Pretty quiet around here just now- it’s mid to late summer and I’m working hard to keep my mind in the moment– it is STILL summer, despite the feeling that it is almost over. I’m trying to work out as often as I can, to hang with the kids (my oldest is in a day camp this week and it’s breaking both our hearts!), and to be in the pool as much as possible.
All that said, I am also trying to see friends as often as I can. The other night, for example, I heading to a friend’s house to drink wine, eat snacks and gossip. I brought an easy and always appreciated snack, deviled eggs. Some people like to get super fancy with their eggs and add mushrooms, bacon, chives, etc. I keep mine super simple and traditional- nothing but the filling and a sprinkle of paprika. Yum.
Deviled eggs were one of the first things I ever consciously saw made without a recipe (My grandmother almost always cooked without a recipe but I didn’t realize it at the time.). It was summer, when my cousins and I were staying with my grandmother. We were probably around 11 or so. It was afternoon and we had spent the morning in the pool, watching stand up comedy on television and giggling. Emily decided that she wanted deviled eggs. Melanie agreed that this was a good idea. I had never had a deviled egg but I almost never say no to food.
Off to the kitchen we went and I watched as Emily and Melanie made hard boiled eggs, peeled them, scooped out the yolk and mixed it into a bright yellow filling, no measurements, no recipe. They used spoons to fill the eggs, added a sprinkle of paprika and then handed one to me.
I bit into it and my life was altered. Slightly spicy and tart, creamy and cool- it was the perfect snack. We made them many times over that summer and I’ve since bonded with The Hippo over them (It’s her southern heritage showing through).
The problem with deviled eggs is the hard boiling of eggs. I can never, for the life of me, ever recall how long you’re supposed to boil the eggs. Then there’s the peeling. I am horrid at peeling hard boiled eggs. I don’t have the patience, I get very frustrated and I usually end up ripping away most of the egg white. When I peel them, the hard boiled eggs tend to look like someone was gnawing on them.
So, to the internet I went, in search of a way to make the eggs easier to peel and the amount of time needed to cook them. If you do a search like this, you’ll see (as I did) that there are a number of ways to achieve the perfect hard boiled egg.
I tried the thumb tack method. Basically, you prick the round end of the egg with a thumb tack or safety pin or something so that you break the air bubble that’s in there. This makes the eggs easier to peel after they’re boiled. And don’t leave the thumb tack in while you boil them. This method worked for me!
Emily and Melanie’s Deviled Eggs
Eggs (Remember that one egg makes two deviled eggs and plan accordingly)- I usually use a whole dozen
yellow (not dijon, not brown, nothing fancy) mustard– about two to four tablespoons
mayonnaise– about two to four tablespoons
salt, pepper and paprika to taste
*Note about measurements: I never measure. I use a few spoonfuls or squirts and then taste. I’m guess at the tablespoon measurement above based on how it looks. You’ll have to taste as you go and start by adding less than you think you need– always easier to add more than to take away what’s already in there.
Prick your eggs with a thumb tack. Do this on the fatter, rounder end. Place them in a saucepan and cover with enough cold water to cover the eggs by about an inch. Put them on the stove to boil, over high heat. Once the water is good and boiling (big bubbles, lots of steam), boil the eggs for one minute. Then take them off the heat and cover the pot. Let them stand for ten minutes (off the heat but covered).After ten minutes has passed, pour out all the water and shake the pan around, causing the eggs to smash against each other and crack.
Now fill your pan up with cold water and ice cubes.
Wait five minutes and then drain out the water and any leftover ice. You are now ready to peel. The method that worked well for me was to sort of roll the egg around on the counter, cracking the entire shell in kind of a spiderweb way.
Then peel the eggshell off. Doing it near and under running water can help get all the little bits of shell off. I found that with this thumb tack method, the shells slipped off more easily and in bigger pieces.
(Yes, one short of a dozen. The husband always requires a hard boiled egg for him to eat plain.) Next get a bowl ready and slice your eggs in half. I find that if you do it lengthwise, there’s slightly more stability when you put them on a plate than if you do it the other way.
Scoop out the beautifully yellow yolk and dump into your bowl. Set the egg white aside.
Once all the yolks are in the bowl, add the mustard and mayo.
Mix all together. I use a fork but you could certainly use a whisk or a hand mixer. It seems like the perfect use for The Hippo’s army fork.
Now taste it and add salt, pepper and maybe more mayo or mustard, depending. Want it more spicy? Up the mustard. Want it more creamy? Mayo it is. Once it tastes as you want it to taste, get out a ziploc bag. Scoop that filling into the bag.
Get as much of the air out as possible and sort of squish that filling into one corner. Then ziploc it.
Snip off just the smallest bit of the corner. Mazel tov, you’ve just made a piping bag.
Place all your egg whites on a plate or platter that you plan to serve from- as long as it will fit into the fridge, you should be set.
Use the piping bag to fill each egg white with the yellow-y goodness.
About halfway through, I always think there won’t be enough filling. There always is.
Garnish with a bit of paprika.
Try not to eat them all since you are supposed to be sharing, right?