It’s all about the eggs when following Easter traditions

Easter and hard-boiled, coloured eggs are a tradition in many homes. Making the perfect hard-cooked egg, which is tender with a bright yellow yolk, is easy with the correct cooking procedure.

Making the perfect hard-boiled egg starts with older eggs because fresh eggs are harder to peel.

Begin by placing the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan of cold water. The water should cover the eggs by at least one inch (2 cm). Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for two minutes and then cover the pan with a tight fitting lid, turn off the heat and let the pan sit on the burner for 12 minutes. Use a timer.

While the eggs are sitting, fill a large bowl or the sink with cold water and add ice to lower the temperature.

Carefully lift the eggs from the hot water and place the eggs in the ice water. Let them sit in the ice water for five to 10 minutes until completely cool. The gentle cooking reduces the tendency of the egg whites to become rubbery, and the rapid cooking lessens the formation of a grey-green ring around the yolk.

Once the eggs are cooked, colour them or place them in a sealed container and return to the refrigerator.

Hard-cooked eggs with the shell on that are kept in a sealed container will keep for one week in the refrigerator. Eggs should not be left at room temperature for more then two hours. If using for decoration and you plan to eat them later, refrigerate within two hours. Food spoils quickly in the “temperature danger zone” range of 4 to 60 C (40 to 140 F).

Why not have a little friendly competition before eating your eggs.

Egg wars are a fun way to see who has the strongest egg. Each person selects a hard-boiled egg and gently holds it between thumb and forefinger, pointed end of the egg facing out. People take turns tapping the pointed end of their egg against the pointed end of their opponent’s egg. When an egg cracks, they repeat the process with the big ends of the eggs. The egg that doesn’t crack is the winner and goes on to compete with the next person and their egg.

To peel a hard-cooked egg, crack the shell all over by tapping it on a hard surface and then roll it between your hands or the counter to loosen the shell. Begin peeling at the large end. Rinsing the egg in a bowl of water will help to remove the shell, especially the tiny pieces.

Precooked, peeled hard-boiled eggs can be bought in sealed bags if you just want to make stuffed eggs and don’t have the time to cook or peel them.

Stuffed ‘chick’ eggs

Turn your coloured Easter eggs into cute and delicious stuffed or deviled egg “chicks.”

  • 12 extra large eggs, hard-boiled 12
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise, or more to taste 125 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. prepared mustard or Dijon mustard 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. celery salt 1 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. fine ground pepper .5 mL
  • 12 raisins or
  • 24 slices green or black olives
  • 1 carrot, cut into 24 rounds 1

Take a small slice off the wide end of the egg to create a flat end for the “chick” to stand on. Slice through the top one-third of each egg, ensuring some of the yolk is included in the slice. Carefully remove the egg yolk from the bottom portion of the egg using a spoon or tip of a knife and transfer to a bowl. Break the yolk into pieces if need be.
To create a decorative edge, you could use a sharp knife to cut a zig-zag pattern around the egg.
Mix egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Fill a piping bag or a plastic bag with the egg yolk mixture. If using a zipper bag, roll the edge down twice so the mixture doesn’t clog the zip edge. Seal the bag and use the edge of the counter to squeeze the mixture to the bottom of the bag. Snip a corner off the bottom of the plastic bag and pipe the egg yolk mixture into the hollowed egg whites to create the “chick,” ensuring there is enough filling to add “eyes” and a “beak.”

Cut small wedges out of the carrot rounds creating 12 “beaks.” Add a “beak” to each “chick” or add two pieces to create an open mouth beak.
Use two slices of olive for big round “eyes” or use a drinking straw to cut small circular “eyes” out of the olive slices. Pieces of raisin could also be used for “eyes.” Add two “eyes” to each “chick.”
Place the egg tops onto each “chick” to look like a chick is peaking out of the egg.
Use the carrot rounds that had the wedges cut from them to create “chick” feet. Adapted from www.allrecipes.com.

Here are some alternative fillings for the stuffed “chick” eggs or for traditional deviled eggs.

California-style deviled eggs

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half 12
  • 1/4 c. low fat mayonnaise 60 mL
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard 10 mL
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped rehydrated or well-drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes 30 mL
  • 4 tsp. chopped fresh basil 20 mL
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • Pinch pepper

Chopped sun-dried tomatoes and small fresh basil leaves for garnish.
Remove egg yolks and mix with mayonnaise, mustard, tomatoes, basil vinegar and salt. Use a spoon to fill egg white halves and garnish with small tomato pieces and basil leaves.

Bacon cheddar deviled eggs

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half 12
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise 125 mL
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped 4
  • 2 tbsp. cheddar cheese, finely shredded 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. traditional mustard or Dijon mustard 15 mL

Remove the egg yolks and mix with mayonnaise, three quarters of the bacon, cheese and mustard. Using a spoon, fill egg white halves and garnish with bacon and shredded cheese. Adapted from www.eggs.ca.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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