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i love a good mess

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Recipe: huckleberry mess

It was a great weekend for ski touring since there was plenty of new snow that fell AND STAYED IN PLACE. If you live in the Front Range, it feels like you rent snow more than anything else because it falls and then gets blown into the next county to the east within 24 hours. Erin and I took turns breaking trail through the powder so Banjo wouldn’t have to body plow the whole way up. Normally he doesn’t mind body plowing through snow, but it was 2°F and we wanted to keep our furball buddy comfortable and safe.


winter did not forsake us!

banjo was having a blast

on my ski tour with jeremy, sunday



Last week, I had baked a batch of huckleberry meringues to distribute to friends for the Chinese New Year. I saved one out for Jeremy because he is so fond of them. But before he could eat it, I decided to serve it up with some extra goodies. I personally find meringues a little dull. They’re fun to make and beautiful to look at, but when I eat a meringue straight up, it isn’t terribly exciting. Pop a meringue on top of a cloud of whipped cream and fruit, and you’ve transformed “meh” into “wow!”.

wow!



This is nothing new. It’s basically an Eton mess with huckleberries in place of strawberries. Obviously, I don’t have access to fresh huckleberries in March, but I *DO* have heaps of frozen huckleberries squirreled away in my chest freezer. I thought the frozen berries could benefit from a little lemon, sugar, and heat to make a nice sauce. Jeremy was so utterly smitten with this dessert, that he suggested I blog the recipe. I didn’t think that was necessary, but you can see who got his way.

so i made another batch of huckleberry meringues

whipping cream, vanilla extract, almond extract, huckleberries, lemon, meringues, and sugar (divided)



**Jump for more butter**

stormy and awesome

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Recipe: ginger shrub dark and stormy cocktail

We have entered this lovely stormy pattern of snow, snow, and more snow. Hey – better late than never. Our wonderful neighbor always gets up early after a big snowfall and snow blowers his driveway, our driveway, the common driveway, and the other neighbors’ driveways. Sometimes I’ll take fresh baked cookies over, or maybe a coconut custard tart, or perhaps some cinnamon rolls. I love neighborly neighbors. Before the latest round of storms, we enjoyed a lull of 2 sunny days with no wind. NO WIND. So rare and yet so coveted! I scrambled to get my work done and then grabbed my skis for a solo skin into the mountains before the sun retired for the day.


beautiful, quiet, solitude



The clouds moved in a few days later and the snow has been falling ever since. In winter, we pay attention to the weather not just for the ski potential, but to avoid unnecessary travel when conditions in the canyon are hazardous. I managed to take care of all business in town on Wednesday morning, driving back up the canyon just as the snow and clouds blotted out the sun above, but Jeremy had meetings that went into late afternoon when the storm was fully underway. He planned to take the bus home (usually a safer option during storms), but had to wait a couple of hours at the RTD station while emergency crews cleared an accident that had closed the entire canyon. When he finally got home several hours after he had left his office, I handed him a cocktail – because I knew he needed it. It was a dark and stormy, which seemed appropriate.

But this dark and stormy was made with ginger shrub rather than ginger beer. My friend, Cindi, asked me for a ginger shrub recipe earlier this month because her husband loves the stuff, but didn’t want to keep paying major cash for bottle after bottle. I didn’t have a recipe that I had tried, but shrubs are pretty straightforward to make. I did a quick search, looked over a couple of recipes, and sent along the one that looked best with the caveat that I hadn’t tested it.


ginger, cider vinegar, sugar

slice the ginger

it’s just these three things: ginger, vinegar, sugar



**Jump for more butter**

sweet things in the year of the goat

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate peanut butter chip pizookie

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Tsai! It’s the year of the goat, or sheep, or ram! I’m not really sure which one it’s supposed to be, but you get the gist. The house is clean (more or less), the symbol for luck is upside down on the front door, and I made several traditional foods on New Year’s Eve to ensure luck, health, happiness, and all the good stuff. Some of the recipes require quite a bit of time to prepare – there is no rushing through them. As I sliced and minced countless ingredients and plucked the ends off the soybean sprouts, it gave me time to contemplate the previous year, loved ones who are still with us and the loved ones who have gone. The new year is a joyful time, but it is also a time of remembrance and perhaps a little heartache.


round whole fruits are good luck (and hong bao have cash!)

the character for “luck” upside down at the front door (luck arrives)

lucky ten ingredient vegetables



You’d think a Chinese recipe would be appropriate for today, but practically speaking, if you’re trying to celebrate the lunar new year, you should have cooked everything yesterday (new year’s eve) because you’re not supposed to use sharp objects (knives) today. Another superstition, don’t you know. There’s no need for knives in this recipe AND it’s something sweet – which is good because you want to eat something sweet on Chinese New Year’s Day so sweet things come out of your mouth all year.

So I have to share this guilty pleasure with you, because it’s ridiculous stuff. Years ago, my good friends Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple posted about pizookies: a deep dish cookie topped with ice cream. They were crazy about pizookies and have several recipes from which to choose. Over the winter holidays, I had some extra cookie dough and asked Jeremy if he wanted a pizookie. “A what?!” he asked. I had already popped it into the oven and just told him he wanted one. I was right.


peanut butter chips, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, butter, salt, vanilla, baking soda

cream the butter and sugars

beat in the eggs and vanilla



**Jump for more butter**