We joined one of my fav. celebrity chefs Michael Chiarello—founder of Napa restaurant Tra Vigne, cookbook author, cooking show host, and now store owner—for a little natural egg dying. Did you know I met him once? At the opening of his fabulous new store down on Fourth Street.
He was standing at the door personally greeting everyone as they came in. I was so excited I gushed "Oh my god! It's YOU!!!" What an idiot. As if someone else might be occupying his body. He was really lovely (just as handsome as he is on tv) and we had a nice chat about my bright orange Crocs.
I nose around his store, peruse his catalog, and check his website all the time for recipes and entertaining ideas.
Here's what he had in store for us in preparation for Easter: using natural ingredients to color eggs. Just like the Indians! The instructions are a little vague because how long you simmer the eggs varies with what coloring ingredient you use, but here's the basic idea:
Place eggs in a deep, non-reactive saucepan.Since Sophie and I were playing scientist here, we made a chart to record our hypotheses and results—a great chance to talk about scientific method and proper table layout.
Add your coloring ingredient, and then cover with a quart of cold water and two tablespoons white vinegar to fix the dye.
Gently simmer the eggs for 20 minutes or up to three hours, until you like the color. Remove eggs from water and cool.
Here are the ingredients Michael suggested that we tried:
Red cabbage. He said it would make blue. We got grey.
Blueberries. He said lavender. We got lavender!
Beets. He said pink. We got brown.
Turmeric. He said yellow. We got a lovely yellow-orange.
Lots of fun, but we could not ignore the fact that our results were quite different from Michael's.
So we then had a conversation about the role of the food stylist (you know, those people who shellac caramel apples so you get depressed about how yours come out) and how what you see is not always the reality of the situation even if it is a photograph. Like if my head were ever photoshopped onto a really hot bikini body (not that I'd really mind).
We might go back to Paz next year, but we had fun with Michael this year (the turmeric ones turned out really well), and Sophie completely forgot that Friday evening is her time to watch a dvd movie. Chalk up one for me in my battle against the screen.