April 9, 2012

Egg Dyeing on Dana (and another soup!)

Five girls of very different nationalities (Filipino, Taiwanese-American, Indian, Irish, Persian-Polish-American) gathered on Dana St. Easter Sunday to decorate eggs. A few hours of neon dyeing, glittering, and painting later...

Claire's meta chick egg.
Happy's tuxedo-inspired egg.

My neon, animal print-inspired eggs.

Growing up, I always decorated eggs at my Nana's on Good Friday, a day off for most American schools. Myself, my two brothers and mom, my four cousins, and my aunts would each bring over a dozen boiled eggs, and my aunt Michelle, head organizer of almost all Wegrzyn family activities, prepared dozens of cups of dye and drying stations. Each of us grandkids would suit up in one of my grandpa's old snap-up work shirts, always ready for wear in the smock cabinet, and then we were left to our own creative inspiration.

We'd apply rubber bands, ribbons of glue, or hidden messages in white crayon on the eggs and then experiment with different dyes, sometimes just using one color, sometimes layering a few to make different shades or color off sub-sections of the egg. My cousin John almost always ended up with a range of brownish green eggs from layering too many colors at once

Michael displaying his orthographic collection of dyed eggs from Easter 2010.
Any of the eggs that cracked during dyeing (and usually a few of John's ugly green-brown eggs!) where sacrificed to a greater good, the customary egg salad lunch. And alongside egg salad, we always eat my mom's clam chowder. Why clam chowder? I have no idea. I'm quite sure there is no significance to Easter, but she made it one year, it was delicious, and thus, another detail added to our annual tradition.

After we're tired, fed, and our hands are raw from trying to wash off food coloring, each family gets to take home a Nana-made lamb cake. This is a cake made of cake and shaped like a lamb, not a cake made of lamb and shaped like a cake. I suppose both might be delicious, but the latter is a bit weird. Two years ago, my mom and aunts made competing lamb-shaped edibles in a lamb-off.

Only one of these is a genuine lamb cake! Can you guess which?
The egg dyeing tradition continued in Chicago without me last Friday, but I'm happy I was able to reenact some of it in California with friends.

I wanted to make a soup for our party too, but since Geta was coming, clam chowder was out, so I got out my ole Soup book and made a veggie-friendly alternative. And though I didn't really have any expectations for the soup, at least compared to the rest of the days' activities, it was pretty yummy and is going in my collection of repeat recipes.

Chickpea and Spinach Soup with Garlic
Recipe from SOUP


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/4 quarts vegetable stock
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped potatoes
  • 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded spinach
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  •  Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and golden brown.
  • Stir in the ground cumin and coriander and cook for one minute.
  • Add the stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas and simmer for 5 minutes longer, or until the potatoes are just tender.
  • Blend together the cornstarch, cream, and tahini and blend into the soup.
  • Stir in the spinach and season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for another 2 minutes.
  • Serve sprinkled with cayenne pepper.


happytripping said...

My dyed egg is famous in the blogosphere! The bottom right lamb edible looks like it is made of cauliflower and potato? And is top right lamb edible made of scrambled eggs? Now I know where you got your creative genes from.

Asirap said...

Top left is a rice krispy lamb, top right is butter, and you're exactly right on bottom right. The bottom left is the real lamb cake!

L said...

ew! who ate the butter cake?

how was the soup? is it worth trying?

Asirap said...

Well, I think the butter cake was not a standalone dish :)

The soup was very good. I think it was my favorite of the ones I've made so far, so I'd try it. It's also super easy and the only weird ingredient is tahini (but I actually had some leftover from a hummus making spat).

Claire Pennline said...

Parisa, you're a wonderful hostess. I love that you're sharing your family traditions with us so we can bring them to life ourselves.