Gilded & Naturally-dyed Easter Eggs

Nest-2

Growing up, I had so much fun dipping perfectly white eggs into their colored baths and watch them instantly emerge in vibrant hues. Now that I’m a mom and try my best to keep artificial colorings and such out of the house, I wanted to experiment with coloring our eggs with none other than….REAL FOODS! Beets, onions, turmeric – all things that I wouldn’t mind if they seeped through the pores of the eggshell a bit…maybe it’ll even count as a serving of veggies ;). Even the glue used to adhere the gold-leaf was made with rice.

Triple

So an idea I’ve had for a while was to take these naturally-dyed (and even more edible!) eggs and use gold-leaf to bring it to another level of pretty.  The concept had been floating around in my head for a couple years, but it wasn’t until this year that I was able to try it out. It took a bit of organization and preparation, and some turned out different form my expectations, but I was so happy with the results! I love that you don’t have to be perfect with the dying or the gilding, it’s a very forgiving design that I was able to do with my 3-year old wanting to “help” with every step.

What you’ll need:

-a dozen eggs (white results in more vivid colors than brown)

-dye materials as described below

-a couple teaspoons of rice flour or cooked white rice

-a couple Tablespoons of water

-small paintbrush

-4-5 sheets of gold leaf

-sponge, the kind with a scratchy side works well

IMG_1321

Steps:

First I made the dyes, using this guide and made about 4 cups of dye per color (2-3 eggs at a time).

-Blue: red cabbage

-Green: red cabbage plus a 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder

-Rich orange: yellow onion skins

-Beige-y: beets (was supposed to be pink…tried twice…maybe bad beets?)

-Deep Rust: red onion skins (on brown eggs)

Next, I made some “perfectly” hard-boiled eggs – mostly white ones, but I threw in a couple brown eggs as well just to compare. They soaked in the fridge overnight….this step is more an art than a science, just rotate when you can to prevent white spots and take them out when you like the color!

IMG_1335

The next day was for drying and gilding. As the eggs dried on a plate in the fridge, I noticed the colors changed a bit. The blue tone warmed up a bit and the pink (beet) eggs turned more beige. Use bit of parchment paper in between to keep eggs separated, if needed.

IMG_1365

Meanwhile I made a little batch of rice glue and carefully tore the gold sheets into randomly sized pieces. Using a light hand, I dabbled the glue all over a dried egg and applied the gold leaf, lighting pressing down the edges. After about halfway dry, I took the sponge and broke up the edges. Dry fully and refrigerate until they are ready to be hidden and eaten! Enjoy 🙂

Nest

Advertisements

Patriotic (and superfood-filled) Brownie Pudding Cake

20140703_4thOfJulyBrownies_Corner

So I’ve been thinking about what to make for our 4th of July bbq tomorrow and remembered a dessert that a friend’s mom had introduced me to many years ago…a decadent layered concoction of brownie, chocolate pudding, whipped cream and berries…something about the pairing of a cake/cookie with a moist component like ice-cream or sauce really does it for me. The boxed brownie mix, cool whip and instant pudding mix that mom used aren’t the healthiest ingredients, so here is my healthier (and just as rich and delicious) version! Bonus points for it being organic,vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and full of super foods like chia, blueberries, raspberries, extra virgin coconut oil, dark chocolate. It is almost refined sugar free too, using dates and coconut palm sugar for the base layers and just a tiny bit of powdered evaporated cane juice in the whipped cream.

Continue reading

Cucumber Dill Salad with Avocado, Corn and Quinoa

Cucumber Dill Salad with Avocado, Corn and Quinoa

I finally decided to start a blog! I’m usually pretty terrible at journaling, but I figured that at the least, this can serve as a digital journal for my culinary thoughts and a consolidated place for collecting all the things I fall in love with whilst browsing online. If, along the way, passerby stop in and find my recipes helpful, all the better!

So for lunch today I had a satisfying salad meal that tasted as sunny as the weather happened to be. Freshly-picked dill from my mother’s garden added a nice touch of brightness while the creamy avocado and touches of sweet corn provided a nice base of flavors.  Even my 1.5 year-old liked it (although, next time I may mince the dill more finely for her). A smaller portion can be served over a bed of greens (try a neutral-tasting one like spinach, as arugula or radicchio may compete with the flavors too much) to lighten it. Also, if the tofu can be omitted or substituted with beans or even feta, if you love cheese!

Cucumber Dill Salad with Avocado, Corn and Quinoa

Serves 4 to 6, I use organic ingredients whenever possible

  • 1 cups of cooked quinoa (pre-soaked, here’s why)
  • 2 cups of cubed (1/2″) cucumber (the crispier varieties are recommended such as picklers, persian or even hothouse)
  • 1 cup of sweet corn (I used organic frozen and thawed)
  • 1/2 block of firm tofu cubed (1/2″), (I recommend sprouted, here’s why)
  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed( 1/2″) (my tips for cutting up avocado)
  • 2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (I like raw, here’s why)
  • 1 small clove of garlic or 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of fresh chopped dill plus a some larger sprigs for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (I like pink Himalayan salt, here’s why)

In a large bowl, mix quinoa, cucumber, corn, tofu, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic and chopped dill. Gently fold in chopped avocado and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with remaining dill garnish on top. That’s it!

Bon appetit!

-Julie