By CHEF RENEE MORGAN
When my girls were little, we did all the things young parents and kids typically do to celebrate the Easter season. Easter always meant new dresses and shiny patent leather shoes, the girls complaining because I always wanted to dress them in pink. First time moms! Whattaya gonna do?
One year, we thought it would be fun to get the kids a cute little bunny for Easter. We named him Teddy because he had grey circles around his eyes, so he looked like he was wearing little round spectacles like Theodore Roosevelt. What started out as a cute little lop-eared baby bunny, grew up to be a ginormous mutant bunny monster who could kick the blankity-blank out of you. That was a lot of fun! (Insert sarcasm.)
After church on Easter Sunday, the whole family would gather for a great meal of Maple Glazed Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, my Grandfather’s special Ambrosia Fruit Salad, lots of home-grown vegetables, deviled eggs, Lemon Meringue Pie and Banana Pudding. Yum!
Of course, the most important part of the day was the Easter Egg Hunt. The day before Easter, the children would have to endure my very special brand of forced family fun as we decorated the eggs. We drew designs on them with wax and then dyed them so the wax design would show a pattern. We made them look like tie-dye, glittered them, decaled them and anything else we could think of. At night, after the kids went to bed, we stuffed the plastic, pull-apart ones with candies and other goodies. The next morning, the men would go out to hide them for the hunt later while the ladies got dressed in their Easter finery.
At the appointed time, it looked like a Chinese fire drill in our front yard as my girls, along with all their cousins, ran criss-cross all over the yard to find eggs for their baskets and especially the elusive, all-important golden egg. Everyone knew the golden egg would contain a special prize beside which all other eggs would pale in comparison. Later, we tried to eat the boiled, decorated eggs. I mean, we weren’t going to let all those eggs go to waste. You haven’t lived until you’ve ingested an egg that has been sitting out in the sun half the day until the heat has caused the dye to seep into the white. You know what I’m talking about.
Where did this tradition of Easter eggs come from? Of all the symbols associated with Easter, the egg, the symbol of fertility and new life, is one of the most identifiable. Originally Easter eggs were painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring and were used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts. After they were colored and etched with various designs, the eggs were exchanged by lovers and romantic admirers, much the same as valentines. In medieval time eggs were traditionally given at Easter to the servants. In Germany eggs were given to children along with other Easter gifts.
While I was reading about Easter traditions in preparation to write this story, I read about Pysanki eggs. Pysanki eggs are created by applying melted beeswax to the fresh white egg. It is then dipped in successive baths of dye. After each dip, wax is painted over the area where the preceding color is to remain. Eventually a complex pattern of lines and colors emerges into a work of art.
In Germany and other countries, eggs used for cooking were not broken, but the contents were removed by piercing the end of each egg with a needle and blowing the contents into a bowl. The hollow eggs were dyed and hung from shrubs and trees during the Easter Week. The Armenians would decorate hollow eggs with pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other religious designs.
I’ve tried this egg blowing thing. Let me just say, I’m obviously doing something terribly wrong because it certainly didn’t work the way it was supposed to.
All this talk about eggs makes me think of one of my favorite egg recipes. I like to make deviled eggs all kinds of ways, but this one is a special once-a-year type. Please enjoy! Happy Passover, Happy Easter to you and yours.
Chef Reneé is an award-winning, classically trained chef. She earned her culinary degree at the famous Le Cordon Bleu, as well as a bachelor of music degree from Hardin-Simmons University. She has an extensive background in events planning and management. Reneé lives in Liberty Hill with her husband, John, their dogs, cats, chickens and one ornery rooster.
Crab Meat Deviled Eggs
1 dozen hard boiled eggs, shelled and cut into half
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 pound lump crab meat, shelled and picked for cartilage
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced capers
2 tablespoons caper juice
Freshly ground white pepper
2 ounces Caviar
Remove the yolks from the whites and place in a mixing bowl. Using a back of a fork, break the yolks into small pieces. Add the mayonnaise, crab meat, garlic, capers and caper juice. Mix well. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the white halves. Chill the eggs completely and garnish with caviar.
Tip: to perfectly boil eggs, cover eggs in the pot with water. Bring to a boil. Boil one minute. Turn the heat off. Cover the eggs and let sit for 10 minutes. The residual heat will finish cooking the eggs.