I made natural dyed eggs this year (perhaps last year too, just can’t remember). I used red cabbage, more on that at the end of this post, turmeric and beets. The plain red cabbage didn’t work as well as I had hoped but the combo of turmeric & cabbage made a beautiful green. The beets were wimpy but I am used to those awful dyes in the grocery store. Ruth did some amazing stuff with food coloring dyes (not the stuff in the egg dying box). First up….the natural ones.
I really like the imperfections. My daughter Ruth, who should really be a Food Stylist…. has such a visual sense with food. She made this next set of photos, starting with her clever container for the dyes, little bread loaf pans. Smarty pants.
After she cooked the eggs and before dying she rolled them and cracked them all up on the surface so the actual egg would become stained.
Beauties, no? Then she made deviled eggs. Brilliant.
With the red cabbage I didn’t use I made this salad.
This picture was taken with Instagram so it’s a bit fuzzy but it shows the true colors so I decided to use it. It’s shredded red cabbage, half of a small one, three small apples shredded, at least 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, tossed with a yummy vinaigrette of 2 Tbs. cider vinegar, juice of one lemon, s&p, 1/2 C. olive oil and a big splash of half & half at the end. What a nice flavor, crunchy, sweet and kind of healthy I’d say. The recipe is a version of Heidi Swanson’s and from her Super Natural Cooking. She’s amazing – hers is made with savoy cabbage which I have done before but I liked this much better. Next time I think I’ll use pumpkin seeds or something on that order, perhaps some chopped fresh parsley too.
My other adventure this past week-end was cake making. My friends Aunt Marjorie turned 75 on Saturday; she is a true “Rain Man/Woman”. I grew up with Marjorie. When I was 12 I met the family – they have a summer home out on Long Island, Maine. Marjorie was there with her father and extended family, lots of aunts, uncles and Patti’s whole family. She was just a lovely woman, so much fun to play with, she liked the rocking chair and rocking swing on the porch best so that’s what we did. As I grew up I noticed she didn’t, weird, what was going on? But, everyone was so loving in that family it was just the way it was. Later on….I married and had Jesse then pretty soon Jesse played with Marjorie on the Island. I can still hear him coming in and complaining she wouldn’t get out of the swing so he could use it. Then Jesse grew up, Ruth and Paul came along 9 years later and they played with her, Paul argued about the swing too (must be a guy thing). Marjorie has changed from living with Grampa and her mom to living with Grampa & Aunt Bess to living with Richard (her brother) and now lives with Patti’s 91 year old mom, yet…..she never ages. She is just lovely. Always happy and just full of dates. When I walk in the door she tells me the dates and ages of my children and remembers stuff from our childhood none of us remember. Remarkable. She loves to read now, something that slipped through the cracks all those years. I gave her three books by Earley called Jim the Boy – a young teen series that I loved. Her most favorite thing to do is listen to her collection of old 33’s. Fabulous music and she knows everything about everyone of them. A constant source of amazement to me. Well, needless to say, she’s known me now for about 50 years and loves me like a sister. So, we had a birthday party for her this past weekend at her favorite restaurant in Portland, DeMillo’s. I suspect it’s her favorite for the size of the Bloody Mary she was given. I made her surprise cake!
The frosting….I made the usual but with beet powder for the coloring. You can get that at the Health Food Store, cheap. Zero chemicals, it’s awesome.
I made a white almond black cherry cake with this frosting and cherries on top. I buy the cherries frozen at the grocery store, cut them just before I go out the door and as they defrost a nice red juice goes down the side of the cake.
I am so bad at writing on cakes so I make a little flag on word and stick it in the cake with a toothpick.
Here’s the happy camper!
She was pretty excited about cutting the cake. The restaurant was fabulous. Everyone sang to her and as the customers walked past to leave they stopped to congratulate her and admire her cake. She told all of them her cake was “pretty like my Carla who is pretty”. So I had tears in my eyes the whole time. It was just so enjoyable to spend time with her and the simplicity of her demeanor and joy. She’s a lucky girl as we all are for knowing her.
White Almond Cake from The Wedding Cake Book by Dede Wilson
4-2/3 C. cake flour
2 Tbs. powder
2/3 tsp. salt
8 egg whites, room temp.
2 Cups milk, room temp.
2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2-2/3 C. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbs. Almond
Do the usual, bake at 350, 2 buttered & papered pans.
1.5 Sticks unsalted butter
1.5 Sticks salted butter
3 oz. soft crisco
3/4 lb. conf. sugar
1.5 Tbs. vanilla
Splashes of half & half to soften
Cream the butters and crisco, slowly add the sugar and vanilla, add half & half as you need it. Continue beating it for a long time. I let it go for at least 5-10 minutes. It gets really fluffy. I add the beet powder towards the end.
This stuff keeps on the counter or in the fridge or even in the freezer for ever! It’s amazing. When you take it out of the freezer it may look wonky but keep beating it will come back to smooth again and be fluffy.