DIY Easter Egg Reprise

My mother collects bird-nests. By now she has dozens of them, and each one has a story… ‘this one with the auburn gold hair woven in is from Sally’s Valley, the hair came from Cayman, their Golden Retriever… this tiny one is from the barn at the farmhouse in Toano where you were born… this one with the beads of amber is from two Christmas trees ago, remember when we found it there in the branches?’ Her favorite nest, a delicate little number thatched with horse-hair and poets laurel, sat on a bow-front chest in her bathroom, and held three sepia-colored eggs blown hollow and covered with gossamer photo-negative outlines of tiny ferns, clovers, and gingko leaves.

Spurred into memory by the recent changes in the weather towards the warm and supple breezes of spring (and the sudden appearance of the hollow-chocolate-rabbit Easter tableaux manifesting themselves across New York), I decided to make myself some of these beautiful eggs. Instead of traditional dye, the sepia eggs of my youth are made by boiling the egg alongside yellow onion skins (easily acquired for free, especially in the north-eastern-winter-time-farmers-market glut of root vegetables).

You will need: eggs, onion skins, a small stockpile of interesting leaves (parsley is easy to get in a city as well as the aforementioned), panty-hose or cheesecloth or gauze (I found a bunch of those footies you try on shoes with), rubber bands, some sort of ballast (I used loose change).

-Fill a deep pot with water and bring the onion skins to a boil.

-Hollow out the eggs by piercing a small hole with a pin in either end of the egg, and, positioning the egg over an empty bowl, blow, baby, blow (you can leave the eggs intact, but then the finished product is perishable, and you won’t have the makings of a delicious frittata when it’s all said and done).

-Nestle your egg into the panty-hose (or square of gauze/cheesecloth) and put in a couple of leaves flush with the shell. The leaves resting against the shell creates the relief outline, so use your imagination.

-Tie the egg tightly off with a rubber band, add enough ballast to keep the hollow egg under the water, loop the rubber band around again and drop into the pot.

-Let percolate for as long as you want, until the egg achieves your desired level of greatness.

-Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and place into another bowl full of cold water until the egg is cool enough to handle. Unwrap and marvel at your ingenuity.


Sepia isn’t the only color option, though, there are many variations of natural pigments that can be used to imbue the eggs with sweet, tender, and genuine colors not found in a little tear-drop of McCormick food coloring. For yellow eggs, try stargazer lily stamens (use a non-reactive pot and watch your apron!), for purple-blue use beets, for green eggs (ham, foxes, and boxes not included) try spinach. Have some friends over, experiment, make a delicious “McFadden Ricotta Fritatta” with the egg you have left over, and have a happy spring.

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Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 1:14 am  Comments (2)  

For the Birds!

*Thanks to Molly for the post.

Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 4:52 pm  Comments (1)  

Man Is the Animal Who Uses Tools

Yes, I did Odyssey of The Mind. My team and I, wonderful, bookish, stalwart middle schoolers to a man, built a life-size model of Elvis who came alive when you touched his blue suede shoes (something to do with a magic postman, a mother with a past, and a dress form in the attic… all in all it would make a great screenplay). Our Elvis played the tambourine and swiveled his hips (via a small motor and a Christmas wreath form) and had eerily realistic plaster teeth that one team member had stolen from his orthodontist. We were pithy and smart and funny and wanted to kiss each other (here’s looking at you Joey Packer). We won. Then we lost at the State Tournament to some bumpkins from Buchanan county that made a hydraulic Forest Gump called “Forest Stump” that was wholly mechanized and could stand up off his bench and put a feather in his book.

I do not begrudge the victory (that much),  though, because undoubtedly at least one of those team members made this staggeringly marvelous machine. Hooray for the presence of thought, want of discovery, and appreciation of mechanized beauty. After all, that is music.

~thanks to Lucas for the video.

Published in: on March 7, 2010 at 6:49 pm  Comments (2)