Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

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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…

WHEN GOOD BANANAS GO BAD – THE ADVENT OF BANANA BREAD BISCOTTI



What do you do when a good banana goes bad?  In my house, the solution typically comes in the form of banana bread.   But due to the fact that my family suffers under the delusion that eating any of the final three bananas in any given bunch is punishable by death, we have grown rather bored by the ever-present banana bread.   I had saved a recipe a while back for banana biscotti, thinking that it would be another good way to reform bananas gone bad, but alas when I pulled it up I found that it called for banana bread mix.  Heavens!  So, my little chef protege and I  donned our aprons and inventing caps and came up with a marvelous recipe of our own that is simple and yields professional looking results.   It keeps for several weeks if stored in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

Rook No. 17's Banana Bread Biscotti
makes approx. 3 dozen

5 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 overripe bananas
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup toasted chopped pecans


12 oz. good quality chocolate, chopped and melted at low heat


Preheat oven to 350.


In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix bananas, oil, vanilla and eggs on medium speed for five minutes.  Add dry ingredients and pecans and mix until just combined.  Dough will be thick.  Turn out on a floured surface and divide into four equal pieces.  Shape each piece into rectangles, flattened to a 1/2" thickness.  Place the four dough rectangles on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Remove rectangles from baking sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Cut each rectangle vertically into 1/2" slices.  Place slices, cut sides down, on a baking sheet.  Reduce oven to 275 and bake for another 15 minutes.  Turn cookies over; bake an additional 15 minutes.  Cookies will be very lightly browned and still slightly soft, but will harden as they cool.  Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  

Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.  Because of their length, I prefer to dip my biscotti into melted chocolate held in a long, narrow dish.  Pyrex loaf pans work beautifully.  Dip each biscotti, flat edge down, in melted chocolate and arrange on lined baking sheet.  After all biscotti have been dipped, you can rest them in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to help the chocolate solidify.

A note on chocolate dipping:  I don't recommend chocolate chips for projects such as this.  The reason is that chocolate chips have been specially formulated to retain their shape inside cookies; a quality that makes them rather thick and awkward when melted for dipping purposes.  If you're a chocolate connoisseur, I recommend investing in a box of Guittard Semisweet Chocolate Wafers for your pantry.  You can find them at Whole Foods, Cost Plus, and Sur la Table for around $10/box.  Another alternative is the bittersweet "Pound Plus" bar found at Trader Joe's.  If semi and bittersweet chocolates aren't really your thing, and you're looking for a good buy that's easy to work with and that everyone will enjoy, try the Wilton brand Dark Cocoa candy melts.  You can find them at most craft stores for around $2-$3/bag.

This post was originally published on 2/28/10.  
It is being reposted as part of the SITS Back To Blogging Challenge.  

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