Friday, March 29, 2013

Egg on my face

Although I should be thinking about school, or midterms, or job applications, it's (sort of) spring break this week. So, I'm not. I'm thinking about Easter. My parents are coming to visit me this weekend, and since they've never let me host a holiday before, I want to do a good job. This afternoon while I should have been doing something much more productive, I was on Pinterest thinking about my options for festive treats. One seemed obvious: what's Easter without eggs?

There is, of course, an old standby technique for this that always works: Buy Paas Egg Dye. Boil eggs. Put eggs in dye. But, really, where is the fun in that? Who just buys Paas Dye when we have Pinterest!? Practical people, that's who. And we all know, I'm not one of those people.

One handy egg suggestion that has been all over Pinterest is the suggestion to bake the eggs instead of boiling them. Apparently Alton Brown says it makes them creamer. I love that Alton Brown. So, I read the instructions, preheated my oven to 325˚, and evenly spaced a dozen eggs out on the rack.

About 15 minutes into the 30 minute baking process, I hard a somewhat concerning snap in my oven. I sprang to my feet and checked on the eggs. One had cracked open a little, but was thankfully cooked enough that no egg seemed to be leaking out. I reminded myself that when you boil eggs one almost always bursts, and sat back down. But, as I waited I continued to hear these little sounds. They happened more and more often, like when popcorn starts to pop, and suddenly it sounds like a battlefield in the microwave. There were still 5 minutes on the timer, but timer be damned I flung open the oven and turned it off. This is what I found. Things had gotten much, much worse. What you can't see in this picture is that the bottom of the oven is littered with the "caps" that had flown off the tops of the eggs. Not particularly appetizing.
As directed, I used tongs and carefully removed the eggs from the oven and placed them in an ice bath. However, my oven eggs quickly melted the ice cubes.
On the bright side, some of the brown spots did seem to rinse off in the water, at least partially. Compare the 11 rinsed eggs to the exploded one that wasn't rinsed and you must admit, the ice bath helped. But unfortunately, only half of the dozen eggs were intact enough to die. Five could still make deviled eggs. One, I decided, would probably have to meet it's fate as an egg salad sandwich for dinner.
After this debacle I decided to play it safe for the dying process. Boring store bought eggs dye it is. I bought the kind that comes with the little cups and the white crayon. Everything you need! Right?

Perhaps the 99 cents only store is not the place to buy egg dye. Noted.

The directions stated that I was to add 3 tbsp of vinegar to each of the dyes EXCEPT pink. They were very clear about this; it was in bold. The problem is that they were not particularly clear about which tablet was the pink one. In fact, judging by the cups provided, there were going to be two pinks.
I was able to identify blue and green easily. And luckily I have enough food coloring experience to know that the orange one would be yellow, so I had a 50/50 chance. I decided that, estimating from my cups, I was holding a purple tablet and pink tablet. Of course, this was not the case. No sooner had I added vinegar to the "purple" than I realized that what I thought was pink, was orange. Blast. Oh well, the pink will just be a little fizzy is all...

With only 6 eggs to dye, I really wanted to make them count. I started by meticulously drawing polka dots with the white crayon on one egg. Apparently the white crayon provided with my $1 eggs kit was not so much a crayon as a cheap chunk of wax, and didn't seem to have much of an effect. After the first couple eggs, I gave up on the crayon and just decided to soak each egg in a different color while I washed the windows.

Fifteen minutes later, as I pulled my the eggs out of the dye, I noticed that I had gotten blue egg dye on the blouse I was wearing (because of course,  I didn't change out of my blouse from work before doing this). Instinctively, with no thought to the fact that every window in the apartment was wide open and freshly cleaned, I pulled off the blouse and grabbed the OxyClean from under the sink and sprayed vigorously before the dye could dry. To any neighbors who may have witnessed this, I apologize.

In the end, the eggs look about as good as they did when I was a kid, but took twice as long, and given my gains in fine motor skills since then, I sort of expected better.
But, it's Easter. It must be special! So, now half dressed and mildly disappointed, I moved on to the deviled eggs. This, I was sure, would be my success. You see, I read on Pinterest that you can make colored deviled eggs by soaking the white in a egg dye for a couple of seconds, and I was certain that this would be a terrific effect.

The first step, of course, was to peel the exploded eggs. I was raised in a good Catholic, Easter egg eating family, so, I am well practiced at peeling eggs. I can't remember the last time I struggled to peel an egg.  Well, guess what? Not only do baked eggs explode, they're hard as hell to peel. Each egg took me about 4 minutes to pry free of its shell piece by piece. If I didn't have fingernails, I couldn't have done it. Imagine, if you will, trying to pick up confetti off the floor of a gymnasium by hand. That's what peeling these eggs was like. In the end, they looked like this. How could this possibly go wrong?
I cut my eggs down the middle (trying my best to preserve their integrity even though they were a little wonky) and pulled the yolks out. On the bright side, the yolks were yellow all the way through. Another recent Pinterest post told me that the reason they turn grey is due to overcooking. This did, however, sort of turn my hypothesis that the eggs overcooked, and that's why they exploded and were hard to peel, on it's head. They weren't overcooked. Fine.
They were, however, dry and rubbery like nothing I have ever seen before. I kept adding and adding wet ingredients to try to moisten the yolk mixture, but no matter how much I added, it remained just as dry, and reminiscent of play-dough left out on the counter too long. But, refusing to let these failed eggs bring me down, I dropped the whites in the leftover egg dye anyway. Look at how unsettlingly bright they are. Mmm!
I crammed some of the yellow play-dough in each hole, and put them on this stupid chili-pepper plate that I bought at Ross when I lived in the dorms. I figure if the egg coloring is going to ruin something, it may as well ruin something I am looking for an excuse to get rid of.
Maybe we'll just go out for brunch...

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