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get jjigae with it

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Recipe: korean beef short rib kimchi stew (jjigae)

We got a proper snow last Thursday. Usually the first inch of snow marks the first snow of the season, but we got four inches! At the start it was a light snow that covered the deck. When I let Neva out into it, she hugged the edge of the house, remaining under the eaves – almost afraid to step on the snow. I was concerned. Had she forgotten all of the snow she played in as a wee puppy back in May and June? She had never seen it fall from the sky before and she stood there, watching it intently. By the time she went back out onto the deck for her second visit, she was already trying to eat the snow. Neva shoved her nose into it and put paw prints all over the white canvas. She asked to go back outside another 20 times that morning – just so she could play in the snow. Looks like Neva IS our puppy after all! I didn’t take any photos of Neva’s discovery phase because I was busy playing with the video and slo-mo on my iPhone. So if you want to see those videos and other shenanigans pertaining to Neva, find me on instagram at @jenyuphoto.

Over the weekend, we took Neva into the high country for a little walkie walk. She had a blast. Jeremy and I kept trying to gauge how she’ll do when we’re on skis, but the best way to know is to take her out on a ski tour. And the only way to do that is to wait for more snow. I will say that we were pleasantly surprised at how much more snow there was in the high country – about a half foot on average. Jeremy worried that Neva would get too cold in the snow (she has yet to grow her winter coat and her belly is still barely covered in baby fuzz). When we stopped to check on how she was, her hind legs were trembling – not from cold, but because she was SO EXCITED to keep going up the trail. Crazy little dog. [And she is quite little. I looked up Kaweah’s old records and found she weighed in at 51 pounds at 6 months of age. Neva was 31 pounds at 6 months.]


alpine lakes are good for your soul

four of my favorite things: jeremy, neva, mountains, and snow



Snow is a game changer. It turns the backcountry into a different kind of playground. I no longer feel as if I have to beat the sun when I get outside and I don’t dread the heat of midday (or day, for that matter). Oh, and I can cook again! We don’t have air conditioning in the mountains, so we try to keep the exothermic kitchen activities to a minimum in summer. Once the temperature turns, cooking is a great way to feed our pie holes AND warm up the house. Thermodynamics always wins in the end, so don’t be fightin’ it. Months ago, someone posted a photo of their dinner at a Korean restaurant – something steaming, spicy and stew-like. At the time I couldn’t even wrap my mind around eating stew in the dead of summer while a feral little puppy was running my life. But now… now I’ve had the time to research some recipes, the puppy is more dog than puppy, and it’s finally cold enough to justify making jjigae – a Korean short rib kimchi stew. You know I’m all over that one.

rice cakes (tteok) can be found at good asian grocers in the frozen or refrigerated sections

rice cakes, kimchi, onions, hondashi, pepper, short ribs, butter, garlic, salt, vegetable oil, mirin, sesame oil



The first thing to do is caramelize two pounds of onions. Don’t be in a rush when you caramelize onions, because you won’t get caramelized onions, but burnt onions. Caramelization takes time, so give yourself at least 45 minutes. If you live in my neck of the woods 8500 feet above sea-level, give it more like 90 minutes. The key is to give it time, keep the heat just low enough so that the onions cook, but don’t burn, and stir occasionally.

melt the butter and vegetable oil

sauté the onions

when the onions turn translucent, reduce the heat

stir and cook and stir and cook until the onions are a rich golden color



**Jump for more butter**

time for a bowl of soup

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Recipe: cream of chanterelle soup

I suppose I have to just will my way into autumn if the weather won’t cooperate. While it’s no longer scorching hot, the weather is still what one would classify as Indian Summer. Sunny and comfortably warm. I no longer have to worry about Neva roasting her brains out on the deck, so she’s been enjoying the coolish mornings while the sun makes its way up into the sky. It’s also nice that she has stopped barking and whining at every single creature that moves in front of our deck – like neighbors, random dogs, bunnies, birds (so many birds…), foxes, deer, etc. Although I did see her lunging after a fly as it unknowingly entered Neva’s air space.


she loves it when i put her bed in the sunny corner



Jeremy and I took Neva up to Blue Lake over the weekend since the road leading into the Brainard Lake Recreation Area closed on Sunday for the season. I’m happy to report that despite the 32°F temperature at the trailhead, I felt downright warm. My internal winter thermostat is on track, at least. As it was the weekend, Neva got to meet lots of other dogs – some friendly, some not interested, some just plain crazy. She had a blast.

mitchell lake was as smooth as glass

autumn hiking is the best

neva even swam several laps at blue lake



That was all well and good, but every “landmark” we encountered elicited remarks from me or Jeremy regarding that section of trail in winter and spring – when snow transforms the landscape. Hiking is hiking, but on skis you think about gradients both up and down. My hope is that Neva will transition easily to ski tours into the backcountry and love the snow as much as Kaweah did. I’d love to start her training except WE HAVE NO SNOW. So I’m posting a soup recipe in the hopes that it will jumpstart some form of frozen precipitation around here. Next, I’m going to wash my car… I think the weather is supposed to turn overcast, rainy, and cooler this week. Fingers crossed.

I made this cream of chanterelle soup back in the summer when I found and foraged my very first batch of chanterelles. It was amazing back in August, so I’m confident that it will be even better now as we zip toward Halloween. Chanterelles are in the grocery stores – I’ve seen them at Whole Foods for an arm and a leg as well as at Costco. Those store chanterelles aren’t going to compare with the ones you forage yourself, but they’ll work.


chanterelles, chicken broth, shallots, eggs, butter, cream, brandy, salt, saffron, flour, more butter (yay!)

chop the mushrooms into a small dice

ingredients prepped for the soup base



**Jump for more butter**

recovering

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Recipe: miso soup

As some of you know, we will be welcoming a little friend into the house in a few weeks. Once she gets here, Jeremy and I shall be puppy bound for a little while. Our plan is to work (and play) with her intensively in the early months to get her off to a good start. We feel that Kaweah was really great in some ways, and really really not good in other respects. We fault ourselves for that, although Kaweah had a blast regardless. It’s the rolling-gleefully-in-poop that I’d like to avoid with the next pup. Oh, and perhaps having her come when called. But to do all of this, we’ve doubled up on our workloads for the past couple of months to clear the summer for puppy. In doing so, Jeremy kinda ran himself ragged and for the last week has been fighting off a sore throat, congestion, and basically – The Man Cold. Since May has been acting like March (and March totally pretended it was May), a nice pot of hot soup has been perfect for both of us.

One thing I look forward to whenever I sit down at a sushi bar is a bowl of miso soup. This is particularly true after a day spent in the snow (on skis, of course!). I can feel the heat travel down into my belly and radiate out toward my cold hands, toes, and nose. But it’s rare that we get to hit up a sushi bar after getting some turns, because 1) we live in the sticks and 2) we aren’t made of money. That said, it is so simple to make your own miso soup at home and it tastes every bit as delicious as the restaurant version.


green onion, dried wakama (seaweed), shiro miso, hondashi, water, soft tofu



I can find all of these ingredients in my local Whole Foods store, with the exception of the hondashi. The hondashi requires a trip to the Asian market, where you can find all of these ingredients – but maybe not organic. Shiro miso is white miso paste. You can also use yellow or red miso, depending on the flavor you want to achieve. The darker the color of the miso, the more intense the flavor. I prefer the more delicate flavor of the white miso – and I also happen to have a ton of it in my refrigerator. Hondashi is instant bonito (skipjack tuna) soup stock. I keep a jar of the hondashi granules in my refrigerator. You only need a little bit to make dashi, but it is the bulk of the soup. Without dashi, the miso soup tastes rather flat and uninspired.

slicing the tofu into little cubes

measured and prepped



**Jump for more butter**