Deviled Eggs – Three Ways

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Chickens and their lovely eggs are part of my childhood.  My Mom had chickens and I have fond memories of helping my Mom on the ‘farm’.  Now I’m following in her footsteps and have a small flock of chickens that were mostly rescued from slaughter at factory farms by Animal Place.  They are sweet girls who have lived tragic lives and I am lucky to have them live with me AND they make a lot of eggs! People ask me all the time when I’m going to make some egg recipes with this abundance of eggs.  Well, here you go!  I have always liked deviled eggs so decided to come up with a trio of deviled eggs that include the basic recipe plus one with Southwestern flavors, like cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper, and another taste sensation with lemon, capers and smoked salmon (just like you would put on a bagel but without the bagel)
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If you have been following goodmotherdiet for a while, I will apologize for repeating myself but I think there is a lot of misinformation out there about the eggs that we buy from the market.
Interesting fact:  In the US eggs for sale are required to be washed, pastuerized (with heat) and then refrigerated.  In the UK eggs for sale are not allowed to be washed, pastuerized or refrigerated.  The reasoning is that the eggs are born with a ‘bloom’ that protects them from bacteria and procludes the need for refrigeration which reduced the nutrition.  The UK also wants to keep their farmers accountable for creating conditions that are clean enough that eggs don’t need to be washed.  What a concept!  United States, are you listening?
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The Classifcations for eggs are purposefully misleading.  90% of eggs in America are from chickens raised in battery cages where they live crammed together with other hens, each with the space the size of an iPad, their entire short lives.  I am lucky to have a small flock of chickens that were rescued from factory farms, both from battery cages and ‘organic’ cage free.  Well none of them (even the organic ones) had ever had fresh food before because they didn’t recognize fresh fruits and veggies as food when I first got them,  AND the battery caged hens had never walked before. Think about that concept. I know that people are trying to make good decisions but it is difficult with the lack of oversight in labelling.  Living Homegrown has decoded the labels for us in real English.  Here is the deal:
  • REGULAR EGGS: These chickens are raised tightly together in cages stacked to the ceiling for the duration of their lives.  Their wings are clipped and they are debeaked to prevent pecking in such cramped conditions.  Don’t support these practices by buying these eggs. (See photo of my debeaked hen, Donette, below.  Her upper beak was cut off when she was a tiny chick and now she has trouble picking up food because she has been deprived of her most important tool. She is learning though and now she can RUN 🙂
  • CAGE FREE: This only means that the chickens were not in cases. They can still be confined in very close quarters inside a building where they are standing in their own muck and can barely move. They have little or no access to the outdoors.
  • FREE RANGE: According to the USDA regulation, “free range” only means that the chickens were allowed “access” to the outside with no specifications as the quality or the duration of that outside exposure. So unfortunately, this term is mostly used where the chickens are crammed in large warehouses that has a small door on one end that opens to a few feet of outside dirt space. Most of the chickens never even know that door exists and couldn’t get there even if they wanted to.
  • PASTURE RAISED: Although it does not have any current regulations, it is being used by sustainable farmers to mean chickens raised in the outdoors..in the pasture. Pastured raised eggs are what we think they are. This is what you want to buy if you are shopping for eggs.

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For those of you who are less concerned with animal welfare and more interested in nutrition, here is a photo of eggs from my hens who spend all day outside along with the paler yellow eggs from my newer hens who were just starting to eat ‘real’ food.  The darker yolks, not only have more flavor, they have a lot higher nutritional value. Regular store bought eggs will be even paler by comparison.

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Donette, my former battery caged hen, debeaked and dewinged as a baby

My chickens have their own Facebook Page if you want to follow them.  They LOVE getting LIKES! I named their page in honor of my Mom, Mrs V’s Rescue Chickens (just copy and paste into URL).

So, lets get back to making devilled eggs.  I have provided a recipe for traditional devilled eggs, followed by a spicy Southwestern version and one with smoked salmon, lemon and capers.  Choose one or make them all!

TIPS: Devilled eggs are usually made by slicing the eggs in half the long way but I have a tray that keeps them perched straight up when I cut them in half.  I think they look cute, so feel free to break with the norm.  You can spoon the filling back into the eggs, or if you want to get fancy, pipe it in.  If you don’t have a piping tool, you can put the filling in a small plastic baggie and cut one of the corners off for a homemade tool. Just squeeze gently into whatever pattern or design you prefer.

Traditional Devilled Eggs

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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CLASSIC DEVILED EGGS
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 tsp vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
paprika (optional)
  • Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; add water to cover eggs by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes.
  • Drain and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice.
  • Peel and rinse eggs with cold water.
  • Slice eggs in half, and carefully remove yolks.
  • Mash yolks in a food processor or with a fork until smooth. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper; stir well.
  • Spoon yolk mixture into egg whites. Garnish with paprika, if desired.

 

Southwestern Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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SOUTHWESTERN DEVILED EGGS

12 eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilipowder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-2 Tbsn lemon or lime juice
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
1 Tbsn cilantro
1 red or green jalapeno pepper, sliced
1 Tbsn black olives, sliced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and add cold water to cover eggs by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Drain and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice.  Peel and rinse with cold water.
  • Slice eggs either vertically or horizonatlly and carefully remove egg yolks leaving egg whites intact.
  • Mash yolks until smooth in a food processor or with a fork. Blend together yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, cumin, chilipowder and salt.
  • Spoon or pipe yolk mixture into egg white halves.
  • Top with jalapenos. olives and cilantro. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.
  • Serve cold

Smoked Salmon and Caper Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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12 eggs
2 oz smoked salmon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tbsn capers, drained
1 tsp lemon zest (plus more for garnish)
2 Tbsn lemon juice
1 Tbsn parsley or cilantro (optional)
  • Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and add cold water to cover eggs by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Drain and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice.  Peel and rinse with cold water.
  • Slice eggs in half either vertically or horizontally, and carefully remove yolks, keeping egg whites intact.
  • Mash yolks until smooth in a food processor or with a fork. Blend together yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, 1 Tablespoon capers, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Spoon or pipe yolk mixture into egg white halves.
  • Top with smoked salmon, capers, cilantro and lemon zest.
  • Serve cold

 

 

 

 

Frittata with Potatoes and Beet Greens

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Ever wonder what to do with those gorgeous beet tops after you’ve used the beets?  It seems like such a waste to throw them out, especially since they have more nutrition than the actual beets do. Not kidding!  Beet greens provide good amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals, and are also a great source of fiber. They belong to the chenopod family— which includes beets, chard, spinach and quinoa. The red and yellow pigments indicate their abundance of phytonutrients which provide many health benefits.

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I often saute beet greens in butter and garlic for a tasty side dish but this time I wanted to see if they could substitute for greens I would normally use in baking.  That said, if you don’t have beet greens, Rainbow swiss chard (which now you know is in the same botanical family) would work very well instead.  I chopped them up stems and all and sauteed them with red onion and shredded potato before baking in the oven with the eggs and cheese.  This savory frittata makes a delicious breakfast or a wholesome dinner.

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I would like to add a note about eggs.  I am lucky enough to live next door to a small family of chickens.  I give them my kitchen scraps and in return I get fresh eggs.  Aren’t they pretty?  When I do buy eggs, I no longer buy them from factory farms (which are hideous, dirty and cruel).  I only buy Pasture Raised Eggs which come from chickens that actually run around outside on a real farm.  It’s worth the additional cost to me. The eggs are more nutritious (just look at the difference between the anemic FF egg and the bright yellow pastured egg). Photo compliments of Supernutrition Academy.

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I also feel that my loudest voice is how I spend my dollars.  Money talks. Using your pocketbook is the best way to vote for and support the small farmer.  People often tell me they are confused by all the labels and don’t know what to buy.  Here is a great article, Decoding the Terms: Cage Free, Free Range, Pasture Raised Eggs, which describes in plain English what the terms on egg cartons really mean.  It might not be what you think.

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TIPS:  A cast iron pan is by far the best pan to use in cooking a frittata as it is heavy, retains even heat and can go from stovetop directly into the oven.  If you don’t have a heavy pan that can go in the oven you can try doing it all on the stovetop but you will have to flip it halfway through which can be tricky.  Lacking the correct pan, I would be more inclined to saute all veggies on the stovetop and pour it all in a greased baking dish and do the rest of the cooking in the oven.  I usually do not add milk or cream to my frittatas since my husband is averse to cream, however, if you want to ramp up the creaminess stir in 1/2 cup milk, cream or plain yogurt to the eggs before pouring them over the veggies.  I used a combination of havarti and gouda which was a great combination but this is a good use for the bits of cheeses left in your refrigerator.  They will melt together nicely with the eggs and potatoes.

 

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FRITTATA WITH POTATOES AND BEET GREENS

1 bunch beet greens or rainbow swiss chard (about 2 cups chopped, stems and all)
1/2 red onion
1 potato
10 eggs
1 cup gouda, gryuere or havarti cheese, grated
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

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  • Chop red onion and saute in butter several minutes. Rinse beet greens well and chop them into one inch pieces.  Add them to the onion mixture and saute for another 5  minutes.

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  • Grate potato by hand or with a food processor and add to greens and onions. Saute another 5 to 7 minutes until potatoes lose their raw taste and the greens are soft.

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  • Stir in cheeses.

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  • Beat eggs in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Pour them over the veggie mixture, making sure to even out all ingredients.

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  • Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Top should be slightly golden and puffy. If it doesn’t look ‘set’ cook another five minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

 

Frittata with Potatoes and Beet Greens

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 bunch beet greens or rainbow swiss chard (about 2 cups chopped)
1/2 red onion
1 potato
10 eggs
1 cup gouda, gryuere or havarti cheese, grated
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

  • Chop red onion and saute in butter several minutes
  • Rinse beet greens well and chop them into one inch pieces.  Add them to the onion mixture and saute for another 5  minutes.
  • Grate potato by hand or using a food processor and add to greens and onions. Saute another 5 to 7 minutes until potatoes lose their raw taste and the greens are soft.
  • Stir in cheeses, except parmesan.
  • Beat eggs in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Pour them over the veggie mixture, making sure to even out all ingredients. Top with parmesan
  • Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Top should be slightly golden and puffy. If it doesn’t look ‘set’ cook another five minutes.
  • Serve warm or room temperature.

Happy Valentine’s Day – Heart Shaped Eggs

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I saw this somewhere on the internet yesterday and found myself the only one up this morning, so …  obviously have way too much time on my hands. That said, I love hearts and collect hearts found in nature.  I’m pretty much a sucker for anything heart related, so heart shaped eggs for Valentine’s Day is a no-brainer.  I realize that this is not found in nature as it is more of a craft project, however, I am willing to look the other way.  This is silly, fun, adorable and very easy.  Just peel a hard boiled egg while it’s still warm and place it inside a folded piece of cardboard and rubberband a chopstick along the top.  Let cool and slice in two for heart shaped eggs.  What a great way to start the day! Or how about a cute addition to your salad tonight? I’m feeling the love…

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WHAT YOU NEED

1 hard boiled egg
piece of cardboard (I used a piece from a box of plastic bags)
2 rubber bands
chopstick or pencil
sharp knife

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  • Fold cardboard in half the long way and place peeled egg in the center.

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  • Lay the chopstick scross the middle of the egg and secure tightly with two rubberbands.

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  • Allow to cool (about 10 minutes), remove from the cardboard and cut into two. Share the Love!

Meatless Monday – Breakfast Galette

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Are you looking for a special Valentine’s Day breakfast treat for your honey? (Or perhaps, a Valentine’s Weekend breakfast)? Here is a festive twist on your traditional omlette or quiche that looks impressive but is easy to make.

During our summers in Maine, we have a lot of house guests and I like to have an assortment of foods available as people start rolling out of bed. Sometimes its hard boiled eggs, cut up fruit and muffins or bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon. My favorite though, if I get up early enough, is to make a frittata with whatever veggies I have in the refrigerator. Frittatas are very forgiving, will stay warm for quite a while and are still delicious at room temperature. A galette is more of a cross between a pie and a quiche, more of a rustic free form tart. They can be sweet with apples and cinnamon or savory with vegetables and meats.  This version, with veggies, eggs and cheese is perfect for a rainy/snowy morning paired with a little fruit salad and a hot cup of coffee.  The red pepper makes it Valentine colors and the shape of the red pepper strips really lends itself to making hearts.  I usually form the red pepper into a pinwheel shape but for Valentine’s Day the kitschy hearts are pretty cute.

I know its morning and you don’t want to go to the trouble of making a pie crust-sometimes I don’t either.  You can buy an already prepared pie crust or dough that you can easily roll out into a circle.  There is very good wheat, whole grain and gluten-free dough available which makes this really easy. I like to have them on hand, just in case the whim strikes me to whip up an apple pie or something, especially in the fall when fruit is falling off the trees.  Or you can skip the crust altogether and make a frittata.  For that I would recommend using a cast iron pan which can go from sautéing the veggies right into the oven to bake.  A homemade pie crust is delicious though if you have the time.  Click on the link for easy step by step directions and video:  http://allrecipes.com/howto/making-a-pie-crust-step-by-step/

Breakfast Galette

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

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1 pie crust
6 fresh eggs
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1/Tbsn butter
6-7 mushrooms, sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup assorted cheeses (grated)
1/2 red bell pepper
salt & pepper to taste
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  • Roll out dough and place in a pie pan, letting the excess go over the edges.
  • Saute mushrooms until they lose their water, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and add scallions and mix them in to let them soften.

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  • Crack eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork.  Reserve a bit of egg white to brush onto crust.  Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

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  • In this order, place veggies into pie crust spreading evenly as you go:  zucchini, mushroom mixture and cheese.  Pour egg mixture over the top.  Arrange red pepper strips into a pinwheel or make them into four hearts.

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  • Fold the edge of the crust over so it overlaps and makes and edge.  Brush exposed crust with egg white

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  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the middle has puffed up.  Cut into quarters, it serves four.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!