Egg-cellent suggestions for Easter dishes

ADRIENNE FREEMAN Contributing Writer Published April 5, 2012 at 3:29 a.m.
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— Although the official beginning of spring is not Easter Sunday, popular culture always recognizes the holiday as the celebratory beginning of spring’s warm sunshine and beautiful blooming season.

The arrival of the holiday signals fashionistas to break out their white shoes and fancy, light wardrobes for the warm weather. Fresh spring vegetables such as asparagus and peas poke their tender heads through the ground as the appearance of buttery daffodils brighten each morning.

A popular Easter tradition is the dyeing and hunting of eggs. Eggs themselves are symbols of the circle of life. Some like to dye hard-boiled eggs for baskets, and some “craftier” sorts blow out the liquid portion of the eggs, completely clean the insides, then decorate only the shells. Properly preserved, these elaborate shells can last for years and make stunning decorations.

But what to do with the yummy, nutritional egg parts? The American Egg Board suggests using refrigerated hardboiled eggs within a week; eggs not refrigerated are to be used immediately.

DEVILED EGGS Adapted from Martha Foose, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea Ingredients: 6 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise 1 teaspoon vinegar 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 tablespoon sour cream1 teaspoon prepared mustard 1 teaspoon dill-pickle relish 1 tablespoon sweet paprika Pimento, parsley and dill for garnish Directions:

Place eggs and vinegar in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring water to a light boil. Reduce to simmer. Begin timing at this point. Cook eggs 12 minutes. Cool eggs in cold water. Peel the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. In a small bowl using a fork, combine egg yolks, mayonnaise, sour cream, prepared mustard and relish. Spoon or pipe filling into egg whites. Sprinkle with pimento and parsley, dill and paprika.

EGG OLIVE SALAD Ingredients: 5 hard-boiled eggs 1 (16 ounce) jar pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped 1/2 cup Duke’s or Hellman’s mayonnaise 1 rib celery, finely diced 4 dashes Tabasco sauce Directions:

Mix all ingredients well and chill 30 minutes. The mixture is traditionally served on soft white bread, but can be served on wheat or pita bread or even lettuce leaves.

QUICHE FLORENTINE WITH BACON Ingredients: 1 9-inch pie crust, refrigerated or homemade 6 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 2 inch pieces 1 1/2 cups cooked drained spinach 3 large eggs 2 egg yolks 1 1/2 cups cream 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon white pepper Pinch freshly grated nutmeg1 cup grated Swiss cheese Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out pie crust and fit into 9-inch pie pan. Bake in oven until crust is set and light golden, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. (If the crust “puffs up,” it should deflate while it is sitting. If you cut slits in the bottom, your filling with ooze out.)

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is soft but not crisp, about 5 minutes. Set aside bacon grease for later use or discard.

It is best to prepare the filling in a blender or food processor because it needs air whipped into it, but you can do it by hand with a whisk. Whisk eggs, cream and seasonings until thoroughly combined

Spread the bacon pieces evenly over the bottom of the crust. Evenly distribute the spinach, followed with the grated cheese. Pour egg mixture over bacon, spinach and cheese. Bake in the oven 35 to 40 minutes until custard is golden, puffed and set, but still a little wiggly in the center. Remove and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Cut into wedges.

Cook’s tip: Not overcooking the custard is the absolute key to a good result. If it seems a little “loose” when you cut it, it is best to store it in the fridge and cut it cold, then reheat for 60 seconds in the microwave before serving. That will firm up the egg custard.

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