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: The Best, Foolproof Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin

This recipe is a favorite of my culinary students.  It is so easy, and makes the perfect, quintessential, creamy, cheesy potato casserole of American comfort-food fame.

True scalloped potatoes consist primarily of thinly cut potatoes in a white cream sauce, whereas potatoes au gratin feature buttery potatoes beneath a cheese and/or breadcrumb crust.  Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin is a hybrid -- the best of both worlds.  It is what many of us in the U.S. grew up with and knew as Potatoes O' Gratin.

So, without further ado, here is the easiest and most delicious recipe I think you'll find for the creamy, cheesy, golden, bubbly potato dish of legend:

Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 45-55 minutes 

  • 1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, washed, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick (approx. 2 large) 
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, plus 1 Tablespoon for buttering the pan 
  • 2 Tablespoons diced sweet yellow onion 
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper 
  • 1 cup lowfat milk 
  • ¾ cup medium cheddar cheese, shredded 
  • An additional 1/4 cup medium cheddar cheese, shredded and set aside 
  • 2 Tablespoons Panko bread crumbs 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9x9” glass casserole dish and set aside.

Step 1: Rinse potatoes and peel. Cut into 1/8-inch slices using a mandoline.

Step 2: Make the roux: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender (do not brown). Stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly.

Step 3: Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Stir in salt and pepper.

Step 4: Over medium heat, whisk in the 3/4 cup of cheese. Heat to a gentle boil, whisking constantly till smooth. Boil and stir over medium-high heat for 1 minute until the cheese is completely melted and sauce has thickened. Add the potatoes and simmer, stirring constantly with a rubber scraper for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Pour mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Use scraper to distribute evenly in pan. Season top with a bit of salt and pepper. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes on the middle rack. Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 425°F.

Step 6: Mix remaining cheddar cheese and bread crumbs; sprinkle over potatoes. Bake uncovered on the top rack of oven for 10-15 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbly.



This recipe can be made Gluten Free by replacing the flour with GF flour and using potato chips in lieu of the bread crumbs.  It is absolutely delicious!

This recipe can be prepared up to two days in advance.  Simply cover with foil after transferring mixture to the casserole dish in step 5.  Refrigerate until ready to bake.  Bring to room temperature before baking to cut down on additional cooking time.

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