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not a snob

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Recipe: chinese fried pork meatballs

After enjoying superb snow conditions in Crested Butte last week, the atmosphere has gone on holiday here on the Front Range. I complained to my mom on the phone that it has been warm and sunny and windy. She laughed because she finds my obsession with snow amusing. Even though there hasn’t been any new snow this week, I haven’t allowed myself to fall into the snob trap – where you tell yourself that it isn’t worth getting out unless conditions are perfect. No, I’m getting out every day for the fresh air, the exercise, the scenery, the joy of gliding over snow.


hoping this little storm front brings some snow



Keeping active is important to me or else I start to feel down and get the blahs. It also allows me to indulge around the holidays without feeling debauched. I mean, the end of the year is when all of the yummy morsels get marched out at the parties! Among my favorite little foods are meatballs. I pretty much love them all, but I have a soft spot in my heart for these Chinese-style pork meatballs because my mom makes them and they’re delicious.

the filling: soy sauce, sesame oil, bamboo shoots, ground pork, cornstarch, dried black mushrooms, fresh ginger, green onions, napa cabbage (not pictured: salt)

mince the vegetables

mix the ingredients in a bowl



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my kind of pie

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Recipe: cottage pie with beef and carrots

Well wow. Winter arrived this week like a dinner guest who shows up drunk in time for dessert. There was some snow, which I’m grateful for, but we plunged from above freezing to single-digit (that is fahrenheit) temperatures within an hour or two. All hell broke loose as the roads glazed over with black ice. It’s been snowing and below zero at our house for a few days now.


snowy ridges and frigid cold

sushi dinner with my folks before they flew home



My parents made it safely home to Virginia and I think they were relieved to not have to deal with snow and ice. We never got above zero today (Wednesday) at our house, but it should start warming up soon. I’m ready for more snow, I tell ya. It’s time to get the ski pants out. I’ve also been looking for reasons to cook things in the oven now that we have finally entered cold weather season. Can you believe I’ve never made cottage pie before? I wasn’t even sure what it was. But once I read through the recipe, it was clear to me that THIS is my kind of pie – a savory pie with mashie top!

flatiron steaks, white wine, fresh thyme, olive oil, black pepper, onions, dried porcini, salt, celery, carrots, beef broth base, flour, tomato paste

heat the broth and porcini

let the mushrooms steep

chop the porcini (save the liquid)



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love your greens

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Recipe: stir-fried chinese broccoli (gai lan)

A little dusting of snow graced the ground Monday morning. It was cloudy and light snow fell outside all morning. I wanted to go out for a run, but figured I’d work and squeeze a run in after noon. Come noon, the clouds parted and the sun shone through the windows. Squinting up valley, I frowned at the brightness. I prefer to run on cloudy days – I’m just not a fan of the sun. Returning to my desk, I worked a few more hours until the shadows on the window blinds disappeared into a uniform grey. Huh, the clouds must have returned, I thought as I stepped out to the deck for a look. Not only did they return, but the house – the whole town – was enshrouded in clouds.

There were 90 minutes before sunset, so I ran upstairs to don my running tights and top. Out the door, I stepped into a cool, damp soup. The temperature was already dropping to 29°F as I pulled glove liners on. Funny how in February, 20°F feels like a heat wave, but in early autumn I have to get dialed into the cooler temperatures all over again. Mist and fog muted all of the normal sounds around me except for the crunch crunch crunch of my feet on the snow or frozen dirt and rocks. My eyes darted all over the trail – into the woods to avoid spooking large mammals and on the forested slopes above to spot any predators. Snowflakes drifted lazily down through the still air, landing on my forehead, nose, and cheeks. I like running alone on empty trails because I can zig and zag as I try to catch a snowflake in my open mouth or high-five all of the tree branches lining the trail. It’s my second favorite part of trail running. My favorite part is when I am done running.


someday soon, there will be enough snow to ski



It’s unclear how much longer we’ll be running before we can transition to skiing. All of the snow enthusiasts hope it won’t be long. The most important thing is to remain active outside, because I need to get my winter mojo back. But really, MY winter mojo has never really left. It’s all relative. Meanwhile, I’m getting my cold weather kitchen mojo on. Some dark, leafy greens like kale and chard are in season now, but I can only handle so much before I want other greens. Chinese broccoli or gai lan is available at most Asian grocery stores. It’s one of the only green vegetables they serve at dim sum and I always order a plate on principle to balance all of the fatty, starchy (and delicious) other dishes.

chicken broth, salt, garlic, chinese broccoli, oyster sauce, vegetable oil

a stalk

the floret



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