Tag Archives: holidays

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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Baked Stuffed Pumpkin or Winter Squash

26 Nov

 

 

It’s been a long time since I stuffed a pumpkin, but Halloween and late fall combined to make me want to do it again. This is so easy and you can stuff any old winter squash with any old stew (or stuffing) and make a dramatic dish!

stuffed squashBaked Pumpkin with Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

One or two whole pumpkins (We used two 6” tall pumpkins), hollowed out, seeds reserved for pepitas, cap reserved

2 Tbs olive oil

1.5 Cups chopped onion

1/4 Cup garlic, minced

¾ Cup carrots, diced

¾ Cup celery, diced

2 lbs ground beef

Adobo powder

1 Cup sweet potato, peeled and cubed

3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp soy sauce

2 Tbs tomato paste

1 Tbs oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil until fragrant at medium high. Add onion, stir to coat, then lower heat and cook for about five minutes, until well-softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add carrots and celery and cook another five minutes, until softening. Add ground beef and brown. Sprinkle with abundant Adobo powder, then add sweet potato, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and tomato paste. Preheat oven to 350°F while allowing meat mixture to simmer for at least 20 minutes on low, adding, adding oregano about five minutes before you take it off the heat.

Sprinkle the inside of the pumpkin very generously with salt and pepper. Put each pumpkin on a stable rimmed baking sheet with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. You’ll want something that you can carry the pumpkin to the table on, as the shell will soften and fall apart if you try to move it.

Stuff the pumpkin with the meat. You can freeze leftover meat, or, as we did, quickly open up a couple of butternut squash, season and stuff also.

Bake the pumpkins for an hour and check for tenderness. We cooked our two small ones for two and the squashes for about 1.5 hours.

Allow to cool for a bit and bring to the table with the lids on for extra drama. As you scoop out the meat (it’s nice with rice), also scrape out some pumpkin, which should be seasoned and tender.

 

 

Coquito: Puerto Rican Egg Nog (this one without eggs!)

22 Dec

2015-12-26 17.16.25In Puerto Rico, as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey is scraped off the plates, our collective thoughts turn to what we are going to eat for Christmas. But we are not just talking about Christmas Eve or Christmas day, oh no.We’re talking about every day for the next two months.

Recipes written by by late, great-aunt Titi Amida for my mother.

Recipes written by by late, great-aunt Titi Amida for my mother.

Christmas lasts from the day after Thanksgiving well into January, with the Feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings Day on January 6th, followed by octavas (the eight days after Three Kings Day) which are then followed by octavitas, which last for another eight days. And since we’re practically into February by then, you might as well keep celebrating until Valentine’s Day on the 14th….We have to do it this way, to give everyone who wants to have a Christmas party the opportunity. Twelve days of Christmas are just not enough to give everyone a turn at hosting.

Tasting in progress

Tasting in progress

That’s a lot of menu planning. We are helped by our Christmas songs, which are sometimes paeans to the birth of Jesus, but more often they are odes to the pig…that is.. lechón or spit-roasted suckling pig.

In small servings this homey cocktail can look quite elegant

In small servings this homey cocktail can look quite elegant

Some folks serve it on the rocks. I do like it a bit diluted. You could also top off with a bit more rum.

Some folks serve it on the rocks. I do like it a bit diluted. You could also top off with a bit more rum.

When it comes to beverages, the Queen of Christmas Toddies is coquito, a sweet and sometimes lethal combination of rum, cream of coconut, and condensed and evaporated milk in its more basic form, but which can also include egg yolks, different types of alcohol, more or less cinnamon, vanilla, and much more.

These bottles from IKEA look great for hostess gifts

These bottles from IKEA look great for hostess gifts

Today’s recipe (thank you to my former San Juan Star colleague Todd Michael Jamison for sending me the original that this is based on several years ago) is quite basic and contains no egg (in the recipes from my great-aunt Titi Amida in the images, she used loads of egg yolks, but she used to get farm-fresh eggs. Now most of us don’t have that kind of access). I like to make a big batch and portion out some into decorative bottles for gifts. When I actually serve, I add a bit more cinnamon and froth individual servings up with some ice in a cocktail shaker – coquito should be served really cold and the ice thins it a bit too, which I like. Continue reading

Baby, You’re a Firework!

6 Dec

Lucia channels Katy Perry…

Come on show 'em what your worth....

Come on show ’em what your worth….

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

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