Category Archives: Holiday

Natural Dye for Easter Eggs

This year, when coloring eggs, I experimented with some natural Easter egg dye from vegetables and spices.  The top row are various shades of blue from red cabbage on brown eggs (the left two) and white eggs (the right two).  The second row are reds, pink and browns from onion skins and beets.  From left to right:  red from yellow onion on a brown egg, pink from beet juice on a white egg, brown from onion skin on a white egg and brown from onion skin on a brown egg.  The bottom row are shades of yellow from turmeric.

This method is more time-consuming and laborious than just buying a PAAS kit. The results are not instantaneous either.  And the colors are not as exciting…but it is SAFER and HEALTHIER.

I used onion skins, turmeric, beet juice, and red cabbage to get brown, yellow, pink, and blue eggs.  The red cabbage worked out the best.  Turmeric would be the winner because it made a nice yellow and it was the easiest to do.  For all the eggs, be sure to refrigerate them as they are soaking in the dye, especially overnight.

Blue Eggs

2 heads red cabbage

6 cups water

6 tablespoons white vinegar

a dozen hard-boiled white and brown eggs

Roughly chop the cabbage. In a large pot, add water and vinegar.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the cabbage and reserve the “dye.”  Let it cool.  Put it in a smaller pot or bowl so that it will cover the eggs.   This should be enough for a dozen eggs, give or take one or two.  These will take on good color in no time.  I left some in overnight.  The brown eggs are a deep bluish-green and the white eggs are a nice blue.  If you soak them for only a few minutes, they will be a lighter blue.

Red eggs

12 yellow onions

4 cups water

4 teaspoons white vinegar

6 eggs, not pre-boiled

Skin the onions. Put onion skin, water and vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the skins and reserve the “dye.”  Let it cool. Put it in a smaller pot or bowl so that it will cover the eggs (add a little water if you need to). Boil the eggs as you would for hard-boiled eggs.  I brought them to a boil, then shut off the heat and let them sit, covered for 10 minutes.  The color on brown eggs is very deep red.  Leave in overnight for best color.  I did not try these on white eggs because I ran out, so I want to do it again on white eggs.

Now, if you don’t boil the eggs in the dye and just soak them in the onion dye, they will be brown, not red.

 

Brown eggs

1 bag red onions

4 cups water

4 tablespoons vinegar

6 hard-boiled white and brown eggs

Skin the onions. Put onion skin, water and vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the skins and reserve the “dye.”  Let it cool. Put it in a smaller pot or bowl so that it will cover the eggs.  Leave in overnight for best color.  You can see the brown eggs are darker and more reddish-brown than the white eggs.

Yellow eggs

3 teaspoons turmeric powder

3 tablespoons white vinegar

6 white eggs, not pre-boiled

water to cover eggs

Put all in a pot.  Boil as you would hard-boiled eggs. I brought it to a boil, turned off the heat, covered it and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Then, I rinsed them and let them dry.

Pink eggs

Juice from two cans or two packages of beets

6 white hard-boiled eggs

Add some water so that the juice will cover eggs.  Soak overnight.

OK, these don’t really get very pink.  I want to try these again using fresh beets because the color is supposed to be hot pink.  Stay tuned.

 

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Neapolitan Carnevale Meatballs

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For Carnevale (aka Mardi Gras, aka Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday) in Naples, it was traditional to make giant meatballs with raisins served in tomato sauce with spaghetti.  This recipe comes from my great-grandmother and grandmother, who are both from Casoria, Italy, right outside Naples.

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Here is a picture of the inside of the meatballs to see the raisins.  I used regular and golden raisins and made pork meatballs.

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Neapolitan Carnevale Meatballs with Raisins

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2 pounds chopped meat–beef, pork, veal or just one or a mix of all

2 or 3 large eggs

2/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon dried basil

3 cloves minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

6 slices stale bread, pulsed quickly in food processor (large crumbs not fine)

1/2 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients, except the bread, in a large bowl.  When well mixed, add enough bread to bind the meat mixture.  Shape into large balls, the size of a large egg.  Place the balls on a baking sheet, not touching, in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until done.  Alternatively, they can be added raw to tomato sauce for about 3 hours until done on low heat.  Serve with or without spaghetti.

Rosh Hashanah Treat

Shana Tova!  Celebrate with some teiglach, a yummy dessert of fried dough in gingered honey syrup with candied fruit and nuts.  I bought mine here.

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Mid-Autumn Festival

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!  I’m celebrating with some moon cakes.  I got these at an Asian market.

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They came in a nice tin with a pretty gift bag.

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Aren’t they lovely?

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One has salted yolk and one doesn’t.  I like the salted yolk one best.  It was a bit salty with a peanutty taste (from the peanut oil).

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Last year, I tasted one a friend had gotten from a bakery.  Of course it was better–much more pronounced peanut flavor, flakier crust and very delicious.

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Dinner: Arriba Arriba

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today, I’m celebrating Mexican food with a trip to Arriba Arriba, the popular Mexican spot in Hell’s Kitchen.  This place is always packed and has outdoor seating if you like to dine al fresco.  It can get a little loud inside and with the low lighting and pounding music, it has more of a lounge vibe.

Arriba Arriba makes the best cheese enchiladas mole served with Spanish rice and a salad.

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The alambre–marinated shrimp, steak and veggies skewer with rice and sauces.

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And my favorite, the delicious huge burritos.

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Treats From Leftover Easter Candy

Do you have some leftover Easter candy and don’t know what to do with it?  Well, so did I, so I made some treats with it.  First, I had gotten two Reese’s peanut butter eggs and a Reese’s peanut butter bunny.  So I made this Easy Easter Pie from Hershey’s website.   What I did–Instead of the 20 Reese’s peanut butter cups and 50 Hershey’s Kisses, I used one of the peanut butter eggs and the peanut butter bunny and melted them in a double boiler.  I didn’t have a prepared graham cracker crust, but I did have graham cracker crumbs, so I made one.

peanut butter pie

I also made Rice Krispie Treats from leftover Peeps.  I had a pack of five pink and a rainbow stick with four multicolored Peeps.  So I added regular mashmallows and made the treats the traditional way.

rice krispie treats

They had a light pink hue to them that you can see better in the following picture.  Here’s a piece of the peanut butter pie too.

Easter treats

 

Italian Easter Rice Pie

This year for Easter, I made an Italian Easter rice pie.  I’ve written before about the Italian Easter pies, the pizza chiena, or pizza rustica, and the pastiera, or pizza grano.  This is a variation of the pizza grano.  The pizza grano is a Neapolitan wheat pie served at Easter.  My family traditionally made this pie at Easter time.  Part of my dad’s family is from the area near Benevento, Italy, and there they make a variation with rice instead of wheat.  So he grew up with both the wheat and rice pies at Easter.

I wanted to be ambitious this Easter/Lent and make a lot more, but I haven’t had the time.  I had wanted to make hot cross buns, but instead just got some yummy ones from a bakery.  I’m also going to make a pizza chiena.  My grandma has a variation of the pizza chiena that is vegetarian, using mashed potatoes.  I don’t think I will be making that one this year though, as I don’t have time.  Now, I do have a homemade crust recipe, but I can’t publish it or else I may get the malocchio from my aunt.

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Italian Easter Rice Pie

1 1/2 cups whole milk or 1 cup skim/1/2% milk and 1/2 cup light cream/half and half

1/2 cup rice

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 pound ricotta (I use Calabro brand.)

1 tablespoon orange blossom water  (You can find this at any Italian specialty shop like Di Palo’s or order it online.)

1 teaspoon vanilla

8 oz. candied citron  (You can find this at any Italian specialty shop like Di Palo’s or order it online.)

1 deep dish frozen pie crust

1 regular frozen pie crust

Cook rice according to package directions (with water).  Add milk and cook on low until milk is absorbed.  Cool.  Beat eggs and beat in sugar.  Add ricotta, orange blossom water, vanilla and citron and stir.  Put into deep dish pie crust and top with top crust.  (I used a regular pie crust for the top and cut strips with a pastry cutter.)  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Cool and serve.

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