July 12, 2010

A Tisket, A Tasket, A Gently Used Picnic Basket

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Margaret's Morsels | Deviled Eggs

Recently, while cleaning out a closet, I found a picnic basket my husband and I received as a wedding present.  We used it a few times, but it's been over a decade since that basket's seen the light of day.  It seems as though there's never time for a picnic.

When I was a kid, we went on picnics at least once a month.  My mother fixed the same meal for every picnic:  fried chicken, deviled eggs, baked beans and bread and butter sandwiches.  The sandwiches were nothing more than butter spread on bread, sandwiched together and cut diagonally, but they sure were good.

I remember those picnics everytime I make a batch of deviled eggs.  I use the same recipe my mother used.  It only uses four ingredients and isn't very fancy, but it's always the first plate of deviled eggs to be devoured at a potluck dinner.  I double the recipe when I'm fixing these for a crowd.

Normally when you cook, you use the freshest ingredients available.  This is counterproductive, though, when it comes to boiled eggs.  Eggs are much easier to peel if you use older eggs.  Egg shells that are easy to peel leave a prettier egg white, which is important when you're using them for deviled eggs.

Everyone has a preferred method for boiling eggs.  It seems as though there are as many ways to boil eggs as there are fillings for deviled eggs! I'm not saying my way is the best way or the right way.  It's the way my mother taught me and I've always had excellent results.  When I boil eggs this way, I don't end up with a green band around the yolks which is a telltale sign of overcooking.

Put the eggs in a saucepan -- make sure you use a pan size appropriate for the number of eggs you're boiling -- and cover the eggs with water.  Put the pan on the stove and turn the burner to high.  When the water comes to a boil, put the lid on the pan and remove the pan from the burner.  Let the eggs sit undisturbed for 15 minutes.  Drain the water and cover the eggs with cold water and ice cubes.  When the ice cubes melt, peel the eggs.

Margaret's Morsels | Deviled Eggs
Cooked the way my mother taught me.

Once the eggs are peeled, cut the eggs lengthwise and remove the yolks. Put the yolks in a small bowl and mash them with a fork.  Make sure to mash them thoroughly so the filling doesn't have any lumps.  Mix in the remaining ingredients, blending completely.

My mother always scooped the filling into the egg whites using a spoon, but I use a disposable pastry bag.  The bag is quicker and not as messy.  If you want to make the eggs even prettier, put a cake decorating tip in the pastry bag before you add the filling.  The easiest way to fill a pastry bag is to stand it upright in a clean glass, turning the top down over the edge of the glass like this:

Margaret's Morsels | Deviled Eggs

Once the bag is filled and removed from the glass, twist the top of the bag to close it and cut off a small corner at the bottom.  You're now ready to fill the egg whites.  Once the eggs are filled, store them in a covered container in the refrigerator.  It's best to make them a day ahead of time so the flavors have time to blend.

deviled-eggs | Margaret's Morsels
The finished product.

If you take deviled eggs on a picnic, be sure to keep the container in a cooler with ice.  If you want  a really good meal to go with the eggs, add some fried chicken and baked beans.  Don't forget the bread and butter sandwiches.

Deviled Eggs
6 Servings

6 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup mayonnaise

Cut peeled eggs lengthwise in half; remove yolks and mash with a fork. Mix in remaining ingredients.  Fill whites with egg yolk mixture.  Keep refrigerated.

© Margaret's Morsels


  1. How simple, put the pastry bag in a glass, but never thought of that. Instead, I just struggle with it falling over. See what we learn.

  2. These look just delicious! I am so inspired that my wife and I are going to make a quick dozen. Thanks for an excellent posting. Look forward to monitoring MM's on a regular basis!!