Debbie Dance Uhrig
Have you purchased your Easter Eggs yet? I hope so because a more mature egg will be ‘so’ much easier to peel than a fresh egg. I have been asked so many different questions about eggs over the last 10 years that I sometimes think I could author the ‘Perfect Egg’ book.
This week I was asked about what changes the color of the egg yolks? Let’s see if I can give you a well-rounded answer. If your chickens are fed wheat supplements along with bugs and greens, etc. their yolks will be paler. Chickens fed corn supplements along with their insect consumption and greens will have a much more prominent yellow yolk. You can feed your chickens tomatoes, red peppers and carrots to increase their carotenoids which will also darken the color of the yolk.
Also nice to know is that certain breeds of chickens can produce different egg colors and egg yolks. A duck egg is often sought after by many pastry chefs due to the high amount of fat content in the yolks. The pastry is richer and flakier.
As Easter approaches many seasoned cooks fail to realize how many novices virtually have no idea how to prepare a deviled egg. So, why don’t we do a little 101 Deviled Eggs made easy?
First, I won’t tell you how to boil your eggs!! There are many different ways from every home and region. I was brought up to place the eggs in cold water, bring them to a boil for ten minutes, remove from heat, drain and cool in cold water.
Another common direction is to put the eggs in cold water and then bring them to a boil for 3 minutes, cover with a lid and remove from the heat source for 7 minutes. *Excessive over cooking renders a green ring around the yolk or worse. Sometimes you will hear how certain stirring methods during the cooking will render a perfectly centered egg. The easiest way, in my way of thinking, is 24 hours ahead of cooking place the eggs tip point down, in the carton.
Fresh eggs are extremely difficult to peel, even if you use all the tips I recommend in this column. You usually want an egg that’s a week to two weeks old for deviled eggs. Another suggestion is to place a wedge of lemon or a tablespoon of vinegar in the egg water. From a scientific angle here’s what is happening: The acidity helps more alkaline to develop in the shell, making them easier to peel. This also causes the egg white protein to bond to each other.
Many chefs recommend placing cooked eggs into ice water because it will help separate the egg membrane from the shell. I just use cold water without ice, unless the eggs are real fresh! Another acquired approach is before placing the cold water on the eggs to cool, gently shake the eggs in the pan cracking the shells.
A few years ago everyone was into baking eggs in their muffin tins. I wasn’t interested in this venue because when you use metal muffin tins it’s a great way to warp the pans. If you use silicone this method might be more feasible.
Currently the new rage is to steam the eggs! Around an inch of water in the steamer and then place six eggs in to steam for about 13 minutes. I may or may not try this method. Perhaps I’m old-school enough that when something works really well I like to stick with it.
Filling a boiled egg white was always the hardest part for me in making deviled eggs. As soon as I started putting the filling in a Ziploc bag I started making eggs for everyone! Once you cut the tip off the bag, filling is just a dream!
It looks like this season I’m making around 5-7 dozen eggs for co-workers and bosses at work. I’m flattered they enjoy my eggs so much. Making 5 dozen really isn’t that much more work. Frequently I don’t decorate the eggs until its closer to serving time. One strong word of advice: If you take deviled eggs to a carry-in function take at least 2-3 dozen. Everyone loves deviled eggs, but not everyone will take the time to make them. I’ve watched this process at church dinners. Often the first 15 people in line get deviled eggs, but after that they’re all gone.
Cost? Boy are we in luck. Last week eggs were .35 a dozen at one store. I paid .98 a dozen this past week. Deviled eggs and mashed potatoes take time, but they are very economical to make. If money is tight I always recommend taking one of these two items.
We could rattle on about eggs for two more weeks! They are full of wonderful protein and now researchers have changed their minds about how many we should eat per week. At our home it’s nothing to go through 2-3 dozen a week.
You would too if you had a teenager at your home!
The proverbial egg has rescued many meals in American families. Don’t know what to fix for supper? Breakfast: eggs scrambled, fried, poached (my favorite way), and hard boiled, in an omelet or soufflé. Need something to eat after being sick, eggs. Dental work and you need protein but can’t chew, eggs.
Finally I know what dessert I’m having for Easter dinner. Phillip, our son, decided for me this past week, lemon cake. I’m excited because I can make it in advance.
Enjoy your week, praise another for good works, and buy a coffee for a friend. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
2 dozen cooled, hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons vinegar or pickle juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon creole seasoning or multi-seasoning spice
Slice peeled eggs in half lengthwise and place yolk in a bowl. Using a metal fork, crumble the yolks as fine as possible. To the yolks add the remainder of the ingredients and blend until very few lumps remain. Using a spoon or spatula, place the filling in a zip-lock bag. Cut a very small tip from one corner and fill egg halves accordingly, squeezing the bag from the top down.
You may add additional ingredients to your filling as desired, such a pickled relish, dry dill, bacon, chives, onion or seafood to name a few. And, like potato salad, temper with more mustard or vinegar until arriving at your own ‘special’ egg recipe. If you do not have a Creole spice on hand, substitute with salt and pepper or a seasoning salt of choice.
Over the top of the eggs you may wish to sprinkle additional seasonings, paprika, roasted red pepper pieces or pimentos. Slivers of green onion are attractive as well as a slice of an olive. Personally I prefer bacon as a top garnish versus putting it inside the filling. Inside the yolk filling it gets rather soggy.
I did not grow up with this style of deviled eggs. My mom, Betty Dance, made the mustard/vinegar style of deviled eggs. I ate them, of course, but my favorite deviled eggs are made with salad dressing or mayonnaise. (Sorry Mom!)