Natural Egg Dying

By Paulette Callender –

Due to concerns in the news about the effects of artificial coloring and dyes, many large companies are moving away from using these types of dyes. (Learn more from ForbesU.S News, and Special Education Degrees). However, while it is becoming increasingly easier to buy food using exclusively natural dyes, solutions are still needed for many common traditions such as dying eggs.

Luckily, dying eggs doesn’t have to be limited to the restraints of artificial colors. Many natural alternatives for dying eggs can be found either right in your pantry or at your local The Spice & Tea Exchange®!

Using spices & teas will generally yield warmer tones of yellow, gold, orange, red, and brown.

Using fresh produce such as blueberries, purple cabbage, and spinach bring on a much cooler palette of blue and green.

Keep in mind that artificial dyes are relatively flavorless. When you switch to using a natural dye such as spices, teas, or produce, these items have flavor to them. As a result, your egg may retain a small amount of the dying agent’s flavor.

 

Select from a wide spectrum of colors to dye your eggs:

Beet Root Powder – pink

Turmeric – yellow

Light Chili Powder – tan/light orange

Blood-Orange Smoothie Herbal Tea – copper/bronze

Blueberry Black Tea – reddish/burgundy brown

Dried Hibiscus Flowers – dark purple

Berry Bouquet Herbal Tea – blue/grey

Blueberries – dark blue/grey

Spinach – pale green

 

Begin dying eggs naturally now!

 

Instructions for cooking and coloring eggs at the same time:

Use a separate pan for each color.

Add 2 Tbs. white vinegar, eggs, 2-3 Tbs. spice, tea, or produce (chopped) item, and just enough distilled water to cover the eggs. Less water will help concentrate the final color.

Bring to a boil, and continue to boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit 17 minutes. Transfer eggs and liquid to a stain resistant bowl and allow to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and place bowl in refrigerator for several hours or overnight to achieve deepest colors.

Instructions for coloring eggs after they are hard cooked:

Bring a large pot of distilled water to a boil.

While water heats, place each spice, tea, or produce (chopped) item, in separate heat safe/stain resistant bowls with 2 Tbs. white vinegar.

Carefully pour enough boiling water into each bowl, to cover the eggs you will want to color. Let sit 10-15 minutes allowing the maximum amount of color to produce.

Strain solids out of liquid and replace with hard cooked eggs for a uniform color, or keep solids and liquids together, adding eggs for a more speckled, patterned coloring effect.

After 20-25 minutes, cover bowls with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight to achieve deepest colors.

 

The Secret to Healthy Fries

The secret to healthy fries…is to make them yourself! On National French Fry Day, you could head over to the nearest burger joint for some fries and a shake, however, that’d be just like any other day.

Here, we like to make our own fries, as not only do they have more flavor, but they can be healthier too! With all the bountiful vegetables in your summer garden, why not?

Especially since burger joint fries can be loaded with extra preservatives, calories, and grease!

Whether you love traditional (potato) French fries or want to venture into other fries, we have some healthy favorites for you! So grab your favorite ketchup and let’s get cooking!

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Truffle Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:
From The Spice & Tea Exchange®
1 tsp (or to taste) Black Truffle Sea Salt
1 TBS Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

From the Grocer
2 large sweet potatoes

Preparation:
PREHEAT oven to 400°F.
CUT sweet potatoes into fry-sized pieces.
TOSS with Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
COAT with Black Truffle Sea Salt.
BAKE for 15-25 minutes or until tender (flipping halfway through).

Yield: 2-4 servings Total Time: 30 mins Prep: 5 mins Cook: 25 mins

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Italian Zucchini Fries

Ingredients:
From The Spice & Tea Exchange®
1 TBS Tuscany Spice Blend (or to taste) 
1 TBS Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

From the Grocer
2 large zucchini

Preparation:
PREHEAT oven to 350°F.
CUT the zucchini in half length-wise and then again. Cut each section into fries. Pat dry with paper towels.
TOSS with Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
COAT with Tuscany Spice Blend.
BAKE for 15-25 minutes or until tender (flipping halfway through).

Yield: 2-4 servings Total Time: 30 mins Prep: 5 mins Cook: 25 mins

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Crazy Carrot Fries

Ingredients:
From The Spice & Tea Exchange®
1 TBS (or to taste) Crazy Chicken Spice Blend
1 TBS Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

From the Grocer 2 lbs carrots

Preparation:
PREHEAT oven to 425°F.
PEEL carrots. Cut into fry-sized pieces.
TOSS with Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
COAT with Crazy Chicken Spice Blend.
BAKE for 10-20 minutes or until tender (flipping halfway through).

Yield: 2-4 servings Total Time: 25 mins Prep: 5 mins Cook: 20 mins

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Traditional Potato Fries (with a Garlic Twist)

Ingredients:
From The Spice & Tea Exchange®
1 tsp/about 30 grinds (or to taste) Kahuna Garlic Salt Spice Blend
1 TBS Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

From the Grocer
2 large potatoes

Preparation:
PREHEAT oven to 450°F.
CUT potatoes into fry-sized pieces.
TOSS with Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
COAT with Kahuna Garlic Salt Spice Blend.
BAKE for 25-35 minutes or until tender (flipping halfway through).

Yield: 2-4 servings Total Time: 25 mins Prep: 5 mins Cook: 20 mins

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Enjoy! Here are some extra tips to help out:

  • Don’t crowd the fries when baking. Make sure they are in a single layer on the baking sheet (and not touching).
  • For crispier fries: to help remove some of the moisture, make sure to blot off any extra moisture with a paper towels (after cutting but before cooking vegetables). Or you can also mix a starch (potato, tapioca, rice, or corn) in with the spices and coat the vegetables in it.Some also suggest shutting the oven off once the fries are baked, leaving the door halfway open, and letting the fries crisp up for another 10-15 mins.
  • For extra-crispy fries: mix about 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese mixed in with the spices prior to baking. Bake as usual. Broil 1-2 mins after baked for crispiness and browning.
Vik’s Shrimp Scampi Fix

In honor of this beloved classic dish, we’ve created a fresh simple Vik’s Shrimp Scampi Fix recipe.

This shrimp scampi highlights classic garlic flavors with Vik’s Garlic Fix! Spice Blend, bright buttery lemon, and a kick of heat from Pirate’s Bite Spice Blend!

Vik’s Shrimp Scampi Fix requires minimal prep and cooking time—served on its own, over linguini, or with garlic bread. For a Thai twist, replace the Vik’s Garlic Fix! Spice Blend andPirate’s Bite Spice Blend for equal amounts of Coconut Thai Spice Blend and Thai Red Curry Spice Blend. Just remember to keep the Green Tea Mints or Spice Gum handy.

 

Vik’s Shrimp Scampi Fix

Ingredients:
From The Spice & Tea Exchange®
2 Tbs. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 Tbs. Vik’s Garlic Fix! Spice Blend
1/8 tsp. Pirate’s Bite Spice Blend (about 10-15 grinds)
From the Grocer
1½ lbs. x-large fresh shrimp, shelled & deveined
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. chopped shallots
¼ Cup white wine
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
¼ Cup fresh chopped parsley + extra chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Opt: ½ lb. cooked linguine, per manufacturer’s directions
Opt: ½ Cup reserved pasta water (from prepared linguini)
Opt: ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preparation:
HEAT 1 Tbs. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, until just beginning to smoke.
ADD shrimp and cook 1- 1½ minutes, stirring occasionally until color just turns opaque. Transfer shrimp to a bowl and set aside.
REHEAT now empty skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 Tbs. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and melt butter. Stir in shallots and Vik’s Garlic Fix! Spice Blend. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
DEGLAZE pan by stirring in wine, and cooking for 45 seconds.
RETURN shrimp to pan, along with lemon zest, lemon juice, Pirate’s Bite Spice Blend and parsley. Remove from heat and toss to coat.

If serving over linguini:
Stir reserved pasta water into pan with finished scampi, then carefully pour scampi and liquid over linguini. Top with grated parmesan cheese and extra parsley. 

Yield: 4 servings
Total Time: 13 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 3 minutes for scampi

 

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