Wednesday, April 4, 2012

hatching the easter egg

Timing was perfect for my trip out to the family compound in SoCal, for little did I know that a very distant memory would be sparked out of the April issue of Bon Appetit Mag's recipe for egg coloring 'au naturel' just one week before Easter. I remembered how an old family friend would dye Easter eggs old school Romanian style using an artisanal approach to honoring the egg and its symbolism around the vernal celebration that is upon us. So I made it my challenge to recreate her craft.

Now let me preface this with the fact that I managed to squeeze this test in between road tripping up the California coast, so considering the circumstances, I am rather pleased with the results of a project on the fly, as well as it making for a great adventure and amusing story, no doubt.

The original dying agent calls for extracting the brown hue from boiling onion peels. "Tanti Sitza" (as we called her) would save onion peels for months in anticipation of creating beautifully rustic colored eggs. I simplified and used Bon Appetit's trusty purple recipe for a more modern approach.

After hard boiling eggs and cooling off to room temperature, prepare the dye with desired color recipe. The next step is the use of parsley leaves to imprint a floral pattern on the eggs. I used parsley and also cilantro since it was in the fridge and I have to say the cilantro turned out to be the rock star. Mind you, this was an experiment in action so as the process unfolded, I discovered that the leaves being a little wet helped them stick to the egg, allowing for easier placement of cut pantyhose over the eggs to hold the leaves in place. Then tie off the ends of the nylon sock and your prep is set. I suggest using the sheerest nylon possible to ensure the color easily penetrates through.

After hitting the road with eggs in tow, 3 hours passed to reveal (to my surprise) a fine cerulean blue to match the Santa Barbara sky we were greeted to. In amazement, I carefully disrobed the eggs of their nylon encasing and with the help of my husband, gently laid the eggs out to dry.

A bit of bleeding occurred while lifting the leaves, but to our amazement, it worked... Tah-dah!!!!

So here we are a couple days later and with my husband & sister's patience & love, my determination to share this has been realized over a little picnic of Easter eggs and strawberries from the Santa Barbara Farmers Market. And now the road bekons us north-bound to Big Sur. Hallelujah!

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