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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Hard Boiled Eggs, Deviled Eggs and Scallop Potatoes

Two foods say Easter, eggs and ham. Hard boiled eggs are a must especially for decorating since soft boiled and raw eggs tend not to fare too well for Easter egg hunts or decorating. I have to tell you I cook a lot of hard boiled eggs throughout the year with only about a dozen being used for Easter eggs. Even though ham is seen as an Easter meat, I have to tell you it is popular here year round. Still ham is our traditional Easter Sunday meal.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs form the basis of many dishes and are not difficult to make. Three problems can result with hard boiled eggs. A hard boiled eggs needs to be cooked long enough to ensure the yolk is cooked all the way through. A dark green discolouration can form on the yolk that is aesthetically unappealing when the yolk will show in the final dish. The green (ferreous sulphide) forms from a chemical reaction of the sulfur from the amino acids in the egg white with the iron in the yolk when the egg temperature exceeds 158ºF. The longer your eggs cook, the greater th chance of this discolouration forming. Finally, an extremely fresh egg will not peel easily so if hard boiling plan on using these eggs for something like egg salad. Two week old eggs make for the easiest to peel hard boiled eggs. Hard boiled eggs will keep in the refrigerator a couple of days if peeled and up to one week if unpeeled.

Method: Place the eggs in a single layer in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat. Cover pot and let sit 20 minutes. Immediately cool in cold water to prevent the yolk from discolouring. Peel*

* Save the egg shells for use in the garden.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are a classic when it comes to appetizers. They can be plain or fancy but either way they are quick and easy to make and are always a crowd pleaser. Deviled eggs are almost a comfort food.

Method: Prepare hard boiled eggs as above. Use a sharp knife to cut each egg in half. Wipe blade after each cut. Carefully pop the yolk out of the egg into a separate bowl. Break up the yolk with a fork. Stir in 2 finely chopped green onions, ¼ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper and enough Miracle Whip or mayonnaise to blend nicely. Spoon the mixture back into the egg whites. Garnish with a pinch of dried parsley and a pinch of Spanish paprika.

Glazed Ham

Ham is the traditional meat of choice for Easter in North America because of the early curing processes. Meat slaughtered in the fall if not consumed during the winter was cured for spring. Since curing took a long time, the first hams were ready around Easter. Today we can simply go to our local grocery store or abbatoir's for a ham or we can cure and smoke the ham at home. During the Easter season when hams are often on sale, it makes good sense to buy one or two for the freezer.

I bought a small Vienna Smoked Black Forest Ham for $1.88/lb ($4.14/kg) totaling $7.6 with the intentions of canning the ham. We had Easter dinner at our kids so I fully intended not cooking Easter Sunday. My husband spotted the coveted ham destined to be canned the declared that ham with scalloped potatoes would be great. Dang! I put the ham in the oven at 200ºF with a glaze of ½ c maple syrup and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. It was moist and tasty.

Scallop Potatoes

Scallop potatoes marry nicely with ham. I've seen so many recipes for scallop potatoes but not really like my mom's. Her's was rich, creamy and unpretentious. They take the very minimal of what most cooks have in their pantry at all times. Don't let their simplicity fool you as these are wonderful scallop potatoes sure to please. Oh, and they will make a mess in your oven so do make sure you place the casserole dish on a tray to prevent dripping.

Method: Peel about 8 medium potatoes. Slice thinly using a mandolin. Liberally butter a casserole pan. Place one layer of potatoes on the bottom. Sprinkle with finely chopped onions, about 2 tbsp flour, salt and fresh ground pepper. Add a few small dabs of butter. Continue layering in this fashion ending with an onion, flour and butter layer. Sprinkle with chopped chives. Pour about 2 cups of scalded milk over the potatoes or enough scalded milk to bring the milk to just under the final potato layer. Bake at 350ºF until potatoes are browned on top, soft and sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven.

Ham Dinner

Ham is ideal in that there is very, very little waste even if it is a bone in ham. The bone from a bone in ham can be used for soup or beans. A boneless ham has virtually no waste. This was a boneless ham so all meat. The ham was moist and tender with just enough glaze left over to use a small amount as a sauce. I served the ham with Old Fashioned Vermont beans, scallop potatoes and steamed spinach.

Steamed spinach has to be our favourite method for cooked spinach. Steaming gives a nice texture while keeping the nutrients in the spinach. Steaming also results in a brighter green. This is the method I use whenever cooked spinach is called for in a recipe.

Method: Wash the spinach. Place in steamer basket. Put about 1 - inch of water in the pot and place steamer basket over it. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. The steam will finish cooking the spinach. Remove from basket and allow to drain. Stir in butter if desired.

5 food lovers commented:

Garden Gnome said...

No problem Melbie! I'm glad you liked my blog. I'll stop by your blog again.

Take care

Roger said...

Hey GG thanks for stopping by Idaho Daily Photo! The food looks great!! :D

Cooking and the City said...

Hi Garden Gnome I found your blog through the Leftover Queen forum. i've really enjoyed looking at your lovely recipe's & I will visit again soon! :-)

Dell xo

Garden Gnome said...

You are welcome Roger. It is a wonderful site with lots of great pictures. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit again.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Dell, thanks for stopping by. The Leftover Queen forum is a great place to get ideas for using left overs!