chanterelle galette huckleberry lemonade bacon corn hash with chanterelles huckleberry scones


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getting there from here

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Recipe: chanterelle galette

Jeremy told me that he thinks we may have seen the last of the hottest days of the year. I hope this is true. All signs are pointing to fall in the mountains: cooler nights, tiny spots of yellow leaves emerging in the sea of green aspen stands, huckleberry leaves turning red, and the sun crossing the sky with a lower profile than before.


dendritic pattern on an aspen leaf

purple huckleberry in the morning sun



Neva currently weighs in at 30 pounds for her 5 months of age. Her growth has slowed a little and it looks like she may wind up being a smaller dog, like Kaweah. She continues to lose her baby teeth, but still acts like a baby dog from time to time. Best of all, our pup has begun to mellow out in the evenings, resting at my feet or Jeremy’s feet when we work at our computers or curling up next to us on the couch. I look back at her puppy pictures and I can barely recognize her – that chunky chubby puppy has turned into a lanky teenager. We are starting to settle into a routine which makes all of us happier. We’ll get there someday.

staring at two tennis balls in the distance, not fetching

blowing bubbles in her water dish



After a big hot and dry spell, we’ve received a few rainstorms. These days I think of the rains in terms of huckleberries. A pulse of rain, lots of sunshine, more rain, more sun. That’s what the hucks like. As long as it doesn’t get too cold too soon in the high country, they could keep going for a few more weeks. But rain also makes me ponder what the mushrooms will do. If there is enough rain, we could see another flush of porcini or chanterelles. It could happen! Meanwhile, I have spent the past couple of weeks putting my chanterelle haul into delectable recipes to share with you good people. Today we’re going to go with a galette, because it’s not a terribly finicky pastry and it tastes amazing. Don’t fret if you can’t find chanterelles, use some other mushroom that you do have access to. Crimini works, is easy to find in most markets, and won’t break the bank.

onion, gruyère, egg, water, sugar, flour, salt, butter, more butter, milk, pepper, olive oil, chanterelles, thyme

pulse the butter into the dry ingredients

add ice water

form the dough into a disk



**Jump for more butter**

enchanterelles

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Recipe: bacon corn hash with chanterelles

School is starting or has started for a lot of students this week as evidenced by the uptick in dorm room bean bag and laundry basket purchases at Target. Heavier than usual traffic clogged the roads last week heading east from the mountains. No one heads east (toward Denver) from the mountains unless they have to… the school year commenceth. Our last few days in Crested Butte were a whirlwind of activity as we wrapped up summer in our special mountain hamlet. Truth be told, I think it’s normally a windstorm of activity, but Neva turns everything into a whirlwind.


dinner with good friends

puppy was so tuckered out, jeremy carried her the last 50 feet

finding more gems on and off trail

i see you!



The day before we returned home to the Front Range, I was picking my way along a deer trail that was lined with chanterelles. Jeremy and I refer to it as the Trail of Happiness. I had watched the mushrooms grow over the past week and was ready to harvest some to take home. The rains in and around Crested Butte had been stoking the chanterelle (and everything else!) flush and they just kept coming. I’m careful to only harvest a fraction of what is growing, cutting rather than plucking (it’s better for the preservation of the patch and continued fruiting throughout the season). Besides, there were so many that I couldn’t put a dent in the mushrooms even if I wanted to. Looking back up the slope I had just foraged, I couldn’t tell that I had picked any at all! Just then my phone buzzed the side of my leg. Mom texted me and asked what I was doing. I replied that I was foraging chanterelles for her birthday dinner.

quite a few chanterelles and a handful of porcini to boot



Since my parents spend their summers in Colorado, I get to celebrate my mom’s birthday with her and that means a lot to me. My mom always puts everyone else first. She takes care of others before thinking about her needs or her wants. This birthday wasn’t a special number – 16, 21, decadal, or whatnot – but that doesn’t matter. It’s a birthday. It was my mom’s birthday and I wanted to do something nice for her because I can… Something to ease the pain of Kris’ birthday just 2 weeks prior. Something to let her know how much I love her. I learned that my friend’s mother had passed the morning of Mom’s birthday and my heart ached. Loss is never easy, but it always reminds me to cherish the relationships I have while I can.

mom and dad upon arrival

a toast to the birthday girl (sparkling rosé of pinot noir)

light appetizers

lobster and chanterelle vols au vent

mom’s favorite: shredded kale salad

crowd pleaser: cioppino

lime cheesecake for dessert

i hope she made a good wish!



At one point, Mom came into the kitchen to watch me plate the vols au vent. She asked about the chanterelles and I showed her one of my many brown paper bags of fresh chanterelles in the refrigerator, pulling a particularly beautiful and delicate one out for her to smell. People say they smell like apricots, but if you close your eyes, I find they smell more like almonds and ever so faintly of bayberry candles – the kind you found in the 1980s in Colonial Williamsburg gift shops around the holidays. I think the gorgeous color is what prompts that whole apricot notion. They say if porcini are the kings of the mushroom world (they are called king boletes) then chanterelles are the queens. Finding a king in the woods is akin to a high-stakes Easter egg hunt. Porcini are heavy and hefty in your hand – solid and stout. Thrilling. Stumbling across a chanterelle patch is essentially striking gold. Delicate and frilly as if they came from the sea – chanterelles are especially coveted by me because they don’t have worms. Super bonus awesomeness. I am enchanted.

Mom asked what on earth I was planning to do with all of those chanterelles. Funny she should ask. I spent the 5 hour car ride home from Crested Butte brainstorming recipes to make and shoot with chanterelles. I even had a container of one recipe for her to take home. So in addition to the leftover party food, Jeremy and I have been wading through chanterelle recipe after chanterelle recipe. Jeremy tells me this is a hardship he willingly endures. This bacon corn hash recipe comes from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, because I can’t resist the sweet ears of Colorado Olathe corn that are in season right now. I just modified it with chanterelles fried in bacon grease, because it was the right thing to do.


corn, potatoes, salt, green onions, thick-cut bacon, pepper, chanterelles

chopped and sliced



**Jump for more butter**

better than good enough

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Recipe: fried polenta and porcini on roasted carrot purée

We had a busier than usual schedule last week because Jeremy was hosting his astrophysics retreat. This was his third one, but it seemed more harried than usual because of the additional puppy-wrangling. Without going into too much detail, the retreat is an “unconference” that eschews the traditional scientific conference format. It is a small gathering of select (young) experts in astrophysics who come together for 4 days of intense, high-powered brainstorming for the love of science. Running any sort of workshop or conference is exhausting, but for someone like Jeremy – my dearest introvert – it is doubly so. Once he had caught up on sleep and other work, I suggested we spend a relaxing evening under the stars together… with Neva… in a tent.


neva tries out the sleeping bags as the sun goes down



Actually, this was just a continuation of puppy training. The plan is to go backpacking this fall with the pup, but first we need her to get used to being in a tent. When our neighbor’s kids were little, they used to camp in a tent on their deck because the youngest would always get scared before 9 pm and run back into the house. I thought this could work for Neva, too. We could camp on the deck and if she got unruly or upset, we would bail and go inside. But there was no need to abandon ship because she was very sweet and cuddly throughout the night. She probably slept better than either of the humans. I think this backpacking thing just might work.

it’s a loungy puppy life

if we’re going to camp out, we may as well eat outside, too

blue moon rising

ready for zip up and lights out



Jeremy’s astrophysics retreat takes place in Boulder with the exception of one day held at our house in the mountains. My minor contribution is to help host the participants which includes a sit down dinner. Living outside of Boulder, we are accustomed to accommodating the restricted diets of our friends, but I got a stumper in this group: gluten-free vegetarian. In my opinion, gluten-free is pretty easy and vegetarian isn’t terrible, but the combination really whittled down my options. There were two ideals I had to balance: 1) that not serving meat to your guests is rude (per Chinese tradition) and 2) it is unacceptable to serve sub-par food to vegetarians. But I was up for the challenge, particularly because the one guest who was gluten-free vegetarian happens to be a genuinely nice and good person. Luckily, porcini are in season NOW.

here’s a pretty specimen (plus one in the background)

two buddies chilling out off trail



The idea was to serve something that everyone could enjoy and then the omnivores could have some kind of animal added to their dish. I decided to go with fried polenta cakes and pan-seared porcini. It was easy enough to hike up into the mountains to nab some choice mushrooms only because I knew they were flushing and I knew exactly where to look. For some extra color, I thought a nice roasted carrot purée would brighten the plate and lend some sweetness to the dish.

white wine, olive oil, vegetable oil, carrots, polenta, butter, thyme, salt, porcini



I started the day before, as I didn’t want to heat up the house cooking all day before dinner. I made the polenta and then pressed it into a baking dish to cool and solidify. A loaf pan works too if you want to slice your polenta that way. Once the polenta had set (about an hour or so), I popped it into the refrigerator to chill.

stir the polenta into the boiling water

when the polenta is done, stir in a pat of butter

pressed into a baking dish to cool



**Jump for more butter**