butte has so many nice paths. We expected her to be completely stir-crazy and in turn, make US crazy, but she has been a really good pup this past week. Just three more days and I’ll be able to take her swimming. To celebrate her 6 months on this planet, we gave her a Scoop Dog (peanut butter, maple, bacon frozen yogurt pupsicle) from the local ice cream shop, Third Bowl.

the life of a colorado dog is rough

AND there was a total lunar eclipse of the supermoon this evening! We walked down the road from our house and stood upon a hilltop to watch (and shoot) the moon in eclipse as it rose above the mountains in the east. Pretty spectacular stuff. And I’m glad I was here in Crested Butte, because the radar showed clouds over Nederland. As the moon rose higher, we headed back to the house since we would be able to watch the rest of the ascent from our deck. When the moon entered totality we heard several neighborhoods erupt in howls across the valley – both people and their dogs. How does one NOT love Crested Butte?! Minutes later, a big cloud (like, the ONLY one in the entire sky!) sat directly in the path of the moon and blotted it out. “Damn,” I muttered and Neva wagged her tail in the darkness at the howlers calling across the night air. She seemed happy enough when I let her back into the warmth of the house.

partial lunar eclipse supermoon rising

there’s the navel (tycho crater)!

blood moon before the cloud broke up the party

We had a lovely weekend here in Crested Butte. Jeremy and I drove out in tandem because he had to get back to Boulder to teach this week, but I’m staying put with Neva girl because 1) she can recuperate more easily in Crested Butte 2) we can spare her the back and forth in the car 3) I’m prepping the house for winter and 4) I have to get my fall colors fix. The colors are pretty good. Not as good as last year, but exhilarating where they are vibrant and healthy. A fungal disease seems to have creamed some of the stands, which is unfortunate. Still, I just love being here during the peak colors. Once they’re done, I’m 100% ready for winter.

jeremy hoofs it up with my camera gear into the aspens

a beautiful pine grosbeak chilling in a cathedral of golden light

gothic mountain behind the flanks of crested butte

jeremy stand-up paddleboards on lake irwin

I’m gonna have to hit you today with yet another roll recipe because it’s the end of peach season, and if you can get your hands on some fresh peaches, YOU NEED TO MAKE THESE. Peach pie cinnamon rolls. You will not regret it (I hope). I love cinnamon rolls as much as, or more than, the next guy, but add peaches and I’m going to start throwing elbows. The last time I acquired my 25 pounds of San Marzano tomatoes for canning from the farm store, I snatched up some beautiful organic Colorado peaches as well. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, but I’d figure something out. That’s how I roll with fruit: pick some up and if I can’t make anything with it, I eat the fruit. Either way, I win!

the dough: milk, sugar, vanilla, yeast, eggs, salt, butter, flour

sprinkle yeast over warm milk

add sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, and salt

stir in the flour

knead the dough by hook or hand

let the dough rise

**Jump for more butter**