Nesting Instincts: Create a Fresh Backdrop for a Spring Dessert with Ornamental Grasses and Decorative Eggs

By Bertelsen, Ann | Sunset, April 1999 | Go to article overview

Nesting Instincts: Create a Fresh Backdrop for a Spring Dessert with Ornamental Grasses and Decorative Eggs


Bertelsen, Ann, Sunset


* To celebrate the season of new growth, put all your eggs in special baskets. Scoop ice cream "eggs" into crisp, golden filo nests for a festive dessert (see photo at right). Then extend the theme to the tabletop with an arrangement of decorated true eggs nestled with wheatgrass.

The brilliant light green of this grass creates a particularly striking and springlike backdrop. It's available from a surprising number of sources, including health food stores, pet food stores, selected grocery stores, and even juice bars, where the grass is mixed into drinks. Usually sold sprouting from soil in large flats priced from $15 to $20, wheatgrass can be cut to fit almost any type of shallow container. At right, we show it in a terra-cotta saucer set in a metal florist's frame covered with moss.

Choose a container that suits your table - for example, a rectangular platter for a rectangular table, or a round vegetable steamer on a round table. Or simply use a decorative plate. Place a plastic liner in the container and insert the wheatgrass. With a daily spray of water, the grass will last about a week.

Conventionally dyed eggs will look fine with the wheatgrass. Here are three alternatives: For a simple, natural look, nestle large brown eggs, raw or hard-cooked, in or around the grass. For an elegant, understated effect, paint white eggs in pastel shades (directions on page 144). For a little more drama, decorate eggs by the wax-resist method, using vivid dyes available from mail-order catalogs (directions on page 144). They are a variation of Ukrainian-style Easter eggs, which are noted for their richly saturated colors and intricate patterns.

1. Pastel eggs

The charm of these eggs is in their subtle colors and marbleized appearance, produced by blending two and sometimes three colors together while the paint is wet.

TIME: About 1 hour

MATERIALS

* Acrylic paint in pastel shades of celadon, duck egg blue, pale green, yellow, and peach

* Plastic saucers

* Foam paintbrush

* A dozen large white eggs, pumped

* Cheesecloth

* Artist's brush

* Varnish

* Plastic sandwich bag

DIRECTIONS

1. Squeeze a small amount of paint into a saucer. Use a foam brush to coat an entire egg with this base color (a).

2. Squeeze a dollop of a contrasting or deeper shade of paint into a saucer. Dip a wad of cheesecloth into the second color and pat it onto the egg to produce a mottled look (b).

3. You can add a third color for a deeper texture, rotating the egg within the cheesecloth. This will produce a more even, less mottled effect. You can also use a fine brush to paint contrasting dots on the egg.

4. When the egg is thoroughly dry, coat it with varnish. For varnishing technique, see egg-decorating suggestions below.

2. Ukrainian-style Easter eggs

These eggs are dipped in nonedible, water-soluble dyes sold in kits costing $5 to $21 (Ukrainian Gift Shop, St, Anthony, MN; 612/788-2545). The basic kit includes three dyes (yellow, scarlet, and light blue), a cake of beeswax, and a kistka - a pencil-thin writing tool with an attached funnel to hold the wax. Kits usually include patterns for making the decorative egg pysanky.

TIME: About half a day

MATERIALS

* A dozen large white eggs

* Pencil

* Ukrainian egg-decorating kit

* Pint-size glass or plastic containers

* Large pillar candle

* Plastic spoons

* Drying rack

* Plastic sandwich bag

* Paper towels

* Varnish

DIRECTIONS

(Note: The weight of unpumped eggs helps them sink into liquid dyes, so decorate these eggs before pumping. …

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