Greeks Dye Easter Eggs Red

One of the oldest Easter traditions for Greek Orthodox Christians are Easter eggs dyed red. In the Orthodox Church, Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, and the hard shell of the egg symbolizes the sealed Tomb of Christ — the cracking of which symbolized his resurrection from the dead.

Easter Eggs Red

You can dye eggs naturally using the skins of yellow onions. I used the skin of 10 small to medium sized yellow onions and all the skin that was loose in the net bag they come in from the market.

Easter eggs red

I’ll use these onions in the same pan that I roast the traditional Easter lamb on Sunday. They’ll work as a bed for the lamb to rest on, along with other herbs, in the roasting pan.

Easter eggs red

Cover the skins with approximately 6 cups of water and 8 tbsp. of white vinegar. Bring to a boil and let steep. The longer the skins steep the darker the color. I used brown eggs with yellow onions skins to get the deeper rusty red color.

Easter eggs red

You can hard boil the eggs with the skins or in the liquid after the skins have been removed. Bring the liquid back to boil and simmer the eggs for 5 to 8 minutes then take off the heat. Leave the eggs in the dye until they are cool.

Easter eggs red

You can also let the eggs cool in the dye and set in your fridge overnight.

Here’s the how-to video I followed, on dying eggs with onion skins, from my friend, Blogger and Greek Chef, Peter Minaki.

Kalo Pascha and Kali Anastasi!

Christos Anesti 2012

It was a beautiful day celebrating Easter with family and friends. A lot of preparation goes into our annual Easter feast. I baked bread.Tassajara Yeasted Wheat BreadI dyed red eggs. (And inadvertently, my hands as well.)Traditional red Easter eggsI made my family’s favorite potato salad. The menu also included roasted potatoes and carrots, Greek salad, orzo salad and spinach pie. potato saladAnd of course, a leg of lamb. (You can see last year’s Easter lamb & festivities video here.)preparing the leg of  lambThe table was set early. (A little guy needed some blueberries fast.) We started the meal breaking Tsoureki, the traditional Easter bread. We read St. John Chrysostom’s Paschal Homily (c. 347–407).Table is set The egg cracking contest was underway…
Egg cracking

…and it’s Benjamin for the win!Benjamin FTWThe feast is abundant, eat your fill! All of you enjoy the wealthy banquet of the faith and mercy of God.

Greek Easter 2012

Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is risen, and life reigns! Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
Christos Anesti!

Preparing the Easter Feast

“Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast.” 1 Cor. 5:7,8.

A lot goes into the Easter dinner at my house. Yianni is making a video of the day, but until that’s done, I thought I would share with you some of my shortcuts. I create the Easter dinner pretty much on my own and I’m not ashamed to say I use as many shortcuts as possible. Even with several shortcuts, my Easter dinner still requires a lot of planning, shopping and a big part of the day in the kitchen.

Easter Dinner Menu
Greek salad with olives, feta cheese, beets and garbanzos
Orzo salad – a delicious contribution from our friend Henry
Green beans with mushrooms – a buttery and decadent casserole from my Daughter-in-law Erin
“Spanakopita” spinach pie
Roasted potatoes and carrots
Rice pilaf and tzatziki sauce
Roast Leg of Lamb
Served with Red and White wine
Baklava and”Koulourakia” butter cookies
Served with Coffee

Leg of Lamb Yianni called ahead and ordered the leg of lamb from Wolverine Packing Company in Detroit’s Eastern Market. On Easter morning I prepared the lamb by inserting garlic cloves just under the surface layer of fat and covering it with a wet pesto rub. Then I let the lamb sit at room temperature for several hours before it went into the oven.  The pesto is store bought. I use Costco’s Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto. I bake the 8 pound leg of lamb “low and slow” at 325° for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. It turns out moist and delicious. With the lamb I serve rice pilaf and tzatziki sauce.

Tsoureki – Egg bread and Red eggsThe traditional egg bread for Greek Easter is tsoureki. I went to the Hellenic Bakery in Livonia to pick up a couple of loaves last Tuesday morning and they had sold out for the day. I was so disappointed because the bakery is quite a distance from my home. I was successful, however, in finding the Greek red dye for the eggs. Here are my photos of that process.

So the trip wasn’t a total loss, I picked up some Baklava too. Later, I was happy to find Egg bread at my local grocery store from Stahl’s bakery. If you want to see how tsoureki is baked authentically, check out this post from my blogger friend Peter Minakis.

On my way back from the Hellenic Bakery I stopped off at the Mediterranean Market & Bakery in Farmington Hills [they don’t have a website]. It was my first visit to this store and I was pleasantly surprised at their array of Middle Eastern foods. I purchased some delicious cookies there that are extremely similar to the Koulourakia (butter cookies) I make every year at Christmas.

“Spanakopita” Spinach Pie

Everyone in my family loves spinach pie. I buy mine from “Cuisine Adventures” at the frozen foods section in Costco. They’re great. 48 pieces in a box, 20 minutes in the oven and very delicious.

So, those are some of my shortcuts. If you live near me you can visit the stores I mentioned and try some of these ethnic delights. Keep an eye out for the next video that will give a sense of our day of cooking and family festivities. Hope you all had a Happy Easter. Christos Anesti!

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and granting life to those in the tombs” the Greek Orthodox Easter hymn, “Christos Anesti”.