Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Deviled Eggs

In honor of the last day of summer tomorrow, I thought I would make a picnic and barbecue favorite: Deviled Eggs.  This recipe comes from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food.

To be honest, my fella and I are not the healthiest eaters.  So several years ago, I was looking for a way to add greater nutrition to our meals, and I discovered Jessica’s first cookbook.  The recipes are geared to family cooking and include a lot of vegetable (and some fruit) purees that essentially disappear once everything is assembled and cooked.
I’m normally just cooking for the two of us, so I don’t have to puree and “hide” healthy ingredients.  But it is helpful to have everything integrated… it kind of keeps us from over-thinking our food.  For example, steamed zucchini and yellow squash would never be Walter’s first choice as a side dish.  But he loves when I steam or saut√© different squashes and add them to a starch like couscous.  I can then serve another vegetable on the side, and our meal includes a lot more vitamins and fiber.

Deviled Eggs comes from the chapter on Mealtime Recipes and reads as follows:

Prep and serve: 25 minutes
Serves 6

6 large eggs
3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup cauliflower or carrot puree
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pepper and paprika to taste and for presentation (optional)

Place the eggs in a saucepan and add cold water to cover.  Set the saucepan over high heat, cover, and bring the water to a boil.  Immediately remove the pan from the heat and let stand, still covered, for exactly 15 minutes.  Drain the eggs, cool under cold running water, and peel.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks.  Put three of the yolks in a bowl and discard the rest (or save for another meal).

Add the mayonnaise, vegetable puree, and salt, and mash together with a fork.

Fill each egg half with the yolk mixture.

Jessica’s method of cooking the eggs is truly sure fire.  There is a lot of disagreement about whether you should add salt to the cooking water.  I do, and it seems to simplify the peeling process.

I always use carrots, because they add a lovely sweetness and color to the yolks.  I steam and mash but don’t worry about pureeing them.  My family knows there are carrots in the eggs.  And when I serve them at larger parties, most people think I’ve just used some sort of special eggs to achieve the color.

A couple other changes I make to the recipe:

I don’t use reduced-fat mayonnaise.  I use Duke’s Real Mayonnaise.  Duke’s has that creamy-eggy-vinegary-tangy-taste mayonnaise should have and is the perfect complement to Southern salads.  It’s basically a grocery staple further south but is sometimes difficult to find here in Central Virginia.  Duke’s does make Fat-Free, Light and Cholesterol-Free Mayonnaises, but I figure the recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons or 300 calories and 36 grams of fat over 6 servings.

I also use all the eggs yolks.  I know it makes each egg very full of filling, but isn’t that kind of the point?  Unfortunately, my photos are looking a little sad and don’t really capture how yummy… to the eyes and the taste buds… these eggs are.

I usually sprinkle the finished eggs with pepper instead of salt or paprika, but I don’t see why you couldn’t dress the eggs with garlic or celery salt, hot sauce or capers.  And if you’re serving them to an adventurous crowd, why not try adding dill or horseradish or even a little wasabi to the mix?  Experiment!  And make these eggs whenever you want a taste of summer.

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