There are two recurrent events in my life which I refer to as The Annual Ordeal. They have nothing in common except that they both inevitably happen once a year. The first is the yearly physical check-up. Other than the fact that I like my doctor a lot, there is little positive that I can say about that one. The other is my turn to prepare choir treats, i.e., a buffet breakfast for sixty people. When Rebecca was in the choir, we did it together and it was fun. She loves to cook, and so she happily engineered the whole thing. I was the able assistant who did what she was told. Then later, Tom helped me, and he did what he was told, frequently commenting, “I can’t believe you are going to this trouble. I never would.” But he helped me, and working with him was fun. Now, I have to do it on my own and it is sort of fun and sort of terrible. On Thursday, Becca came over and reviewed my menu. “You have too much stuff. You know how you can never get a bunch of things made on time. Leave out the cake.” Discouraging, but pretty accurate. I did leave out the cake, but later added in cookies. Rachael visited and helped me fold the spring rolls. She too looked over my menu, and said, “What are people going to put on the bread?” “Jam or cheese,” I said. “That won’t do at all. You need hummus. Bread is no good without hummus.” A novel concept, but possibly true, so at the eleventh hour (actually more like the eighth hour,) I added hummus to the list. I cooked for much of two days, and at midnight the evening before, was in a state of panic. Everything tasted awful. The bread tasted metallic. The fruit tasted like cardboard. I was too anxious to even want to taste anything else. The next morning, Noble Rebecca got up at the crack of dawn to come help me transport the food and set up the table. I was in a state. It was good to have her company, as well as her help.
Well, it seemed to be a great success. I was pleased that my choirmates professed to like everything. And that Rachael --- she didn’t even taste the hummus!
Here is a picture of the aftermess, and the few slices of bread which, along with a little hummus, was the only food left. My appetite restored, I gobbled them up and then set to, washing all those dishes.
And here is my recipe for deviled eggs. These are a success with everyone except my own family. They think they are too mustardy, but I think that is what makes them good. Of course, I am a major mustard fan, and occasionally make myself a mustard sandwich.
Mayonnaise, about 1/3 cup
Dijon Mustard, about 1/3 cup (this is the secret ingredient that makes the eggs so delicious)
Capers, a heaping teaspoon
Horseradish, about a level teaspoon
Cilantro or parsley, chopped, about 2 tablespoons
Pepper, freshly ground, about 1/8 tsp
Sliced olives, cilantro leaves for décor
Halve the eggs and drop the yolks into the food processor bowl. Arrange the whites on egg plates, or whatever you are going to serve them on.
Start with about ¼ cup of mayonnaise and an equal amount of Dijon mustard added to the yolks in the food processor. Process for a few seconds and check the results. They will probably be lumpy and firm at this point. Add a bit more mustard and mayo equally, and process for a few more seconds. You want the yolks to be smooth, and soft enough to pipe onto the whites but firm enough to hold their shape. Keep adding a little of both at a time until you have the right consistency.
Add the pepper, capers, horseradish and parsley and/or cilantro. Process a few more seconds until the yolk mixture is smooth.
Transfer to an icing bag with a star tip, and pipe onto the whites. Of course, you can do this with a spoon if you don’t have an icing bag. But if you don’t have an icing bag, you should get one. It will make your life much easier, and will make lovelier deviled eggs.
*With this many eggs, it is a snap to cook them in the pressure cooker. Cover them with cold water, bring the cooker to full pressure and cook for four minutes. Quick release the pressure by immersing the cooker in a sink full of cold water, and then cool the eggs themselves in cold water. The pressure cooked eggs are not only quick to fix, but they always peel very easily.