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  • s'mores rice krispies treats crab porcini mac and cheese pan pizza easy strawberry cake


    copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2020 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

    outdoor snacks

    September 1st, 2020

    Recipe: s’mores rice krispies treats

    Goodbye, August. And good riddance. It was brutally hot, dry, and smoky here last month. The mushrooms fizzled. The berries are few and best left for the wildlife who need them. Wildfires sprouted around the state – some caused by lightning, others most likely started by careless or ignorant campers. But as we’ve learned in pandemic life, you make do. Sometimes you can make do pretty well if you’re vigilant. Anyone catch the Perseids meteor shower in mid August? We were at our place in Crested Butte where we managed a couple of clear nights and witnessed a beautiful show.


    composite of several meteors dropping behind whetstone mountain

    paddling with the dogs before the smoke got bad

    back home in nederland, where the smoke got bad



    Within the last week, Colorado has received some rain and a cool down – enough to improve our air quality and make temperatures bearable. You don’t realize what you’ve got until it’s gone, but when it comes back you should definitely make the most of it! We sincerely hope that we have turned the corner from summer and can look forward to a gentle slide into autumn, pandemic notwithstanding.

    it’s green chile season!

    a successful batch of non-dairy chocolate ice cream using oat milk

    i made a sushi bowl to celebrate jeremy’s promotion to full professor



    Schools in our area have resumed – mostly online and some hybrid. Jeremy is teaching online this semester and investing the time to create as positive and educational an experience as possible for his students. And the decision to convert our guest room into a second office dovetailed nicely with my yearslong desire to donate or recycle some large pieces of old furniture. That freed up more space which I transformed into an out-of-the-way sewing area where dogs and needles will rarely, if ever, interact. I used it the other night to make myself a pocket apron when running errands in town. A purse is pretty impractical when I need fast access to things with minimal touching, so I designed a pocket apron to accommodate the stuff I use when grocery shopping alone. It’s great!

    new office for either of us to use as needed

    sewing nook

    pocket apron: mini spray bottles of alcohol on either end, iphone, my man wallet, notepad and pen, keys, hand sanitizer



    Labor Day weekend is coming up and we are prepared to basically hunker down and avoid the onslaught of people flocking to the mountains. My hope is that no one will burn our neighborhood down, but the public doesn’t have a great track record there. Great fun can be had without giant or even small fires. Grab that extra hat and jacket if it’s going to be chilly and use a camp stove! Better yet, forget about cooking and just make these s’mores rice krispies treats ahead of time.

    rice krispies cereal, marshmallows, butter, cinnamon graham crackers, dark chocolate



    I am a crazy person for marshmallows, possibly because they are creamy without dairy, but also because they burn so deliciously. The original recipe inspiration uses graham crackers, but I splurged on those cinnamon graham crackers from Trader Joe’s because I knew in my heart that cinnamon and chocolate were meant to be. I opted for chopped dark chocolate here, however the original recipe calls for mini chocolate chips which saves you the trouble of taking a knife to a block of chocolate. If you’ve ever made rice krispies treats, then you’re good to go with this summer’s-last-hurrah-camping version.

    add marshmallows into melted butter

    combine the marshmallow with the graham crackers and cereal

    stir in some chocolate



    **Jump for more butter**

    summer wonders

    August 3rd, 2020

    Recipe: crab porcini mac and cheese

    July and August meld together for me as one long hot month. I tend to put my head down and muddle through with a lot of ice water, watermelon, and popsicles. But August 1 always stands out as it is Kris’ birthday. She would have turned 54 on Saturday. I arranged flowers, made somen noodle soup, and called my mother to cheer her up.


    miss you, love you



    Our big excitement was getting out to see comet Neowise in mid-July. Skies were touch and go in the evenings thanks to a sudden influx of moisture and clouds over Colorado. But mountain weather keeps you on your toes and we were able to see the comet with the unaided eye! I photographed it from various locations with decent dark skies. I hope many of you were able to get out to view the comet, but if not, here are a couple of my captures.

    close-up of comet neowise and two distinct tails (the white dust tail and the blue ion tail)

    neowise reflected in the lake as it set behind the mountains



    Did I mention it was hot? It’s still hot and it’s getting hotter this week. On those days that we didn’t venture out on the trails to let the pups wade through cold mountain streams, we thought they might enjoy some baby pool time. We hadn’t pulled the pool out in 5 years (since Neva was a wee pup and peed in the pool) and were curious to see how Yuki reacted to this concept. She seemed leery of it at first, then fascinated, then took to jumping in and out of the pool with an occasional pause to quench her thirst (from the pool). It was like a giant water dish she could stand in and simultaneously take a swig from.

    what the hecc?

    a moment of blissful stillness



    When we hiked into the high country, we sought out solitude, views, wildflowers, wildlife, and swimming holes. With so many putting their typical summer activities on hold due to the pandemic, our mountain trails have been inundated with throngs of people – plenty of whom aren’t wearing masks or respecting physical distance. Instead of dealing with that idiocy, we’ve been frequenting the lesser known local trails and tackling home tasks that have been on the to-do list forever. Our guest room is now a second office since no one should visit us while the pandemic is ongoing.

    yuki side-eye and a view

    mountain meadows sprinkled with color

    magenta paintbrush

    larkspur

    lounging moose

    neva dives in while yuki looks on



    And it looks as if it might be porcini season. Even the mushrooms appear to be uncertain about this year. I can’t really blame them as much of the state is in drought and last year’s astounding flush is a tough act to follow.

    found this early bolter all alone



    Still, if there are any porcini to be found and foraged, I have lots of recipes for them. I made this crab porcini macaroni and cheese last summer with my abundant haul. This rich and decadent dish goes a long way, which means you might get to enjoy the leftovers the following day. Use whatever pasta shape you like. Macaroni works, of course, but I happen to like small shells, penne, or pipe rigate (pictured below), too. I realize fresh porcini can be difficult to find, so you can substitute whatever edible mushroom you like.

    pepper, milk, cheddar, bread crumbs, salt, gruyère, pasta, butter, flour

    crab legs, fresh thyme, fresh porcini



    **Jump for more butter**

    pan-demic days

    June 29th, 2020

    Recipe: pan pizza

    It’s been a while since the last post and that was originally unintentional, but soon became quite intentional. I’ve been taking the time to educate, and in some cases, re-educate myself on racism in this country. For those who don’t follow my personal Instagram (@jenyuphoto), I’m listing a few of the pods and reads I’ve recently recommended:

    1) The Scene on Radio podcast is an excellent series of documentary journalism. I highly recommend listening to Season 2: Seeing White, which examines racism in United States, and Season 4: The Land That Never Has Been Yet, a look at how our democracy was built. I cannot recommend these two seasons enough.

    2) The 1619 podcast from The New York Times. If you listen to Scene on Radio, you’ll notice a little overlap between the first two episodes of 1619 and the Seeing White (season 2) series. Additionally, Scene on Radio’s John Biewen, in collaboration with Reveal, produced an episode relevant to episodes 5 and 6 of 1619. It’s called Losing Ground and worth a listen.

    3) White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. 2018, Beacon Press.

    4) 13th on Netflix. Documentary.

    5) Hidden Brain episode The Air We Breathe: Implicit Bias and Police Shootings.

    6) The Electoral College’s Racist Origins, from The Atlantic (Nov 2019).

    This is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a start. I continue to work my way through more material. For those who are upset or offended by the list, I think #3 is right up your alley. If you don’t want “politics” on a food blog, we’ve discussed this in the past and just like before, you can find another food blog to read. No one is going to miss you. So, bye.

    The last time I posted, hints of spring were sprouting in our mountains. Now we have entered proper summer, but I wanted to document the familiar transition that kept me grounded throughout the tumultuous combo of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter movement, economic nosedive, and general incompetence/malfeasance of the current administration.


    signature spring green in the aspen stands

    blessed rain

    a pair of happy morels

    not a great season, but not a terrible season (yuki for scale)

    the start of thunderstorm season

    colorful skies

    paddleboarding says summertime

    happy to still find snow up high

    the blooming of the wildflowers is underway



    I haven’t been one to follow Taco Tuesdays, Meatless Mondays, or Pizza Fridays at our house. We are neither that organized nor regimented. The menu I generate results from an intersection of what we have, what needs to be eaten, and what is available at the market. During the pandemic I decided to give pan pizza a try instead of our usual hand-tossed grilled sourdough pizzas. And you know what? It’s so good that we’ve made it a regular on our menu. Regular, as in, it happens every 10 days or so. Regular, because we still love it every time it comes out of the oven. That’s why I’m posting this on the blog, because I use the recipe all the time. It requires flour, which is thankfully coming back to store shelves. It also requires yeast (I use active dry yeast) that remains in short supply. Luckily, I dug up a half jar of yeast in my basement refrigerator. The expiration date was August 2015, but yeast are hardy little organisms. I dropped a few granules in a small bowl of room temperature water and watched them bloom and foam within a minute. Still good!

    for the dough: flour, water, yeast, olive oil, kosher salt

    whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl

    stir in the water and oil

    form a shaggy dough with no dry pockets of flour



    **Jump for more butter**





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