chanterelle ravioli with sage brown butter bourbon-glazed doughnut muffin doughnuts braised beluga lentils huckleberry vodka infusion & huckleberry moscow mule


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archive for sweet

the gifts of rain

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

Recipe: bourbon-glazed doughnut muffin doughnuts

“Good morning!” I chirped as I stepped off the trail to let an older gentleman coming toward me pass. “It sure is,” he smiled in his heavy Texan accent, “I just hope it doesn’t rain.” I winced internally, but reciprocated the smile and reminded him that the rains in our Colorado mountains are what make the trees and flowers so beautiful and the streams and lakes vibrant. “Well, I just hope it doesn’t rain until AFTER I finish my hike,” he chuckled. I wished him well and continued on my way. Earlier last week we had a nice pattern of unstable weather. It wasn’t the typical summer afternoon thunderstorm cycle, but tumultuous clouds that marched across the valley delivering lightning and heavy rain one minute followed by sunshine and clear skies, then back to the storminess – all this before 9 am!


mammatus clouds overhead

dark storms, rain, and a rainbow



I love rain in summer. I say in summer because springtime rains in the high country kill the snow pack and autumn rains can bring about an abrupt end to the fall colors. Summer rains feed the mountains and keep the dust down on the trails and backcountry roads. Jeremy and I have a great appreciation for cloud cover when we are outside, which is often.

paddling with jeremy and our friend and her two girls (so cute!)

beautiful morning for a ride



And of course, another reason I love the rains is because they bring the mushrooms. While I’ve been watching a variety of mushrooms flush in the last week, I hadn’t seen any of the mushrooms I was specifically seeking – those I eat. You have to give these things time… and rain… and sun. My patience paid off this weekend in the form of chanterelles and aspen oyster mushrooms. There are several steps to foraging mushrooms: finding them, photographing them (optional, but not really), harvesting them, cleaning them, cooking them, and finally, eating them. I like finding and photographing. Jeremy likes finding and eating. That leaves me with all the in-between steps which is why I will sometimes give a bag of foraged mushrooms to a friend rather than deal with all of the cleaning myself.

let’s get this (chanterelle) party started!

jeremy holds some of the day’s haul as neva looks on (she’s looking for a treat)

beautiful aspen oyster mushrooms growing off a dead aspen log



I’m so happy that the mushroom season wasn’t a bust, just later than last year. I can live with that. In celebration, let’s make some doughnuts. Let’s make boozy doughnuts! I don’t feel compelled to make fried doughnuts all that often because of the frying aspect. That’s not the case with baked doughnuts. Because I purchased specific equipment – the doughnut pans – I’m always on the lookout for a good baked doughnut recipe. I like baked doughnuts because they are easier to make and clean up as well as healthier than fried doughnuts (a low bar, I know). Thing is, baked doughnuts have the texture of cupcakes which is too light and fluffy for my tastes. I did some research this past spring on denser texture baked doughnuts. After a lot of trial and error (not quite there on a dense chocolate baked doughnut – but please share if you have a favorite), I landed on a brilliant recipe from King Arthur Flour’s website for doughnut muffins. Yes, it’s for muffins that taste like doughnuts. I just took the doughnut muffin recipe and made… doughnuts.

vanilla paste, confectioner’s sugar, vegetable oil, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, eggs, salt, butter, milk, sugar, brown sugar, flour, bourbon

butter the pans

cream together the butter, oil, and sugars

beat in the eggs



**Jump for more butter**

i look to august

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Recipe: huckleberry vodka infusion & huckleberry moscow mule

I’m writing on the last day of July, a month that has been drier than normal. We’ve received 1.3 inches of rainfall in my neighborhood this month compared to the average July rainfall of 2.25 inches. That may not seem like a lot, but I assure you the difference is noticeable in the mountains. The good news is that we just had a few hours of steady rain this afternoon (it delivered .16 inches to our July total). My hope is that August will usher in more precipitation from the sky.

August has always been a special month for me because it is the birthday month of my mom and my sister. Tomorrow, August 1, Kris would have turned 50. That hits me deep in my gut for so many reasons. But I’ll keep those reasons to myself and celebrate that I was fortunate enough to have had a sister and best friend for over three decades. She remains an important part of who I am today, kept safe behind my breastbone where she tugs at my emotions just like she did when we fought or when she left for college or when she called crying because her cat had died of old age or every time we laughed so hard at our stupid inside jokes that we had trouble breathing.


always in my heart



This past week we got out on a new(ish) trail as well as some familiar trails and I took careful note of what was and wasn’t happening on the ground. Wildflowers are good, but not exceptional. The mushroom flush is late. Parts of the mountain forests are so dry that it sounds (and feels) like I’m stepping on a bed of potato chips when I hike through.

hiking neva while jeremy runs ahead

jeremy had run up to the pass, the saddle between the two peaks in the distance

hiking under an early morning sun

hello, leccinum!

pink wintergreen in bloom



Over the weekend we hosted a dinner party that felt just right. It’s taken me forever to accept that inviting a lot of people for one dinner is far less enjoyable for me than working in small batches and pacing myself throughout the year. It was the perfect size with a group that clicked well together. Everyone was super nice and funny and fun and relaxed – and that makes all of the effort of hosting worth it to us. Amazingly enough, instead of acting like a complete maniac the entire evening, Neva calmed down within a half hour of everyone arriving and she was actually a pretty good pup most of the night. Then the following night, my parents treated us to a delicious homemade Chinese feast at their place in Boulder. I think this means I’m due for a big trail run!

our dinner party

mom and dad made some of my favorite homestyle chinese dishes



I know I’m going to sound like a nut when I say this, but I’m glad July is over because it means we are headed for good things in August. Regardless of the state of the mushrooms, I have my eyes set on trail running longer routes, exploring new trails, backpacking, and huckleberry season. Oh yes, I have been monitoring the huckleberries since the snow melted. After last year’s dismal season, Erin and I are hoping that this year will be fruitful, so to speak. I’m seeing lots of green peas, a few ghosts (dried and white dead ones), and some turning rose or a handful of early guys going snurple.

early morning dew on an unripe huckleberry

green peas, ghosts, purples, and snurples!



In honor of huckleberry season and huckleberries in general – which are always on my mind throughout the year – I’m sharing yet another huckleberry recipe. I made a test batch of huckleberry infused vodka two years ago and have been making more ever since. We serve it at parties or sometimes I find Jeremy adding it to a cocktail. It requires two ingredients and some patience.

huckleberries and vodka



The huckleberries can be fresh or frozen. Since fresh berries are hard to come by, I have always used my frozen huckleberries for this vodka. And I opt for large bottles of cheap vodka because I really enjoy walking up to the cashier at the liquor store looking like a lush, even though I don’t really drink alcohol. It’s great! Chop or crush the berries to break the skins. I use my food processor and give it a quick whir. You don’t need to purée the berries, you merely need to perform a coarse chop. Combine the huckleberries and vodka in a glass jar, give it a shake, then store it in a cool, dark, dry place for 2 to 3 weeks. Shake it every few days or so. Simple!

place the berries in a food processor

coarse chop

pour the vodka over the berries



**Jump for more butter**

more flowers, please

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Recipe: wild rose petal ice cream

I want to thank all of the readers who have emailed or messaged me their concerns for our safety over the weekend. We are safe. The wildfire (started by illegal campers on private land who failed to put out their campfire) in Nederland that quickly erupted Saturday afternoon a couple of miles from our home has spread in the other direction. For the time being, our house is okay and our neighborhood has not been evacuated although a large swath of our mountain and canyon communities are under mandatory evacuation. Neva is with us in Crested Butte. Our current plan is to remain here for a few days to minimize the strain on resources in that area and to keep out of the way of fire crews as they work tirelessly to battle the blaze in extremely hot, dry, and windy conditions over rugged terrain.


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Dining Out Denver & Boulder included use real butter among 11 Colorado Food Blogs You Should Read.

It’s been 2 years since we let our sweet Kaweah go. I still miss her every day.


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My parents came out to visit with us in Crested Butte this past week. The last time they were here, we had just moved in and didn’t have a good handle on the best places to eat or things to do. This time we planned a more suitable itinerary and kept the activities flexible and relaxed. Dad did a little fishing, we took some walks and hikes through the wildflowers, we dined out at some of our favorite Crested Butte restaurants, we dined in so Dad could open some bottles of his favorite wines, we attended a neighborhood party, and everyone played with Neva.

me and my mom on a morning hike

mom and dad at dinner



After the parental units returned to Boulder, we resumed our schedule of hikes, paddles, and runs. All manner of wildflowers are coming up: cinquefoil, sulfur paintbrush, Indian paintbrush, lupine, larkspur, monkshood, giant hyssop, mule ears, aspen daisies, fleabane daisies, oxeye daisies, old man of the mountain, cow parsnip, osha, sticky geranium, blue columbines, prairie smoke, elephant heads, wild roses, blue flax, and spotted coralroot – to name a few of the ones I can identify! We have been finding various mushrooms along the trails, too. I’m not the type of person who feels compelled to eat every single mushroom I encounter, but it’s hard to turn down oyster mushrooms. The handful of aspen oyster mushrooms we foraged were mostly old and wormed out. Still, I brought them home. I was able to fry up two of them for dinner, but I took the old ones and smeared them against our aspens in the yard in the hopes that we’ll see some oyster mushrooms appear next summer. It doesn’t hurt to try!

lupine and indian paintbrush

elephant heads with a scenic backdrop

freshly foraged aspen oyster mushrooms

fried in butter and served with leftover beef tenderloin

neva’s pretty certain she would have liked some steak



Due to inflammation of my right trapezius muscle for the past couple of weeks, I wasn’t able to get out for a trail run until recently. I had assumed that all of the wild roses would have finished by now, but I was mistaken. Much to my delight, I saw and smelled hundreds of blooms for miles. Jeremy asked if I was tempted to go back and forage more rose petals. I said no. If they were mushrooms, maybe, but I was done with rose petal recipes for the season. There was the rose petal jam recipe I shared last week and now I have a rose petal ice cream for you.

fragrant, beautiful, simple wild roses

eggs, sugar, rose petals, milk, cream, lemon, salt, beet juice (not pictured: rose water)



I’ve been on a mission to find a good rose petal ice cream recipe ever since I attended a special 50th wedding anniversary celebration years ago where they served an Italian rose petal gelato. I forgot about it for a few years until I realized there was an abundance of wild roses growing around my house that I could use. Last year I managed to miss the bloom entirely, so I made sure to catch it this year. If you don’t have wild roses available, you can use unsprayed fresh roses. If you aren’t familiar with foraging wild rose petals, have a gander at the rose petal jam post for pointers.

combine most of the rose petals, the sugar, and a pinch of salt in a food processor

pulse into a purée or a really well-blended wet sugary mix

combine a cup of cream, the milk, and the rose sugar in a saucepan



**Jump for more butter**