buttermilk biscuits and sausage cream gravy chinese orange beef toasted coconut custard tart cottage pie with beef and carrots


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my kind of pie

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)



**Jump for more butter**

dinner at andrew’s

November 9th, 2014

Recipe: apple cider ice cream with apple cider caramel swirl

Last year, my friend, Andrew, went from owning 16 things that all fit in a backpack to owning a beautiful canyon home outside of Boulder. After traveling the world for over a year, he finally had a place to hang his hat. I visited, got the grand tour, and we agreed that we would have to cook dinner together in his new kitchen. That was 18 months ago. Every few months we’d touch base and our schedules just didn’t jive until last week. Andrew has hosted a lot of dinners at his house in that time, so his routine is dialed in. Except this time, he let me call the shots because I was guest cooking. I suggested a menu, prepared a few dishes in advance, and then we set to work Thursday afternoon.


which grocery store?

some kale, some apples…



Once at the house, Andrew tidied up (and sanded his deck – industrious fellow) while I took over the kitchen. As the sun dropped behind the canyon wall, guests began arriving. Some of my friends, his friends, mutual friends, and my mom! I usually try to take my mom out to dinner when my dad has poker night, but this time I was cooking at Andrew’s house, so we invited her to join us. Andrew led a few tours of his beautiful home as people trickled in.

miso butter roast chicken ready for the oven

the host with the most



We started with hot chorizo sweet onion dip (from Todd and Diane) and tortilla chips before sitting down to roasted carrot ginger soup, Oak’s shredded kale salad, miso butter roasted chicken (from Kathya), and a steamed rice blend with extra miso butter roast garlic sauce on top. Dinner was lively, fun, and I could finally relax since all of the cooking was done!

andrew serves up the miso butter chicken

dinner is served

my plate full of yum



For dessert, I served an ice cream I had made ahead of time at home. I’ve been feeling the love for apples of late, and that includes apple cider. A few weeks ago I was testing and tweaking an apple cider ice cream with apple cider caramel swirl. Instead of forcing apple cider caramel swirl on everyone, I decided to serve the caramel sauce on the side. Turns out everyone wanted the caramel anyway – I mean, who wouldn’t? The ice cream was declared a success and now that I’ve field tested it, I can share it with you. First, let’s get crackin’ on the ice cream.

eggs, apple cider, sugar, vanilla bean, sea salt, heavy cream, whole milk (not pictured: vanilla extract)

split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out

warm 1 cup of cream with the milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean

reduce the cider in a saucepan



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love your greens

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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