Deviled Eggs with Shrimp

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Most of the time, I leave sacred holiday food alone. I mean, why mess around with something you know is good? My family loves deviled eggs and they are mostly purists–nothing fancy, nothing crazy. But this year, I tempted fate by offering a variation on our usual deviled eggs featuring fresh, locally caught shrimp. We purchased the shrimp from Locals Seafood, a terrific, local company that brings us fresh, North Carolina seafood several times a week. The result was very tasty and beautiful!

A note about the shrimp shells. Use the opportunity to make some homemade seafood stock! Get double benefit from poaching the shrimp by reserving the poaching liquid, adding back in enough water to make a quart of liquid (or so–you don’t have to be exact). Add the shrimp shells, two stalks of celery , peppercorns and 1/2 onion. Simmer for 45 minutes, strain and let cool. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Deviled Eggs with Shrimp (makes 12 egg halves)

  • 12 medium raw shrimp, shells on
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill
  • 6 farm fresh eggs
  • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Put the shrimp, one sprig of dill and the lemon in a saucepan and cover with water. Heat shrimp over medium high until shrimp is pink and opaque. Do not overcook.
  2. Drain shrimp, let cool and remove the shells (save the shells for making seafood stock!).
  3. Leave shrimp in the refrigerator until you are ready for them.
  4. Put the eggs in the saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, then cover, turn off the heat and let the pot sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Drain the eggs and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave the eggs in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so.
  6. Peel the eggs. Cut each egg in half lengthwise and pop the yolks into a medium mixing bowl. Move the empty whites to a serving platter.
  7. Mash the yolks with a fork. Mix with mayonnaise, salt and pepper until smooth. Add more mayonnaise if needed. Scoop the egg yolk mixture into the egg white shells or use a piping bag, if you want to be fancy.
  8. Just prior to serving, top each deviled egg with one poached shrimp and a small piece of dill.

Creamy, Deviled Eggs

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Pretty eggs on a bed of carrot greens and sprinkled with chopped chives. Happy spring!

There is nothing quite like deviled eggs in the springtime. I absolutely love them. Their light, fresh taste is a wonderful antidote to all the heavy, warming foods of winter. And as far as recipes go, you can’t get much easier–just simmer, peel, mix and stuff. And if you have leftovers (you won’t)? Mash ’em all together and voila! Egg salad.

I’m on the lookout for a vintage deviled egg plate– they go against all my rules of the kitchen (no fussy equipment, no single purpose dish ware), but they are so cute that I have trouble resisting them. Usually the price acts as a deterrent all by itself!

I made these eggs for Easter supper. Sans a cute egg plate, I used carrot greens from fresh carrots to create a bed for my eggs so they wouldn’t slide off the tray. It would be a sad, sad Easter indeed to spend my morning cleaning up splattered egg remains. My solution turned out well and the greens looked pretty with the eggs, so maybe that will become a thing now. Or maybe I’ll just get a deviled egg plate.

Now, here’s the thing about deviled eggs, especially in the South. Everyone and their mama has a special way to make them. Paprika or without, pickles or without, celery or without, and don’t get me started on mayonnaise (I’m a Duke’s girl myself). So, with that in mind, this is MY recipe for deviled eggs, but if your mama or memaw has a cherished recipe, use that. Hers will always be better than anything you read on a blog.

I like my eggs simple and very creamy. I don’t add veggies for crunch, I don’t like pickle juice and I go light on the salt. I do, however, make an occasional exception for a bit of curry and a sprinkle of chives works, too. I like to pipe my filling into the shells, because I think it looks pretty, but spooning it in works just as well and tastes the same.

This is a recipe where eggs are the star, so now is the time to pay up and buy fresh, farm eggs from pasture raised chickens.

Creamy, Deviled Eggs (makes 24 egg halves)

  • 1 dozen eggs, preferably from a known farmer who lets chickens be chickens
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of good quality mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Garnish: paprika, chopped chives, crumbled bacon
  1. Put eggs in a large stock pot. Very carefully fill the pot with cold water to cover the eggs plus 1″.
  2. Heat the pot over medium high heat until water comes almost to a boil (do not boil!).
  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer eggs for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove eggs from hot water to a colander. Put colander in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  5. To peel eggs: place the colander in a clean sink and let cold water run over eggs. One at a time, take an egg and gently tap it on the counter all around the surface of the egg. Holding the egg under the running water, gently peel the shell away from the egg white. The goal is to have a pretty egg white, but they will still taste good if some of the white peels away.
  6. Reserve peeled eggs in a large bowl.
  7. When all eggs are peeled, use a sharp paring knife to cut each egg in half lengthwise. Pop the yolks out and add them to a medium mixing bowl. Carefully put the egg whites on a prepared serving plate or deviled egg plate and set aside.
  8. To the yolks in the bowl, add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, the mustard, vinegar and salt. Mix well, breaking up any large pieces of yolk. If the mixture is too dry, add mayonnaise until you have the desired consistency. Taste and correct for seasoning.
  9. Spoon filling into egg white halves or put filling in a piping bag and use a large star tip to pipe filling into egg halves.
  10. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, chopped chives, crumbled bacon or whatever makes you happy.
  11. Keep chilled until ready to eat. Serve cold.

Week 21 Budget and Menu

We are gearing up for another exciting, busy week. Softball season is keeping us hopping and we are enjoying every second of it! Our menu this week reflects not only our need for quick dinners, but also our celebration of Memorial Day! We haven’t had beef on our menu in a long time and we are going to enjoy every bite of these grilled hamburgers!

Our budget is under budget, even with wine from Trader Joes 🙂 Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Let summer begin!

Budget [$88.58]

  • The Produce Box (asparagus, romaine lettuce, garden peas, cilantro, strawberries, spring onions, kale): $27.50
  • Locals Seafood (crab cakes): $10.20
  • Mae Farm (smoked pork): $6.00
  • Melina’s Pasta (spinach fettucine): $6.00
  • Black Hoof Run Farm (heritage, grass-fed ground beef):$6.32
  • Trader Joes (burger buns, organic onions, organic chicken, frozen fruit, wine): $27.56
  • Mitchell Family Pantry (roasted pepper ketchup, jam): $5.00

Menu

  • Wednesday–Scrambled egg tortillas
  • Thursday–Pasta with smoked pork and garden peas
  • Friday–Salad with strawberries, pecans and goat cheese
  • Saturday–NC crab cakes, creamy grits and asparagus
  • Sunday–Grilled beef burgers with bacon-onion marmelade, green salad, fruit parfaits
  • Monday–Barbecued chicken, deviled eggs, broccoli salad
  • Tuesday–Leftover buffet

Pickled Asparagus

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Fresh, local asparagus was the start of our pickled asparagus with mustard seed!

Last year, I added asparagus to my list of controversial subjects. So far, they include politics, religion, college basketball and cobbler. And now asparagus.

If you’ve been reading along with us for a while, you know that Ellie and I took a canning class so we can continue to eat some of our favorite local foods all year. Actually, we now have a three-pronged approach to food preservation–canning, freezing and drying. We’re looking at what is available at the market each week and considering whether or not we enjoy it enough to try preserving it for the bleak winter months. It’s fun to seek out new recipes to try–dried fruit leather was a big hit. One of the recipes that piqued our interest is pickled asparagus with mustard seed. We love asparagus. We love pickles. So, what’s not to love about pickled asparagus?  I’m all about trying the DIY version, although local asparagus is fairly pricey at $6/pound.

I couldn’t decide whether this sounded really good or just really odd, so I posted an inquiry to my Facebook page asking the question: “Pickled asparagus. Good? Gross?” The overwhelming judgement was “gross.” Or at least “why?” as in “why would do that to a perfectly good asparagus?” A few people commented on texture issues with asparagus–would they be mushy? Ellie The Brave was all about it though, so we forged ahead. I picked up asparagus at the farmer’s market and apple cider vinegar at the grocery store and we got started. This recipe uses quite a bit of garlic, which made the kitchen smell great. I managed to get over my fear of canning garlic, which seems to be strongly connected to botulism if not done properly.

The end result was some semi-attractive jars, although not as perfect looking as the grocery store variety. I was concerned about stuffing too much asparagus in the pint jars, but in hindsight, the hot water bath cooked them slightly and they shrunk up a bit, so next time I will pack the jars pretty full.

How do they taste? Actually, very good! The asparagus are tender and not crisp like a true pickle, but also not mushy like asparagus from a can. The brine is good–tart, but with good seasoning from the mustard, garlic and pepper. They will be good with salad or even with deviled eggs. The garlic  helps to balance the vinegar and give the pickles a nice savory flavor. If you like asparagus and want to keep it around past asparagus season, this might be something to try (you can also blanch them and freeze them). This recipe is from “Put ‘Em Up” by Sherri Brooks Vinton. If you are interested in canning, I highly recommend this book–it is by far my favorite canning book and my constant “go-to” book for delicious and unusual canning recipes.

Pickled Asparagus with Mustard Seed (makes about 3 pints)

  • 4 lbs. asparagus, washed and dried
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorn
  1. Trim the asparagus to lengths 1 inch shorter than your pint jars and pack vertically into the clean, hot jars.
  2. Combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Bring the brine to a low boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar, and then remove from the heat. Divide the garlic, celery seed, mustard seed, and peppercorns among the jars. Pour the hot brine over the asparagus to cover by 1/2 inch. Leave 1/2 inch of head space between the top of the liquid and the lid.
  3. Use the boiling water method. Release the trapped air from the jars. Wipe the rims clean; center lids on the jars and screw on jar bands. Process for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove canner lid and let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Week 14 Budget and Menu

This week, the thermometer is slowly creeping up past 50 degrees. Not quite spring here (last year at this time, we were in the 80s and my tomatoes were already in the ground!). Our menu this week features the weirdness that is our late winter/early spring weather. A little freshness, a little hardiness. That’s how we’re rolling this week.

I’m excited about Easter. We’re having supper with some friends and it will be the first Easter in a long time that I haven’t done all the cooking. Nice to focus on just a couple of dishes and have fun socializing! I’m experimenting with some raw desserts and snack this week–will share the results! I’m especially hopeful about raw, vegan peanut butter eggs!

Next week, Ellie and I head to Paris with my mom–a girls week in Paris! I’ll have fun blogging about our food finds! Can’t wait!

Have a healthy and happy week!

Budget [$92.36]

  • Locals Seafood (shrimp): $10.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, yogurt, soy milk, pineapple, lime, ground turkey, canned organic beans, sweet potato gnocchi, quinoa):$54.36
  • Whole Foods (raw coconut flour, flax seeds, beans, raw almond butter):
  • Farmers market (eggs, carrots, broccoli): $14.00
  • Mitchell garden (collard greens): FREE!
  • Mitchell family pantry (frozen tomatoes, frozen corn, canned salsa, canned roasted pepper ketchup, strawberry jam): $14.00

Menu

  • Sunday–Deviled eggs, roasted honey-ginger carrots, vegan peanut butter eggs
  • Monday–Fried thai quinoa, pot stickers
  • Tuesday–Turkey chili, cornbread
  • Wednesday–Roasted shrimp and broccoli over rice
  • Thursday–Sweet potato gnocchi with collards, bacon, corn and tomatoes
  • Friday–leftovers
  • Saturday–Chipotle chicken tacos, rice

Thanksgiving Menu 2013

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We’ll have organic cranberries two way–in salad and in sauce!

Do you obsess about Thanksgiving dinner? It’s hard not to once Halloween is over. Every food blogger and Pinterest pinner is sharing lovely, tantalizing dishes for the food glutton holiday season. It’s easy to get carried away with planning a meal that is both too expensive and too much food.

This is our second year of producing a locavore Thanksgiving dinner. We’re adding a couple of new dishes, but mostly we are sticking to what works and makes people happy. In addition to our heritage breed, free range turkey, we’re picking up a mini boneless ham from Mae Farm. These are absolutely amazing! The kale and carrots in our salad will be local and the rest will be organic. This salad is new–I’ve seen it floating around Pinterest and can’t wait to try it! I love having a fresh salad to balance all the rich, roasted foods we’ll be having.

So here is our draft menu. We may tweak it slightly depending on what is actually available at the farmer’s markets that week, but the basics should stay the same. What is on your menu for Thanksgiving???

  • Herbed Roasted Heritage Turkey (Homestead Harvest Farm)
  • Honey Mustard Glazed Mini Ham (Mae Farm)
  • Kale, Cranberry and Edamame Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
  • Deviled Farm Eggs with NC Shrimp (Mae Farm and Locals Seafood)
  • Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Mae Farm and CSA)
  • Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes (CSA)
  • Thomas Jefferson’s Sweet Potato Biscuits (CSA)
  • Giblet Gravy
  • Cinnamon Cranberry Apple Sauce (CSA)
  • Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie (Trader Joes Pumpkin Ice Cream)
  • Pecan Pie (homemade)

Grass-fed Beef Burgers with Bacon-Onion Marmalade

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Bacon.Onion.Marmalade. You’re welcome.

On Memorial Day, I ran my first ever 10k. Since there wasn’t an actual race on Memorial Day, we made our own faux race on a new section of greenway here in Cary. My farthest previous distance was 5k, or 3.106 miles, so this was surprising, to say the least. To celebrate this victory, we had lovely grilled burgers with ground beef from a local farm, Black Hoof Run Heritage Beef. We hadn’t made hamburgers in a loooong time, and they were so incredibly delicious!

Are you wondering what the big idea is about grass-fed beef? Is it just another trendy foodie fad? Another way to part you and your precious paycheck? Click HERE for a primer on grass fed beef. Not only does grass-fed beef taste better, it is lower in bad fat and higher in omega-3 fats (good fat).

With our delicious grass fed burgers, we treated ourselves to one of our favorite condiments, bacon-onion marmalade. This is basically a caramelized onion reduction with bacon and it is very delicious.

I first had bacon onion marmalade during my locavore’s lunch at Chuck’s. It was incredible. The idea of making it myself intrigued me–how hard could it really be? Turns out, not hard at all, although it is time-consuming. Sadly, it’s not recommended to can this lovely concoction, but you can refrigerate it for a couple of weeks and use it on many different dishes. Or share some with friends. You’ll have to work out for yourself who is “marmalade worthy” :-)

We made this with locally produced onions and locally and humanely produced bacon from Mae Farm. I cannot possibly say enough good things about the pork we have purchased from Mae Farm. It is always incredible. Yes, bacon is not health food, I do realize that. But what you end up using is in such small quantities that any health effects of the bacon fat are pretty negligible.

If you like bacon and caramelized onions, you will love this-it is sweet, onion-y, tangy and rich. Just the way to celebrate a super day!

Looking for a Deviled egg recipe? Click HERE!

Bacon-Onion Marmalade

  • 4 strips thick cut bacon
  • 4 lbs. yellow onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 c. apple cider
  • 1/4 c. white or wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like spicy heat)
  1. In a saute pan, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and reserve, but keep the bacon drippings.
  2. Add sliced onions to the bacon drippings and cook on medium-high for about 10 minutes, until all onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add all remaining ingredients to the pan. Stir to combine. Simmer until mixture is almost out of fluids and is thick and jammy–about an hour.
  4. Reduce heat to low and cook another 10 minutes until mixture is very brown and sticky. You may need to add a bit of water if the mixture is too dry.
  5. Serve what you need and refrigerate the rest in a covered container for up to 2 weeks.

 

Week 13 Budget and Menu

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As we cruise on into the Holy Week of Easter and March Madness, we are hoping for spring weather, but all we see is leftover winter. And you know how leftovers are, right? At first, they seem like yummy gifts, then they seem more like an obligation and finally you start to resent their very presence in your refrigerator. I’m like that with the weather right now. In August, I’ll be complaining about the heat, but right now, the cold weather just seems wrong. I want to grill something while I’m watching my bracket helplessly implode, not huddle around a pot of stew. And Miami? It’s all riding on you. No pressure or anything, but mama needs a new cast iron Dutch oven. Let’s get it right, people. Ok? Ok.

Moving on back to food, our farmer’s markets are still offering the usual late winter variety of root vegetables, greens and potatoes. There isn’t a whole lot of excitement right now in regards to veggies, although from the photo above, you can tell that our farmers are trying to maintain enthusiasm!

In a few weeks, I’ll begin my “What’s Fresh at the Market” postings, but at this point, it’s all the same list. Our menu this week is still making the most of what we have in our garden and pantry, but I’m trying to change things up a bit so we don’t get bored. We’ve got some solid standby’s with fish tacos and shrimp pad Thai, as well as some new recipes with the Brussels sprout salad and sweet potato/chipotle pepper soup. It should be a tasty week!

As for our budget, we are definitely over. We’re having another week of seafood from our NC waters, but it did up our budget (plus we added more dried fruit to make energy bars). On the bright side, I found raw cashews at Trader Joes for $6.99 a pound–half of what Whole Foods charges!!! More raw double fudge in our future!

Budget [$111.93]

  • Mae Farm (bacon): $7.00
  • Locals Seafood (fish, shrimp): $18.00
  • Various farmer’s market vendors (onions, new crop pecans, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato): $14.00
  • Rare Earth Farm (buttermilk, eggs): $9.00

  • Trader Joes (blue cheese, chipotle peppers, portabello mushrooms, Asian noodles, scallions, frozen fruit, yogurt, soy milk): $55.93
  • Whole Foods (heirloom beans, dates): $8.00

Menu

  • Sunday–Roasted Brussels sprouts salad with bacon, blue cheese and pecans, deviled farm eggs
  • Monday–Fish tacos with sweet potato/chipotle pepper soup
  • Tuesday–Heirloom beans with bacon and caramelized onions
  • Wednesday–Girl Scouts; leftover beans and rice
  • Thursday–Heather’s easy shrimp pad Thai
  • Friday–Pan seared whiting with tomatoes and sauteed greens
  • Saturday–Portabello and seared steak “pizzas” with leftover blue cheese
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