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Nature is waking from its long winter slumber, yawning, stretching, and coming alive. The trees are budding and the first flowers are breaching the earth. The air is fresh and sweet. Spring is here and Easter is on its way. Easter is relatively late this year, which is fine by me, because adorable Easter outfits lose a little appeal when they are covered in parkas and hats; and with the great Easter egg dying recipes this month, you will definitely hope for a beautiful day for the Easter egg hunt with the kiddies. This month is all about that egg.

Colored eggs are an Easter tradition, so I thought I would share a few different techniques to create beautiful and unique Easter eggs that will not only wow the kids, but will look like little pieces of egg art on your dining table. Not only are these eggs beautiful, they are edible! There are no “bad” eggs, so make extra for the deviled eggs. Who doesn’t love deviled eggs? This Easter, mix it up with a few twists on this holiday standard. The family can nibble on the eggs while the ham bakes and you finish off the creamy, dreamy scalloped potato recipe and the house fills with enticingly sweet aromas.

Now let’s play with eggs!

Dying Easter eggs is a tradition in most families. Who doesn’t have memories of the PAAS egg dying kits? You filled a cup with water and a splash of vinegar and dropped in the magic color tabs, then placed your egg on the flimsy wire egg holder and dunked your eggs in the colored water. It was simplistic, but always special. PAAS has come a long way since I was a kid, but so has dying eggs all together. Now, it’s an art form, displayed for all to admire. Here are three simple techniques to make your own egg art, and easy enough for most kids.

Marbled Eggs
1 dozen eggs, hardboiled
Sealable baggies
Food coloring
Disposable plastic gloves

Gently crack egg, either on the counter or with the back of a spoon. Place into a baggie. Holding the baggie open, slowly drop color over the egg until the egg is covered, about 6-8 drops. Gently move egg around in baggie to cover all sides, being careful not to smoosh the egg (yes, I have done it more times than I care to recall). Set aside and let soak for thirty minutes. You can let them sit longer, but longer they sit, the more the color spreads and you lose the intense marbling effect (as seen in the photos).

After thirty minutes, put on plastic gloves and remove egg from the baggie and rinse under cool water. Rinse until the water runs clear. Gently peel the egg to reveal the beautiful marble pattern on your egg. If you are doing this with kids, be sure to point out the inside of the shell, as it has a very cool dye pattern on them as well.

That is it. Now you have these gorgeous marble-colored hardboiled eggs you can use for decoration or you can cut them in half and use these eggs for your deviled eggs. You now have edible art!

Tie-Dye Eggs
1 dozen eggs, hardboiled
Paper towels
White vinegar
Food coloring
Disposable plastic gloves

Place white vinegar in a small bowl. Set out the colors you would like to use in your tie-dye and remove the lids for easy access. Wearing the disposable gloves, take a piece of paper towel and dampen with vinegar. Lay paper towel in the palm of your hand; place the hard-boiled egg, wide end down, in the center of the paper towel. Wrap the paper towel around the egg, making the paper towel as smooth as possible, with minimal over lapping. Twist the paper towel up around the narrow end of the egg, and twist until tight, but does not tear the damp paper towel.

Holding the egg from the twisted end, take the food coloring and start to apply color to the egg. I suggest you simply tilt the coloring and let it fall one drop at a time, as you want to create that tie-dye effect. Continue to drip the different colors over the paper towel wrapped egg until the egg is covered in color. If you want the whole egg to be covered in color, verses having parts of the white showing like a traditional tie-dye, add a few more drops of color on the areas that are overlapped, and at the top of the egg where the paper towel is twisted, to insure the color penetrates.

Once you have received the coloring you like, lay the wrapped egg on a folded piece of fresh paper towel and rinse your gloves well, removing any residual coloring from the process. Pick up the color wrapped egg, place it in your hand, and begin to unwrap the egg. Remove egg from the colored paper towel and pat dry with a clean paper towel to absorb any extra coloring. And voilà, you have a super cool tie-dye egg!

Silk Tie Dyed Eggs
6 – 100% silk ties (raid the thrift stores, but be sure the tie says 100% silk and smooth silk over textured silk)
6 large white eggs
6 – 9×9-inch squares of white cloth (old white pillow cases or muslin will work)
String or rubber bands
1/4 cup white vinegar

First step is to dismantle the ties. If you have a seam ripper, utilize that, otherwise, a sharp pair of scissors will work. Start by removing the label, then, from the wide end of the tie, flip over to the back, and snip the seam that holds the two sides of the tie together. Remove the seam all the way down the tie, until you can open it up and remove the tie liner. Once the liner is removed, lay the tie out flat. You will want to cut the widest end of the tie, making sure you cut enough fabric to completely cover the egg with room to tie. Once you have done this with all six ties, set aside.

Take your first piece of silk and lay it color side up (front of the tie) in the palm of your hand. Place egg on its side in your palm and wrap silk around the egg, as smoothly as possible, and gather as tightly as you can, without breaking the egg (yes, I have done that too). The smoother the silk, the more the pattern will adhere. Gather tightly and secure with string or a small rubber band. Repeat until all eggs are covered. Now, repeat the process with the white squares of fabric and secure as well. Place the double wrapped eggs in a medium sized pot and cover with water. Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for twenty minutes. When eggs are done, remove and place in a cold water bath and let set until they are cool, about 10-15 minutes. Once cooled, you can unwrap your eggs to reveal the gorgeous pattern the tie left on the egg. Pat dry with a paper towel and sit back and admire.

Now that we have these gorgeous and fun colored Easter eggs, let’s talk about what else you can do with hard-boiled eggs. Of course, I am talking about deviled eggs, another Easter standard. I used to dream about Easter at my grandmother’s house, because she always made the best deviled eggs I had ever eaten. I didn’t learn until I was much older what her secret was. It turned out to be her home-canned dill pickles. The great thing about the deviled egg is how easy it is to mix things up by switching a couple of ingredients. Here are three recipes to mix things up with your Easter deviled eggs. Make extra, because people won’t be able to stop eating them.

Dill Pickle Deviled Eggs
Makes 1 dozen
6 eggs, hardboiled and peeled
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbs. diced dill pickle (I can my own, which are a garlic dill style)
2 tsp. pickle juice
1/2 tbs. fresh dill, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Fresh dill for garnish

Cut eggs in half and remove the yolks. Place yolks in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and pickle juice and mix well. Stir in the diced pickles and dill. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Adjust as needed.

Lay egg halves on serving dish and spoon or pipe (making sure the opening is wide enough for diced pickles) into the eggs. Garnish with a sprig of dill.

Avocado Deviled Eggs
Makes 1 dozen
6 eggs, hardboiled and peeled
1/2 avocado, cut into cubes
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. Hellman’s mayonnaise
3/4 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro leaves for garnish
Cumin powder for garnish

Cut eggs in half and remove the yolks. Place yolks in a medium bowl along with the cubed avocado and mash with a fork. Add 1/4 of the mayonnaise and all the cumin and lime juice. Mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add the additional mayonnaise one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Stir in chopped cilantro. Lie out the egg halves and fill, either with a spoon or by piping the mixture into egg halves. Sprinkle with cumin powder and cilantro leaves for garnish and serve.

Curried Deviled Eggs
Makes 1 dozen
6 eggs, hardboiled and peeled
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. Hellman’s mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbs. minced green onion
3/4 tsp. curry powder plus extra for garnish
1/2 tbs. fresh minced parsley
Pinch kosher salt

Cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks. Place yolks in medium sized bowl and mash with a fork. Add the mayonnaise and stir to combine. Stir in curry powder, 1 tablespoon minced green onion and parsley. Stir well and taste. Add a pinch of salt if needed. Place egg halves on serving platter and spoon or pipe the egg mixture into eggs. To serve, sprinkle with curry powder and remaining 1/2 tablespoon minced green onion.

See how easy those are? Go crazy, mix things up, and make your own deviled egg concoction. Add your favorite spice or fresh herb and create an “eggsellent” deviled egg. And if you create something fabulous, please share it with us.

Easter Dinner
Now that we have gotten our egg on, let’s talk Easter supper. For many families, this holiday gathering is a tradition. For my family, it was a honey baked ham, lemon beans, and scalloped potatoes. Dreamy, creamy, cheesy, scalloped potatoes. The perfect companion to a nice thick slab of honey baked ham.

Scalloped Potatoes
Serves 6
2 tbs. unsalted butter
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 tbs. minced fresh thyme
1 tsp. mined garlic
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
5 medium-sized russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs.), peeled and sliced approximately 1/8 inch thick
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
4 oz. shredded (1 cup) Gruyere cheese (you can also use sharp cheddar or parmesan)

Adjust oven rack to the middle and heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the finely chopped onion and cook until softened, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add cream, broth, and bay leaves and stir. Add potatoes and stir well to coat. Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and pour potato mixture into an 8-inch baking dish. Gently press the mixture into the pan, leaving an even layer, and sprinkle the shredded Gruyere over the top of the potatoes. Place into the 425-degree oven and bake until the cream is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown. Approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before serving.

Hope you enjoy this month’s recipes and we will see you next month, where we will be eagerly stepping back out to the grill and feeling the warm sun on our faces. Woo Hoo!!

For step-by-step photos of these Easter egg patterns, purchase the April 2017 issue of Julien’s Journal magazine. Click to subscribe, or call (563) 557-1914. Single issues are also available in print at area newsstands.

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Angela and Carolyn Linton-Canfield

After 18 years working in the food and beverage industries of Chicago and San Francisco, Angela and Carolyn started a private chef and catering company, Life’s a Feast, in the tri-state area. They embrace their passion of cooking, entertaining, and creating one-of-a-kind experiences for their clients.
Carolyn and Angela now share their passion with viewers on their cable show Life’s a Feast, available on Mediacom and their YouTube channel, Life’s a Feast LLC.
Both share their expertise on food and wine on our website, their website, as well as their Facebook page.
Recipes and photos are the copyrighted and intellectual property of Life’s a Feast, LLC.

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