For many, dying eggs is the true beginning of the Easter Season, a time of family and joy. With Easter just a few short weeks away you can get a jump-start this spring holiday by using nature’s own pretty hues from fruits, vegetables and spices. DEAN & DELUCA has tested new natural ways in which you can create a beautiful Easter Eggstravaganza – perfect for all your decorating and hiding needs this holiday.
Generally, there are two methods used when dyeing eggs: cold dipping and hot boiling.
Cold dipping produces subtler shades and is usually the preferred method for using multiple colors on the same egg.
Hot boiling produces much more intense shades, but these eggs are for decoration only, not eating, if you choose not to “blow out” the insides of the egg. We prefer being able to eat our delicious creations, so we blow out our eggs (instructions below).
For Naturally Dyed Eggs try using turmeric, blueberries or beets.
• 2 cups roughly chopped, raw beets (for pink/red), OR
• 2 cups blueberries, crushed (for blue/purple), OR
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (for yellow/gold)
• 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
• Hard-boiled egg shells (insides removed)
1. To empty a raw egg, begin by using the tip of a sharp utility knife to pierce both ends of the egg; turn the knife in one of the holes to widen it slightly. Then, poke a straightened paper clip through the larger hole to pierce and “stir” the yolk. Hold the egg, larger hole down, over a bowl, and then blow the contents out with a rubber syringe or small drinking straw.
2. Put your choice of coloring ingredient (beets, blueberries or turmeric) into a small pot with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, discarding any solids, and then stir in vinegar. Set aside to let cool until warm or room temperature.
To color eggs, submerge in dye, turning often for even coating, until desired color is reached. For more colors, dye eggs first in one color, then wipe dry and dye in a second color.
You can even glue a thin piece of wheatgrass to your eggs, enhancing the “natural” beauty of this year’s Easter collection.
We wouldn’t want the insides of the eggs to go to waste, our preferred recipe this season is the Scrambled Egg with Salmon Roe Smorrebrod.
This luscious sandwich is great wtith any form of caviar or fish roe, but we prefer Salmon Roe.
12 extra-large eggs
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) plus 2 teaspoons lightly salted butter
6 slices dark bread, cut in half
24 thin slices of cucumber
3 ounces salmon roe or other fish roe
sprigs of fresh dill for garnish
1. Beat the eggs well in a large bowl. In a heavy sauté pan, about 8 inches in diameter, melt 2 teaspoons of butter over extremely low heat. Add the beaten eggs, and cook over the lowest possible heat for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. The eggs will thicken very slowly. When they begin to thicken, stir gently with a large spoon to create large flaps in the scrambled eggs. (If no flaps have formed after 45 minutes, raise the heat slightly to finish the thickening. The eggs will be darker in color and thicker than normal scrambled eggs and should fall into large folds or flaps.)
2. Spread 1 teaspoon of butter on each of the bread halves. For each smorrebrod, at 2 corners that face each other diagonally place 2 slices of cucumber. At the other 2 corners, place about 1/4 teaspoon of salmon roe. Cover the rest of the bread with about one twelfth of the egg mixture. Repeat until all smorrebrod are done. Garnish with sprigs of fresh dill.
Variation: If you prefer, you may eliminate the salmon roe and substitute smoked salmon. Simply lay a thin slice of smoked salmon on top of the bread and under the scrambled eggs.
Salmon roe tastes best on this luscious sandwich, but any form of caviar or fish roe will work well. Makes 12 smorrebrod
Kevin Johnson, executive chef of the Leawood, Kan., Dean & DeLuca, says Brussels sprouts started popping up on American restaurant menus thanks in part to the legions of chefs across the country that took a shine to the vegetable. He likens the leafy green orbs to a woman’s little black dress—the perfect accessory to any meal, especially during the holidays.
“Most chefs have added some sort of Brussels sprouts dish to their menus,” says Johnson. “Shaved Brussels sprouts salads, pan-roasted, caramelized, sautéed—they’re adaptable.”
How does Johnson like his Brussels sprouts?
“Au gratin-style or roasted with prosciutto and shallots,” says Johnson.
Here are two of Johnson’s favorite Brussels sprouts preparations for your holiday table.
Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin
Serves 10 – 12
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stems removed
1/2 cup minced shallot
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of ground white pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
¼ cup demi glaze
1/3 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 cup grated Swiss cheese (1/4 pound)
Preheat the oven to 400°F and butter a 4-quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
To make sauce sauté shallots in butter until softened. Add flour and stir to make a paste. Slowly whisk in milk, cream, and demi glaze and cook until slightly thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Turn sauce down to warm/low and stir in Swiss cheese. Set sauce aside.
Drain the Brussels sprouts and set aside. Combine cooked Brussels sprouts and sauce and transfer to prepared baking dish and spread out evenly.
Bake the sprouts uncovered at 400°F until bubbly and golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Let sit 4-6 minutes before serving.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto & Shallots
Serves 10 – 12
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stems removed and cut in half
½ pound shallots, julienne
¼ pound prosciutto, julienne
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon
Pinch of ground white pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil and roast uncovered about 12-15 minutes or until caramelized. Turn oven down to 325°F and roast an additional 6-8 minutes or until tender. Sauté shallots and prosciutto in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss mixture with roasted Brussels sprouts and season with white pepper; top with fresh thyme. Serve hot.
Like any good love affair, I had a head-over-heels encounter when I least expected it several years ago, over a candlelit dinner.
The object of my affection? Brussels sprouts.
Although Brussels sprouts weren’t entirely foreign to me, I had somehow managed to mature into my 40s without making their acquaintance. Growing up in Iowa, I consumed my weight in bushels of sweet corn, Pyrex dishes of Durkee onion-topped green bean casserole and stuffed pork chops—a pleasant (if not exciting) and sturdy Midwest sort of diet. Mom was a good cook but didn’t venture much beyond the tattered and splattered recipes in her collection, all of which were neatly written on index cards in her perfect cursive and called for lots of margarine and canned soups as primary ingredients. Brussels sprouts weren’t part of her culinary point-of-view and they were probably not in the neighborhood grocery’s produce department either, but perhaps sandwiched between the broccoli and cauliflower in frozen foods.
I discovered the earthy vegetable by accident at Kansas City’s sexy-cozy Pizza Bella in 2007. Not exactly a classic pairing with a pie, roasted Brussels sprouts are offered as an eclectic appetizer on the locally owned pizzeria’s menu. The dish created a buzz in food circles around town, just as the Brussels sprouts craze was lifting off on the national cuisine landscape.
Intrigued and curious, I ordered up a heaping mound of Pizza Bella’s crispy Brussels sprouts tossed in pancetta vinaigrette, almonds and pecorino Romano along with a potato-gorgonzola-radicchio-balsamic pizza. Expectations? I had none since I was a newcomer to the mini cabbage-like veggie.
My personal Brussels sprouts discovery was before the advent of text messaging, instant message or e-mail-inspired lingo, so my reaction to the dish would have been translated today simply as “OMG.”
Brussels sprouts are now a regular part of my weekly lineup—they’re versatile and can be dressed up for company or come to the table casual. And they’re a wonderful addition to a holiday menu—along with citrus-glazed grilled or smoked turkey, honey-baked ham or tenderloin and mashed sweet potatoes and Parker House rolls—Brussels sprouts have a spark of personality to capture anyone’s attention—and affection.
Rock on, Brussels sprouts. BFF.
-Kimberly Winter Stern
Pie. It’s a tasty word. The “p” is emphasized with the lips gently smacking, the “ie” rolling off the tongue into dreamy pie infinity. “I’d like a piece of pie” is quite possibly my favorite request of a server. Scraping the last crumbs of pie from a plate is the perfect ending to a midday culinary respite. Cutting a sliver of pie left from a dinner party dessert is the ultimate midnight kitchen raid.
I prefer to eat pie when sitting in an out-of-the-way restaurant in some rural part of America known for its blue-ribbon confections. You can get cozy with the baker and if you’re very lucky, witness a piping-hot pie being pulled from the oven that, once sliced, begs for a scoop of ice cream.
City pie is good, too—honestly, if you’re a pie lover, no pie prejudice exists when it comes to its origin. But there’s something extraordinary about forking into a slice of pie where a side of conversation with the baker is included. There’s a sense that a deep mystery of the universe will be solved or an unbreakable bond will be forged.
Recently I was in the Arkansas Delta, getting my fill of blues, barbecue, Southern history and pie. Every burg my traveling partners and I rumbled through had pie heritage to share. Our adventure started with pulled pork sandwiches washed down with ice-cold beers while tapping our toes at Helena’s annual King Biscuit Blues Festival. As the trip progressed what we ended up with—quite by accident—was a mini pie anthology. There were fried hand pies filled with pudding-like chocolate; flaky piecrusts glittering with sugar; cream- and fruit-filled pies; and meringue-topped and lattice-decorated pies. We consumed swoony pies whose recipes date back generations and memorable pies served from scarred tins that no doubt made countless appearances at church socials and community potlucks.
Deane Cavette’s well-documented coconut-pecan pie at Ray’s Dairy Maid in Barton, Arkansas, is a poster pie for Southern goodness, hospitality and comfort food. Over in Caraway, Arkansas, not far from the cotton fields where Johnny Cash grew up, The Feed Lot’s proprietor Elise Staggs serves up generous slices of town baker Kim Couch’s divine toasted coconut pie.
And then there’s Beth Howard in speck-on-the-map Eldon, Iowa, who bakes pies in the house made famous in Grant Wood’s iconic painting, “American Gothic”. What started as a salve for a broken heart after the unexpected death of her 43-year-old husband, Howard has invited the world to her pie party—she has a bestselling book (“Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie”) and gives interviews on NPR and national television about the comforting qualities of pie. People migrate to the tiny southeastern Iowa town just to partake in Howard’s soulful pies.
Although pie is truly seasonless, there’s a sense of pie solidarity this time of year. Summer’s bounty of sumptuous fruit pies that jostled with warm-weather desserts like ice cream and gelato has yielded to fall’s frenzy of golden pumpkin, sweet potato and apple crumb pies. Pie duels with turkey and stuffing for a starring roll on Thanksgiving’s marquee. Pie—whether homemade or store-bought—lends tradition to the annual meal that, no matter where it’s consumed, begins with gratitude. It’s not always just pumpkin pie—my brother-in-law is a double-dipping pie fanatic: pumpkin pie must be on the Thanksgiving menu, but there had better be a French silk pie waiting in the refrigerator. Chocolate pecan pie and a Southern-style pecan pie are usually part of the dessert menagerie, too.
Last week following dinner at Restaurant Paradis in Rosemary Beach, Florida, I politely listened as the server recited tempting desserts. Candied pecan crème brulee, chocolate torte with blackberry compote and strawberry shortcake with house-made biscuits and strawberry whipped cream. The server paused and my heart fell. There was no mention of pie.
Then, with a deep inhale and a quick glance my way, the server nearly whispered: “Finally, we have key lime pie topped with meringue.”
Quivering, I asked his preference.
“Pie,” he said. “And why not? Pie is so delicious. ”
Time to indulge, America. Full-tilt pie season is open—no matter what the flavor.
-Kimberly Winter Stern
Overland Park, Kan.-based freelance writer Kimberly Winter Stern writes travel, food, lifestyle and design. Also known as the gregarious and cuisine-informed Kim Dishes, listeners tune in weekly for her on-the-road segments on “LIVE! From Jasper’s Kitchen,” a popular Kansas City radio food show. Prolific in eating, writing and discovering, this foodie satisfies an innate desire to sample the world’s gastronomic rainbow by meeting food artisans and trendsetters, gaining insight into the culinary points-of-view of everyone from cheese makers, chocolatiers and chefs who set their city’s locavore pace to farmers who are passionate producers. Stern is a sought-after writer, with work appearing in Better Homes and Gardens, Unity, KANSAS! Magazine, 435 South magazine, KC Homes & Gardens, Generation Boom, Shawnee Magazine, KC Magazine, KC Home Design, KC Business and Midwest CEO. Stern is a national blogger for the Dean & DeLuca Gourmet Food Blog where she cooks, styles, shoots and writes about life and cooking … and loves to lick the bowl clean. This writer may have been given product and/or other compensation from Dean & DeLuca for this post.
Its turkey time!
This year, Heritage Turkey is the ‘It’ Bird. What’s the Big Deal? Heritage birds are leaner, more flavorful and have less breast meat than standard turkeys. Heritage Turkeys are typically humanely raised in the most natural and low stress of environments, free ranging on at least an acre of land, and fed 100% vegetarian feed in addition to clean pasture.
Interesting facts about Heritage Turkey:
• Domestic turkeys that retain characteristics no longer present in the majority of birds raised for
consumption since the mid-20th century.
• Naturally mating, with a long, productive outdoor lifespan, and a slow growth rate; conceived and raised
in a manner that closely matches the natural behavior and life-cycle of wild turkeys.
• 25,000 birds raised across the more than ten different breeds; this is a tiny minority of the more than
200,000,000 industrial turkeys raised.
“Although these breeds make up far less than one percent of the 265 million turkeys produced in America
last year, many chefs consider them the best thing to eat on Thanksgiving… [Heritage turkeys] take much
longer to grow than mass-produced ones. Thus, they develop more fat and a robust flavor.” ~ Kim
Severson, the New York Times
DEAN & DELUCA is fortunate to have strong ties to the Good Shepard Ranch in Lindsborg, KS, a farm run by Frank Reese who himself is a fourth generation poultry farmer, and considered
the “God Father of American poultry”. We proudly offer a 10 and 14 pound option of the Heritage Turkey from Good Shepard Ranch, available for purchase beginning November 8.