huckleberry mess ginger shrub dark and stormy cocktail roasted cauliflower and garlic mash chocolate peanut butter chip pizookie


copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2015 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

archive for vegetables

not mashed potatoes

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Recipe: roasted cauliflower and garlic mash

No mashed potatoes for us this weekend! The mercury fell as did the snow – precious powdery snow. When it gets too hot and the snow turns to slush, some refer to it as mashed potatoes. And while mashies are fine to ski, it’s not the kind of snow that is long-lived as it transforms into ice overnight or eventually puddles of water during the day. At least for now, the snow gods have smiled down upon us and delivered. It was both a snow- AND friend-filled weekend. Our neighbor asked if I would mind spending a little play time with their pup, Dioji (dee-OH-gee), while they were away all day. She is a giant walking carpet of a dog (half Berner and half Great Pyrenees) who loves everyone and just wants to be loved in return – my favorite pup in Nederland.


the best kind of snow: big fluffy flakes as seen from corona chair

dioji hanging out in our living room

and doling out the kisses

visiting with my four-year old pal, felix, before his ski lesson

jeremy contemplates the view before diving into the snow

2°f and completely still

on my solo ski tour

my breath frosted my hair!



We are delighted to return to our lovely, fluffy, Rocky Mountain powder. Mashed potatoes snow can wait until spring, when it’s supposed to be in season. As for the edible kind of mashed potatoes, I’ve been trying to move away from those as well. I personally LOVE mashed potatoes made with plenty of butter and some cream. After a while though, I want to change things up. That, and my pants don’t fit as well. I’ve been alternating between the occasional mashed potatoes and this other mash of roasted cauliflower and roasted garlic this winter. The cauliflower mash is so deliciously creamy without all of the pants-shrinking effects and it goes well with meats, vegetables, or even on its own.

all you need: olive oil, salt, pepper, chicken broth, fresh thyme, garlic, cauliflower

prepped



**Jump for more butter**

what’s new

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Recipe: sichuan pork wontons

When the weekend started, I wasn’t sure how things were going to pan out. We always have a plan in place – usually a form of weather-dependent exercise, lofty goals to clean some part of the house, and work. Because it has been so disturbingly warm, my usual ski tour with Erin turned into a snirt (snow/dirt) hike. Making our way up the ice-slicked trail, we agreed that despite the suckage of the snow conditions, it was nice to get outside. Banjo agreed. Before we set off in the morning, he spun about in dizzying white fluffy circles on the mudroom floor, filled with giddy anticipation of the adventure to come. Happy dogs can’t lie.


my weekly date with erin and banjo

such a good boy



The dearth of snowfall this season didn’t deter me and Jeremy from nabbing some new fat skis on super sale recently. We took them into town for binding mounts and new ski prep. Picking the skis up from the mountaineering store, I signed the credit card receipt and smiled at the cashier, “Do your snow dance!” and stepped outside into 65°F and bright sun. The forecast was sunshine and warmth until Sunday, when we would get some snow. We weren’t sure how much. It could go either way.

my new (very fun) skis

the start of something beautiful

15 inches of fresh powder monday morning



But before the snow would come, we took a day – Valentine’s Day – to drive two and a half hours south onto the flats. You know it has to be something important to make us leave the mountains on a weekend. This was very important. We spent 30 minutes meeting several very sweet dogs. If all goes well, we’ll be filling that dog-shaped hole in our hearts with a puppy in early May.

On the return drive home, we passed through Denver where I stopped by the big Asian grocery store (HMart) to get ingredients for our traditional Chinese New Year feast. I try to stick to my grocery list, but as I walked the aisles packed to the hilt with all manner of sauces, vegetables, frozen foods, and pickled things, I started cobbling together our weekly menu as well. We hadn’t had wontons in a while, and there was a Sichuan wonton recipe waiting in the wings. The first step is to make the Sichuan red chile oil.


chiles de árbol, canola oil, soy sauce, salt, sichuan peppercorns, star anise, garlic, cinnamon, black cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, ginger

smashing things: cinnamon, garlic, ginger

combine the oil, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, cloves, anise, cardamom, and cinnamon

heat until the garlic is golden (mine was a little more than golden)



**Jump for more butter**

tough and easy

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Recipe: porcini butter

Today (Wednesday) was my last day of my 6-week skate ski program. While I will miss meeting up with this fine group of women and my awesome instructor, I have to say I’m happy to get my Wednesdays back. That, and I look forward to not being completely wiped out at the end of a long day of skate skiing and drills. I signed up for this program to jump start my introduction to skate skiing. On the registration form, I was asked to mark my ability level, so I checked off “Green: Beginner”, because that’s what I was. Little did I expect to be grouped into the intermediate class. I came into this program with the willingness to work hard, but this level of instruction required even more than I had anticipated.

So I worked. Hard. It wasn’t enough to just show up to class once a week, I needed to practice several times between classes so I could improve and take full advantage of the instruction I received. In the beginning it was crazy frustrating trying to piece together all of the elements of the technique while being completely exhausted from the hills. But I stuck with it as punishing as it felt, and within a couple of weeks I noticed some improvement. I am by no means what I consider a proficient skate skier, but I feel like I can practice and skate toward that goal equipped with the knowledge and understanding that our instructor shared over the last month and a half.


my wonderful skate gals



After a day of skating up and down the hills at Eldora, it’s necessary to come home to an easy menu. I’ll tell you what, though – I think easy menus are perfect just about any time. We gave up going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day over two decades ago, opting for a delicious home-cooked meal in the privacy of our own home. This spared us the headache of having to jostle among crowds of couples with unreasonably high expectations for the evening. When I tried this recipe, my intention was to shoot for “easy”. Only after sitting down to eat our dinner, did I realized how a simple porcini butter could transform a meal into a swoon-worthy experience.

The name, porcini butter, is practically the recipe itself. It requires dried porcini mushrooms and butter – a match made in heaven. If you are using unsalted butter, you can opt to add salt. I personally hold off on adding salt because I like to add it separately. Unlike fresh porcini, dried porcini are mush easier to find in grocery stores if you don’t have your own. They are usually packed in 1 oz. bags or containers. The butter should be at room temperature so you can cream it easily with a fork. Use a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle to turn the porcini into a fine powder. Everything will start to smell of porcini at this point.


you’ll need: salt (optional), butter, dried porcini

cream the butter

place the dried porcini in a spice grinder

grind it into a powder



**Jump for more butter**