Tag Archives: eggs

North Carolina Zabaglione

Zabaglione is an Italian custard made from only eggs, not eggs and milk.* It comes from the Piedmont area of Italy, but I’m claiming it for the Piedmont of North Carolina. Why, you may ask? Well, it is a staple dessert of the Waldensian people from Northwestern Italy who settled the town of Valdese, North Carolina, 125 years ago. In Valdese, it is known as zabaione. I have made it even more North Carolina by using Raleigh, North Carolina’s own Oak City Amaretto, instead of the traditional wine.

North Carolina Zabaglione

1 dozen egg yolks from pasteurized eggs

1/3 cup superfine sugar

3 tablespoons (1 shot) Oak City Amaretto

amaretti cookies

In the top of a double boiler (off the heat) whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Add the amaretto and continue whisking until frothy. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water and bring to a simmer or slight boil. Put the top pot in the double boiler and whisk vigorously for 3-4 minutes until the mixture looks like a smooth custard. There is a risk that you could get scrambled eggs, so you want to whisk continuously and with a strong arm. Serve immediately or slightly warm in sherbet glasses. Serve with amaretti cookies.

*I have seen some recipes that use milk as well, but most of the traditional and older recipes do not.

–Dina M. Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com

***All writings and photographs are the intellectual property of me, unless I’ve noted otherwise, and can only be used with permission. If you are inspired by this blog, please use professional courtesy to note it.***


Lucanian Peppers and Eggs

Peppers are a mainstay of Italian cuisine. Of course, they do not come from Italy but were one of the many gifts from the Americas. In Basilicata, the southernmost region, in the instep of the boot, also known by its more ancient name, Lucania, the peperoni di Senise are a popular pepper brought by the Spanish in the 16th century. Since 1996, these peppers have an IGP designation, which translates to protected geographical indication, meaning they are to be grown in a particular region in order to carry this label. The peppers are hung on strings to dry. The dried peppers are called peperoni secchi. There are many ways to prepare these peppers. Because they are also used to season food, they are known in local dialect as zafaran, or saffron. They can be crushed and added to a sauce, such as a breadcrumb sauce for pasta. These peppers are sweet and impart a smoky flavor to dishes. A popular way to prepare them is to create a snack food or an accompaniment to a recipe or dish by just frying them in olive oil. These are called peperoni cruschi. I used them to make peppers and eggs.

Peperoni cruschi e uova (Peppers and eggs)

6 eggs

3 peperoni cruschi (I used packaged peppers from Zingerman’s.)

about 1 T olive oil


Reconstitute the peppers in a little water for about 10 minutes. (You don’t have to do this, but I did to soften them.) Drain and slice. Heat olive oil in pan as you would to make scrambled eggs. Add peppers and eggs and scramble. Add salt to taste.

–Dina Di Maio

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.


Legal Battle Over Definition of Mayonnaise

Unilever, the maker of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, is suing Hampton Creek, the start-up making plant-based Just Mayo, for false advertising.  Unilever contends that Just Mayo is not mayo because it doesn’t contain eggs.  Indeed, the FDA definition of mayonnaise includes “(c) Egg yolk-containing ingredients. Liquid egg yolks, frozen egg yolks, dried egg yolks, liquid whole eggs, frozen whole eggs, dried whole eggs, or any one or more of the foregoing ingredients listed in this paragraph with liquid egg white or frozen egg white.”  (Scroll down for Sec. 169.140 Mayonnaise.) 

While news sources are likening this war of words to a “David and Goliath” situation, Hampton Creek is backed by Bill Gates, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and Li Ka-shing, the richest man in Asia, hardly making it your average start-upThe media attention has resulted in increased sales for Hampton Creek. 

Its product is a vegan “mayonnaise” made from Canadian yellow pea proteins.  By the look of its packaging, it does appear to be mayonnaise not vegan mayonnaise, so I could see consumers getting confused thinking it was traditional mayonnaise with eggs.  I think Unilever may have a point.  Consumers who want traditional mayonnaise with eggs most likely do not want mayonnaise made with pea proteins in place of eggs, and the way Just Mayo is packaged makes it look as if it is traditional mayonnaise.  And there’s something else that I just noticed in that FDA definition–the mayonnaise can contain “(3) Any spice (except saffron or turmeric) or natural flavoring, provided it does not impart to the mayonnaise a color simulating the color imparted by egg yolk.”  This part of the definition was written clearly to deter manufacturers from adding a yellowish color to mislead consumers to think it was yellow from eggs.  I don’t know anything about Canadian yellow peas, other than the name including yellow, but do they give off a yellowish color?

I have a suggestion for Hampton Creek that will save both companies on legal fees.  How about changing the name from Just Mayo to Just Like Mayo?  


PS.  I don’t use Hellmann’s mayonnaise or any mayonnaise that contains soybean oil.  I prefer safflower oil mayonnaise.  It would be nice to see companies like Unilever STOP using soybean oil.

Weekend Whets 8/2

Rosa Mexicano

On my visit to Rosa Mexicano’s Ice Cream Festival opening night, I got the ice cream selection.  From left to right:  plantain and peanut butter, honey-amaranth crunch and sweet cream with shaved Mexican chocolate and cajeta swirl.  If you are a peanut butter lover, the plantain and peanut butter is very peanut-buttery.  The sweet cream was a bit disappointing, as it sounded so flavorful with chocolate and cajeta, but it fell flat for me.  My favorite was the honey-amaranth crunch, creamy and sweet with a little bit of crunch.  I want to return to try the raspado and also the alegria ice cream sundae.

Rosa Mexicano Ice Cream Festival, July 31, 2013, through August 25, 2013, local locations in Manhattan and Hackensack, NJ:  Try homemade Mexican paletas, or ice pops; raspado, or Mexican snow cones; ice cream desserts like ice cream stuffed churros or ice cream and sorbet in flavors inspired by Mexican cuisine.

Paper’s Super Duper Market, Friday, August 2, 2013, through Sunday, August 4, 2013, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 6 p.m. on Saturday, 268 Mulberry Street between Houston and Prince, Manhattan:  Try artisanal food from around the country.  Humphry Slocombe, San Francisco’s delicious ice cream, will be back this year, yum!  I loved it last year.

Brooklyn Flea’s Ice Cream Bonanza, Saturday, August 3, 2013 and Sunday, August 4, 2013, Williamsburg, Brooklyn:  Try organic and interesting flavors of ice cream from Brooklyn and beyond.

Lobster Bake Party, Sundays, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Hotel Chantelle, 92 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side:  A weekly event through the summer. $29.92 per person for 1 whole Maine lobster, steamed little neck clams, baked red russet potatoes and corn on cob.

The Billion Oyster Project, Tuesday, August 6, 2013, 7 p.m., Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park:  Take a look at the park’s oyster gardens and discuss the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School’s plan to put a billion oysters back in New York Harbor.

Short Stack Eggs Bookbinding Party, Tuesday, August 6, 2013, 6 p.m., Kitchensurfing Townhouse, 456 Carroll Street, Brooklyn:  Short Stack is a series of small-format cookbooks about ingredients.  This party will feature Ian Knauer, renowned cookbook author and writer, who will prepare some of the recipes from his Eggs book while attendees stitch their own book.

The NYC Taco Challenge, Thursday, August 8, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Studio Arte, 17th Floor, 265 West 37th Street, Midtown Manhattan:  Tasting and judging of six different tacos.

Hudson County Restaurant Week, through August 9, 2013, participating restaurants in Hudson County, NJ:  Celebrate Hudson County restaurants with discounted prix fixe menus.

New York City Restaurant Week 2013, through Friday, August 16, 2013:  Celebrate NYC restaurants with $25 lunch and $38 dinner menus.

How to Prepare a Korean Feast, Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn:  Learn how to make kimchi and shop for a Korean feast.

Blues BBQ, Saturday, August 24, 2013, 2 p.m., Hudson River Park:  Blues musicians along with Brother Jimmy’s and Dinosaur BBQ.

Lenten Lunch: Beecher’s Eggs and Cheese Sandwich

I got a really delicious eggs and cheese sandwich at Beecher’s in Flatiron.  This is also a great breakfast/lunch for Lent!  It’s on really good toasty bread.  It’s more cheesy than eggy, which I would expect from a cheese shop! 

Beecher's eggs and cheese

Lenten Dinner: Rice with Eggs and Cheese

Rice with eggs and cheese

This is another dish my grandma made on Fridays during Lent.  She made it at other times too, and it’s definitely Italian comfort food.  It can be a main course or a side dish.  Also, it can be made with macaroni/pasta or rice.

Rice with eggs and cheese

1 cup rice, uncooked (I like Carolina rice.)

3 tablespoons butter

3 eggs

1/3 cup grated romano cheese (My family always uses Locatelli.)

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the rice according to package instructions.  When cooked, add other ingredients and mix thoroughly.   Serves 2.  If you want to make this with macaroni/pasta, cook pasta according to package instructions and drain.  Put back in pot or in a bowl and add ingredients.  Mix thoroughly and serve.