The Half-Crunchy Mama

Trying to live a natural life with balance


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Dyeing Easter eggs naturally

Being half-crunchy, I really wanted to try my hand at dyeing eggs with the colors that Mother Nature has given us. This was my first attempt and I am not totally discouraged, but it was a learning experience.

I usually buy eggs from local farms, and sometimes get them for free from a family friend who knows someone with lots of chickens that lay more eggs than they can eat. They look better. They taste so different than “regular” eggs. And I’m supporting local farmers. We all win. The problem is, you will hardly ever get a white egg. Sometimes they are pale brown, yellow, or greenish blue, but it’s extremely rare (as in never) that I get a white one. I am going to have to google why that is, but I want to get this finished first. I will get back to you on that one. I think this all would have gone better if I had regular white eggs from the store, but too late now.

I did a little digging around and found two great posts, one from green child and another from Better Homes and Gardens. I have a video saved somewhere that I need to dig up where this woman did an amazing job making her own dyes to use in place of food coloring for baking that I’m sure would be awesome for this, but if I recall correctly, it was a lot more work than I have time for. My trial was simple and fast to start. It was the waiting that took a long, long time.

I started off deciding on four colors, and chose them based on what seemed to have the least amount of work involved. I already knew tumeric would be great, and if you ever cook with it, you know why. It stains everything and my poor clear plastic measuring spoon that I was dumb enough to leave in the bowl too long didn’t even get clean from the dishwasher. Oh well. At least that color works. I decided to go with a grey/purple/blue color, a pinkish red, a yellow, and a burnt orange.

Dyeing Easter eggs naturally | The Half-Crunchy MamaHere’s what I did with them on Sunday night when I started:

Grey/purple/blue color: 1 cup frozen blueberries and 1 cup water, brought to room temperature, and then removed the berries

Yellow: 2 Tbsp of ground tumeric, mixed with 1 cup boiling water, then added 2 tsp of white vinegar

Pinkish red: Two cooked beets (I should have used raw, but I went with what I had as this was a last-minute thought) in 4 cups boiling water, mixed with 2 Tbsp vinegar; I also added some beet juice, both pickled and from the container of cooked beets, removing the beets before adding the eggs

Burnt orange: 2 Tbsp of paprika (I used smoked as that’s what I mostly cook with) in 1 cup boiling water, then added 2 tsp white vinegar

When everything was room temperature, including the eggs, I dropped them all in. And waited. I did this in the evening, finally getting them in around 9 0’clock. I put them out in my garage fridge and waited until morning. I was all excited…and then slightly disappointed.Dyeing Easter eggs naturally | The Half-Crunchy MamaMonday morning, I took them out and took a look. There wasn’t all that much difference in color. I could see a faint tint and it had already been 12 HOURS! So I dropped them all back in after giving everything a good stir. Back to the fridge they went. And I waited some more. In fact, I waited another 24 hours and took them out Tuesday morning. Probably didn’t make much of a difference to leave them in longer, but some places did get darker. This will have to do. Easter is on Sunday.

Dyeing Easter eggs naturally | The Half-Crunchy MamaSugar Bee hasn’t had dyed eggs before and this is the first Easter that we will be doing the whole creepy Easter-Bunny-came-and-hid-your-eggs-now-go-find-them-and-I-hope-I-remember-where-I-put-them-in-case-she-can’t-find-them-all thing. Last year was her first real Easter basket, filled with way more toys and stuff than candy and crap. Yeah, what a shocker. I’m that mom. I own it.Dyeing Easter eggs naturally | The Half-Crunchy MamaI know that I read somewhere about shining them up a little with olive oil, or maybe I’m making that up, but that’s what I did and it actually did enhance the colors a little more, making them a little deeper.Dyeing Easter eggs naturally | The Half-Crunchy MamaAll in all, I’m pleased with my first attempt. I wish I had started experimenting sooner, but I will mess around more next year!

 

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Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata

I love channeling my Gram in the kitchen when I use her old cast iron skillet. In fact, there are a lot of times that I’m cooking when I feel like she’s with me, especially around the holidays. I have several of her pans and skillets, but this cast iron one is by far my favorite. I miss her a lot (she passed in 2009, just shy of her 93rd birthday), but I feel her presence every time I use it. My mom says that my fried egg sandwiches taste just like Gram’s and that is the best compliment ever. I don’t use this skillet as often as I should and would like to, but it’s the best thing for frittatas, frying foods (not that I do that very often), and cooking/braising meat. It’s 10.5 inches across and 2 inches deep. Made in the USA, as was almost everything back then.

In case you missed my Cheesy Broccoli Egg Muffins post, breakfast is my favorite type of food and I would eat it all day long if I could. My favorite way to eat breakfast for dinner, or brinner, is in the form of a frittata. To me, frittatas are so much tastier than an omelette and way healthier than a quiche. And you can make up any kind of frittata combinations you want! Trust me, I do it all the time. This combination was created based on what was in the fridge since I was feeling too lazy to get to the store. We love all salmon, especially lox, and I usually have a thing or two of goat cheese in the drawer. Easy peasy.

The easiest way that I have found to deal with packaged lox (the pieces can be very sticky to each other) is to take the slab of slices and cut them all in long strips.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama

Then I loosen them up and separate them as best as I can. I hate when they all clump together in the egg mix and you are left with huge bites of smoked salmon in random places of the frittata and nowhere else.
Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama

 The same thing goes for the goat cheese. I have struggled a few times with how to handle the brick of cheese that I usually have in the fridge. Of course if you buy or have goat cheese that is already crumbled, this next part won’t apply, but it’s cheaper to purchase this way and now I have a trick to share.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama

I cut it up while it’s still in the package. Goat cheese is so soft and very difficult to cut no matter what way you want it to be, so I have learned to do it this way if I want it to be close to the size of crumbles. I make cuts both vertically and horizontally in the package, and everything stays in the plastic until I’m ready to dump it in. It still isn’t as perfect as prepackaged crumbles, but you never know what else might be included in those packages to keep the cheese clumps all nicely separated.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama

Now I’ll talk about my butter. Unless I’m about to do a bunch of baking for a party or something that will involve a lot of butter, I usually only purchase Kerrygold from the store. If you have time and patience to make your own or spend extra pennies on something better, by all means. For me and my cheap, half-crunchy bum, I’ll go with this one. And I swear it tastes different than the rest of the ones in the dairy case at your regular supermarket. When using cast iron, I don’t bother with anything of low quality. My pan is perfectly seasoned and I’m afraid of using anything that isn’t close to what it has been used to its whole life. You know, like food. Not “organic,” not “non-GMO,” not “grass-fed,” “free-range,” or “rBGH-free” because these things never existed back in Gram’s day. Animals and crops were naturally raised and we dealt with bugs and disease. People still ate. Farmers were respected. People didn’t have all sorts of crazy allergies to food and the environment, and the general population was not nearly as sick as we are today. Okay, I’m getting off my soap box now. Sometimes I just have to rant and get this stuff out.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama

Back to the recipe. After prepping the salmon and cheese, it’s time to get going on the onion and garlic. Chop a small onion finely and mince two cloves of fresh garlic. Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and saute about 3 minutes.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama

 While they are sauteing, whisk 10 eggs in a large bowl with 1/4 milk, if you do dairy, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. If you don’t do milk and have nothing else to add in its place, use a tablespoon or two of water to help make the eggs fluffy. Add the sliced smoked salmon, the goat cheese, and 2-3 Tbsp dried dill (fresh is WAY better if you have it, but I was all out) to the egg mixture.  Pour egg mixture over the onions and garlic, slightly stirring to combine.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama

 Turn the heat up to medium high and cook until the edges start to firm and climb up the side of the pan a little and bubbles start to appear.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama

 Transfer it to an oven preheated to 350ºF and bake for about 25 minutes. It should look nice and golden on the top when finished, and a toothpick should come out clean from the middle.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama

Slice and serve! It goes well with a nice green salad with a mild dressing.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama

 One last shot to show how well a wonderfully seasoned pan can work. It helps that this pan is older than me and that I have loved on it just as my Gram did. Once you get used to using one, you will be in love as much as I am.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata | The Half-Crunchy Mama


 Salmon Goat Cheese Frittata

This simple recipe can help you get dinner on the table in about 35 minutes with very little prep work. It goes well with a small side salad for dinner, and the leftovers are great for any meal!

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 ounce package of smoked salmon, sliced into small strips
  • 4 ounce package of goat cheese, cut into small pieces (or packaged crumbles)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp butter, lard, or oil of your choice
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/4 milk (or other liquid, I’ve only used water)
  • 2-3 Tbsp dill (dried, but fresh would be better)
  • 1/4+ tsp sea salt
  • 1/8+ tsp fresh ground pepper
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a deep or large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Once melted, saute onions and garlic for about three minutes.
  3. While onions and garlic saute, whisk together the eggs and milk/liquid, salt, and pepper. Add salmon, cheese, and dill to the eggs and stir to combine.
  4. Pour egg mixture over the onions and garlic, give a quick stir, and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the edges start to firm and climb up the pan and bubbles start to form.
  5. Transfer pan to the preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Serve with a lightly dressed green salad. Enjoy!