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Get cracking with these egg-cellent Easter recipes

Salads and sandwiches aren’t your only options
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal Features Editor
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If you go the traditional route this Easter, you’ll find yourself with dozens of hard-boiled eggs after the thrill of the hunt is over. And while an egg-salad sandwich is delicious, you might not want to be eating them for a week. Here are some tips and recipes from local gourmets to spice up your egg-filled fridge.

 

The perfect egg

Retired chef Francois Bonnefoi, of Auburn, recommends placing eggs in a large pot and covering them with cold water, about an inch over the eggs. Bring the water to a boiling point, but do not boil. Cook the eggs for 20 minutes, then empty the hot water and shock the eggs with cold water and ice.

“Put the eggs in an ice bath so you don’t run into problems with peeling the eggs,” Bonnefoi said. “It’s easy, but it’s difficult if you don’t do it the right way.”

Bonnefoi uses his hard-boiled eggs for deviled eggs – sometimes adding caviar, chives and shallots, served with a glass of your favorite champagne, of course – and in recipes that call for pickled eggs.

 

Pickled eggs and beets

2 pounds fresh beets (Bonnefoi recommends roasting in the oven, with about an inch of water in the pan)

12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

2 cups unfiltered apple cider vinegar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons pickling spices

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Two medium-sized onions, thinly sliced

Place sliced beets, onions and peeled eggs in a large bowl. Combine beet juice, vinegar, sugar and spices, bring to a boil and pour over beet mixture. Refrigerate for a day. Before serving, drain marinade and cut eggs in half lengthwise. Arrange eggs, beet and onions on a platter, decorate with parsley.

 

Francois’ deviled eggs

12 large hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half length-wise

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1 teaspoon old-fashioned horseradish

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/8 teaspoon celery seeds

Sea salt, ground white pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste

Remove egg yolks, combine with remaining ingredients. Spoon back into egg whites.

For a twist, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon caviar, finely chopped, chives and shallots on each egg. For anchovy herbed eggs, add 1 teaspoon minced fresh French tarragon, 1 teaspoon minced chives, 1 tablespoon minced watercress, 1 teaspoon chopped capers and 2 ounces pureed anchovy fillets.

 

Farm-fresh eggs

Carol Arnold, general manager of the Foothill Farmers Market Association, recommends using farm-fresh eggs, as eggs from well-fed chickens have bright-yellow to orange yolks and the whites aren’t runny.

“Fresh eggs make better cakes and pies, meringues form more easily and angel food cakes rise much higher,” Arnold said.

Hard-boiled eggs are great layered in lasagna, she added, or over asparagus.

 

Asparagus with vinaigrette and egg

Two eggs

2 pounds asparagus

1½ teaspoon salt, divided

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons minced parsley, chives, chervil, dill or combination

Place eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat and let sit 14 minutes. Transfer egg to a bowl of ice water and let sit to cool, about 10 minutes. Peel and finely chop egg, set aside.

In a large frying pan, bring ¼ inch water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and asparagus, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until asparagus is tender, about three minutes. Immediately rinse asparagus under cold running water until cool, pat dry and arrange on serving platter.

In a small bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, mustard and pepper to combine. Stir in herbs. Drizzle over asparagus, sprinkle with egg. Serve immediately.

 

Easter traditions

Loomis resident Mary Pleban uses hard-boiled eggs as part of her family’s holiday tradition – a meal served in a traditional Slovak Easter basket.

Each food item in the basket represents a different Easter symbol, including pascha, a sweet yeast bread symbolic of Jesus Christ, and ham, representing the great joy of abundance at Christ’s resurrection. Sausage is served to represent God’s favor and generosity, and bacon is included to represent the overabundance of God’s mercy. The basket also includes cheese to represent moderation; horseradish and beets, the color of which symbolize Christ’s suffering; butter for God’s bounty; and salt to remind of the responsibility to “flavor” life with the values of Christ. The eggs are hard-boiled and brightly decorated to symbolize new life.

Pleban has been preparing Easter baskets for her family for 55 years, she said.

“I lived next door to my grandmother, and I was always with her,” she said. “I learned how to cook, I learned how to bake, I learned how to can.”

She still uses the little dish her grandmother used for butter, Pleban said, “and every time I do it I look up and say, ‘I’m still doing it.’”

 

Pascha

3 cups milk

½ cup sugar

½ tablespoon salt

1 cup melted butter

Six eggs, beaten

Two cakes yeast

½ cup water

12-14 cups flour

In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt and butter. Cool to lukewarm. Save 2 tablespoons of the eggs, add the rest to the mixture. Crumble yeast in water, let stand 10 minutes. Add to mixture. Add flour, 2 cups at a time, until the dough can be handled. Knead on floured board for 15 minutes. Place ball of dough in greased bowl, grease top and let rise for 90 minutes. Knead again and let rise for 45 minutes. Shape into four loaves. Place in greased round pans, let rise for 45 minutes. Brush tops with beaten eggs, bake at 325 degrees for one hour.

 

Hrudka (Easter cheese)

12 eggs

1 quart milk

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla

Beat eggs. Add milk, salt and vanilla, beat well. Cook in double boiler until mixture curds and only water remains. Pour into cheesecloth, squeeze out excess liquid, tie tightly. Hang and let drain for several hours. Remove cheese and refrigerate.

 

Baked cheese

2 pounds dry cottage cheese

½ cup sugar

Six eggs, well beaten

Mix together cheese and sugar. Add eggs, blend well. Pour into buttered glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.