Dig into some soul, Southern dishes

March 27, 2013 

Easter meals or picnics will not be complete without deviled eggs. My daughter and I boil and dye eggs and leave some hard-boiled and turn the rest into deviled eggs. We are picnicking this year, so we'll keep the eggs on ice.

Deviled eggs can be as plain as adding mayonnaise, salt, paprika, sweet relish and prepared mustard, but they can be spiced up with cayenne, curry or any number of spices.

Today, I thought I would share some of Joan B. Eaton's and my favorite ways to devil eggs and also how to boil the eggs. OK, so this is pretty basic, but for novice cooks even boiling an egg can be tricky.

A plastic pastry bag or plastic bag with the corner snipped off works well for piping or putting the filling in the egg halves.

PERFECT HARD-BOILED EGGS

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; add water to depth of 3 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 12-15 minutes. Drain immediately and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice.

BASIC DEVILED EGGS

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1- 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Paprika (for garnish)

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; add water to depth of 3 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 12-15 minutes. Drain immediately and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice. Tap each egg firmly on the counter until cracks form all over the shell. Peel under cold running water. Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully remove yolks. Mash yolks with mayonnaise. Add relish, mustard, salt, and pepper; stir well. Spoon yolk mixture into egg whites. Garnish with paprika.

Note: You can add more mayonnaise; use your own judgment. Make sure the egg mixture is not too dry.

-- Submitted by Joan B. Eaton

DEVILED EGGS

12 eggs

4 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use Kraft)

2 teaspoons vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons yellow mustard (I use French's)

Pepper to taste

Hard boil eggs, crack and remove shells; halve lengthwise.

Spoon out the yolks into a bowl; add all remaining ingredients except for pepper. Mash together with a fork until thoroughly mixed. Add pepper to taste.

Fill egg halves with the mixture and arrange on a tray. A sprinkle of paprika improves appearance.

This recipe makes 24 deviled eggs. If there are men in the family, double the quantity.

DEVILED EGGS WITH CRAB MEAT

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled

4 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing

2 tablespoons finely chopped celery

2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley

1/8 teaspoon each oregano and onion powder

Few drops Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 can (6 ounces) crabmeat, drained; even better, fresh lump crabmeat

Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks. With fork, mash yolks; add mayonnaise, celery, mustard, parsley, oregano, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add crab meat and mix well. Refill whites with yolk mixture and garnish as desired. Serve immediately or store covered in refrigerator. Use within 3 days.

MEXICAN DEVILED EGGS

6 hard-cooked eggs

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons pickled jalapeno slices, minced

1 tablespoon mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon salt

Chili powder and fresh parsley sprigs (for garnishes)

Cut eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully remove yolks. Mash egg yolks in a small bowl. Stir in mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients, and blend well. Spoon yolk mixture evenly into egg-white halves. Garnish.

Note: Although these eggs are not too spicy, prepare a milder version by reducing the amount of minced jalapenos.

-- Submitted by Joan B. Eaton

AVOCADO AND JALAPENO STUFFED EGGS

4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise

1/3 cup mashed ripe avocado, about 2/3 of a whole fruit

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon minced green onions, white and light green parts

1 to 2 teaspoon minced seeded jalapeno peppers

1 to 2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon kosher (sea) salt, or to taste

2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced, for garnish

Carefully remove yolk from whites. Place whites, cut side up, on a plate. With the back of a spoon, press yolks through a sieve into a small bowl, or mash in a bowl with a fork. Add the avocado, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno, lime juice and salt. Mash with a fork until blended.

Using a teaspoon, carefully stuff whites with yolk mixture, mounding the tops. Garnish each with cilantro. Makes 8.

Rice pilaf recipe

"This is my favorite rice noodle pilaf, and I think it is very similar to the one served at Phoenicia," said Linda Hook of Ocean Springs, Miss. "I hope Deb Melton will try it."

RICE AND NOODLE PILAF

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1 cup dried vermicelli noodles, broken into roughly 1-inch pieces

2 cup long-grain white rice

3 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat large skillet or pot over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the butter. As soon as butter melts, add the onion. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the noodles, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, until the noodles are golden brown and the mixture gives off a nutty aroma, 5-8 minutes. Add the rice, stir to combine, and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir in the chicken broth and salt. Raise the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice and noodles have absorbed all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and serve.

-- Submitted by Linda Hook

Wanted: Stuffed meatloaf

"I used to have a recipe for a meatloaf that had two layers of meatloaf with a cottage cheese center," said Susan Daugherty of Bradenton. "Have you or any of your readers ever heard of it? It was one of my favorites but disappeared during a move long ago. I would appreciate anyone who has this recipe to publish it for me."

Readers, do you have this recipe or a similar one? Please send them to me.

Happy Easter and Passover to all. Easter is Sunday, and Passover continues through Tuesday, April 2. What a glorious time of year!

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

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