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With Easter coming very soon, you may have already colored your eggs, but if like me you leave it until the day before, here are some timely tips. Start by making perfect hard-cooked eggs; then make it a “green” Easter by making your own all-natural egg coloring. Finish by using the eggs when Easter is over to make delicious sandwiches you and your family will love.

And don’t forget to get your farm-fresh, free-range eggs from Shacht Farm at the Indy Winter Farmers Market on Saturday morning!  

To make the perfect hard-cooked eggs, click here for the link to our June 29, 2011 recipe from Chef Sam Brown’s (of Second Helpings Culinary School) fool-proof method.

This year, ditch the dyes with their artificial ingredients you don’t even want to know about;  and forage in your pantry or refrigerator instead for egg colors that are bright and pretty, and healthy too!

Natural Dyes for Easter Eggs

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchens

(each color will color 1 dozen eggs)

Ingredients:

  • Red:  2 pounds beets, peeled, diced
  • Yellow/tan:  1 pound onion skins
  • Yellow/orange:  1 1/2 cup (1.9 ounce) jar turmeric
  • Purple:  2 small heads red cabbage, sliced
  • Warm brown:  1 (6-cup) pot of strong coffee
  • Distilled white vinegar

Directions:

For all but the coffee color, in a 5 quart saucepan add 1 vegetable or ingredient. Add 4 quarts water, bring to a boil and cook for 1/2 hour or until the color is very dark. Allow to cool to room temperature and strain out vegetables. Add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar and then add hard boiled eggs to each color. Refrigerate overnight. For the coffee color: brew the coffee. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, add hard boiled eggs, refrigerate overnight.

Note: You can also try cranberries, paprika or cayenne pepper, kale, blueberries, red wine, grape juice, and tea for your naturally dyed eggs.

Now try this recipe for delicious egg salad sandwiches — perfect for the day after Easter!

Egg-Salad Sandwiches

adapted from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living, May 2006

Ingredients:

  • 8 large farm-fresh eggs
  • 3 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 dash of hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups arugula, lettuce, spinach or pea shoots, stems removed
  • 4 radishes thin-sliced (optional)
  • 8 slices whole-grain bread

Directions:

  1. Peel eggs; cut in half, and remove yolks. Crumble 2 yolks, and set aside; discard remaining yolks. Finely chop egg whites, and transfer to a medium bowl. Add crumbled egg yolks.
  2. Whisk together ricotta, yogurt, mustard, chives, hot pepper sauce and salt in a small bowl; season with pepper. Add to egg mixture, and stir gently to combine.
  3. Arrange egg salad, then greens and radishes, over 4 slices of bread, dividing evenly. Top with remaining slices of bread.  Makes 4 sandwiches.

photographs from www.marthastewart.com