Deviled Eggs

I guess it is just a requirement that you have some sort of egg – thing for Easter – spring and all. So I made deviled eggs. Again for The Boy – he will eat them anytime.

This is again, another no-recipe recipe. I have done this so many times, but to be honest, I do not eat deviled eggs – at all, ever. I like egg salad, so this really does not make sense, but there it is. D&D_1839

So here is how I make hard-boiled eggs. Put eggs in a decent-sized pot and cover with at least an inch of water. Heat the pot to boiling and removed pot from heat, put on a lid and let sit for 13 minutes. Yes, 13 minutes. Dump the hot water out and add cold water and bash the eggs against the side of the pot. Let sit for a few minutes  – peel the eggs and cut in half cleaning the knife between eggs so no yolk gets on the white part.

Remove the yolks and put into small-ish bowl. Add a little Duke’s mayo* and some Dijon mustard – I go with a smidge more mustard than mayo. Add 3 Tbs of drained sweet pickle relish and one more not drained. Taste and decide on salt and pepper.

Put the yolk mixture in a zip top bag and cut off a corner to make a tip to pipe the yolks into the whites. Then decorate. This time I decided on chives and really amazing local bacon, but I also like minced shallots and I really like paprika. I guess it is a Southern thing – the paprika, not the shallots. Parsley is always nice.

It is funny how I like egg salad, and plan to make some soon, but do not like deviled eggs when in reality they are not that far apart. Strange.

* A Southern staple – you must not be without it, ever.

The Flu is terrible … full stop.

So over St. Patrick’s Day I had to go to Tallahassee for work meetings and by the the time I had been home a couple of days I thought I was about as miserable as a person could be. That said, other people from different parts of the state went to TLH and also got sick. Thanks for that.

So when you have the flu, in my one and only experience of it, you do not want to eat, you have a nasty fever and just want to lay in bed because you are beyond tired. I will say now, as a disclamier, I have never had a flu shot. This goes back to my serious allergy when I was a kid. Vaccines made in eggs were a no go for me. I did not have an MMR until I was 25 and it was required by FSU for admission. I had been fine at the junior college in Jacksonville and at the University of North Florida, also in Jacksonville, but FSU said I had to do it. It was a non issue by that point, but when you have an issue with vaccines produced in eggs it can be a bit strange.

So by the Friday after my trip to TLH I was just about as loopy as I could be. Fever was high, no food, but I was drinking plenty of water. That said, I was a big mess. I was so loopy that I couldn’t walk down the stairs so the MotH had to help me.

Also the flu means you are not in the least bit interested in food. Or cooking. Or baking. I know now that I feel better because I am thinking about food and that makes me happy. I will just be making up for lost time from St. Patrick’s Day on until Easter and then the Boy’s birthday (I am hoping for a request for Carrot Cake, but we shall see).

This does not mean I will get a flu shot in the future because several people I know had the shot and then got the flu. It is just such a guessing game. It is, in my opinion, not evidence-based medicine. My rib cage still hurts like hell. And we are almost three weeks in at this point. Allergies and asthma do not make this any better, but wow – really do not want this ever again.

That said, I am really looking forward to going to the grocery store this week. I seem to want some amazing polenta and butterscotch pudding in my future.

I’ve realized life is short and I have to push myself to start trying new things while I have the time to enjoy them – lord, that is just a bit morbid.

Well, if it pushes me, then that is good thing.

My Little Meyer Lemon Tree

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My Little Meyer

My little Meyer lemon tree. I’ve had it for 8 years now in a pot and it is the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree of Meyer lemon trees, but this is my best crop ever  –  3 Meyer lemons. I am way too excited. Yes, this is kind of sad.

The first time I had Meyer lemons I really did not have any idea what they were – same thing happened with blood oranges, but that is a different story entirely. There was a little farm stand in Tallahassee not far from my place on Thomasville Road. These lemons were amazing. I had already been making lemon curd – Thank you Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts (had this book for donkey years), but I knew this would take it to something much more elevated (even if I did not know that word at the time – which I did not).  Although I never had fresh eggs like Martha did – just check out the book – it does make a difference. Meyer Lemon is a heritage Citrus × meyeri, and is a citrus fruit native to China thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin. That’s what I like to think since I grew up very near where the real mandarin oranges are from – Mandarin, Florida (Jacksonville) – yep. A very beautiful little area.

So I ordered this “tree” online for $20 and it was barely a seedling, but I baby it year after year.  And I do love the smell of orange blossoms – which is what Meyer lemon blossoms smell like. It is such a nice thing in the late winter. It gets dark so early you just grasp at straws at this point. Even for us in Florida.

Meyer lemons are probably the best part of the winter. My wonderful mother-in-law has a friend that has a real grown up tree, just a neighborhood away and I always score a few Meyer lemons from her. So super. I kind if cherish them in a way, which make me hesitate to use them and that’s a bad thing.

So I shall makes some plans and Meyer lemon curd will be in the works before you know it.

Christmas Brunch

When I was growing up we had a few things for Christmas breakfast that were basically snack-able. To me that was an excellent thing. Toasted Banana Nut Bread – honestly, to me the only way to eat it. It was crunchy and smeared with some imitation butter that I immediately changed to real butter once on my own as a grown up. You only live once, why the hell eat margarine? Another was sausage balls – we had them served with a side of mustard, usually brown, and my personal, kind of slightly wrong. choice, grape jelly (do not judge until you try a sausage biscuit with a little grape jelly).  There might have been other things, but those are the two that stick our for years and years and years.

I have made some changes for our Christmas morning since then beyond just going with really rich salted European butter, but that was an excellent call on my part, not too many real changes. First, it is not breakfast. It is brunch around 11:00am-ish (isn’t funny how adding the suffix “ish” gives you lots of wiggle room with time?). In past years, I have added latkes which works well with my Christmas soundtrack. The Boy says it isn’t Christmas with out The Klezmatics and he is correct. How this started, I don’t know, but I love to listen to them on Christmas morning – full playlist below. Latkes I love with sour cream and freshly sautéed Granny Smith apples (not applesauce). They are not something I make often, but something I really really enjoy. Another change I’ve made is to make sausage balls without using pancake mix (Bisquik) and just using Cook’s Country’s recipe – superior in every way and with things I have on hand.

So this year, I was trying to sort out what to make and decided that simple and tasty were good enough. I made banana nut bread ahead of time (Banana Nut Bread Challenge) and decided to make sausage, as a nod to sausage balls, and scrambled eggs – super quick and easy.

There is a story behind the scramble eggs and sausage though. As as child, and to a large degree even now, I was allergic to damn near everything. Consequently, I wasn’t fed eggs as a kid – hell, I didn’t get the MMR shot until in my 20’s because the vaccine was grown (yes, back then – ugh) in eggs and no one wanted to risk it. So I never ate eggs as a young kid. Enter my elementary school age, and my mom would make sausage and scrambled eggs and I loved it, but that was the only way you could get me to eat an egg.D&D_1054.jpg

Let me explain how this process works. In a large non-stick skillet, cook a pound of  bulk breakfast sausage of choice (there is only one choice – hot) until it is cooked through. In a bowl. whisk together with a fork, 5 eggs and a splash of cream or milk. While the sausage grease is still hot, add the scrambled eggs and cook them as you would any other scrambled eggs. Serve while nice and hot.

Dead simple and pretty much amazing. Oh, and they really reheat well with a smidge of time in the microwave the next day, but it is highly unlikely there will be any left over. The three of us polished all that off with no problems whatsoever. And some salted butter soaked banana nut bread. Simple, sometimes is the best thing ever.

Yukon Gold Potato Salad

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Yukon Gold Potato Salad

We like to stop by Bailey’s Farmers’ Market to see what’s going on almost every weekend. It is right up the road from our house, and the hours are great (read: long). It is a fun experience and I have no plan when I go in – just buy what seems a good price – usually local – and then I get home and do the “what the hell am I going to do with this”  part of the equation.  But honestly, that is the fun part of the deal. I keep waiting for nectarine prices to drop (hello, cobbler), but a week ago the Yukon gold potatoes were excellent and beyond cheap (does that mean I’m cheap – probably), so I went for it and got a pound. That’s more than enough for me and the MotH since the Boy moved out. Sad, but inevitable – still make food for him though and that does ease it a bit for me.

1 pound yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces

3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Vinegar, the kind you like best

1/3 cup sweet relish

1 rib of celery, peeled and small diced

Duke’s mayo

yellow mustard

1 scallion, sliced

2 Tbs flat-leaf parsley, minced

This is a no-recipe recipe. There is some methodology to it, but really you just taste and adjust as you go along.

Boil the potatoes in very salted water until they are easily pierced by a paring knife and then drain. The most important part is dousing the hot potatoes with vinegar and perhaps some relish juice – they soak it up like crazy. Then let them cool.

I tried this idea with Dijon mustard, but you need something more substantial – plain old yellow (hot dog) mustard. I think it is the extra vinegar factor and vinegar is a must with this non-recipe recipe.

Then just mix everything else in. And add chives, if you have them. Maybe a shallot or even grated onion, but I did not. I do not think the scallion was enough. This was a perfect Southern potato salad – at least to me it was.