Sometimes Things Go Egg-zactly As They Should

Note to self: Next time I buy a bottle of face cleanser, make sure the pump on the new one works before I throw the old one out.

Isn’t it frustrating when the silliest little things don’t work the way they should?

On the other hand, when gadgets or methods work the way they should, especially in the kitchen, it can be a supremely satisfying moment.

I believe such was the case when my sister Margaret was whipping up a batch of gazpacho using a new recipe, which called for grilling the vegetables beforehand.

“It was slick!” was her reaction to how the skins came easily off the pepper when it was allowed to steam in a paper bag following grilling.

Grilled Gazpacho

Heat the grill to high. Oil the grates using an oil-soaked paper towel and tongs.

Place 1 fresh poblano pepper on the grill until it is charred and blackened on all sides. Place the pepper in a paper bag, close the bag and allow to steam for 10 minutes while you grill the other vegetables.

Prepare 4 large tomatoes, halved; 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise; 1 medium summer squash, halved lengthwise; and 1 medium onion, halved. Season with salt and pepper, arrange on grill and cook until slightly charred and tender, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter.

Using the paper bag to assist, rub the poblano pepper until all of the charred skin loosens and peels off. Using a paring knife, cut out and discard the core and seeds of the pepper.

In a blender or food processor (work in batches, if necessary), puree the grilled vegetables along with 2 cloves minced garlic, ¼ cup fresh basil and 1 tablespoon fresh oregano. Transfer to a large bowl and cool completely.

When cool, stir in 2 cups vegetable juice, ¾ cup diced celery, ¾ cup diced green and red pepper, 1 medium cucumber, peeled and finely diced, and the zest and juice of 1 orange. Adjust seasonings and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

We might well have sampled that gazpacho if Hubby Bryan and I had followed through with our original plans for a summer vacation road trip to visit Margaret and husband Don in Colorado. But, deterred by the rash of wildfires out there, we headed for Wisconsin instead, and I’ll share a bit more about those adventures in a blog to come.

On the eve before our departure, we attended a potluck get-together at the home of friend Millie Hamman. Among the fare she offered were these devilishly delicious deviled eggs.

They were gobbled up (maybe she used turkey eggs?) in a matter of minutes.

Bacon and Cheddar
Deviled Eggs

Slice 14 hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks to a medium bowl. Reserve 24 white halves; finely chop remaining four white halves.

Mash yolks with a form. Add ½ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup sour cream, 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon black pepper; mix well. Add chopped egg yolks, 1/3 cup crumbled cooked bacon, ¼ cup finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons fresh chives or green onion tops; mix well.

Spoon (or use a piping bag) 1 heaping tablespoon yolk mixture into each reserved egg white half. Refrigerate, covered, to blend flavors.

I’ve been making hard-boiled eggs quite frequently lately, not necessarily for deviled eggs, although I love them, but for a good source of protein and quick lunch.

I know there are a lot of different methods for making the “perfect” hard-boiled egg, but I’ve had pretty good luck with this method:

Place eggs in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover completely with cold water.

Bring the water to a full boil, uncovered, then remove the pot from the heat and cover it. Let the pot stand untouched for 17 minutes.

Drain the hot water from the pan and cover eggs with cold water. Let stand for 15 minutes. (I usually replace the cold water at least once as it gets warm.)