Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…

Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert of silky, sweetened cream set with gelatin, is all at once simple, classic and elegant.  It is, at its best, subtle, not overly sweet, and the perfect way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Panna cotta comes together quickly and can be molded in any type of vessels you choose -- from ramekins to demitasse, martini glasses to mason jars.  I like to compliment my panna cotta with a thin layer of gelée -- a gelatin stabilized glaze made from fresh fruit.  Apricots are in season right now, and are bursting with summer sweetness, so I chose to do an apricot gelée.  You can use my recipe with any type of fruit you'd like.  
Here are some photos of panna cottas I've made in the past with a variety of gelées and vessels:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Honey Gelée and Bee Pollen
Lemon Panna Cotta, no gelée
Meyer-Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gelee

I like to decorate my desserts with edible flowers, especially in summer and springtime. My theme fo…

The Happiest Cookies: Rainbow Joy Sprinkle Cookies

The very sight of these cookies makes me feel like a kid -- a very, very happy, joyful, kid.  Rainbow Sprinkles!!! Need I say more?  If you're still not sold, thinking perhaps that these are all show and no substance, I'm delighted to tell you that these cookies are absolutely delicious -- A tender, buttery cookie that is at once soft and crunchy because of the magical sprinkles.  

It's like a unicorn and the birthday fairy got together and created a formula for the happiest birthday ever, in the form of a cookie.  It's all here:  the birthday cake, the balloons, your best friends, and a piñata filled with happiness -- in a cookie!

Make a batch and share the love with everyone you know! Everyone could use some Rainbow Joy Sprinkles in their life! PrintWith ImageWithout Image Rainbow Joy Sprinkle CookiesYield: 3-dozen 2.5" CookiesAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 45 MCook time: 12 MTotal time: 57 M Rainbow Sprinkles!! Take a bite of pure happiness and then share the love! …

Lemon Cake Recipe Glow-up: Ricotta Lemon Cake Brûlée

Back in the going-out-to-restaurants days, I had the sheer delight of experiencing this little slice of heaven -- a light and tender lemon ricotta cake, griddled with sugar on each side to create a crackly caramelized crust -- at a local bakery.  I've been possessed by a desired to recreate this phenomenon at home ever since.

This lemon cake is excellent enough to be served on its own.  It's perfect for the breakfast table, dessert, potluck, tea party, or as an anytime snack.  It's simply lovely in every way.  Garnish with a little powdered sugar and you're good to go.  Add a few raspberries to the presentation for a pop of color.   And if you're feeling extra decadent, take the extra minute to brûlée each slice.  You deserve it.

PrintWith ImageWithout Image Lemon Ricotta Cake BrûléeYield: 12Author: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 20 MCook time: 40 MTotal time: 60 M Light, fluffy, tender cake is elevated with a caramelized sugar crust. It's easy to make and such a treat! I…

Here's the BEST Thing to Make with Fava Beans: Garlicky Whipped Fava Bean Dip with Olive Oil and Lemon

Maybe you were forced to eat fava beans as a child.  Perhaps your only fava bean experience is from an unsettling 1991 movie starring Anthony Hopkins.  But regardless of whether fava beans have been ruined for you by bad cooking or a fictional cannibal, I urge you to give these beans a chance.

Many moons ago, a glut of fava beans in a group's CSA box led me to whip up an incredibly tasty dip that had people raving and claiming dibs on the next week's delivery.  

If you like hummus, you're going to like this dip.  Like hummus, it is packed with protein and gets a zip and a kick from lemon and fresh garlic.  Instead of tahini, these beans take a spin with heart-healthy olive oil.  Move over garbanzos, there's a new bean in town!

Look at those beautiful beans!  They're packed with nutrition (protein, iron, antioxidants and folic acid) and are tasty too!  This recipe uses a little science hack I picked up from America's Test Kitchen in their Hummus recipe -- baking so…

Sunshine Deviled Eggs (with Turmeric & Wild Mustard Blossoms)

Wild Mustard is in bloom and painting the hillsides everywhere a cheerful yellow.  With sunshine and summertime on my mind, I decided to give a seasonal glow-up to classic Deviled Eggs with the antioxidant benefits of  turmeric and the mild flavor of wild mustard blossoms.

For my Sunshine Deviled Eggs, hard-boiled eggs are peeled and allowed to sit in a bath of water, turmeric and a little white vinegar.  These aren't pickled eggs. The vinegar is there to help the color adhere, just like when you're dying Easter eggs!  The only flavor that the eggs pick up are a mild turmeric flavor which plays beautifully with the whipped, fluffy yolk and mustard blossoms.  

Below are my instructions for the turmeric bath that your peeled hard-boiled eggs will need to get cozy in for about an hour (in the refrigerator).  After that, it's up to you as to how you season your yolks.  I like to whip mine till they're super light and fluffy with an electric mixer with mayonnaise, dry or prep…

Honeysuckle Rose Gin & Tonic

Here's to Summer with a perfect cocktail to toast the end of the school year -- A Honeysuckle Rose Gin & Tonic.  A touch of homemade honeysuckle-lemon simple syrup and honeysuckle infused gin (or vodka if you prefer) make for a delightful twist on the classic!  

If you prefer a vodka tonic, replace the gin in the recipe with vodka.  Simple.

PrintWith ImageWithout Image Honeysuckle Rose Gin & TonicYield: 2Author: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 24 hourCook time: 10 MTotal time: 24 H & 10 M Fresh honeysuckle is used to infuse a lemon simple syrup as well as the gin (or vodka). The two come together with tonic and rose petals for a beautiful summertime cocktail. Ingredients:For the honeysuckle syrup 1 cup water1 cup granulated sugar2 cups rinsed honeysuckle flowersZest of 1/2 a small lemon For the honeysuckle infused Gin or Vodka 6 ounces gin* or vodka1 cup rinsed honeysuckle flowers For the cocktails 14 ounces tonic (keep it simple)*6 ounces honeysuckle infused vodka or gin (flowers stra…