March 1st, 2017
March 3, 2017: I updated my spam filter a few days ago and it seems that it wasn’t letting any comments through at all. I only found out after some readers let me know (please, if you run into any issues, don’t hesitate to drop me a line so we can try to fix it). I think it’s working now, but we’ll spend a little more time on it this weekend. Thanks for your patience! xo -jen
In the beginning, when Jeremy and I were newly wed, our wedding anniversary felt like an imposter. It wasn’t the day that was most important to us because getting married didn’t change much in our lives with the exception of the car insurance discount (the discount was awesome). Our special day was and remains November 1, 1992 when we decided we liked one another enough to be a couple. As we progress through life, that first kiss in the mechanical engineering building and that 13-person, 1-dog wedding in my graduate advisor’s living room begin to merge in retrospective. We now count our life together in decades rather than years.
anniversary dinner at frasca (last night)
Today marks our 20th wedding anniversary. Something about nice round numbers – because I am partial to decimal – grabs my attention. I assembled some photographs of us from the last couple of decades, which was no small feat prior to the smart phone. How time flies. Instead of making me feel old, it makes me feel very, very fortunate.
horse flats, california (1993)
strawberry peak, california (1994)
lassen volcanic national park shortly after getting married (1997)
redwoods national park (1997)
kaweah gap in the high sierra, california – name ring a bell? (1999)
single cone, new zealand (2003)
wine country, california (2003)
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February 26th, 2017
Recipe: sous vide meyer lemon cheesecake with raspberry sauce
Well thank goodness the snow is back. I was about to lose my marbles there, because skiing ice is a little hard on my knee, which I hyper-extended thanks to jamming my ski under some wind slab in the backcountry. My knee is mostly fine, but I’m icing, doing strengthening exercises, and a little bit of skiing. Just a little bit.
“is there snow on my face?”
jeremy grabs some turns before starting the work day
So if you follow my personal account on Instagram (https://instagram.com/jenyuphoto/
), you may have noticed that I have been busy experimenting with my sous vide cooker. Sure, it’s great for steaks and chops and chicken and fish and eggs, but… what about sweets? I decided to try it out on cheesecake, because I’ve baked cheesecakes in a water bath in the oven before. It’s like a jacuzzi for cheesecakes. The thing is, I can only make individual cheesecakes with my sous vide cooker. You CAN make whole cheesecakes in a sous vide oven, or you can sous vide the filling in a bag and squeeze the contents onto a crust (but that sounds a little janky to me). I’ve been excited to try a lemon cheesecake for some time, because the citrus adds a nice bit of zip, zest, and brightness to cream cheese, which I find to be incredibly flat tasting. But first, let’s make the raspberry sauce. I use frozen organic raspberries because they are cheaper than fresh and work just as well for our purposes.
lemon juice, water, sugar, frozen raspberries
combine water and raspberries in a saucepan
simmer until the berries break down
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February 20th, 2017
Recipe: steamed eggplant with sesame and green onions
I’m so glad we’re not the only ones who took some time to warm up to our dog. I loved hearing about your own pets (and for some, even children!) via email or in the comments because it helped us realize that our experience was not out of the norm. Lately, instead of sticking her cold, wet nose in my face at 6 in the morning, Neva will wait until 6:30 or even 6:45 if it means she can curl up on the bed between us. We’ll take it! And she really is becoming quite the cuddler.
The weather for the past week has been sunny and unseasonably warm here in the mountains. A lot of my friends on the flats have been rejoicing in this “warm” weather, but it’s the “unseasonably” that makes me nervous. Sure, I want proper snow (blower powder, please), but the red flag warning for fire danger due to high winds and above average temperatures in February? No, thank you. That’s messed up. But you go with the flow and just pretend it’s Spring instead of Winter while quietly fretting over trends in global warming. We did get out several times to sample snow in the backcountry, at the resorts, and on the trails, only to be met with sketchy conditions. It made it that much easier for me to stay home all weekend working on taxes.
neva sunning herself on the deck
scooby snack in the high country
looking for snow in all the wrong places
brief sunrise colors
weekend activities: taxes (two favorite and most apropos erasers-turned-paperweights)
I am always on the prowl for eggplant recipes. I absolutely love eggplant. I grew up eating it Chinese-style, but discovered that I pretty much enjoy all manner of preparation of these oddly spongy vegetables. When I first flipped through my copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More
, I placed little sticky tabs on each recipe of interest. There were a lot, but the one that I wanted to eat immediately was the steamed eggplant with sesame and green onion. It’s meaty without being heavy or oily, and the Japanese flavors are clean and bright.
eggplant, sesame seeds (black and white), sesame oil, maple syrup, salt, mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, green onions
peel the eggplant
steam for 30 minutes
mince the ginger and crush the garlic
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