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Two New Natural Easter Egg Colors

1 Apr

New colors for naturally dyed Easter eggs!

2015-03-30 20.56.53 easter eggsA couple of years ago we started coloring Easter eggs the natural way, with vegetable and spice colorings that can be teased out in a few minutes of boiling, steeping and straining. Our first colors were beet-derived pink, turmeric yellow, and blueberry purple-blue.

This year we added two more to our palette: red onion, which gives you a sort of earthy khaki color, and yellow onion, which tints the eggs a marvelous glowy yellow orange.

2015-03-31 08.57.32 easter eggsHere’s how:

Save the papery bits of red onion and yellow onion until you have a generous handful (the papery skins of a two-pound bag of onions should do it). Place each color in its own saucepan with 2.5 Cups water and a teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a lively simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into your dipping container, stir in 2 Tbs white vinegar and you are ready to dip! (For perfect hard-boiled eggs, click here)

And in case you missed it, here are the original three:

Three pots, each filled with 2 Cups water

HOT PINK – 1 large beet, chopped (peel can stay on)

YELLOW 4 Tbs turmeric

VIOLET BLUE – 12 oz frozen blueberries

2 Tbs white vinegar per color

crayons or wax pencils

Put one coloring ingredient in each pot. Bring to a boil, turn off and let steep five minutes. Strain into three separate bowls (removing chunky bits*). Add 2 Tbs vinegar to each bowl. Start blending, dipping and cross-dipping until you achieve the colors you like. Dry in the egg carton and add any decorations you see fit.

 

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Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Peas (Fast, Easy, Delicious)

3 May

Spaghetti alla carbonara is one of those generous, forgiving dishes that doesn’t require too many ingredients, too much thought, or too much accuracy to be perfect and feel like a treat. In honor of Spring (and some very good Niman Ranch bacon I happened to have that happened to need finishing up), I banged some together with peas.

I love the smell of bacon in the morning

I love the smell of bacon in the morning

Although the flavor is completely different, anyone who is fond of split pea soup with ham or tortilla torcal or pasta with ham and peas (pasta e piselli) will appreciate the affinity that peas and pork have for each other and that’s why I like this combination. (Click here for another version of carbonara with butter and no peas). I played around with a Tyler Florence recipe for this.

Look at the amazing color on the Restoration Farm eggs...use fresh for this recipe

Look at the amazing color on the Restoration Farm eggs…use fresh for this recipe

It also reheats pretty well in the office microwave, which is part of my cooking criteria these days!

I use my cast iron skillet for this dish

I use my cast iron skillet for this dish

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Peas (serves four)

1 Lb. dry spaghetti

½-1 Cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces thick cut bacon, sliced into chunks (a nice smoky bacon adds a lot of personality)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs (as fresh as possible)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano or other grating cheese, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

Handful chopped parsley (optional)

Prepare the pasta according to package directions, while you get the other ingredients ready.

About four minutes before the pasta is done, drop the peas in and stir.

Reserve ½ Cup pasta water before draining. You want to time it so that the eggs are ready to pour when the pasta is still really hot because the heat of the pasta is what is going to cook them.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet at medium heat until Add the bacon saute for about crisp, stirring frequently. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute to soften. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and cheese together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps.
Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss quickly to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta and take it off the heat to avoid scrambled eggs. Stir quickly with a big fork until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble. Thin out the sauce with a little at a time of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency.

Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Serve in warm bowls and garnish with chopped parsley and extra cheese.

 

Natural Easter Egg Coloring Update: How-To, Cheap Tricks…Canned Beets?

17 Apr

We colored our Easter eggs the natural way again this year and learned a few things we want to share with you! In this post you will find the basic how-to for red-pink, yellow, and violet blue and you can make your own color blends from there, plus get some ideas for making it easier and more decorative.

2014-04-15 Easter eggsAnd we’ll answer the question: Can I use the juice from canned beets?

 

We got some interesting colors and cool effects!

We got some interesting colors and cool effects!

Click here for the original post from last year or just follow these simple instructions. Scroll past the recipe for more ideas, advice and suggestions!

DO wear an apron!

DO wear an apron!

Coloring Easter Eggs the Natural Way

1 dozen hard-boiled eggs, cooled (make patterns with crayons or wax pencils before dipping)

Three pots, each filled with 2 Cups water

HOT PINK – 1 large beet, chopped (peel can stay on)

YELLOW 2 Tbs turmeric

VIOLET BLUE – 12 oz frozen blueberries

3 Tbs white vinegar

crayons or wax pencils

Put one coloring ingredient in each pot. Bring to a boil, turn off and let steep five minutes. Strain into three separate bowls (removing chunky bits*). Add one tsp vinegar to each bowl. Start blending, dipping and cross-dipping until you achieve the colors you like. Dry in the egg carton and add any decorations you see fit.

Now for the updates and cool ideas: Continue reading

French Toast-ed Croissant and Apple Sandwiches

21 Sep

After our last very successful French toast adventure, my friend Pam suggested we try French toast croissants.

How pretty are these local eggs (from Makinajian Poultry Farm in East Northport area)

How pretty are these local eggs (from Makinajian Poultry Farm in East Northport area)

As I had mini-croissants in the fridge, I thought that was a fine idea! She also mentioned that she uses any leftovers for lunchbox sandwiches and that got me to thinking…how can I pump up the nutrition and texture…and maybe convince my son to eat sandwiches (which would be an easier lunch solution for me!).

French toast croissants are pretty good without the apple too!

French toast croissants are pretty good without the apple too!

So, I split the croissants and gave them tth French toast treatment, drizzled with maple syrup and cinnamon and stuffed with thinly-sliced apple. The result was like an apple turnover, without the extra sugar and with a lot more crunch. I am sure if you are a peanut butter family, a good schmear would be tasty, as would cream cheese!

A delicious autumn breakfast

A delicious autumn breakfast

French Toast Croissant and Apple Sandwiches

1-2 Tbs butter

3 eggs

¼ Cup milk

12 mini-croissants (or 4-6 standard size), split

Maple syrup

Cinnamon

1 apple, cored and sliced thin (peeled or unpeeled is up to you)

Melt the butter in a skillet at medium to medium high.

Beat the eggs and milk together on plate or bowl that is wide enough to accommodate a split croissant, but won’t spill over.

Dip each croissant in the egg mixture on both sides just before placing in the skillet (do not soak the bread). Cook about two minutes on each side. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place a thin layer of apple on one side, close up the sandwich and eat!

Pasta Frittata: A delicious solution for leftovers!

13 Aug

I recently had a delicious veggie-filled frittata during a boat trip with my friend, Chef Deborah Pittorino of The Greenporter Hotel in Long Island’s wine country. We ended up fishing for baby bluefish off the dock

Baby bluefish

Baby bluefish

and having some luck there (and enjoying an incredibly show of juvenile ospreys…I will include Leandro’s amazing picture here!)

Osprey, by Leandro

Osprey, by Leandro

The frittata was a wonderful pick-me-up after a morning of unsuccessful fishing. It fueled us just enough to keep trying. I have yet to get the recipe for Deborah’s version but it reminded me that I have been sitting on my own frittata recipe for a couple of weeks and it is high time to share it with you, especially during summer high season for eggs!

A frittata is a wonderful way to take tiny bits of this and that and bind them in egg to make a hearty yet light picnic-worthy meal that is totally fun. You can slice them into wedges and make them into finger food, or serve them on a proper plate with salad greens and crusty bread, sliced thin.

Light but filling, rustic but delicate...these are a perfect light meal

Light but filling, rustic but delicate…these are a perfect light meal

I learned to make them in Italy, where folks take leftover pasta and cook it up with eggs so it is similar to a Spanish tortilla or an omelette with the ingredients blended into the egg as opposed to being wrapped in egg. You will want a skillet that can go from stove top to broiler to finish the top. The following recipe is designed to use up leftovers, but you may also want to try my Duck Egg and Asparagus Frittata or a classic Spanish Tortilla.

This is really easy to do and the results are so satisfying so read on for the recipe!! Continue reading

Light Yet Hearty Springtime Spanish Tortilla

19 May

The pressure was on! We had an invite to a brunch that would bring together some of the contributors to the new Edible Long Island magazine (launching first edition digitally in July, and then print editions starting in September). And everyone was to bring something.

A brunch full of food writers focused on local, hand-crafted food is a brunch full of people who know their way around a kitchen and know good stuff when they taste it. So this called for a dish that features seasonal ingredients, preferably locally-sourced, and perhaps expressing something about who I am and where I come from.

Portable and tasty, tortillas are a terrific potluck solution

Portable and tasty, tortillas are a terrific potluck solution

Continue reading

Natural Easter Egg Dye: It Really Worked!

31 Mar

Thanks to two bloggers working together, Leandro and I were inspired to try our hand at natural Easter egg dyes and it was so, so, much fun!

Boil, boil, toil and trouble

Boil, boil, toil and trouble

The road to this adventure was winding

Out, out, damn spot (cutting beets)

Out, out, damn spot (cutting beets)

My friend, Ashley, posted a “fun Easter craft” on the Hot, Cheap & Easy Facebook page recently. It linked to Lisa Leake’s  100 Days of Real Food   a terrific blog about her adventures, discoveries and triumphs eliminating processed food from her family’s diet. The original post was Natural Easter Egg Dyes  and the guest blogger was Christina Le Beau whose blog, Spoonfed, covers her quest to raise children who are literate about food. Women after my own heart.

Ready, steady, go - note the glorious colors already on the Restoration Farm Eggs

Ready, steady, go – note the glorious colors already on the Restoration Farm Eggs

Continue reading

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs (Buying Tips and Cooking Instructions)

10 Mar

We love eggs around here and Leandro especially likes them hard-boiled. One of our favorite laid-back dinners is hard-boiled eggs with broiled asparagus. Olive oil to coat the asparagus and a bit of salt for both eggs and vegetable is all the seasoning we need.

The length of time it takes to bring the water to a boil when the water covers the eggs by an inch is the magic time period!

The length of time it takes to bring the water to a boil when the water covers the eggs by an inch is the magic time period!

As you might guess, I almost invariably buy organic eggs when I buy in the supermarket and from local folks whenever possible. And yeah, they tend to cost a lot more. To me they are worth it in terms of better conditions for the hens and less chance of harmful chemicals for my son.

The taste however? Well I don’t find any appreciable difference. It is mostly when I buy local free-range eggs that I notice a difference in the vibrancy of the yolk color and the intensity of flavor. Continue reading

Leek and Asparagus: A Delightful Accessory for Scrambled Eggs

9 Jan

Today we have a guest post – my friend Ashley who is my accomplice in many of the recipes you see on this blog (most of the beverage recipes, funnily enough).

Served separately from the eggs

Served separately from the eggs

Ashley is from Maryland, which from my perspective is the South, although I suppose you can argue Middle Atlantic (for those of you who are curious where Long Island falls in the regionality game, we are kinda Middle Atlantic and kinda New England, which makes it very challenging to decide which Growing Zone to follow when planting in my garden! I welcome input on that. But let me meander back to Ashley and the South).

Prosecco mimosas are the appropriate accompaniment

Prosecco mimosas are the appropriate accompaniment

Ashley, like so many good Southerners has a terrific fondness for ramps (wild leeks) and anything that resembles them. So when making a breakfast recently, she decided to use the leeks in my fridge to accessorize the scrambled eggs I had on tap. Ashley has an aversion to butter (yeah, crazy, right?) so she used about a tablespoon of olive oil. You could certainly substitute, but I liked them just like this.

Mixed up with the eggs

Mixed up with the eggs

From Ashley:

Here is a very rough write-up of the leek eggs that we ate (and we used to call wild leeks ramps, so there might be other recipes out there that call for ramps instead of leeks…):

Take 1/2 pound leeks (approx. 2 medium) and scrub them to death.  Remove the end green parts.  Because they are so incredibly difficult to clean, you may have to clean them, start to cut them, stop and clean them again.  But in the end the effort is well worth it.

 Trim the ends and cut into small pieces.  Saute until leeks are tender.  While it apparently tastes better with butter, you know my aversion to butter, so this is where I use olive oil.

 Open your friend’s refrigerator and pilfer her leftover roasted asparagus.  How can you let perfectly good asparagus go to waste!?  Cut the asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces.  As the leeks are almost finished cooking, add the asparagus until it heats up.

 Scramble 2 eggs (per person).  Add the warmed leeks and asparagus.

 We didn’t do this, but when I’ve made it before, I’ve added a little parmesan/grana padano cheese and that makes it irresistible!  Thyme is also a nice spice to add to this.  And of course, there’s always sriracha for the bonus kick.

You may also like:

Pan-roasted Tomatoes and Prosecco Mimosas

Easy Stir-Fried Rice (with the secrets for tasty, good-looking egg bits!)

25 Sep

I have always loved stir-fried rice, but as I’ve gotten older, I am less and less satisfied with the greasy stuff at the Chinese takeaway. And as I’ve gotten older, I cook more meals and therefore have more bits and bobs laying around getting ugly in the fridge. You know, half an onion here, a bit of cold rice there, some veggie bits that aren’t quite enough for one serving on their own, but make a pretty good pile if thrown together. And I always have eggs.

Just pour the lightly beaten egg in and leave it cook on medium.

Stir-fry, therefore, is perfect. It uses everything up (virtue), fulfills my veggie quota (more virtue), and gives us a vacation from my usual seasonings to go more Asian (variety). And now that I know the easy secret of how to get the egg bits looking and tasting great, well I think I am positively gourmet. It’s already vegetarian; vegans can skip the eggs and pan-sear super-firm tofu instead. Continue reading

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