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Smelling and tasting one’s way thru life 2012-03-07 23:26:00

Posted March 7, 2012 by sonia in
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Celebrate Spring! 
 Smoking food indoors, fish & parfaits and natural egg dyes


In the D.C. area, it has been pretty mild but not necessarily grilling weather. Here’s a way to enjoy some smoked foods.
Smoke & Mirrors
Can’t get outside but want to enjoy smoky-flavored foods?
Wish-list gadget: Cameron Stovetop smoker

Product I have tried:
Oven smoker bags. Food is smoky, moist and delicious! Process is easy and mess-free.

Fishing for new recipes?

For those who eat fish on Fridays for Lent or just want new ideas, the smoked bags are great for fish.
Here are some fish recipes for those who need some inspiration:
This is a variation of the green curry fish I made for Valentine’s Day. I used cod and Thai green curry paste (just a dash, since it is hot! with a dash of soy sauce. I served it with coconut-lemongrass rice made in the rice cooker. Instead of cilantro in the recipe I used kaffir lime leaves (or lime zest) and lemongrass.
France’s celebrated salade niçoise-from Nice (pronounced “niece”).

And a Buffalo Shrimp recipe for good measure.

Parfaits? Parfait!
With Spring around the corner but some great fresh seasonal fruit like berries a long way away, consider the parfaits, fools, and panna cottas to bring fruit flavor without being the star of the show.

Serve make-ahead desserts in beautiful glass bowls. Layer with dried fruit, crumbled cookies, cubed cake, or nuts. This “fool-proof” recipe includes many inspiring variations.

Banana Pudding is a great dessert after the great citrus but before the summer bounty. Make sure you toast the vanilla wafers with butter, sugar and cinnamon. Amazing!

 Maria Helm Sinskey, who blogs on Williams-Sonoma.com, has helped create something a little extra special: naturally dyed Easter eggs.  Enjoy her blog entry below!

These jewel-colored eggs are so beautiful we often have egg dying get-togethers with our friends and their kids to make them. And you don’t have to rely on commercial products to create them, either. Your refrigerator and pantry hold a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, and spices that can be turned into a rainbow of distinctive dyes.

You will need patience to produce intensely colored eggs with natural dyes, however. They act more slowly than commercial products, so you need to drop the eggs into the dye and then find an activity to keep everyone busy while the egg shells absorb the color. The first time we made these, my daughters couldn’t resist hanging over the bowls of dye and rolling the eggs around, so their hands ended up as dyed as the eggs.

Creating Natural Dyes:

Robin’s Egg Blue

  • 2 cups (6 oz./185 g.) coarsely chopped red cabbage
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Vivid Pink

  • 2 large beets, peeled and shredded
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Tropical Orange

  • 2 cups (1 oz./30 g.) loosely packed yellow onion skins
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Spicy Yellow

  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • a big pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

For blue, pink, orange, or yellow, combine the ingredients along with 4 cups (32 fl. oz.) water in a pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes to extract the color and reduce the liquid. Let cool and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Add cold water to bring the total to 3 cups (24 fl. oz./ 750 ml.), if necessary.

Deep Purple

  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) thawed frozen Concord grape juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml.) water

For purple, simply stir the ingredients together in a bowl.

The Equipment You’ll Need:

  • 2 dozen large, white, organic eggs
  • a large pot
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • natural dyes
  • as many bowls as you have different dyes
  • newspapers
  • old clothes to wear
  • 2 empty egg cartons
  • slotted spoons
  • white wax birthday candles and/or crayons


Step 1: Boil the Eggs
Place the eggs in the pot with 4 quarts cold water and add the vinegar. Set a timer for 16 minutes. Bring the eggs to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the timer goes off. Remove from the heat, let rest 5 minutes, drain, let the eggs sit in cold water 10 minutes, then drain.
Step 2: Get Ready!
Make the dyes as directed above, then pour each dye into its own bowl. Protect the work surface with newspapers, and make sure everyone wears old clothes—natural dyes stain, too. Line up the bowls on the work surface, and place the empty egg cartons nearby.

Step 3: Draw on Your Eggs
Use a white wax birthday candle to mark the egg anywhere you don’t want the dye to stick. Write a name or draw a zigzag and it will remain white when you dye the egg. Use crayons if you want a color other than white.

Step 4: Dye Your Eggs
Place the eggs in the dyes until they are a hue you like, usually 20–30 minutes. Using the slotted spoons, lift the eggs out of the dye and place them in the egg cartons. Allow the eggs to sit until dry, about 1 hour, before handling.

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