pretzel bites sweet and sour chinese mushrooms travel: steamboat springs, colorado apple cinnamon caramel monkey bread


copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2016 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

archive for savory

how to deal with the snow

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Recipe: pretzel bites

Our most recent storm brought nearly 3 feet of snow to us in Crested Butte. And while we have been getting our fill of the powder (and then some!), there is the issue of clearing the snow on and around our house so we can get in and out, and so Neva can potty in the yard without disappearing completely. The thing about snow in Crested Butte is that it doesn’t really melt away until late spring. This morning was a balmy -18°F. So yeah, no melting here, just moving snow to make room for more snow. But the deep freeze is also what keeps the powder stashes fresh for days.


the snow in the yard is piling high (neva and jeremy for scale)

when neva is not outside, she wants to be outside

getting turns in the fresh stuff

we’ve never skied such deep and fluffy powder

jeremy getting after it in the trees



Alternatively, you might not be a snow lover (WHY??!). I can’t say I understand, but I know people who dislike the cold and snow of winter. Maybe you prefer to sit at home and watch a bunch of dudes hurl themselves about a rectangular field. Every person has their “thing”. No matter which thing is your thing, there is no denying that a batch of warm, soft pretzel bites would be a good thing!

brown sugar, butter, yeast, egg, salt, baking soda, pretzel salt, water, vegetable oil, flour

stir the flour and kosher salt together

get the water to around 100°f

mix melted butter, warm water, yeast, and brown sugar together



**Jump for more butter**

pow pow pow!

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Recipe: sweet and sour chinese mushrooms

Timing can be everything when it comes to winter storms. You certainly want to avoid driving in one around these parts of Colorado. And if everything works out, you’ll get to your destination BEFORE the storm hits, then hunker down and wait for the powder day. We are not always so lucky nor do we always have the flexibility to chase storms, but we hit the jackpot for the second time in a row this weekend. Crested Butte began to see some flurries on Saturday, and by Sunday morning we went in search of the powder on the mountain. More snow (a lot more) is forecast for the next couple of days, which is great if you can stay put and enjoy it. We’ve already got a wall of snow 6 feet high adjacent to the driveway and it is not going away anytime soon. Neva likes standing on it because… she’s a crazy little girl.


it just keeps snowing

telemark skiing powder is possibly the best thing ever

jeremy agrees



Chinese New Year is coming up in a week and I’ve already got the grocery list for all of the ingredients I’ll need to make our little feast on Sunday, New Year’s Eve. For several years now, my minimum menu has included Chinese potstickers, cellophane noodle soup with dan jiao (egg dumplings), and rui tsai (lucky ten ingredient vegetables). Before I settled into my Chinese New Year cooking groove, I’d often call up my mom or grandmother to ask what I should make. They would always reply with a casual, “Oh, any Chinese dish is fine.” But then I’d get warnings not to eat squid (bad luck), or white tofu (death?), and not to buy salt for a month after New Year’s Day – oh heck, just to be safe, don’t buy salt for the month prior! That’s why I’ve settled on my SAFE list. Barring a few specific ingredients, I think most dishes should be fine. If you’re looking for ideas, you can always visit this recipe round up I posted a couple of years ago. Or perhaps you’d want to try these sweet and sour mushrooms?

Back in our Southern California days, we would occasionally meet up with friends at a Buddhist vegetarian Chinese restaurant in Monterey Park: Happy Family Restaurant. It may not sound very interesting or exciting, but everyone we took there (even the carnivores) loved it. Every dish on the menu was plant-based and absolutely delicious. Chinese Buddhists have a culinary tradition of making vegetarian “meat” from vegetables or tofu. One of our favorites was the vegetarian chicken, which was essentially deep fried mushrooms tossed in a wonderful sauce. My version of it is close, but… I use egg whites which is a big no-no in Buddhist cooking. It’s still vegetarian, but it isn’t vegan. If you want to go full Buddhist vegetarian, omit the egg whites in the batter and you’ll probably have to omit some of the sauce ingredients like Worcestershire sauce. I’m pretty sure there is no Worcestershire sauce in any Buddhist cooking – vegetarian or not. It’s just a hunch.


mushrooms, flour, cornstarch, egg whites, baking soda, salt, celery, vegetable oil, water

whisk the egg whites until frothy

combine the batter ingredients (except for the egg whites)

fold the egg whites into the batter



**Jump for more butter**

all that snow

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

Recipe: japanese cucumber salad

I kept abreast of the blizzard that hammered the East Coast this weekend through updates from my parents and all of the pictures of friends shoveling their driveways. It’s always a little painful when cities, warm climates, and flat topography get a lot of snow – not just because it causes complete chaos, but because everyone complains about it and most people don’t know what to do with it. I mean… WE know what to do with three feet of snow. But alas, it was all sunshine and blue skies around here. We know what to do with THAT, too!


getting a good workout on skate skis

this one, she loves the snow

got her attention with a treat

neva practices the “gentle” command and takes a small treat from my mouth



With a short trip on my calendar this week, I’m going to go with a quick recipe that is a remake of an old one from 2007. Back in 2007 I hadn’t really gotten into my food blogging groove, so there are some recipes that could use the proper make-shoot-document treatment. Since we made sushi over the weekend, it was a good opportunity to shoot and re-share this bright and tangy Japanese cucumber salad.

simple as: rice vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, cucumbers



**Jump for more butter**