Thursday, March 29, 2018

Easter Time again!

Easter Egg Musings...

My mother grew up on a farm in North Dakota, in the early 20th century. They had chickens, but their chickens laid white eggs. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but she told me that for Easter, her mother would boil the eggs with onion skins in the water to make them be a pretty color. I always think of that. I made these hard-boiled eggs a couple of days ago and wondered what she would think. These come from the chickens of a friend of mine, and they are brown, tan, white and even blue! Araucana chickens lay blue and green eggs. There is no need for me to color them at all, but if you DO color eggs, there are ways to do it naturally and not have to use chemical colorings.

Hard boil your eggs, and allow them to cool completely. Make sure they are well dried before placing them in the dye baths. Immerse the eggs in the coloring liquid to which you have added 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar (per quart of liquid) and put them into the refrigerator. Go back from time to time and check on the color. When it is as you wish, then remove the eggs and discard the dye liquid. The longer they soak, the deeper the dye color. After coloring, be sure to store your eggs in the refrigerator!

1. Onion Skin Dye Yellow to GoldTo make dye from yellow onion skins, place several skins in your pot of water. Boil them for a little while and allow the mixture to cool with the skins in the water. Then drain off the water to use for the actually dyeing. Add the vinegar. Put the skins in your compost. Soak your hard-boiled eggs in this dye bath and depending on how many eggs you use and how concentrated the dye bath is, you can get warm tones that range from gold to a lovely terra cotta.
2. Cranberry Dye Light Blue
To use fresh cranberries, boil 4 cups cranberries in 2 cups cold water until the berries burst. Let them cool. Drain and save the liquid. Add the vinegar. For a light blue, soak only a short time. If the eggs stay in very long, they will become dark gray in color.
3. Turmeric Yellow Dye
In a quart of water, simmer 1/4 cup of ground turmeric. Cool. Strain, add the vinegar and proceed.
4. Red Cabbage Blue
About 3/4 of a head of red cabbage chopped up will make a lovely blue. Again, cook for a while, cool in liquid, strain, add the vinegar and then dye your eggs.
I am sure there are a number of other recipes you can use. These are the ones I am familiar with.
You might wonder why I'd go to the trouble...? I used to use food colorings when my children were still at home. I was not aware of the natural choices besides the onion skins. This natural method is healthier, of course, and I think a lot more fun!
You can make patterns on the eggs by drizzling them with melted wax or wrapping them with rubber bands before dyeing.
Easter is coming soon! Make your plans and have fun with this.
I have blogged about this previously, but I will mention it again here. This is the BEST way to make hard-boiled eggs. even very fresh eggs will peel easily and you won't have the unattractive green layer between the yolk and the white of the egg.
To Hard Boil Eggs

1. Bring a 3 quart saucepan half-full of water to a boil. 2. Using a push pin, poke a tiny hole in the large end of each egg. 3. With a slotted spoon, place all of the eggs in the boiling water. 4. When the water begins to boil again, set your timer for 10 minutes, and reduce the heat so the water is simmering. 5. While the eggs are cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water.6. When the eggs are done, immediately transfer them to the ice water. Let them sit in there for a few minutes. 7. Drain and peel when you are ready!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Another Tiny Tip !

When you chop raw onions (or garlic) it can be difficult to get the onion smell off of your hands.  No more!

When you are finished, just take a bar of soap, lather up your hands well, and then rub them all over the stainless steel spigot of your kitchen sink.  Act as if the spigot is a bar of soap. Then just rinse your hands.  The smell will be gone!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Broccoli cheddar soup with zucchini and carrot...

My neighbor gave me a zucchini squash the other day.  It's been sitting on the counter looking at me ever since. I considered sauteing it with some onion and butter, but didn't.  I decided to incorporate it into some broccoli cheddar soup. I ran into a similar recipe online and tweaked it for what I had on hand. I used a food processor to grate the vegetables, but of course you can use a hand grater just as well.  This is a winner.  


2 Tablespoons butter
Small to medium zucchini squash, grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 cloves (or more) garlic, minced
1/2 onion, grated
1 pound frozen broccoli florets (or you can use fresh, of course)
3 cups chicken stock (or some bone broth - whatever you like)
2 more Tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup white flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

In a large pot, melt the butter.  Add the onion, carrot and zucchini and saute until tender, stirring constantly.  Then add the garlic and cook just a little longer.

Pour in the broth and add the broccoli florets.  Simmer just until the broccoli is tender.

While it is simmering, in a skillet, melt the butter, add the flour and stir that around well and then gradually add the milk and cream, whisking smooth.  When it thickens, add the cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and incorporated.

Pour the cheese sauce into the other pot and stir well.  Salt to taste.  Add some pepper if you like.

This  may be frozen. 

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