Spring & Easter

deviled eggs"I love deviled eggs and there are so many delicious variations. I'm making these for Easter dinner hors d'oeuvres and using some of the Smoked Sockeye Salmon that I brought back from a recent trip to Alaska. Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon"

7 large eggs (cold)
4 oz. cold-smoked salmon, very finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1½ tablespoons capers, rinsed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon packed finely grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon grainy mustard

Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill medium bowl with 1 quart cold water and about 14 ice cubes (one tray). Transfer eggs to ice water with slotted spoon; let sit 5 minutes.

Peel eggs and slice each in half lengthwise with paring knife. Remove yolks to a medium bowl. Arrange whites on serving platter, discarding two worst-looking halves. Crumble the yolks and add the salmon, 1 tablespoon of the chives, the mayonnaise, onion, capers, lemon juice, zest, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper (salt to taste) and mix. Mound the filling into the egg whites. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon chives and several grinds of black pepper.

– Recipe courtesy of Cook Like James

hard-cooker-eggsI love hard boiled eggs. Using them for egg salad and especially for making deviled eggs is always a treat. They are also the perfect high-protein snack right out of the refrigerator.

While I love a good hard cooked egg, I detest peeling off their shells. I have tried every method possible to remove the shell without ruining the egg itself. Nothing has been foolproof. I've also used fresh eggs and old eggs and still nothing has been really successful.

The perfect hard cooked egg is SUPER important when making deviled eggs. The white needs to remain intact instead of looking like a mangled mess. I have found with the pressure cooker, the egg shells are very easy to peel away.

This method doesn't significantly lessen your prep or cooking times, but you do save at the end when it comes to peeling. Totally worth it to me! And your deviled eggs will be pretty.

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deviledeggsWhat's Easter without Easter eggs? Hide them. Roll them. And, best of all, eat them. Of the many dishes associated with Easter, deviled eggs have always been high on my list. Traditional deviled eggs are delicious but with some adventuresome spices, hardboiled Easter eggs take center stage on this festive occasion.

Our fingers stained blue, red and yellow, my sister and I loved dyeing and decorating Easter eggs. Our parents would hide the eggs around the house and outside. I'd race against my sister, each of us hoping to find more than the other.

Ultimately when we had delivered the eggs back into the kitchen, our mother turned our colored eggs into deviled eggs with a simple recipe: peel off the shells, cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks. Chop up the yolks, add a bit of mayonnaise, season with salt and pepper and spoon the mixture back onto the egg white halves.

When were kids those flavors were good enough. But for my adult palate, deviled eggs need spicing up. With experimentation, I discovered that doing something as simple as adding cayenne or Mexican chili ancho powder gives mild-mannered eggs a mouth-pleasing heat. Sweeten the flavor up a notch by stirring in finely chopped currants or borrow from Indian cuisine and mix in curry powder that has first been dry roasted in a sauté pan.

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emirates.jpg I love soccer so I get really excited when I go to visit my dad in London where it’s soccer season all year long.  England as you probably know has an undying passion for the sport, they treat it less as a game and more as a way of life.  For example, on a sold out night at Emirates Stadium after Arsenal scores the crowd collectively expenses 100 times the world’s energy output for a day in the 30 seconds after the goal.  Like baseball or basketball in the US, football in the UK permeates the culture – it’s everywhere.  It has both a light and dark side, and can go from having fun with your mates to total warfare very quickly. 

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colaham2Is there such a thing as a ham of your dreams? I didn't think so until I had this one. BAKED HAM with RUM and COKE GLAZE is not your ordinary, dried out, gross, nasty, ham-holiday-dinner that you are used to. It is one of the best ham's I have ever had in my life.

It's so juicy, and puts Honeybaked Ham to shame. Trust me. Even after refrigerating and reheating the next day, it is still perfectly, PERFECT. (The ham sandwiches are to die for.)

If Easter for you means ham, this is the one for you. Let's have a little HAM 101 before we get started.

First of all, never ever buy a spiral-sliced ham. That is one of the first precursors to having a dried out piece of meat. The extra-processing ruins any chance of a juicy ham. All the pieces are exposed to air which leaves you with dried, processed meat. Yuck.

You need to pick the right cut and the BUTT half is the only way to go. A whole ham is way too hard to carve. A shank has all the connective tissue. But a BUTT is easy to slice with easy to see muscle groups, making carving a cinch.

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