Deviled Eggs : A Southern Staple
Every self respecting Southerner has a deviled egg plate, usually two. We have one for “fancy” company and a travel one which has a handy little lid (in the interest of disclosure, I have three fancy ones and one travel one). Deviled eggs are standard fare at all family reunions, church gatherings, and holidays but they are an absolute requirement at Easter!
When I was a little girl we always had family reunions on my Papa Reed’s farm each summer. The two things I looked forward to the most were Mama’s Mandarin Orange cake (because she used to torture us by making it three days ahead of time and letting it sit in the refrigerator -at perfect eye level for my siblings and I!) and all of the platters of deviled eggs. Everyone brought covered dishes from home and when time came for the meal Papa Reed would hook his tractor up to a large flatbed trailer and pull it right up into the front yard. The ladies would then lay out bed sheets and table cloths to cover the trailer bed and everyone would take the covers off their dishes and lay them out, forming a huge country buffet. Deviled eggs were plentiful and I would go down the line, examining each platter and making my choice. Usually, I got one from each dish but my very favorite were the ones with “red stuff” (paprika) sprinkled on the top!
After everyone had eaten second and sometimes third helpings, the dishes were cleared, sheets removed, and we’d all climb up onto the trailer for a hayride through the country. My favorite part of the hayride was when we stopped over at a creek and got to throw rocks in. It was pretty hot by then and you’d try to find the biggest rock you could so you’d get a good splash of cool creek water out of it! Later, we’d put out chairs in the front lawn and the musicians in the family would set up on the porch for a little concert of sorts. We usually had a guitar, fiddle, and banjo.
I miss family reunions.
Well, I may not have a family reunion today but look what I do have!
Real, honest to goodness, fresh from a local farm, EGGS!
I have always wanted a chicken coop. Its been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and my step grandmother would let me go gather the eggs when I came for a visit. Each egg was like finding a grand prize. Returning with an entire basket full thrilled me to no end. I’ve always wanted to raise chickens, gathering and cooking for my family with fresh eggs I had harvested from my own hens. I’ve read books on how to build the coop, what to feed the chickens, and how to care for them but alas, I still live in the city and these silly city folks don’t think chickens are the best choice for neighbors.
So I am just going to live vicariously through Kamilla, over at Fledermaus Farm.
Now THIS is fresh! This photo was taken on April 7th!
Farm fresh, local egg
Egg from grocery store.
On the top is a farm fresh egg and the bottom is a store bought one. Notice the richness in the color of the yolk on the top. Let me tell you, there is a definite taste difference as well! It was such a treat for me to find a local source for fresh eggs. I’ll be bringing you more in future posts about the farm these eggs came from.
If any of you are wondering how to find a local source for eggs or any other farm raised food, www.localharvest.org is a great place to start. This is where I located the farm these eggs came from and it turns out the owner and I went to high school together! It really is a small world and its fun to find out just how small by looking to your own local resources for food.
With spring upon us now and summer coming up, I’ve been looking at different ways to be more self sufficient in terms of providing for my family. I have a small garden planned (it may end up being a series of container gardens) and am working on several true “from scratch” tutorials to bring you. My eventual goal is to be able to provide as much of my family’s food as possible from my own garden or local sources. Keep in mind that I am still cheap though, so this will be done within reason. While I would love to start using meat from local sources, I can’t bring myself to pay double the price- even if it is organic.
Although this is better for the environment, healthier, ensures better quality food, and is better for our local economy, my primary goal is to simply increase the self sufficiency of my family. I’ll be sharing more of how I am doing in my little quest throughout the summer. For now, I’m reading, studying, and planning.
~sighs~ But I still can’t have my chicken coop.
How about we make us some deviled eggs from Kamilla’s chicken coop instead?
Place fresh eggs in pot and add enough water to cover them by one inch.
Add a pinch of salt per my mother’s directions.
We don’t question our mothers. We just do it.
Bring to a full boil over medium to medium high heat.
Once it comes to a boil, remove pot from hot eye and cover.
Allow to sit for fifteen minutes.
Place pot in sink and run cold water into it until eggs are cooled.
Once cooled, remove each egg and tap it gently on all sides on a hard surface to get a nice cracking on the shell.
Carefully peel egg.
To peel an egg and have it still be pretty requires a delicate hand, which I do not have. I forced it for y’all though (Because I just love ya so much). I’m one of these people who has fifty different things I want to do at once and I just barrel right through them!
To make our eggs, you’ll need: Mayo, Mustard, and Sweet Pickle Relish
You’ll also need: salt, pepper, and paprika but these are actually optional.
Cut each egg in half.
Spoon out all of the yolks.
WOW! Look how bright and rich these are!
For six eggs, I am using 3 T of Mayo and 1 T of mustard.
This is something you’ll need to customize to her personal taste so just start out with lesser quantities, mix it all in, and then add more if you prefer!
With a fork, mush* it all together.
*Once again, I am bringing you a highly technical term which I yield effortlessly thanks to my $40,000 Home Economics degree. As a Southern Plate reader, you are now qualified to use this term as well and FREE OF CHARGE, too!
The perks never end, folks!
Once its all nice and creamy, add about a 1/2 tsp salt (more if you prefer)
I add about 1/4 tsp pepper. You can omit this or use white pepper if you prefer.
For me, white pepper is about like a penthouse suite.
I’ve heard of it, I have every faith that it exists, but I’ve not once laid eyes upon it.
Then we add about a tablespoon of sweet pickle relish.
Most people would want to add two tablespoons here but I keep it light on the pickles at my house.
Mix all of that up. You can make it even creamier with more mixing if you like but I like the tiny little lumps in mine.
Its how we had them at the family reunions. ~smiles happily~
There are several ways to fill your eggs and no one way is wrong! You can simply spoon the filling in, pipe it in with a pastry bag and tip with a large opening, or do it the way I am today. I spoon my filling into a sandwich bag and cut the corner off, then squeeze it in each egg half.
Or you can have some fun and do this….
The eyes are olive slices (with pimentos) and the beak is bits of carrot…
But I digress…
When finished, place on a pretty plate and sprinkle with “red stuff” if you like!
I should have done that before placing them on the plate but I was running late for Katy’s preschool Easter party and so…
well you get my point well enough.
Deviled eggs, on my fancy plate!
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Instead of thinking about what you are missing,
try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
~From Southern Plate Reader, Linda Gossen
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