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: Amazing Restaurant Style Fried Calamari

I miss being here.  I really do.  It's been an exciting and wonderful year teaching High School Culinary Arts, and even though I'll miss my students and my classroom, it will be nice to get back to some regular posting and sharing here over the summer.  Thank you for sticking around during my hiatus!

We still have one week of school before summer officially begins, and to give the students some extra credit to bring up their semester grades, my friend Amanda, a Marine Science teacher, and I collaborated on a lunchtime lesson.  Using squid pulled out of our bay by a local family, she led a dissection lab.  After, I led a lesson in how to make the perfect deep fried calamari -- the kind with the golden brown, crispy crunchy coating you get in good restaurants.

If you have access to fresh or frozen calamari (squid) in your area, give this recipe a try.  It's so easy and is so delicious that you don't even need a dipping sauce -- just a squeeze of fresh lemon!

Restaurant-style Fried Calamari

A large saucepan filled with at least 3 inches of a neutral oil (like vegetable or sunflower)
1 pound cleaned squid (approx. 2 pounds uncleaned), cut into thick rings and tentacles
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, finely grated
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges for garnish

Helpful tools:  A wire cooling rack, 2 slotted spoons, a candy thermometer

1.  Wash and dry the cleaned squid rings and tentacles.   Place buttermilk in a shallow bowl.  Add squid and allow to sit while you prepare the seasoned flour.

2.  In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, cheese, parsley and black pepper.  Use a small whisk or spoon to stir to combine.

3.  Heat oil in a large saucepan to 380° F.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer a portion of the buttermilk soaked squid to the large bowl of flour mixture, shaking off excess buttermilk before making the move.  (You will fry the squid in several batches.  Use caution not to overcrowd the frying oil.)

4.  Toss the bowl, allowing the squid pieces to separate and become coated in flour.  Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to the hot oil.  Cook until squid is golden brown.

5.  Transfer the cooked squid to a cooling rack placed over paper towels or a baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining batches of  squid.

6.  Transfer calamari to a serving plate.  Garnish with fresh lemon wedges and more minced parsley.

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