Colorful eggs, hopping bunnies, fuzzy yellow chicks – these are inherent Pagan symbols. Just because Christians conveniently borrowed (OK, out and out stold) one of our unique seasonal special days does not mean that we have to step aside. Have a Pagan Easter Bunny Day, instead.
Invite some of your closest over this Sunday to boil and hand-dye eggs. Beets, carrots, and the skin of red onions make some great all-natural dyes. Boil the veggies in separate pots and save the water to dip the hard-boiled eggs in, once they've cooled. You can always add to the decoration with colored pencils, crayons, and stickers, if you like (again after they're good and dry). The key to all of this is the perfect hard-boiled egg, of course. Here is a recipe for success:
HOW TO MAKE PERFECT HARD BOILED EGGS
Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of a saucepan. Cover with at least an inch or two of cold water. The more eggs that are crowding the pan the more water you should have over the eggs.
Heat the pot on high heat and bring the water to a full rolling boil.
Adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the water may help keep egg whites from running out if an egg does crack while cooking. Also some people find adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water helps prevent cracking as well as making the eggs easier to peel.
Turn off the heat, keep the pan on the hot burner, cover, and let sit for 10-12 minutes.
If you have the type of stove burner that doesn't retain any heat when turned off, you might want to lower the temp to low, simmer for a minute, and then turn it off.
Depending on how cooked you like your hard boiled eggs, the eggs should be done perfectly in 10-12 minutes. That said, depending on your altitude, the shape of the pan, the size of the eggs, the ratio of water to eggs, it can take a few minutes more. Or, if you like your eggs not fully hard cooked, it can take a few minutes less. When you find a time that works for you, given your preferences, the types of eggs you buy, your pots, stove, and cooking environment, stick with it.
If I'm cooking a large batch of eggs, after 10 minutes I'll sacrifice one to check for doneness, by removing it with a spoon, running it under cold water, and cutting it open. If it's not done enough for my taste, I'll cook the other eggs a minute or two longer.
I also find that it is very hard to overcook eggs using this method. I can let the eggs sit, covered, for up to 15-18 minutes without the eggs getting overcooked.
Strain the water from the pan and run cold water over the eggs to cool them quickly and stop them from cooking further. Or, if you are cooking a large batch of eggs, remove them with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water.
I find it easiest to peel the eggs under a bit of running water.
The best way to store hard boiled eggs is in a covered container in the refrigerator. Eggs can release odors in the fridge which is why it helps to keep them covered. They should be eaten within 5 days.
(Recipe from Elise Bauer)
Hide them in the backyard and have a hunt. The one who finds the most eggs wins a dark chocolate bunny. Heck, deck out a whole festive basket for them: they now have organic jellybeans, believe it or not. Remember those chocolate "nests" made with coconut and jelly beans in the middle, from your local small-town specialty chocolate shop? Yummy!
Throw together a simple brunch to share of hot ham and rolls and mimosas on the side. If weather allows, chow down outdoors. Remember what it was to be a child at this time of year, pondering all the possibilities of a fresh new start to spring. Pay attention to the especially chirpy birds and notice everything beginning to bud. Wonder at the concept of one little bunny (or one giant one, kind of Stephen King-ish) assembling and hiding all those baskets in your house when you were a kid.
Photo by Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net...