Cascarones: "Eggstra" Good Fun
Ever heard of a cascaron? Maybe it's that new trick all the snowboarders are doing. Or is it the name of that luscious coffee drink your best friend was raving about? As far as I know, the answer is neither of the above.
Cascarones are whole eggshells that have been emptied of their contents, washed (carefully!), dried and filled with confetti. After the small hole in the shell is sealed over with brightly colored tissue paper, the cascarones usually receive a spray-coating of paint and sometimes, a dusting of glitter.
These little packages of fun are a part of Latino tradition and most often show up at Easter and Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Cinco de Mayo Spanish for May 5 commemorates Mexicos victory over French troops on May 5, 1862.
Arguably the most popular Fiesta event is "A Night in Old San Antonio" (a.k.a. NIOSA). This La Villita block party consists of five nights of huge crowds, colored lights, decorated booths, music, great food, good spirits and the aforementioned cascarones. You begin the evening cracking an eggshell or two over a friend's head and by the end of the evening, sneak attacks are launched by total strangers. All in fun, of course!
If you're unable to attend any of these events and would like to make your own cascarones, you are in luck. The process is quite simple; the challenge comes when you have to figure out what to do with all those leftover eggs. Here are two recipes to get you started. But first here's how to make your very own cascarones.
Spread out old newspapers (patios are a great place to do this just don't pick a windy day!). Group filled eggshells on newspaper and spray them with paint. If using glitter, shake some on before paint dries (an old salt-shaker works well with fine glitter).
When cascarones are dry, store them in empty egg cartons.
Remember, the fun of cascarones involves the element of surprise. And be sure to use them outdoors!
Smashing Scrambled EggsYou begin the evening cracking an eggshell or two over a friend's head
In a deep, nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat butter or margarine over medium-high heat until melted. Add the egg mixture and, as egg mixture begins to set around the edges, stir lightly with a heat-safe spatula or a wooden spoon to allow uncooked egg mixture to flow toward sides of the pan. Continue cooking 5 to 7 minutes until eggs are set to desired doneness. Serve with Fiesta Pepper Salsa. Makes 8 main-dish servings.
Fiesta Pepper SalsaThis is a nice variation on the usual salsa. In the words of a certain TV chef, this will definitely kick your eggs up a couple of notches!
Add tomatoes with their juice and 1/2 cup water; and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini slices and cook until tender, 10 minutes longer, stirring gently. Keep warm or refrigerate until ready to use. Serve at room temperature or reheat. Stir in cilantro/parsley when ready to serve. Makes about 4 cups.
Chocolate Roll CakeI can't imagine Easter without chocolate. When I was little, I wouldn't even change out of my new outfit before tearing into my chocolate bunny soon to be minus his ears! During my college years, this was the dessert of choice when I wanted to impress a date, family and/or friends.
For the Cake:
Sift together the cornstarch, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Sift again into egg mixture and fold, blending well. Spread batter in prepared pan and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake.
Loosen edges with spatula, lift cake from pan by paper ends, and invert on clean kitchen towel liberally sprinkled with confectioners sugar. Carefully peel off wax paper. With a very sharp knife, trim any crisp edges from cake (this makes rolling easier). Cool for 5 minutes, then roll up from narrow end with towel in between. Cool on rack about 1 hour.
For the Cream Filling:
For the Chocolate Frosting:
Frost the cake roll, making decorative grooves lengthwise with a small spatula. Chill at least 30 minutes. Makes about 8 to 10 servings.
Now for all of you party animals the instructions for making cascarones.
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