And today I lighten up. I try to be soft and gentle like the dusting of snow on the grass seed we sprinkled yesterday. Useful in a simple, subtle way. Disturbing nothing. Only a positive addition. A part of the big picture on this mountain. To fit in, to do some sort of good, without damage, without fanfare… a lofty goal so hard for us humans to settle for. I don’t know if I will succeed.
It is spring. So much we can do outside now. Finally. The blisters on our fresh hands form faster than projects are completed. But how good it feels to check one thing at a time from the “to do” list. To look around and see the ranch flourishing under our eager care.
The chickens are laying more eggs than we consume, and not a morning passes without eggs in this household. This is the time of year that those of who keep laying hens might enjoy treats like hard boiled eggs and quiche… anything that requires more eggs than our girls usually provide. Some years, of course, we never get here. In one day, a pine martin or fisher or bear can change the fate of the eggs for a season. This year, our hens have been spared. For the most part. So far…
So, for those of us with a bounty of fresh eggs (home harvested or store bought), here’s the most basic of uses for the surplus. Devilled Eggs. I seem to be making them weekly right now, enjoying them for lunch, appreciating the sudden abundance to the fullest, and knowing summer will soon be upon us and I won’t have the time.
First, hard boil those eggs. I do a dozen or so at a time. They can last a long time in the fridge. Put the eggs in a large pot. Cover with tap water, making sure there is about an inch of water over the eggs. (Good opportunity to test the eggs here – any that float get donated to the coyotes.) Put the pot over high heat, and bring the water to full rolling boil. When it boils, cover the pot tightly, turn off the heat, and let them sit for about 17 – 18 minutes. Up in this elevation (almost 10,000 feet), I’ve been doing about 20 minutes. When your timer goes off, drain the hot water, flush with cold water, and let sit in ice water for another 5 minutes or so. I actually fill the pot with cold water a second time and dump a tray of ice cubes in there. The sudden chilling is supposed to help prevent further cooking, and keep the yolks from discoloring. Then drain out the water and you’re ready to go.
To make a little batch of devilled eggs, I use 6 of these hard boiled eggs. To peel, I tap and roll the egg on the counter to crackle up the shell well, then carefully peel under slowly running water. I don’t know if it’s the elevation, but I just can’t get the shells to come off in a smooth clean sweep like I used to. Peeled eggs are put in a colander to dry.
Then each egg is sliced in half, long ways. The yolk is deposited in a small bowl, and the white is set, hollow side up, on a plate. When I have all the yolks in the bowl from all six eggs, then I add the following:
1/3 cup mayo or ranch dressing or a combination of the two
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons mustard
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon celery salt
Mash that all up well with a fork until smooth, then with that fork and your finger or a knife, fill each of the hollows of the egg whites up with this mixture. I think there are fancier ways to do this, but my fork and knife method work just fine. When each egg is evenly filled, I sprinkle them all lightly with paprika.
That’s it. I hope you enjoy.