Monday, March 28, 2016

Eggs, three ways

Happy Easter (Monday), everyone!
There was no chance of a blog post yesterday, I was in a candy coma.
The Easter Bunny sure does have good taste in candy!

We had a beautiful weekend celebrating together and I thought a lot about holiday traditions: the ones that everyone shares, the ones we bring from our heritage, the ones we make for ourselves. I thought I'd share one of each.

Dyeing Eggs
This is a fun tradition that's hardly unique to our family, or even to Easter! Did you know that in China, dyed eggs are passed out at a traditional party held for a one-month-old baby to announce his/her name? The meaning is similar. Just as at Easter, the eggs symbolize new life.

I hard-boiled a dozen in good old colossus (remember it?).
I just learned that you can steam eggs to hard-boil them and in colossus it is as easy as pressing the steam button and walking away. Life changed. If you already knew this, congrats, you win this round of "Most Efficient Life." But also, WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME? I have been messing up hard-boiled eggs for years...

We used a kit. I'm not cool enough to make my own dye.

They had fun with this for about 10 minutes, then asked if they could take the water outside to make a lemonade stand.
This entertained them for a full 90 minutes. Go figure.
Finished product:
And also:

Sirek, aka Easter Cheese

Grant's family is of Eastern European heritage (Russian, Croatian, Serbian, etc.) and my family is 100% British Isles. This meant that when we got married we got to merge lots of holiday traditions and learn some new ways to celebrate. Most of these revolve around food and hey, I'm not complaining!

Grant learned how to make Sirek (which is one of MANY possible spellings, but it's pronounced like SID-ack) from his dad and no Easter is complete without it.
It takes a LONG time to heat up a dozen eggs and a quart of milk (throw in some salt and white pepper) at very low heat while constantly stirring.
B helped. Little Guy just photobombed.

This part takes close to an hour. When it hits that magic spot -- cooked to curds, but not too rubbery -- you have to tie it up in cheesecloth and let it drain.

I know what you're thinking: Where is the cheese in this Easter Cheese?
Easter Cheese, it turns out, is neither cheese, nor all that particularly Easter-y.
The finished product is, well, congealed scrambled eggs. I don't know why they don't call it that. Wait, yes I do.
When Grant told me about this, I was appropriately grossed out. Now, though, after fifteen Easters with the guy, I can't imagine celebrating without it. It's become our tradition and now we will pass it down to the kids. If there's a better metaphor for marriage (slowly cooking, congealing together over time) I haven't found it yet.
Tastes significantly better than it sounds like it would.

Bird's Nests
Finally, I love cooking projects with my kids. It's one of the traditions that I'm creating with them that means a lot to me. I hope it means a lot to them, but I'm also willing to bribe them with chocolate until they say they enjoy it.
I saw these little Bird's Nests online and just had to make them. It was such a good excuse to eat fistfuls of Cadbury mini-eggs (the BEST!!). I used this recipe from a very cute blog called "Chef in Training," but I modified a few things. Some pics:

These, on the other hand, taste EXACTLY as delicious as you would imagine.

There's something that unites these "eggs, three ways," these seemingly unrelated traditions, borrowed and passed on. The driving force behind stirring eggs for an hour is the very same thing that makes a family in China dye eggs to celebrate the new life in their family. It's the same thing that led Jesus to gather his friends around him and start a new tradition, one we still keep verbatim more than 2000 years later, of breaking bread and remembering Him. 
It's love.
Love for those who came before us, and love for those with us now. And maybe the hope that some day, when we are long gone, this time of year will come around and they'll remember that love. Maybe they'll even teach their children to make Sirek.