In the 12 days since Yuki joined our pack we’ve procured an extra baby gate, an extra dog crate, an extra dog bed, a Nylabone chew toy, another Nylabone chew toy (because… Neva), a puppy harness, and other things that make pups and humans happy. In some ways, Yuki transports us back to the puppy training days and in many ways she is like no puppy we have ever encountered. Yuki is a little dream girl. I’m openly glad that the few people who inquired about her flaked out, because she’s our girl now and we are so in love with her.
Of course, any dog in our household undergoes Butter Boot Camp so they are ready to hit the high country, swim in alpine lakes, and have fun in the snow! We’ve been hiking Yuki to build up her miles and strengthen her paw pads so we can take her on longer, more exciting hikes. This morning, she had her first ever swim! And we found some snow for her to romp on. Such progress. You can follow daily updates on my personal Instagram account.
this little one is gonna get used to a camera/phone
the pups resting in shade
we hike in the mornings while it is still cool out
my hike with banjo (and erin) on yuki’s and neva’s rest day
yuki, neva, and jeremy enjoying the wildflowers
splashing and playing in the water
On the days we don’t hike, we walk (it’s still a hike – everything around here is trails) the girls to the soccer field and let Neva fetch while Yuki gets training. It’s great because Neva is so focused on her tennis ball that she ignores Yuki, and Yuki is so focused on either me or Jeremy that she mostly ignores Neva with the occasional chase. Over the weekend we had some folks over for dinner and both pups behaved better than we could have dreamed! We are easing Yuki into crate training because we don’t want to traumatize her, but we also need her to be safe when we aren’t home. As of now she is handling 1-2 hour stints without much issue and we will gradually work up to longer periods. We leave the door open when we are home and she likes to wander in there for naps or to ask for food. Feeding her in the crate makes it a happy association and also keeps food-obsessed Neva from trying to eat puppy kibble. I think Yuki will get the hang of it quickly like she has everything else. I imagine she’ll transition to sweet sweet freedom in the house sooner than Neva did.
these two are getting along just fine
The pups are playing tug as I type and I have one eye on the computer monitor and one eye on them as they weave a little path of destruction around the great room. Managing puppy and everything else (i.e. life) is quite the exercise. Jeremy and I trade off who gets to leave the house for extended periods of time and who gets to work (actually work) during the active hours. When they both fall asleep, we get a few hours of quiet and concentration.
When my pal, Erin, and I went for a hike recently, we checked in on several huckleberry locations. The plants were heavy with lots of berries in the green pea stage. We used to get super excited about the green peas, anticipating a good huckleberry crop. We didn’t realize that not all green peas become purple huckleberries for various reasons (drought being one of them). Now we know better. Life in the mountains is tough. The diminutive mountain huckleberry endures much hardship to eventually ripen into the very best berry on the planet. They are precious. You only need a few spoonfuls of the purple berries to elevate something like crème brûlée into a dreamier version of itself.
eggs, cream, sugar, sugar, vanilla bean, huckleberries
heat the cream
scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod
steep the vanilla seeds and the pod in the hot cream
You can choose fresh or frozen huckleberries for the recipe. Both work well, but fresh huckleberries have a limited window and geography. Frozen hucks tend to be more convenient and more accessible because you can order them online if you live in a place that doesn’t have huckleberries. And as with almost all of my huckleberry recipes, you can substitute blueberries if you can’t get hucks.
whisk 1/3 cup sugar and egg yolks together
should be pale colored and thick, leaving a ribbon for a few seconds
whisk a little of the warmed cream in at a time
strain the custard
I used six 1-cup ramekins, but if you use smaller ramekins, you can make 8 or more servings. I think tiny crème brûlées can make the most adorable little desserts – especially if you are serving multiple dessert courses. Baking the custards in a water bath heats them gently, but the smaller or shallower your ramekins, the less time they will need in the oven. Be sure to check on them early on to avoid overcooking your custard. Also, I find placing a kitchen towel on the bottom the roasting pan helps to prevent the ramekins from sliding and sloshing about when I move the pan into the oven.
distribute the huckleberries among the ramekins
top the huckleberries with custard
filling the roasting pan with boiling water (the water bath)
Don’t bake the custards until they are solid, because that is overcooked. The best test of doneness is when the edges are pretty set and the centers still jiggle when you gently shake the ramekin. They will continue to cook in the water bath after you remove the pan from the oven. Once cooled to room temperature, the custards should be chilled through in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours, but overnight is better. Before serving, be sure to sprinkle enough sugar on top to develop a decent burnt sugar lid.
remove the custards from the water bath when completely cooled
sprinkle sugar on top of the chilled custards
I’m a huge fan of any crème brûlée, but huckleberry crème brûlée is irresistible. It makes something that is already good into something extra special. I sometimes think that Yuki might just be the huckleberry and Neva the crème brûlée. Together, they are very awesome.
berries on top of a nice crackly caramelized crust
creamy goodness lies beneath
break on through
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen huckleberries (or other berries)
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar for finishing
Preheat oven to 300°F. Warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until the edges begin to bubble. Remove from heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the pod. Place the seeds and the pod in the cream and cover. Steep for 30 minutes, then remove the vanilla pod (discard). Divvy the huckleberries among 6-8 ramekins. Whisk the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar together in large bowl until mixture is thick and pale yellow. Whisk a quarter cup of the warm cream into the egg mixture. Repeat. Whisk in the remaining cream and the vanilla extract (if using). Strain the custard base into a large bowl. Divide mixture among the ramekins and set in a hot water bath (I use a tall roasting pan and pour boiling water into the pan halfway up the height of the ramekins). Bake until set around the edges, but still loose in the center, about 40 to 50 minutes (I needed 60 minutes). Remove from oven and leave in water bath until cooled. Remove cups from water bath and chill covered for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar over each custard. Torch or broil the sugar until caramelized and serve. Serves 6-8.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
|chocolate espresso crème brûlée||huckleberry cheesecake ice cream||huckleberry panna cotta||huckleberry semifreddo|