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Food Forum

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In & Out of the Kitchen: Deviled eggs

Christmas is coming, and I’m thinking about the devil.

I invite a few people over to the house every December for assorted toasts around the fireplace. A semi-lavish buffet includes cold cuts, rolls, mashed potatoes, spicy meatballs, sauced sausages and a platter full of deviled eggs.

It doesn’t take a ton of culinary skill to make deviled eggs. The directions are simple. Boil eggs. Cool. Slice solid eggs in half. Mix yolks with a squeeze each of lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and light mayonnaise. Scoop mixture into egg halves. Cool and serve.

People devoted to the devil make additions I’ve always liked. They include shredded cheddar, garlic, chopped pickles, minced onions and finely diced ham. Talk about a new version of ham and eggs.

It’s the topping

But I think what lands on top of the yellow is what really grabs attention and taste buds. Traditionalists top their eggs with paprika; lately, I’ve been putting small squares of roasted red pepper on top of mine. There are other garnish options — pimentos, crumbled bacon, sprigs of fresh parsley and slivers of sun-dried tomatoes. The extra taste and festive appearances are holiday bonuses.

Some people use food processors to mix their yolks, and I think this makes for a smoother mixture. Mashing egg yolks, mustard and mayo with a fork is the old-fashioned manner — but I always end up with small lumps in the finished mixture. Not sure if anyone can really tell.

I usually spoon the good stuff into my egg halves and can do 50 or so in about 20 minutes. People with cake-decorating tools such as star tips and icing bags will get a more professional fill — I’ve never been able to get my filling to swirl, kind of like that finish you get when soft ice cream fills a cone. But this is possible, if the stuffing mix is placed into a small plastic baggie. You snip off a corner of the bag and press the filling through the hole into the egg white, making subtle swirl moves as you go.

Deviled eggs travel poorly. So smart chefs transport filling and egg whites separately, then fill ’em up when the party is just getting started. It doesn’t take much time.

Not to worry

There are the usual concerns about calories that come with deviled eggs. And spicy meatballs. And sauced sausages. But I think people always give themselves a pass around the holidays, and such extravagances are allowed.

If it makes people feel any better about deviled eggs, I’ve just researched the virtues of vitamin D. The vitamin, great for bone health and a cancer fighter, is found in egg yolks.

So now is the time for egg yolks, even yolks fortified with other jazz. Eat deviled eggs — save your health!

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