26 April 2011

Easter Tuesday; All Those Eggs

On the second day after Easter, custom allowed women to beat their husbands.

While this may seem to be a goodly custom which should be revived and maintained, might I suggest to the women that they do not over-indulge.  You see, on the third day after Easter (tomorrow), it is the men's turn, and as you know, payback is a female dog.
So your children colored a couple dozen hard-boiled eggs, and now you are wondering what to do with them.  Well, what you do with the children is your business, but here are a few of my favorite uses for the hard-boiled eggs.

Of course, you know about Deviled Eggs (aka "Stuffed Eggs") and Egg Salad (for sandwiches) and Potato Salad - and if the weather remains warm, make all three, add a few other picnic items (chips, sodas, hot dogs) and go off to the nearest park for an enjoyable afternoon.

An easy favorite is ANGLESEY EGGS, the recipe for which you can find here at Traditional Welsh Recipes.  Cooked leeks and mashed potatoes make the base, which is topped with the halves of 8 hard-boiled eggs, and the whole covered with a cheese sauce and baked.  How easy can you get?
A hot egg-salad for sandwiches would be ENGLISH THIN YELLOW BOYS:
  • Peel and finely chop 6 hard-boiled eggs (and that is finely, not coarsely.  No big chunks of egg, please).
  • Finely mince the following to make 1 tablespoon EACH: onion or shallot, parsley, chervil, tarragon.
  • Toast and butter 8 slices of bread.  Homemade bread or slices from a hefty loaf from the bakery are the best; the usual enriched white or wheat also works.
In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Stir in 1 tablespoon EACH of Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce (or steak sauce), and white wine vinegar.  Add the chopped eggs, onion, and herbs.  Mix well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Heat through thoroughly.

Spread between buttered toast slices and serve very hot.
SKILLET EGGS AND POTATOES  is a good breakfast or brunch dish.
  • Dice enough raw potatoes to make 4 cups (4 - 5 large potatoes or 7-8 medium).  This can be a large dice; we aren't looking for mince here.
  • Peel and cut up 6 hard-boiled eggs into chunks.
  • Mince 1 onion.
In a skillet (with a lid or cover), bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add the potatoes and 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt; lower heat to medium, cover the skillet, and cook for about 10 minutes.  Then uncover and cook until the water is evaporated [and keep an eye on it.  For some reason, the water evaporates very quickly when you leave the kitchen].

Now add 1/4 cup of butter, the minced onion, and a dash of ground white pepper [I've ground black pepper over the skillet when that's all I've had].  Cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Gently stir in the cut-up eggs and 3/4 cup of milk.  Heat through.  Sprinkle chopped parsley on top, if desired.
This recipe for EGG CUTLETS comes from an old Irish cookbook:
  • Boil and mash enough potatoes to equal 3 cups.
  • Peel 3 hard-boiled eggs, and separate: whites in one bowl, yolks in another.  Mash each, and then mix together.
  • Chop enough parsley and chives to equal 1 tablespoon EACH.
  • In separate dishes, lightly beat 2 eggs. One egg will be used in the recipe, the other will be used as a wash.
  • In another dish, put about 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs, more or less, for coating the cutlets.
In a bowl, combine the potatoes, mashed hard-boiled eggs, chives, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.  Stir in one of the beaten eggs (to bind), then a little flour (about 1 tablespoon) to make it a firm consistency.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.

In a skillet, heat oil or fat for frying [these will be fried on both sides, so it doesn't take a whole lot of oil. I fry them like I do potato bread: in bacon fat, augmented by a little butter if needed].

Shape the mixture into flat cutlets [I manage to get 6-8 cutlets out of this recipe].  Dip each cutlet into the other beaten egg, then into the dish of bread crumbs.

When the oil is hot enough, fry the cutlets until golden on both sides.
Let's see.... that's 23 eggs used, so far.  You still have another dozen?  Use them in EGGS AU GRATIN (another lovely brunch dish):
  • Peel 12 hard-boiled eggs.  Cut each egg in half length-wise.  Arrange the halves in an oblong baking dish, and set aside.
  • Grate or shred Cheddar cheese to equal 1 cup.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with 1/3 cup of dry bread crumbs and 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan. Set aside.
  • Heat oven to 350° F.
Make the sauce:
  • In a small bowl mix together 1/3 cup of flour, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a saucepan.  Gradually blend in the flour mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly.  Remove from heat.
  • Slowly stir in 2 cups of water, 1 cup of milk, and 2 chicken bouillon cubes.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.
  • Add the grated cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and stir until the cheese is melted.
Pour the sauce over the eggs.  Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the top.

Bake uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the mixture bubbles and the crumbs are brown.

Serve hot.