Easter, hanging out with bloggers, hot pepper jelly, Lithuanian eggs, lithuanian traditions

How We Made Easter Eggs

I do realize that posting about Easter nearly a week after its passed is kind of silly, but we had so much fun at Vrylena‘s Easter Egg dying party that I thought it would be silly to not post just a few photos. And, I haven’t been a good blogger lately, so I thought I had to post something.

There was Vrylena’s delightful Hot Pepper Jelly.

Dawn and Adam brought the beverages.

V. also killed it with a Spinach Souffle.

Adam was, by far, the most adept at decorating the eggs. 

But, it was Kate’s boyfriend, Mr. A., that had the best sense of humor when it came to decorating. Cracked egg be damned!

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baking with booze, cupcakes, Easter, irish car bomb

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes


My oldest sibling once told me that I was a bad Irishwoman. He had, around the age of 20, given me my first sip of Guinness and I hated it.
Tremendously.
And, despite my better efforts over the past 14 years to find a beer that’s somewhat tolerable to me, that experience still stands as one of the most awful tasting beverages I’ve come across (smoked beers, I believe, take that prize).

I have found, though, that I can tolerate even the beeriest of beers when they are cooked, whether it be a tempura batter or the braising liquid for sauerkraut. Last month, sitting around the table during Easter Brunch, the Missus’ wonderful cousin, Miss D., introduced me to my favorite form of Guinness to date: the cupcake.

She kept calling them ‘Irish Car Bomb’ cupcakes, though they seem to be an alcoholic ingredient short of their potent namesake. But, I honestly didn’t know what was exactly in an Irish Car Bomb drink until I looked it up, so we’ll go with her name. It’s also just more fun to say.

Out of the 12 variations of pork, 4 salads, 5 cheeses and 5 desserts that we grazed on that afternoon, this was the only bit of food that made the 2 hour trek home with us. And it didn’t last long once it was here.

The cake base itself has a gorgeous, dense crumb to it and lacks any bitter bite from the Guinness. Paired with the wonderfully boozy frosting(the variation I made this week was extremely boozy according to the Missus), I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed it. In fact, I’d say I was a bit blissed out from the cakes(or drunk on frosting, which is entirely possible considering my embarrassing tolerance).

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes Recipe
Makes: 24 cupcakes
By Dave Lieberman

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness stout
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream **I used Creme Fraiche
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


For the frosting:

  • 1 pt of heavy cream
  • 1/2C sugar
  • 1 (4oz) pkg instant French vanilla pudding **Used 16oz of Mascarpone instead, see notes below
  • 1/4-1/2C of Bailey’s Irish Cream **Used Jameson’s Whiskey instead

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.
  • Butter 24 muffin tins and divide the batter among the muffin tins.
  • Bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.



Frosting:

  • In a large bowl, beat heavy cream until it starts to thicken.
  • Slowly add sugar.
  • (Add instant pudding).**Here I veered off, whipping the Mascarpone in a separate bowl.
  • Slowly add Bailey’s to taste.**I added the Jameson’s to the whipped cream that was made in the 1st step.
  • **Gentley fold whipped cream into Mascarpone.**
  • Frost cake or cupcakes and enjoy

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Easter, invoking the Pig, Lithuanian eggs

A Lithuanian Easter

Easter, for me, always evokes the memory of having to sell White and Milk Chocolate crosses and bunnies to raise money for my parochial grade school. It wasn’t until a bit later in my life that I realized just how generally fucked up it is to eat a chocolate reproduction of the cross that their creator died upon. But, outside of that, it was the “Ham” holiday (Turkey is Thanksgiving, Prime Rib is Christmas and Ham on Easter). We got together and ate alot, not that it made it different really than any other holiday except for the show piece in the center of the buffet table. If I lived still lived in that area, that’s what I would be doing this Sunday.

However, that has long since changed since being adopted into my girlfriends Lithuanian family who live much, much closer than my own. Jugs of wine and Gennesse have been replaced by Krupnik and other things done in shot form. This year I’m making the Pashka recipe found in the most recent Saveur and stuffing a leg of lamb with as-yet-undetermined ingredients.
But the best part of it, which I am told MUST be done slightly intoxicated, is the decorating of easter eggs.

Lithuanian Easter eggs are essentially regular Easter eggs with a lot of intricate patterns made from hot wax

usually applied with a small tipped pin or different size nail heads that are placed onto the naked egg

dipped into the dye

and then the wax is peeled off.

Then a game is held where you stand in a circle, egg in hand, and tap your neighbors egg with your own as you go around. If your egg breaks the others, without cracking, you go on to the next and so fourth. If your egg cracks from being tapped, you’re out. I’m not sure exactly what the winner gets–something like a lucky year or the bottle of Krupnik–but there’s something.

Partially because I’m not artistic and partially because I’m an ass my four eggs that I decorated in anticipation of their entry into the Egg Terrordome are not ornate or even remotely artistic. They are crude and silly.

Like my attempt at this pig, here. One says “Eat Me” and the other is a Grateful Dead lightning bolt. I’m thinking the pig may take it this year.

So, if you’re dying eggs over the next few days go get yourself some parafin (it came off easier than bees wax), small nails or pins, some Paas or natural dyes, something to make the time consuming effort a bit more festive and give your eggs a different spin this year. Actually, there are much better, and more in depth, instructions by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

I’ll have pictures of what we actually ate next week.

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