Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Beginnings, Daughters, and Deviled Eggs

Linda and Caron put the spring quilts out on the tables at the hotel and added some wispy silk flowers to the vases.  I love the feel of new beginnings. 

The lilacs are blooming at my house, and the smell of lilacs is the smell of our daughter.   Lara was born when the blooms were at their peak;  Mom came to stay with us a few days, and she put them throughout the house; and it was an infusion of beauty, sight and smell.   I hope that someday the small plants at my current home will be large enough for me to scatter them over the house again.   Meanwhile, they make me smile.

I guess this makes me think about daughters.  I love my boys, and they know it, and they will be in a future rambling.  But there is something about a daughter that is differently special.   I remember when Lara was little she would smile and just turn the room into sunshine.   She would run and play with such enthusiasm and was the most beautiful little girl (I have to admit that the granddaughters are a very close second).  I loved the bows in the hair and the frilly clothes as long as she would let me have input into her clothing choices.  I am picturing her in a white pinafore with long blond curls and the most petite perky nose.  She is all grown up and has children of her own now, but as all of you know, daughters are forever.

So I thought that in honor of Lara and the love I have for her,  I would talk about one of her favorite foods and a timely one, Deviled Eggs.  I saw an illustration yesterday that used a v-shaped knife to cut the whites so that the top part was put back on over the filling it formed a hat.  A face was then created with pieces of olive and carrot to make it look like a baby chick.   I might try that with the grand kids this weekend.  But one thing is for sure, for Easter we will have the eggs.

Hard cooking the eggs is the first obstacle.   I have seen lots of instructions, and this is what I have found to work the best.   Put the eggs in cool water in a saucepan that will hold enough water to cover them.  Two reason I can think of to do this:  1)  the eggs are not as likely to crack open as when put into water that is already boiling 2)  if the eggs are submerged in water they will be less hot than if in steam....and high heat makes eggs tougher.

Okay, so bring the water to a boil and then turn down to a simmer ...I cover here just because, but as long as water covers the eggs, I can't see that it matters.  Set the timer for 10 minutes or if you are scared of not getting the eggs done enough, set it for 12.

As soon as the timer goes off, pour off the hot water and shake the pan so the eggs crash into each other to break the shells.  Cover with cold water.  I keep it running so that the eggs don't just get the water warm and then just sit in a warm bath.  I have noticed that sister Lin puts some ice in the water, and that seems like a good idea.   Anyway you want the eggs to stop cooking and not skulk around in the pan getting a green ring around the yolk

I leave the eggs in the cold water until they are cool all the way through, and I get ready to peel them.   Now, in answer to the question about when eggs are just the right age so that they will peel easily, I have heard many stories, but I think that when they are too fresh, they don't peel as well.  I have made up my own reason for this:  the air space is still so small in the egg that the membrane is firmly attached to the shell and egg.  Whatever the real reason, sometimes the egg is hard to shell nicely so do the best you can.  

I like to peel under slowly running cool water.  It seems to help the shell come off, and it washes it away onto my catcher as I peel.  If some of the eggs just come apart, keep that to mix with some sausage gravy for breakfast..

I like to half my eggs lengthwise.  I think they sit nicely, and you don't take a chance on the yolk being all in the top or bottom.  However, if I try the chick idea, I will have to half them across the shortest part...that seems lengthwise to me also, so just cut them however you like.

Put the yolks in a bowl and use a fork to smash them all up.

Season with salt and pepper, a little garlic powder, some prepared mustard and enough mayonnaise so that the mixture is creamy.  (now, I can't tell you how much mustard you much devil do you want...I use about a tablespoon for a dozen eggs, but mom would use about three and then add some vinegar)

Now this is where you can get creative if you want and add minced cooked bacon, or the "smushed" up yolks that were a mess, or capers, or pimiento or just anything you happen to be craving at the time.  But for Lara we just leave it plain.

Use a spoon or pipe the filling back into the whites and sprinkle with smoky paprika or some minced fresh parsley.   You could also put cilantro or chopped red and green peppers, or a slice of jalapeno.

In other words, you can put whatever you want, but an Easter ham would not be complete without a platter of deviled eggs.   If your children hunted for real eggs in the morning and are willing to sacrifice them for lunch, there is nothing wrong with using them....just be careful if they have been out of the frig for more than a couple of hours.  I just made up the time, it is an estimation.

I hope you and your "peeps" have a great Easter.  Remember that He is Risen.


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