4.21.2011

The Local Food Report: Easter egg hunt

Quick! Put your muck boots on, and your anorak, and just in case, grab a hat. Turn off the lights, load up the woodstove, and let's go. It's egg hunting time.


We'll start at my niece Arabella's, out back in the chicken coop. She's got Buff Orpingtons and Golden-Laced Wyandottes and California Whites, and they lay regular sized, regular looking eggs: tannish, brownish, and whitish, respectively. (The blue one's from an Araucana down the road.

Now hop in the car—watch out for Goodie! (he's the rooster)—and buckle your seat belts. Our next stop is in Harwich, at Heidi Howell's house.

Heidi says we'll know her house by all the birds in the yard—she keeps turkeys, ducks, and geese. Her geese are a rare breed called Sebastopols, with white, long, curly feathers that wave around behind them when they run. They aren't very good layers—her female has only produced one egg, ever. That's it. The turkeys and ducks, on the other hand, are prolific. Here! I found an egg from each. That's the turkey one on the left, all pointed, and the duck's is the greenish one on the right. I picked up the chicken egg for size comparison.


Okay. One more stop. We're going back to Wellfleet, to Victoria Pecoraro's. She says she has a bird that might interest us. It's called the Americana, and it's a hybrid breed derived from the Araucana and something else she can't remember. It's nickname? The Easter Egger! Apparently, it lays eggs in pastel shades from white to pink to blue to green.

I think I even see a lavender in there:


Those dark brown ones are from a chicken called the Welsummer. Don't they look kind of chocolate-y? Victoria says she likes to think of them as not 70% cacao, but just over the milk chocolate line. Sounds better than Cadbury to me.

Phew! Now what are we going to do with all these eggs? Hard-boil them, for one, then make creamed eggs on toast and pickled beet deviled eggs. And I don't know about you, but I'd really like to save one each of the blue, green, pink, chocolate, and lavender colored eggs. How about we poke a needle through the tops and bottoms and blow out the insides? Then we could eat the eggs for brunch. I'm thinking an onion frittata might be nice, and these scrambled egg/avocado/salmon toasts look divine. If we counted ahead, we could even make this dried cherry popover or Big Puffy Pancake, always a favorite in my family.

Okay, time to start my egg dying. We're using beets for red, red cabbage for blue, and turmeric for yellow. I'll let you know how it turns out.

7 comments :

Jess said...

These are all quite gorgeous. Happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

Ah, the Big Puffy Pancake makes its debut here -- finally! You and Anna loved this when you were little. Maybe we can make this (among other things!) for Easter morning? We still have blueberries in the freezer, and they are sooo good on top of a BPP, along with a little sprinkling of lemon juice and 10X sugar. ~xoxo, Mama

Anna said...

Big Puffy Pancake! Let's definitely add that to the Easter menu.

I have also been experimenting with fritattas lately. I find they are really good for using up leftovers, especially if there is just a little bit, not enough for a whole meal. The other day we made a mushroom, ricotta and braised beef fritatta (I had the smallest bit of leftover beef stew and picked just the meat out of it) and it was delish!

andrea said...

Boiling up beets, turmeric, and cabbage as I type. Dying eggs from our birds this year (yea!) but not sure I'll be able to bring myself to add color to the beautiful blue and green from our Easter Eggers. Hard to improve on those beauties.

Debbie said...

I am trying to purchase some Americana Chickens for family pets. Can you get me in touch with a local. Cape Cod - Middleboro, MA area. Thank you. I thought you piece was great!!! dnourse52@yahoo.com

Elspeth said...

Anna, good idea on the frittata. Despite those omelettes yesterday morning, we still have eggs to use up! Maybe dinner tonight.

And Andrea, lucky you! I found green was the hardest dye to make, so better not to have to make it at all. We had the best luck (after more reading and a second attempt) with a blue dye made from frozen blueberries, although the cabbage also turned out pretty well, and the turmeric. Beets I wasn't so impressed with.

And Deb, I'm sending you an email right now!

Best,
Elspeth

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