Easter Bunny Stroopwafels

Who says chocolate bunnies are only for kids?

Let’s be honest, Easter isn’t Easter without a large chocolate bunny being involved.  These Easter Bunny Stroopwafels are the more enchanted version of those grand hollow Easter bunnies that children enjoy, with a measure of portion control thrown in.  What’s also great about these is that they make good use out of the unique and incredibly delicious Dutch stroopwafel!

Several months back I posted a recipe on tea bark, where fragrant green teas were scattered over thin layers of glossy dark chocolate.  For these Easter Bunny Stroopwafels, I used matcha infused white chocolate to set the stage for some grass-like imagery.  The matcha tea also helps to give the cookies an extra boost in green tea flavor.

When choosing which tea blend to use here, you want a green tea laced with lots of flowers and dried fruits.  Even just plain herbals like lavender and ripped rose buds work well.  Above all, you want to use a tea that is pleasantly fragrant and edible.

Teavana’s Sakura Allure is an ideal tea to use for these Easter Bunny Stroopwafels.  Aesthetically, this is a very beautiful, feminine looking tea, which is exactly why I chose it to use!  This blend is inspired by the cherry blossoms that bloom in Japan every spring.

Tasting Notes:

BREWING TIPS:  2 minutes at 175 degrees F.

THE LEAF:  Long, narrow, dark green tea leaves with chunks of dried cherries, dried mango, candied pineapple, orange peels, hibiscus, rose leaves, and rose buds thrown in.

THE SCENT:  A very strong cherry and floral scent.  I left some in my hot car after my run to Teavana, and the car smelled incredibly fruity by the time I returned!

THE STEEP:  This blend looks and tastes very much like fruit punch.  Since there are many fruits and herbal flowers added in, the caffeine content is lower, so this blend is good for kids or those who are caffeine-sensitive.

*** The thing you need to remember if you use Sakura Allure for this little project is that the dried cherries in the tea are not pitted.  Pit and cut the large dried cherries into little tiny bits before using them to make the tea bark.  The cherries are easy to spot in the blend–they are large, sticky, speckled black clumps.

bunny stroopwafel from aboveEaster Bunny Stroopwafels make an easy and elegant after-brunch dessert.  Enjoy them with a hot, fruity cup of brewed Sakura Allure so that your guests can try the tea in two ways–dried and brewed!  These Easter-themed stroopwafels help to capture a lovely image of the season, reminding us that spring is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings.

And with that, I would like to wish all my blog readers out there a very Happy Easter!!

Easter Bunny Stroopwafels

Makes 6 decorated stroopwafels.

Ingredients:

6 stroopwafels

6 small chocolate bunnies (I used Lindt)

6 small pastel-colored chocolate Easter eggs (I used Cadbury Minis)

1/4 cup white chocolate or candy melts

1 tsp matcha green tea powder

2 Tbsp of a floral, fruity, and fragrant loose-leaf green tea (I used Teavana’s Sakura Allure), plus more for brewing

Equipment:

teacups, with diameter same or less than stroopwafels

baker’s twine or thin decorative ribbon, cut into 8″ pieces

scissors

Instructions:

1.)  Melt the white chocolate or candy melts in the microwave or over a double boiler.  Add in the matcha and mix until the chocolate is an even green color.

2.)  Place 2-3 tsp of the green tea melted chocolate in the top middle of each stroopwafel.  Smooth over the chocolate evenly so that you leave a 1/4″ border all around the top circumference of the stroopwafel.

3.)  Lightly scatter the green tea blend atop the setting green tea chocolate.

4.)  Place an unwrapped chocolate bunny in the center of the stroopwafel, and an egg beside the bunny.  Allow a few minutes for the chocolate to set.

5.) Using baker’s twine or thin string, tie a bow around the neck of each chocolate bunny.  Snip off excess ribbon.  When it’s time to serve, place the stroopwafels atop a teacup filled with the same Sakura Allure you used to make the bark.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Surprise Eggs

I’ve been working overtime this week trying to punch out some faux-Kinder Eggs for my niece, Maddy, just in time for Easter Sunday.  A few weeks ago, I went to visit my sister (Maddy’s mom) and she started telling me that Maddy was obsessed with this YouTube video featuring Kinder Eggs.  I didn’t even know what a Kinder Egg was!  A few minutes later my sister pulled up the video and sure enough my niece sat mesmerized, content, and glued to the screen.

Kinder eggs are hollow chocolate eggs filled with a toy of some sort.  When you crack open the eggshell, the inner treasure is revealed.  They aren’t available here in the US, which one of the reasons why Maddy can’t get her hands on any.

My Chocolate Surprise Eggs are a slightly more elegant version of Maddy’s beloved Kinder Eggs, stuffed with edible (and drinkable!) treats instead of juvey plastic toys.  No Mickey Mouse or Peppa Pig figurines here,except if I am making them for my niece!

My mini Marzipan Veggies are ideal for stuffing into these Chocolate Surprise Eggs.  Perfect for a Springtime or Easter themed party, you can place the marzipan piece in the chocolate shell and seal the shells together to create a true Kinder-like egg that rattles inside. Another option is to serve them up like little petit fours, on a half eggshell.

Fill them with honeyed, toasted unsweetened coconut for a no fuss, tasty way to showcase the bright and delicate Marzipan Veggies.  Cover them with another half eggshell so that your guests can take part in revealing what’s inside!

An extra step you can take to make the chocolate eggs super fancy is by propping them up on cookies sifted with a bit of matcha powder to create a mossy-looking base.  You can “glue” the shell to the cookie base with a glob of almost set melted chocolate.  If the melted chocolate you are using is too warm, the eggshell won’t want to sit upright and may actually start to melt.  So, plant your half eggshell onto tacky, almost set chocolate.  The petit fours will sit up at a pretty viewing angle this way.

Tea balls make a beautiful trinket to place into the hollow chocolate eggs.  These tightly wound balls of tea actually become beautiful terrarium looking plants when they bloom in hot water. The tea leaves are hand strung with a cotton thread to form a blooming tea flower, also called a Petit Bouquet.  If you are having an afternoon tea with friends, make lots of these eggs and allow each guest one egg to crack open just in time for tea to start. One tea ball per pot of tea!

Chambre de Sucre makes the most gorgeous variety of molded sugars that would also make whimsical treats to place inside of the eggs.  I just love their Sucre Rond and Hana Flower Sugars.  They elevate any tea drinking experience to the next level of loveliness.

I’ve meant to experiment with edible gold leaf for the longest time.  Instead of dishing out the money for real edible gold leaf, I bought this $5 bottle of gold cake decorating spray to play around with.  I was quite happy with the results, as the spray gave off a light, even mist of gold coloring to my eggs.  Just the right touch of glamor to make the eggs stand out.

Make this Easter unforgettable with some homemade Chocolate Surprise Eggs this year! The best technique for making them is to have a bit of patience, a temperature controlled room, and some clever ideas for trinkets to stuff inside.  Tea, gourmet sugars, marzipan candies…with Surprise Eggs the possibilities are endless!

Chocolate Surprise Eggs

Ingredients:

chocolate candy melts

edible gold food spray (optional)

Equipment:

chocolate egg molds

small flat tip food safe decorating brush

knife and cup of hot water (to smooth edges of eggshell)

flat frying pan (if you want to seal the 2 halves of the egg together to make 1 whole egg)

For the Petit Fours:

chocolate candy melts

1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut, toasted

6 Tbsp honey

cocoa powder, for dusting inside of eggs (optional)

flat round cookies of your choice (I used Famous Chocolate Wafers)

matcha, for dusting atop cookie (optional)

Marzipan Veggies

Directions:

1.)  Melt the chocolate melts in the microwave or atop a double boiler according to the package directions.  Place about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate in each egg cavity.  Use a decorating brush to evenly distribute the chocolate in the egg molds.

2.)  Let this first layer of chocolate set.  For faster results, you can place them in the fridge to harden.

3.)  When the first layer has completely set, apply a second rounded tsp of the melted chocolate.  Use the brush to apply the 2nd layer of chocolate evenly in the mold.

*** Variation:  For Sealed Chocolate Eggs:   With 2 completely set half eggshells (best to have left them in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill completely), place both shells edge down on a flat pan placed on low, even heat.  Allow edges to melt for a few seconds.  Pick up one eggshell and swiftly place a Marzipan Veggie or other trinket inside this half eggshell.  Pick up the other shell and place both melted edges of each half shell together to seal.  For best results, work fast!

4.  Let the second layer completely harden, then slip the shells out of the molds.  I wanted to dust the inside of the shells with cocoa powder here for my Petit Fours, but this is totally optional.  Use a knife dipped in hot water, then wiped dry to smooth over the edges of the eggshell.

5.)  Mix the toasted coconut with the honey and stuff about 1 1/2 Tbsp of this sweetened coconut into each chocolate shell, then a Marzipan Veggie on top.

6.)  Sift some matcha powder atop each cookie.

7.)  Add a dollop of melted chocolate atop each matcha-dusted cookie and allow for it to almost fully set.

8.)  Place the filled and marzipan-topped half chocolate eggshell on top of the almost set dollop of chocolate.  Hold it in place with the back of a spoon for a few moments to allow for it to set.  Your Chocolate Eggshell Petit Four is complete!

Marzipan Veggies

Celebrate spring with intricate, vibrant Marzipan Veggies!  There really isn’t anything too difficult about making these.  All you need is a roll of marzipan, matcha tea powder, and some attention to detail.

As Easter is just a few days away, I wanted to share with you my 3 favorite Marzipan Vegetable variations:  radishes, carrots, and sweet peas!  My personal favorite are the adorable sweet peas, which are actually the simplest to make.
The key to earthy looking springtime veggie marzipan is to get the shade of green right.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used “leaf green” food coloring only to get an electric, unappealingly bright shade of cosmic green.  Matcha powder is the easiest way to get the most leaf-like shade of green to your marzipan confections.  Shortly after picking, the tea leaves used to make matcha are steamed and dried to preserve their brilliant green color, so it makes perfect sense to use matcha for coloring the stems and leaves of marzipan produce!

For my post today, I’ve put together a series of step-by-step photos to take the mystery out of marzipan veggie making.  No need to be heavy on the words, as I think that the pictures are much more explanatory.

While Marzipan Veggies do require a bit of focus and creativity, the results are really worth it. Often, it’s often simplest deliberate tweak that will take them to the next level of cuteness.

Colored Marzipan

Ingredients:

tube of marzipan

matcha powder

gel food colorings (red and orange)

Directions:

Mix 1/4 tsp of matcha or a dab of food coloring into a portion of marzipan and knead it in. Continue to add matcha or food coloring until you get your desired color.

Tip:  If marzipan is too stiff, zap it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften, then knead in the coloring.  The heat will also help the coloring to bloom/deepen in color.

Veggie #1:  Radish Marzipan

What you need:  marzipan, red food coloring, matcha powder, fingers

Start with red tinted marzipan.  Roll one end of the radish super thin/narrow to form a squiggly root tip.

Finish the radish top with matcha green tea tinted marzipan.

Veggie #2:  Carrot Marzipan

What you need:  marzipan, orange food coloring, fresh rosemary, toothpick, sharp paring knife, fingers

Start with orange tinted marzipan.  Use a toothpick to make a tiny hole on top of the carrot.  Insert a small sprig of fresh rosemary into the hole.  Cut lightly and horizontally with sharp knife for texture.

Veggie #3:  Pea Marzipan

What you need:  marzipan, matcha powder, sharp paring knife, large green pearl sprinkles, fingers

Start with matcha green tea tinted marzipan.  Use knife to slice a line in the pea, from tip-to-tip.  Attach 3 green sprinkles in center of pea using tiny dabs of corn syrup or honey (even a tiny drop of water will work!).

Marzipan Veggies make festive embellishments for cakes, cupcakes, and my Chocolate Surprise Eggs!  Hope you have a colorful and bountiful spring this year!

Kokeshi Easter Eggs

So it turns out that this week I’m heading over to the place in the world that I love the most…Hawaii!  Hawaii has always been my inspiration and comfort, my home away from home.

If you are familiar with Oahu and the Honolulu area, you probably know about Ala Moana.  There are so many unique Asian and Hawaiian treasures at Ala Moana.  My favorites include the island-style tea shop Lupicia, a colorful mochi stand in their food court called Kansai Yamato, and finally Shirokiya, a Japanese department store with the most amazing selection of kokeshi dolls.

Kokeshi are wooden lacquered Japanese dolls painted in colorful kimonos.  The kimonos range from bright and vibrant to earth-toned and natural looking.  As they are entirely made of wood, the dolls are often quite heavy.  They sometimes have an egg-like shape, which is exactly why I ended up creating these exotic Kokeshi Doll Easter Eggs this year!

What’s intriguing about these Kokeshi Easter Eggs is that they are dyed and decorated with common everyday spices and 2 of my favorite teas, pu-erh and matcha!

Pu-erh Tea is a very dark fermented Chinese black tea, also known as bo-lay in Cantonese.  Many consider pu-erh tea an acquired taste because of its earthy and slightly musty richness.  This is a very dark chocolate colored tea, making it ideal for dyeing eggs.  Using pu-erh to dye eggs gives them a peachy flesh skin tone coloring within a few minutes of boiling.  In a pinch, you can use some rustic brown eggs instead, but since I am never short on tea, I went ahead boiled my white eggs in a concentrated pu-erh tea steep.

Thanks to our friends over in England and Spain, mustard and paprika become the basis for clothing our egg dolls.  The spices give off the most brilliant shades of sunshine yellow and fiery red in the kimonos, especially when they’ve bloomed after being mixed with a bit of corn syrup.  And as you may already know from my Matcha Monday posts, there is nothing better than getting that perfect shade of leaf green color from a good-quality matcha powder.

After the corn syrup paint hardens to a lacquer like shine, it’s time to embellish!  Accessories complete any look, so I’ve dotted pastel flower sprinkles on the kimonos, attaching them with tiny dabs of the same corn syrup used to create the kimonos.  And if you aren’t planning on eating these on the same day, use hollowed out eggs to decorate with (tea dye just the shells), as the corn syrup tends to soften when taken in and out of the fridge (i.e. because of condensation).

With Hawaii on my mind, I added one last flower sprinkle to the left hairline of each Kokeshi Egg.  In Hawaiian culture, a flower over the left ear means that the gal is taken–that is, married or no longer available.  Feel free to switch sides!

I can’t wait to visit Shirokiya in Honolulu this weekend!  Kimonos and kokeshi dolls will be in plenty, and I’ll probably be looking at the beautiful Japanese fabrics and designs thinking of different ways to dress up these Kokeshi Easter Eggs next year.

And as a side note, if you love Japanese tea and culture like I do, my blogger friend, Buri-chan, over at San’in Monogatari has an incredible blog.  She just finished participating in the 2014 World Kimono Competition last week, where according to Buri-chan, casual, formal (tomesode), and flashier (furisode) style kimonos were each judged in different competitions.  Buri-chan tied for 4th place at the event…check out her gorgeous outfit here I’m beginning to wonder if my kokeshi dolls would be cute enough to enter the competition?

Add a bit of Hawaiian flair to your Easter Egg hunt this year!  Natural looking and beach ready, these babes will add just the right touch of sunshine to all your Easter celebrations!

Kokeshi Doll Easter Eggs

Makes 8 eggs.

What You’ll Need:

2 Tbsp loose pu-erh tea

4 cups of water

8 eggs

medium pot for boiling eggs

slotted spoon

tea towel

edible food color marker

1 Tbsp corn syrup, plus extra for glueing on hair, eyes, and flower sprinkles

matcha green tea powder, paprika powder, and mustard powder

black decorating sugar

small bowl or teacup

16 black sesame seeds

1 Tbsp of dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

toothpicks

small bowl filled up 2″ with rice to help with decorating (optional)

 Step-By-Step:

1.)  Boil the Eggs.

Bring water to a boil over high heat and throw in the tea to steep.  Allow the water to continue to boil while the tea is steeping.  When tea looks dark brown, add in eggs and boil for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, turn heat off and let eggs steep an extra 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs from the tea steep onto a tea towel and wipe dry.  Allow to cool completely before decorating.

2..)  Draw the Lines.

There are 3 simple lines you need to draw to create the kokeshi doll.

Using a black food marker, draw a “Y” on the center of an egg.  As you can see, it doesn’t need to be perfect.

Now draw a sweeping hairline/left side hair part on kokeshi above the “Y” and join the edges.

Turn the egg around to its back side.  Draw a big “U” shape, joining the tips of the “U” shape to the point where the “Y” met the hairline that you drew before.

3.)  Make the Kimonos.

Mix the matcha, mustard, or paprika with corn syrup to create a thick-like edible paint.  The ratio is 1 tsp of corn syrup to a 1/2 tsp of the powdered tea or spice.  Gently use your finger to mix a bit of the tea/spice into the corn syrup a little at a time.   The thicker the “paint” the more color the kimonos will have.

Use your finger to apply the tea/spice paint in an even, thin layer in gentle swirl motions.  The kimono should be painted below the “Y” area previously drawn.

Keep the “face” area (where my thumb is) as clean as possible.

In an egg crate or some rice in a small bowl, prop the egg upside down to allow for kimono to dry.  This should take about 2 hours.

4.)  Make the Hair.  

With a fully dried kimono, now create a full looking hairdo for the kokeshi.

Place black sanding sugar in a small bowl or teacup.  Paint the area between the hairline and the “U” shape with a thin layer of plain corn syrup.  You can see below that the kimono paint dripped onto the hair area, which will be easily covered!

Dip the just painted, sticky hair section of kokeshi in the black decorating sugar.  If it is easier for you, you can just paint one side of the hair at a time.  Right side of hair…

Left side of hair…

Feel free to use extra dabs of corn syrup and black sugar to fill in any bald spots.

5.)  Make a Face.  Your kokeshi is now ready to have black sesame eyes.

Use a toothpick to dab a bit of corn syrup onto the location for the eyes on the egg.  You can use the same toothpick now to pick up a black sesame and attach it to the egg.

The Kokeshi Egg Doll is almost finished!

6.)  Give Them Some Style.

Outline the “Y” on the kimonos with melted chocolate, applied in a thin line with a toothpick.

Add some flower sprinkles to the kimono to create a fun print.  And if you are wanting for them to go Hawaiian style, add a flower sprinkle to the right or left side of their hairline.  Attach sprinkles with tiny dabs of corn syrup.

The beautiful Kokeshi Doll Eggs are all dressed and ready to shine!  Happy Easter egg decorating!

 

Cereal Milk Tea Bags

I often get asked for my suggestions on kid friendly teas.  Harney & Sons’ Birthday Tea, Elmwood Inn’s Blueberry Infusion, or even Teavana’s Chocolate Bananas Foster are all great choices for children.  Slightly sweet and non-caffeinated always work best for the kiddos.

Once you taste today’s recipe, it will soon become the next tea that you add to your kid friendly tea list.  Ironically, it’s the most un-tea like tea blend that you will ever find.  And unlike the other blends I’ve mentioned, you can’t buy this tea–you actually have to make it!

Any idea what type of tea it is?  That’s right…Cereal Milk Tea!!

A few years back, when I was rummaging through my fresh copy of David Chang and Peter Meehan’s Momofuku Cookbook, I remember thinking how cereal milk was one of the most fascinating and creative culinary ideas ever.  Cereal Milk Panna Cotta?  I’m there!

For a tea lover and cookbook enthusiast like myself, there is no better way to pay homage to Momofuku’s Cereal Milk craze then by creating some Cereal Milk Tea Bags.

The kid’s cereal variety packs are perfect for this project, because you can get a variety of flavors without having to buy so many boxes of cereal.  With these boxes, we also create tea tags which are attached with some multicolored baker’s twine.

You can also use some clear cello bags to package up your tea treats if you plan on giving them out as gifts or favors.  These days, baker’s twine comes in so many bright and beautiful colors and in smaller amounts, so it’s fun to play around with how your finished tea bags will look.

What will make your Cereal Milk Tea Bags memorable and unique is if you pay special attention to the tags that you create with the punch out tool.  I like to choose iconic sections of the cereal box designs so that the finished tea bags look uniform and recognizable.

It’s amazing how an ingredient like kiddy breakfast cereal can somehow become a gourmet item in the hands of a few imaginative chefs.  I know that there are some of you out there saying:  “Hey!  Cereal Tea isn’t really tea!”  You’re partly right…this post has nothing to do with our much-loved Camella Sinensis plant, but it does have to do with the way we’ve come to regularly enjoy tea in clever little filter bags.

Not to worry, I’ll get back to those beautiful green leaves in no time.  For now, I’m going to sit back and relax with an unsophisticated and comforting cup of warm Cereal Milk Tea.  You should do the same!

Cereal Milk Tea

Ingredients:

cereal of your choice

1 cup of milk for each Cereal Tea Bag

Equipment:

tea filters (I used size 2 T-Sacs)

bakers twine, cut into 8″ pieces

mortar & pestle

scissors

stapler

Tablespoon

tag punch (I used 1 13/16″)

thumb tack

cello treat bags (3″ x 4″, if you want to wrap the finished tea bags)

clear tape (if you want to wrap the finished tea bags)

Directions:

1.)  Gather your tools and equipment for making the tea bags.

2.)  Use mortar & pestle to grind down 2 Tbsp of cereal.

3.)  Pour ground cereal into the tea filter.

4.)  Fold down top/unfilled portion of the tea bag.

5.)  Fold right and left corners of the folded tea bag down to the center vertical line of tea bag to form a triangle top tip.

6.)  Fold tip of triangle down to center of edges folded in previously.

7.)  Use stapler to attach twine to folded side of tea bag.  Staple twine to bag about a half centimeter below the top edge of the tea bag.

8.)  Use the punch out tool to create a tag from the cereal box.

9.  Use a thumb tack to create a small hole in the top of the tag.

10.)  Use the thumb tack to push the twine into the tag hole.  Leaving a few inches between the tea bag and the tag, tie a knot in the twine on the uncolored side of the tag, then snip off excess string with scissors.

11.)  Your tea bag is done!  Place each tea bag in a clear cello bag and tape up if you want a more finished look.

12.)  Dunk each Cereal Tea Bag in 1 cup of warm milk, then let steep for several minutes and enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate Chip Matcha Mug Cake

I’m very excited to share with you my Matcha Monday post this week!  I’ve put together a super simple recipe for a Chocolate Chip Matcha Mug Cake that’s a total no brainer to whip up.  Less than 2 minutes in the microwave and you’ll end up with the most delicious and moist matcha cake ever!

This recipe is a nice way to try using matcha as a cooking ingredient for the first time.  You’ll be able to appreciate how cooking with matcha helps to balance out sweeter flavors, which is exactly why you see it used in so many cake and cookie recipes.

If you never try any of the other recipes from my site, I hope you try this one.  It represents everything I love about matcha green tea, where a traditional ingredient is enjoyed in a unique, easy, and modern way.

Chocolate Chip Matcha Mug Cake

Makes 1 mug cake or 2 smaller teacup cakes

Equipment:

microwave safe mug or 1 large mug and 2 smaller teacups

paper towel

fork, for mixing

measuring spoons

tea towel

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp matcha powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3 Tbsp almond milk

1 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus a bit more for oiling mug/cups

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 drop almond extract

2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips, plus a few more for decorating the top of the mug cake

Directions:

1.)  Lightly coat the inside of the mug/cups with vegetable oil, to create a non-stick inner surface.  You can use a paper towel to do this.

2.)  Place all dry ingredients in the large mug and mix with a fork thoroughly.

3.)  Add the liquid ingredients, then again mix with the fork thoroughly.  Add 2 Tbsp of the chocolate chips, then mix those in so that they are evenly distributed.  At this point, if you prefer to serve the cakes in 2 smaller teacups, divide the batter between the 2 teacups evenly.

4.)  Place the large mug in the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute and 40 seconds.  For 2 smaller teacups, cook them for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

5.)  With a tea towel, carefully remove the hot mug/cups from the microwave.  Scatter the remaining chocolate chips on top of the cake and serve!

 

Spring Vegetable Tartine

Tartine, or French open-faced sandwiches, are some of the most beautiful bites around.  I often make traditional tea sandwiches with fillings like veggie cream cheese in between 2 slices of soft bread, but after a trip to the market this weekend I was inspired to show off some of this season’s freshest bounty with these Spring Vegetable Tartine.

While piling bunches of bright hot pink radishes into my cart, some very beautiful little quail eggs caught my eye.  I never tried quail eggs before, so I was intrigued.  I wondered if their speckled coloring might mean that they were strange or unpleasant tasting.  Sure enough, after some experimentation at home both frying one egg sunny side up and boiling another, I realized that quail eggs taste the same as regular eggs do, perhaps even milder. They are basically the cuter, miniaturized version of regular eggs!

Quail eggs are beautifully and naturally blemished.  Their rustic appeal makes them look almost ornamental, perfect for making spring decorations and centerpieces.  They make me think of pastel colored birds, twiggy nests, and sweet ambient chirping…all of the lovely indications that spring has sprung!

If you are wanting to make egg salad or scrambled eggs, don’t waste your extra pennies on quail eggs.  You want to use these when you are trying to showcase the egg’s delicate flavor and petit size.

I hard-boiled and halved my quail eggs so that I could use them as the main embellishment for my tartine.  Just a bit of simple protein to balance out all the fresh, clean veggie flavors in the sandwiches.  Sprinkle the cut egg with a bit of bright red cayenne pepper or smoked paprika for an extra pop of color and flavor.

These tartine are ideal for Easter Sunday Brunch or a spring-themed afternoon tea. Although they are delicious served without bacon for vegetarians, a light scattering of the savory bits helps to balance out the sweet ricotta and carrots.  Crunchy, creamy, salty, and sweet, these sandwiches allow the best of springtime ingredients to shine.

Tartine can be eaten with your hands like you would a topped cracker, or with a fork and knife.  If your guests prefer the latter, serve them with some Springtime Carrot Cutlery, which make a simple and colorful addition to an Easter-themed table.  Either way, I’m sure your guests will find these lovely open-faced sandwiches irresistible!

Spring Vegetable Tartine

Makes about 12- 5″ tartine.

Ingredients:

1- 15 oz container of part-skim ricotta

6 Tbsp grated carrots, blotted with paper towel to remove excess moisture

6 Tbsp finely chopped celery, blotted with paper towel to remove excess moisture

2 green onions finely sliced

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp hot sauce

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 loaf french bread, sliced 1/2″ thick

6 quail eggs

5-6 radishes, very thinly sliced

1 green onion sliced thinly, for garnishing

crumbled bacon bits, for garnishing (about 5 slices, cooked until crisp)

cayenne pepper or smoked paprika

Equipment:

small pot

slotted spoon

small bowl

mixing bowl

toaster

Directions:

1.)  Hard boil the quail eggs.  Place them in a small pot with water to cover by 1″.  Bring the water to full rolling boil and continue to boil for 1 minute.  Turn off heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the warm water.  Place them into a small bowl filled with cold water and set aside to allow eggs to cool completely.

2.)  Mix together ricotta, carrots, celery, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, hot sauce, sugar, black pepper, and salt.

3.)  Peel the cooled eggs.  This is easier when done under water.  Cut the eggs in half using a sharp knife.

4.)  Toast the bread slices, then top each slice with about 2 Tbsp of the veggie ricotta mixture.  Place thinly sliced radishes, sliced green onion, and bacon bits atop the ricotta tartine.  Top each tartine off with a hard-boiled egg half, then sprinkle it with a pinch of cayenne pepper or paprika to finish.  Happy Spring!  Enjoy!