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…

Easy Holiday Appetizer: Salmon Cucumber Canapés

If you can slice a cucumber, you can make this delicious twist on the classic party appetizer.  With the help of a zesting tool and a pastry bag, you can take the presentation to the next level.  To really wow your guests, you can even cure your own salmon.  It's easier than you probably think.   My Culinary Arts students made these for a school board meeting a few weeks ago.  Add them to your sophisticated entertaining repertoire...


Salmon Cucumber Canapes

Makes approx. 48
  •  2 Slicing Cucumbers (not English) these are the ones most commonly found in grocery stores with the dark green skin.
  • 1 8oz. package cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  •  8 oz. smoked salmon (lox) or citrus cured salmon (see below)*
  • Fresh chives for garnish

Optional Tools
  • A pastry bag fitted with a star tip 
  • A citrus zester (THIS is the one we use)

Step 1:  Cut the ends off of the cucumbers.  Use the single blade side of your citrus zester to create eight evenly spaced stripes down each cucumber (from top to bottom).  Slice cucumbers into 1/3" disks (we used a mandoline for perfectly uniform slices). 
Place cucumber slices on a serving platter.

Step 2:  With an electric mixer, whisk together cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.  Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.  Pipe on to cucumber slices.

Step 3:  Top with a small piece of cured salmon and garnish with two pieces of criss-crossed chive.  Serve.

Tip:  The cucumbers can be sliced up to a day in advanced and stored in a ziploc bag.  The cream cheese mixture can be prepared in advance and stored in the pastry bag so all you have to do is assemble on the day of your event.

Cure Your Own Salmon -- Store-bought lox is good, but pales in comparison to homemade.  For our citrus cured salmon, my students used a recipe from Michael Rhulman (via Martha Stewart).  This recipe is foolproof -- we've used it several times and the salmon always comes out perfect.  All you need is fresh salmon, citrus zest, salt, and 32 hours.  We prepare our salmon in the morning and it's ready to serve the next evening.

You'll find the recipe HERE

My students garnished their salmon canapé platter with a red onion chrysanthemum and a tomato rose.

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