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all the butter to eat you with, my dear

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Recipe: kouign amann

More snow in Nederland over the weekend meant more skiing – because you don’t pass up good snow and low winds around these parts. We did some ski touring Friday and Saturday, then caught lots of turns in 12 inches of fresh powder at our local hill Sunday. Normally we forgo weekend skiing at the resorts, but 12 inches of powder and calm winds is a major green light despite the crowds.


jeremy glides along the trail

new snow

a lone aspen



When I get home after an outdoor activity, I am hungry. That’s mostly because I don’t tend to eat much when I’m hiking, skiing, or whatever it is I’m doing in the backcountry. And I’m definitely hungrier in winter. The cold and wind can really suck the calories right out of you (which I think is great for my ass reduction plan). After our ski tour Saturday, I had an hour or more of prep before dinner would be ready, but we were really hungry right then. So Jeremy and I split a pastry – a kouign amann. It’s not that big, but it’s full of butter and caramelized sugar such that a little goes a long way.

all you need: water, flour, yeast, salt, butter, and sugar



I’ve been obsessed with kouign amann for a couple of years. I first picked one up at the Whole Foods bakery to share with Jeremy. The flaky pastry lures me in EVERY TIME. I took a bite and wondered where this kouign amann had been all my life. It quickly replaced the chocolate croissant as Jeremy’s pastry of choice. Each time I purchased one for him, I would think to myself, “You have got to be able to make this yourself.” Kouign amann is in essence, puff pastry dough made with lots of butter (obviously) and loads of sugar (woohoo!). It’s such a simple list of ingredients and yet the results are the stuff of dreams. The technique doesn’t require skill so much as patience and time – it takes time and makes a lot of layers through a series of folding and flattening and folding and flattening again.

dissolve the yeast in the water

stir in the flour and salt until you form a shaggy dough

knead the dough until smooth

cover and let rise until double in size



**Jump for more butter**

banana banana!

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Recipe: bourbon caramel chocolate banana cream pie

Well wow. We have had so much snow lately that I started getting picky about the powder reports. “Oh, just 7 inches of fresh powder this morning?” Crested Butte has received 7 FEET of snow in the past two weeks. Needless to say, we’ve been skiing powder and more powder.


evening ski touring before dinner

ski touring among giant trees (the little green dot at the bottom is jeremy)

ski touring beautiful terrain

quad burns and tele turns on the mountain



This being Colorado, we also have our share of sunshine. After a morning of getting pounded with 2 inch/hour snowfall (and epic skiing – face shots!), the sun came out to play. There is a good bit of snow piled up outside our place. Jeremy has had to dig out a little area for Kaweah to go potty in the yard. It now has walls of snow 3-8 feet high, which is kinda nice because it means she doesn’t wander off.

kaweah for scale in the driveway

jeremy has to chuck the snow quite high



Despite the cold weather, Kaweah enjoys a daily scoop of her banana pupsicle. It’s just frozen bananas. I make a habit of collecting ripe or overripe bananas at the grocery store and blitzing the frozen chopped up bananas for her every few weeks. But right before we came out to Crested Butte, I decided to commandeer a few of those bananas for the two-legged critters in the house. I wanted to make banana cream pie.

pie crust: butter, flour, salt, confectioner’s sugar, cream, cider vinegar, chocolate

pulse the butter into the dry ingredients

add the cream and vinegar mixture

pulse together until just moistened

wrap and chill



**Jump for more butter**

i bring you sweet lovin’

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Recipe: the concorde chocolate meringue mousse cake

In this house, Jeremy is the romantic and I am the unromantic. That doesn’t mean I’m boring – I recognize romantic things, I just find them superfluous. Jeremy isn’t a hardcore romantic, but he does give me the moony eyes from time to time and likes to go out for candlelit dinners, hold hands, sip champagne together under the stars, and cuddle under a snuggy blanket while watching a good old sci fi/fantasy/action-adventure movie. I don’t equate love with romance, but I do equate (good) food with love. When I make food, when I share food, when I gift good – it’s all a form of love. So I’m sharing some love with you this week.


this is love

this is your brain on love



I’ve teamed up with my good friend, Ellen of Helliemae’s Caramels, to do a little Valentine’s Day giveaway for use real butter readers. No one is paying anyone. We are doing this just for fun. Ellen is donating the caramel goodness and I’m wrangling the random number generator (a.k.a. Kaweah) who is coming out of retirement JUST FOR YOU. Why? Because… love! Should you be one of the winners, you can select one of the following packages:

plain jane



Plain Jane: includes a jar of caramel sauce and a bag of Caramelo tinies. The caramel sauce is unsalted, dark, and slightly bitter. I love using it for baking projects or fancy desserts. The Caramelos are the smoothest, creamiest, butteriest bites of intensely rich and delightfully chewy unsalted caramels you will ever put in your mouth. They’re so good, I just popped one in my pie hole!

adventure



Adventure: for the more daring individual, includes a jar of Chili Palmer caramel sauce and a bag of Passion Fruit caramel tinies. Chili Palmer is like getting kicked in the shins and passionately kissed at the same time. You are eloping with a frisky salted burnt caramel sauce loaded with spice (from the chili and cinnamon), heat (from the chili), butter, and sweetness. This stuff is ridiculous on ice cream. Don’t just try it on vanilla, it’s great on chocolate, absolutely sinful on my key lime pie ice cream, and pretty darn swoon-inducing straight off the spoon. What better partner to the sassy Chili Palmer caramel sauce than the exotic and seductive Passion Fruit caramel tinies? We are talking about a burst of tropical tartness playing off the buttery smooth caramel with hints of vanilla. A seasonal item (only around Valentine’s Day) worth every luscious calorie.

The Rules:

1) Share the food you most associate with love in the comments below.
2) One comment per person, please.
3) Comment must be received before 11:59 pm (MST), Thursday, February 6, 2014.
4) The prizes can only ship in the US.
5) Kaweah will select two winners.
6) Winners will be announced and contacted on Friday, February 7, 2014.

Good luck!!

And now something sweet for everyone whether you win the giveaway or not! Two years ago, I purchased Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, written by Dori Greenspan. It sat on my shelf collecting dog ears, but I never got around to making anything out of that gorgeous book until recently. This cake is so luxurious it even has a name that begins with “The”, like The Edge, except this is called The Concorde and it is a cake made entirely of chocolate meringue and chocolate mousse.


trace three 8 1/2-inch circles on parchment paper

flip the papers over so the tracing is face down on the baking sheets

fit two pastry bags with a 1/2-inch plain piping tip and a 1/4-inch plain piping tip



Get all of your equipment ready for the meringue because you don’t want it to deflate while you’re futzing around with drawing circles and such. I couldn’t find anything in my house that measured 8 1/2 inches in diameter for tracing, so I used an 8-inch removable base from a 9-inch tart pan. Worked just fine and gave me a little leeway in the meringue volume too.

chocolate meringue: dutch-process cocoa powder, egg whites, sugar, confectioner’s sugar

sift the confectionere’s sugar and cocoa powder together

whip the whites and granulated sugar to glossy stiff peaks



**Jump for more butter**