baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

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archive for November 2009

daring cooks: dragon roll sushi

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Recipe: dragon roll sushi

The Daring Cooks are making sushi this month! We have done quite a bit of sushi making (and more eating) here at urb so I was quite excited for the selection. Even with the familiarity, I was hard pressed for time to get this done. Because of that, it is with great sadness and yet relief that I am withdrawing from the Daring Cooks. This will be my last DC challenge.

daring cooks – one last cha cha cha!

I really have to thank the ladies of the DARING KITCHEN: beloved Lis of La Mia Cucina and sweet Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice. These two fine women give and give and give to all of the Daring Cooks (and Bakers). I don’t know how they do it, but I admire them for their love and enthusiasm, and especially for their friendship. Thanks, you beautiful babes!

Here’s the official line: The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen. They chose sushi as the challenge.

And once again, I colored outside of the lines which is probably why I should be leaving the DCs… I didn’t use their sushi recipe, I used the one I always use because we had a very small window of time to get this done. But I still learned a new technique and the sushi totally rocked (because it always does). I decided to try my hand at tempura frying based on this recipe from Allison who does all things sushi-related.

i thought the egg and ice water looked neat before mixing

whisking the wet and dry ingredients together

I think the biggest barrier to making tempura for me has always been the mystery of how to do it. Allison’s recipe is SUPER easy to throw together and so the true hurdle in tempura is the frying. I hate frying, but the more I do it, the more I lose my dread of it. We decided to tempura fry some alba clamshell mushrooms, asparagus, and shrimp. I didn’t have any softshell crab on hand, but tempura shrimp in a roll is another favorite of mine.

ingredients including: alba mushrooms, masago (fish roe), quail eggs

the goods: maguro (tuna), large dry scallops, wild-caught gulf shrimp

**Jump for more butter**

i’m here, but not really

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I’m in California this week with several good people. We are busy, exhausted, elated, amazed. I’ll have to tell you all about it next week. In the meantime, check out a few quick pictures…

a toast

famous fried chicken


not a bad place to rest the brain and body

it’s the little touches i like so much


plenty of wine glasses for plenty of wine

you’re gonna have to wait

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Recipe: pepita brittle

********* PLEASE VOTE FOR MY CHARITY *********

It’s finals week! I mean, it’s the week where all of the semi-finalists from The Awaken Your Senses Challenge go head to head for $10,000 for their favorite food charity. Living in a cave? Need a recap? Twelve food bloggers described their favorite food memories and Chef Dave of Good Bite recreated those memories using Quaker instant oatmeal. Every two weeks, viewers voted for their favorite of four food bloggers’ creations to select a semi-finalist. This week, voters determine which of the three semi-finalists’ charities will win the $10,000:

1) Catherine McCord of weelicious championing Stone Barns Center For Food and Agriculture

2) Jen Yu (that’s ME!) of use real butter (this blog!) championing Farm to School

3) Laura Levy of Laura’s Best Recipes championing Food for the Poor

I’m in the finals, yo! I SO TOTALLY NEED YOUR VOTE! Only with your help can we win $10,000 for Farm to School, a wonderful organization that “…brings healthy food from local farms to school children nationwide. The program teaches students about the path from farm to fork, and instills healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime. At the same time, use of local produce in school meals and educational activities provides a new direct market for farmers in the area and mitigates environmental impacts of transporting food long distances. More than 30 million children eat a school lunch five days a week, 180 days a year. If school lunch can taste great, and support the local community, it is a win-win for everyone.

Think about it – feeding children healthy food, helping local family farms, educating children, strengthening the community. Won’t you please do me the honor of voting for my charity? It’s as simple as four clicks!

Click #1) Go to the Quaker Talk site

Click #2) Click on “Vote” or “Watch & Vote”

Click #3) Click on Cherries Jubilee video

Click #4) Click on the GREEN THUMB to vote for my charity, Farm to School!

********* THANK YOU! *********

Hey, I hope everyone had a nice weekend! Mine was jam-packed full of friends, time-sensitive clandestine plans, work, rejoicing in cooler weather, and a few epiphanies. One of those epiphanies: this weekend was use real butter’s five year blogiversary. My plan was to have a big blowout of a giveaway, but… you’ll have to wait a little because 1) I am deciding on a good giveaway prize and 2) there’s just too much going on (for me) in November. So please be patient with me… you always are :)

Five years. You could call five years a long time, a short time, whatever. It’s enough time to see a pattern in what urb has become for me. urb has always been a personal blog with a good bit of talk about food. When I went public with it in August 2007, I had to clean it up – clean up my language, censor what I say (oh, you didn’t think I was censoring anything? ha!), move a good fraction of old posts to the other blog, put recipes up in a format that someone other than myself could follow. I spent several months finding my groove in my posting frequency – basically how often I could post without turning it into a chore. My photography evolved with the blog. It is still evolving which I take as a good sign.

The food blogging community has changed a lot in the past two years from when I went public to now. Some for the better, but I feel most of it isn’t for the better. Notice a lot of burnout lately? There’s some unspoken (well, actually it’s probably spoken all too often) mantra about HOW TO BE A FOOD BLOGGER which makes me throw up a little in my mouth every time I hear about it. One of the best ways to start a food blog is to be yourself. It’s like dating. If you present yourself as something you are not, you’re going to attract the wrong kind of partner and you’ll probably be unhappy. And if you’re just in it for the money, well – there’s a name for that too. I’m all about the love here.

I found myself swearing up a storm this weekend because I wasted four hours and a lot of ingredients trying to make a recipe that flopped. WHY? Why was I even making those? For the blog? Right. Well, no more. I don’t want that. I never wanted this blog to be a chore and it’s starting to feel like one. And once I announced that urb was not the boss of me, I felt better. Much better. urb was never solely a dedicated food blog and I don’t want it to be. It’s my creative space for sharing food, photography, my opinionated rants, and random bits of life. Anyone looking for a recipe source in a vacuum has likely left this place long ago.

So, five years – plenty of learning and a little adjustment here and there. I have met so many wonderful people and made some incredible friends through this blog. True love, I tell ya. Thanks for sticking with me. Now on to the food.

pepitas, flaked salt, baking soda

**Jump for more butter**