Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hard Boiled Eggs, Anyone? (Deviled Eggs & Pickled Eggs)

At this time each year, I would dread having to figure out just what to do with all of the hard-boiled eggs that we had hanging around after Easter. My daughter loved Easter Egg Hunts, (and still does at 26) so we always had at least a dozen (or more) of the little buggers left over each year.  More often than not, I would usually fall back on that good old stand-by, egg salad.  Now, don't get me wrong... We love egg salad around here, but let's face it;  you can only eat just so many egg salad sandwiches before you get mighty sick of the stuff.

So, what else can you do with your leftover eggs? Well, out of necessity I came up with a few ideas over the years that saved the Easter Egg Hunt from becoming extinct around here. If my daughter ever realized how close I came to eliminating her favorite part of Easter morning, she probably would have run away from home!  Here are some of my favorite ways (and the recipes for a couple of them) to use up those leftover eggs. They're all pretty simple and quite tasty too.

1) Deviled Eggs
2) Pickled Eggs (Don't knock 'em til you've tried 'em! Really!)
3) Sprinkling the chopped eggs over briefly cooked Spring vegetables like Asparagus with a tangy vinaigrette
4) Add them to a Macaroni or Potato Salad
5) Throw them into a Spinach, Chef or Cobb Salad, or even a simple Tossed Green Salad
6) And of course, so as not to leave out our furry family members: A bit of chopped egg is a special treat and a good source of added protein when mixed in with a dry dog or cat food. (not too much, though)

Every mom or grandma has her own recipe for these delightful little morsels. While great for picnics and cook-outs, they're just as nice as a little snack when you're sitting on your front porch sipping your sweet tea or lemonade. Or... maybe an icy cold Mint Julep, Y'all!
Mary's Deviled Eggs
  • 6 Hard Boiled Eggs, peeled
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise (may need more depending on the moistness of the yolks)
  • 2 Tsp Dijon or Yellow Mustard
  • 2 Tsp Capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tsp Yellow Onion, grated or 1 Scallion, white/light green parts, finely minced
  • 1 Tbls Prepared Sweet or Dill Pickle Relish (whichever you prefer)
  • A couple of Dashes of your favorite hot sauce (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Paprika, Cayenne Pepper or small sprigs of Parsley (as garnish)
Using a very sharp paring knife, cut the eggs in half lengthwise, being careful to keep the whites intact. Using a small spoon, gently scoop out the yokes into a mixing bowl and mash them well with a fork. Add the Mayo, Mustard and all remaining ingredients to the yolks and combine thoroughly. (You may need a tad more or less of the mayo, depending on the moisture of the yolks)

Using a pastry bag or a zip-top bag with one corner cut off, pipe the yolk mixture into each of the egg halves until they are slightly mounded. Garnish them with a sprinkling of the paprika or cayenne or a sprig of parsley. If you don't have one of those "deviled egg platters" that come with the little impressions in them to hold the eggs, you can take a tray or platter that has slightly higher sides and make a bed for them with things like shredded lettuce or cabbage, dried beans and lentils, or edamame. (boiled fresh soybeans)  If you look around your pantry, you can find any number of edible items that will keep the eggs upright, but do try to make it something that won't impart too much of an "odd" flavor to the eggs as they sit there. I thought I was being so clever once and used some star anise and juniper berries mixed together on the platter. Their flavors/aromas were so strong that it was all you could taste when you bit into the eggs. Never did that again!

Pickled Eggs? Yup! If you're anywhere close to my age and you've spent any time during your misspent youth in a typical neighborhood "dive" bar (and I really do mean that in the most loving sense of the term) you'll understand how delicious a couple of pickled eggs and a nearby shaker of salt can be!

There are several ways to pickle eggs, but I prefer mine to be pretty basic. If you've never had them, don't turn your nose up at them without trying them first.  They're especially good when you're having a couple of icy cold beers on a hot summer day. Keep the salt shaker handy and I always spoon out a small bowl of the yummy pickling liquid for dipping. 
Pickled Eggs
  • 2 Dozen Hard Boiled Eggs, peeled
  • 2 Cups White Vinegar
  • 2 Cups Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Lg Yellow Onions, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
  • 8 Lg Garlic Cloves, peeled and very lightly "smashed" with the side of a knife
  • 2 Tbls Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tbls Mustard Seed
  • 2 Tbls Celery Seed
  • 6 Whole Cloves
  • 10 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 2 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
**You'll need 2 large clean glass jars with tight-fitting screw-top lids. Each jar should be large enough to hold 1 dozen eggs, 2&1/2 cups of liquid, onions and garlic cloves. (approx 4 quarts)

In a large saucepan, bring both types of Vinegar, Water, Sugar and all of the other spices to a boil over medium-high to high heat. (Do not add onions or garlic)  Make sure the sugar and salt have dissolved completely before turning the heat off.

While the pickling liquid is coming to a boil, add 1 dozen eggs, half the onion slices and half the garlic cloves to each jar, layering them as you go. I (carefully) put the liquid into a measuring cup(s) or bowl with a pour spout to avoid burning myself or others when pouring. Pour 1/2 the liquid over each jar of eggs until it reaches 1/4 inch from the top of the jar. (if you don't have quite enough liquid, you can add some additional Cider or White Vinegar to make up the difference) Screw the lids on each jar immediately and set aside in an area that is room temperature to cool. (as the hot liquid cools it will seal the jars)

Allow the jars to sit at room temperature for about 1 week. (The longer they sit, the more flavorful they'll be.) Once they've been opened, I suggest refrigerating them. My Gramps and most of the folks who operated the neighborhood bars that we hung out in back in the day didn't do that because I guess they figured there was enough vinegar in there to kill off any "critters", but I tend to err on the side of caution myself. LOL!

So, I hope this gives you all some new or different ideas for those leftover Easter Eggs that's a welcome change from the usual Egg Salad.  Maybe next year, you might even want to boil up a few extra eggs, just so you can make these treats! LOL

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  1. Wow! I've never been brave enough to pickle them. You might have inspired me!

  2. The deviled aggs sound delicious - still can't get my head around pickled eggs though :-)

  3. betty: That's awesome! I'd be thrilled if it did inspire you! Pickling is an age old means of preserving all kinds of foods, and with so many families returning to a "farm to table" style of living and eating, it's a delicious way to enjoy the produce from farmers markets or that we grow in our own gardens throughout the rest of the year. Plus, it's much easier than most people assume.

    Cate: OK... So, they sound a bit odd when you've never had them. I get that. But, here's a bit of an experiment: The next time you cook hard boiled eggs, cut one of them in half, sprinkle a bit of malt vinegar and a little salt on one half and give it a taste. If you like that, then you're sure to like pickled eggs! Who knows? You may just end up loving them!

  4. I really like your recipes, Mrs. B. I've only just thrown mayo in my deviled eggs (yes, that's lame!). My daughter just told me this weekend that her friend puts curry on them. That sounds interesting, too. Hugs, Kim

  5. Kim: Thanks! and it's not at all lame that you just use mayo.... I did the same thing for a long time because that's what my mom did. Having a dad who was ultra picky I grew up on food that was really good but pretty basic. I started adding the other stuff as I began really loving to cook and reading cookbooks and magazines, etc.

    I've done curry at times too. I like it, but some of my family members didn't! Oh well, you can't please everyone, right?


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