Cool eggs

The cool smoothness of deviled eggs….like jumping into a swimming pool on a hot day for your mouth. But you don’t get that chlorine smell.

Barely halfway through the summer, now, and I am done with the heat. Since it’s not done with me, I believe it’s time for some Greek Eggs from my cookbook “Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy” (Harvard Common Press).

Greek Eggs

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, cut in half and yolks mashed in a bowl

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

6 large Kalamata or ripe olives, pitted and chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Salt and black pepper to taste

Lemon slivers, olive slices or fresh oregano sprigs for garnish

1. Combine the thoroughly mashed yolks wtih the feta, olives and mayonnaise. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.

2. Fill the whites evenly with the mixture and garnish each egg half with a lemon sliver, olive slice or sprig of oregano.

Makes 12

Deviled egg days

You know you’re really in the South when deviled eggs are on the menu at three out of four meals. Even besides the deviled eggs (which y’all know I have an affection for), I was well fed during the 22nd Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration in Natchez, MS. The theme was sports in the South, so I was asked to talk about tailgating and my book “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home.”

Yes, North Carolina is the South, but not in the same way as Natchez, which is nestled by the Mississippi River and covered with antebellum homes that would make Raleigh’s Historic Oakwood look like a trailer park. The bed-and-breakfast where I stayed, Pleasant Hill, was built in the 1830s. It was moved about a block down the street in the 1850s, using large logs as rollers. It took nearly two years to move the house, completely furnished, and the owners lived in it the whole time (a baby was even born in it, in the middle of the street).

Yes, this is a different place. If you ask for water during cocktail hour, a genial host always asks, “Don’t you want a li’l vodka in that water?”

After my talk, the chef of the Carriage House, which is on the grounds of Stanton Hall mansion, prepared a lunch inspired by tailgate food. Chef Bingo Starr – he mispronounced Ringo as a child – has cooked with Emeril Lagasse and John Besh in New Orleans. I had crispy fried chicken, a burger slider with pimiento cheese and house bacon, then pecan tart. And deviled eggs.

See Debbie on NBC-17 and at farmers market, too

I just got back from carrying a lovely tray of deviled eggs to NBC-17 in Raleigh, N.C., where it and I will be featured on the new local show, My Carolina Today. The segment with host Valonda Calloway will be shown Thursday, April 1, at 11 a.m.

Don’t forget to come out to the spring opening for the Wake Forest Farmers Market this Saturday, April 3. I’ll be there, selling and signing cookbooks, and offering samples of deviled eggs, of course. I’ll be at the market in downtown Wake Forest, N.C. from 9 a.m. to noon.

Hippety, hoppety, deviled-egg time’s on its way

When I was a kid, my father would wander the house during the week before Easter, singing seasonal songs. He could make up “carols” for any holiday. Besides the traditional “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” he delivered a sort of IMG_0845spoken-word rap – he was a man ahead of his time –  that went: “Easter time is the time for eggs, and the time for eggs is Easter time.” (He also liked to sing “Mack the Knife” around small children, which may account for warped aspects of my personality.)

It’s certainly egg time around my house. It’s funny – you write a little cookbook of deviled egg recipes, and people begin giving you deviled egg plates. I have about a dozen now.

Besides the symbolic aspects of eggs for the holiday (rebirth), deviled eggs are just so pretty for spring meals, and easy to make. Shake off the old paprika-pickle relish stereotype this Easter with this recipe from my cookbook, “Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy,” published by Harvard Common Press.

It will also work for your Final Four party if you’re a fan of what, in my house, is called the Evil Empire.

Blue Devils

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, cut in half, and yolks mashed in a bowl

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

Salt and black pepper to taste

About 3 tablespoons real bacon bits

Combine the thoroughly mashed yolks with the mayonnaise and mustard. Add the blue cheese and mash well into the mixture with a spoon. Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Fill the whites evenly with the mixture and garnish each egg half with the bacon bits.

Makes 12.