FOOD WISE: Serve some devilishly delightful treats on July 4th

iStock_000005954772XSmallBy CHEF RENEE MORGAN

I love July 4th! I love everything about it. I love what the day stands for. What better reason to celebrate than to celebrate the independence of our country? It’s a time to reflect on and remember all the sacrifices that have been made to give us the freedoms we so easily enjoy every day. It’s a time to show pride and appreciation in this wonderful country of ours. I proudly fly my American Flag and wear my mother’s little rhinestone American flag earrings. Yes, the very earrings that I used to make fun of when I was a girl. I already have my Independence Day outfit planned, which includes a sequined navy t-shirt. Yeah, that’s right! One of my favorite things about Fourth of July are fireworks shows. There’s nothing that says “celebration” quite like a fireworks show. Don’t you just feel patriotic when you watch fireworks? I’m like a little kid, giddy with excitement every time I get to watch fireworks.

On top of all that, the best part is, of course, the food. Surely you knew I’d say that. And since you already knew I’d say that, I’m sure you know what’s coming next. Of course, there will be a party at the Morgan house. The fellas will hang out drinking sweet tea or an ice cold beer, pitching washers. The ladies will sit on the porch with margaritas, gossiping and yelling at the kids chasing each other around with water guns. Good ‘ol ‘Merican music like Friends in Low Places, Amarillo By Morning, and God Bless the USA will serenade our day.

Yup, I take great pleasure in upholding the great redneck American traditions on Independence Day, above all others.

Fire up the pit! There will be brisket, ham, and ribs. We’ll roast corn in little packets of foil with lime juice, butter, salt and pepper. Oh my goodness, you really need to try it that way. Trust me on that one! I’ll make that cake with the strawberries and blueberries laid out in an American flag pattern. Kinda tacky and what I like to call happy-hands-at-home, but a crowd favorite none the less.

There will be sticky sweet baked beans with onions and bacon. Mmmm…bacon! Potato salad and one of those fruit salads where you carve out the watermelon, mix the fruit up, dress it with a sweet yogurt and honey dressing and serve it in the hollowed out watermelon. Lemon meringue pie, peach cobbler and homemade ice cream. This is the absolute best of summer!

One of my old fashioned Southern favorites for Fourth of July is deviled eggs. I simply love them! I know they’re from back in the day, but they seem to be making a big comeback. When I was a child, you could always count on someone bringing deviled eggs to every potluck, church dinner on the grounds, family reunion and holiday. As a child, I hated them. I think that was because of some of the issues we’ve talked about in previous articles. Much of the time, folks tend to overcook the eggs. This is what makes the ucky green ring around the yolk of the egg. We call that the sulfur ring. The sulfur in overcooked eggs imparted a taste that I didn’t enjoy. Now, as a chef, I know better. When the eggs are cooked just right, the deviled eggs are simply delightful!

The best way to remember how to cook the eggs without imparting that sulfur ring is to remember 1 minute, followed by 10 minutes. Place the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring them to a boil. As soon as they start to boil, time them for exactly one minute. Then, turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow the eggs to sit for 10 minutes. After this, plunge the eggs into ice water, cracking the shells as you do. This will allow water to seep in under the shell, making it easier to remove. Once you have perfectly boiled eggs, it is very easy to make deviled eggs in an number of delicious ways. Here are a few of my favorites. Try one for your Independence Day festivities. Happy birthday, America!

Basic Creamy Deviled Eggs

8 large eggs                                                                                                                    1/3 cup light mayonnaise                                                                                                   1 tablespoon Dijon mustard                                                                                               1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar                                                                                          1 tablespoon minced shallot                                                                                           1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco                                                                   Coarse salt and ground pepper                                                                                  Paprika, for garnish

 

1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan; add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Remove pan from heat; cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Drain, and run eggs under cold water to cool them.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, shallot, and hot sauce.

3. Peel eggs, and halve lengthwise; remove yolks, leaving whites intact. Transfer yolks to bowl with mayonnaise mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until smooth. Mound yolk mixture into whites. Sprinkle with paprika just before serving, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 8 hours.

 

Hot and Sweet Deviled Eggs

6 eggs

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard (such as Gulden’s®)

1 teaspoon hot mustard (such as Sweet Hot Mister Mustard®)

1 teaspoon white sugar

salt and pepper to taste

paprika for garnish (optional)

6 pimento-stuffed green olives, cut in half

1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan; add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Remove pan from heat; cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Drain, and run eggs under cold water to cool them. Peel once cold. Halve the eggs lengthwise and scoop the yolks into a bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork.

2. Stir the mayonnaise, spicy brown mustard, hot mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper into the yolks until well combined. Spoon into a quart-size, resealable plastic bag. Snip a corner off the plastic bag. Squeeze the yolk mixture into the egg halves, sprinkle each stuffed egg with paprika, and top with an olive half.

Spicy Deviled Eggs

12 large eggs

3 tablespoons white sugar

3 tablespoons water

1 red jalapeno pepper, sliced into thin rings

2 tablespoons cream cheese

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon Sriracha or to taste

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped chives

1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan; add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Remove pan from heat; cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Drain, and run eggs under cold water to cool them.

2. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the warm sugar syrup over the pepper rings in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.

3. Peel eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Remove yolks to a bowl. Mash together egg yolks, cream cheese, mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce, and Dijon mustard with a spoon or spatula until just combined. Stir in rice vinegar until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pipe filling into the egg whites. Top each egg with a ring of candied pepper and chopped chives. Chill for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Deviled Eggs with Crab

12 large eggs

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage

1 ounce caviar or salmon roe

1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan; add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Remove pan from heat; cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Drain, and run eggs under cold water to cool them. Peel the eggs and cut in 1/2 lengthwise.

2. Remove the yolks from the whites and put in a medium bowl. With the back of a fork, mash the yolks. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, salt and hot sauce, and mix well. Add the crabmeat and gently stir to mix. Spoon equal amounts of the mixture into the egg white halves and chill for at least 20 minutes before serving. Prior to serving, top with caviar.