Deviled Eggs with Tomato & Herb Relish

In memory of my friend Linda, plain but plain-delicious deviled eggs, jazzed up with a dab of Tomato & Herb Relish and surrounding a mound of tiny tomatoes.

Deviled Eggs with Tomato & Herb Relish

Dear Readers: It’s a fact of life that as we grow older, we will lose friends. But when my friend Linda died last week, it was a first for me and frankly, I struggled to express the loss. I told my sister, “Because of her illness, none of my other friends knew her. Because she wanted me to ignore her illness, I didn’t get to tell her how much she meant to me. I just don't know what to DO with all this sadness.” Ever-wise, Adanna suggested, “Maybe you should write a column.”

So please bear with me as I publicly mourn the passing of the woman who privately and enthusiastically encouraged me during the too-short years of our friendship. In Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture both, Linda figures in one recipe after another, first as 'my new friend Linda' and soon 'my dear friend Linda' – and now here, in farewell.

This is an open letter to the husband and son of my dear friend Linda Behrends, who died on June 28 after a long illness.

Jim, we’ve met just once and Jeff, we’ve never met. But I feel as if I know you both, hearing so much about you from Linda. I’m so sorry for your loss.

I would like you to know how much she meant to me, how I regret not making the chance to tell her myself, how much her loss hurts me, too.

We met in 2006 admiring hats at a ladies’ hat luncheon in Forest Park. Mine was pastel and girly with flowers, hers was vintage and sophisticated, inherited from her mother. Only by accident did we learn, while parting, that we both figured in the St. Louis food community, she as the city’s top stylist, I as a columnist. We made a quick exchange of cards and thus did a friendship begin.

Soon we went to lunch where I watched her with glistening eyes. You see, she reminded me so much of my own mother, four years gone. Just like my mom, Linda had a polished look, a sense of style, a head of shiny salt and pepper hair and a big, easy laugh. She was a Home Ec grad, too, and just like my mom, made her living in the field she loved when many of their generation stayed home to raise their children.

These likenesses appeared again and again. Too often, I’d blurt out, “Oh Linda, you remind me so much of my mother.” I worried she’d think our friendship was based on that single dimension.

When Linda’s illness returned, she asked me to come over, she needed to talk, to be distracted. We sat at your dining room table, flitting from one subject to the next as we were so prone to do. That was the last time we spoke at length about her illness, the toll that it and its treatments would take on her. I was, you see, the friend she designated to ignore the obvious, to conduct our friendship as if life were normal rather than one test and one hospital stay after another.

Throughout it all, Linda encouraged me professionally and personally. When she was curious about food blogs, she invited me to speak of my experience to a group of local food writers. When I organized a plating, styling and photography workshop for St. Louis bloggers, she inspired us with insider tips from a professional stylist. When I had a recipe question, she shared her own. When I’d visit, she’d send me home with a cookbook or two, ones she knew I’d like. When I fell in love, too fast, too soon, she encouraged me to “just have fun." When I shared recipes on Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture, she read and commented on nearly every one. One day I had big news; my journal from that day reads, “I am so excited about this. I called Linda (and got teary, missing Mom, knowing it would have been her I’d have called …), Linda is excited for me too.”

To the end, Linda remained wholly Linda, vibrant and social. On Father’s Day, she organized tickets to Wicked and dinner at a new restaurant for four of us, happily holding court, making sure the conversation didn’t founder, making connections among people meeting for the first time. As we parted, I hugged her thin-thin but still smartly dressed body, hoping that we just might hang onto her for a few more months.

It was not to be. A week later, she was gone.

Your lives, Jim and Jeff, now confront the gaping hole a remarkable woman leaves. While our grief cannot compare to yours, please know her many friends share your loss, I among them.

Linda was my friend. I was lucky to know her even if I didn't say so out loud.

Goodbye, my friend, you shall not be forgotten.

DEVILED EGGS with
TOMATO & HERB RELISH

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 24 dozen deviled egg halves
    FILLING
  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
    TOMATO & HERB RELISH
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeds removed & chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes

MAKE the FILLING Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, then gently scoop out the yolks into a small mixing bowl. If a white cracks or breaks, no problem, just toss it into the bowl too. Add the Filling ingredients, then use a fork to mash it all up until smooth. The filling may be made ahead of time, just refrigerate until ready to fill.

FILL the EGGS An hour or so before serving, use two small spoons (one to scoop, one to scrape) or a pastry bag with a wide decorating tip (see TIPS) to fill the eggs with the filling.

ARRANGE Combine the Relish ingredients in a small bowl. Arrange the egg halves around a rimmed dish and top each half with a bit of relish. Mound the tomatoes in the center. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then serve and savor!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half: 47 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 105mg Cholesterol; 75mg Sodium; 2g Carb; 0g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 1, WW PointsPlus 1 Weight Watchers Note: Half a deviled egg for 1 point, including the mayonnaise, is great since the half egg itself, no mayo, is 1 point.
Inspired by a recipe from Linda, not so much the eggs themselves, but the presentation. Linda always had a special way to present food, never fussy, always natural and organic, a touch of this and a touch of that. It’s just one of many ways she touched my life.

ALANNA’s TIPS I like Deviled Eggs on the plain side, so the Tomato & Herb Relish adds color and vibrancy to the plate. If you have one of those deviled egg plates that holds exactly 12 eggs, be sure to boil two or three extra eggs because one or two always break. Like Nicole from the great food blog Pinch My Salt wrote when sharing her recipe for Best Basic Deviled Eggs, I have best luck filling deviled eggs with a pastry bag. But do use a wide tip, otherwise the pickle relish will clog up and suddenly the filling mixture will be spurting all over. Trust me on this, it makes a mess. ☺

MORE DEVILED EGG IDEAS Some cooks are way more adventurous with their deviled eggs! Here are a few recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers.

Estonian-Style Deviled Eggs, the filling includes butter and a little mayonnaise.
Deviled Eggs Three Ways, three Asian-style filling, Thai (with red curry paste), Chinese (with five-spice powder) and Japanese (with wasabi).
Curried Deviled Eggs, with a generous spoonful of curry and paprika, very pretty color.
Deviled Egg Salad, skip the stuffing step and stuff the egg mixture (including mango chutney and chopped apple) between slices of good bread for a sandwich or onto cucumber slices for an appetizer.
Hickory House Deviled Eggs, made with mashed potatoes and Deviled Eggs made with a little ham, almost mousse-ish, both from Saveur.


Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture.

St. Louis Food Bloggers in 2006

Some of the St. Louis food bloggers who attended a 2006 workshop where Linda did a session on food styling. Left to right, top row: Gunjan from Vyanjanaa (no longer blogging); me (Alanna Kellogg); food stylist and consultant Linda Behrends in the bright jacket; middle row: Lisa from Champaign Taste; Karen from FamilyStyle Food; Nupur from One Hot Stove; bottom row: Bruno from Bruno's Dream; Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen who traveled all the way from Salt Lake City and was dubbed an honorary St. Louis food blogger!

More Recipes from Linda


~ Cream of Zucchini Soup ~
where Linda tells about the thrill of meeting Julia Child
~ Homemade Zucchini Relish ~
~ Melon Blueberry Feta Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette ~
~ Autumn Slaw with Apples & Bacon ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog


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© Copyright 2010 Kitchen Parade





Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend Linda. I'm a few years younger than you, and have already lost a few friends. It'll never be easy, I guess, whatever your age..

(But thank you for featuring my Estonian deviled eggs!)
 
I lost my best friend to breast cancer last month, I still wake up with tears in my eyes. I don't think we ever forget.
 
I remember meeting Linda and how gracious and lovely she was. So sad to hear this news.
 
I was so touched by your letter to Linda's family and your loss of a dear friend. Thanks for sharing. I trust as time goes by you will savor loving memories of her and find some peace. I know she was very proud of you and she will be part of your life always. She will always be an angel friend now.

Blessings.
 
What a lovely reminder of how deeply we feel the loss of good friends. I know there is a huge hole in your heart. Linda sounds like a very special person.
 
I share your immense grief at losing such a good friend.

Not to worry, she knew how much you loved her. It is the extension of friendship and love that she and you sat at her dining table and discussed life. She knew. She, like you, just never mentioned it. We are gifted in life with such friendships.

But never have care to worry, she knew how much you loved her. She knew how much you loved your Mother. And by commenting on how much like your Mother she was, that love showed through with a golden light at your speaking of it.

People that are ill see things we don't. They see the overwhelming nuance of feeling, love and sorrow.

She knew.

Your best way of showing it is to continue in the profession you both loved best. With the food that feeds our soul and most importantly, Dear Alanna, our bodies.

Just keep on doing what you do best....and that is to show us how to live healthy, happy and interesting lives with your food blogs. How to show us that love is food. Food is Love.

Your grief will continue, but remember the 'sunny' things she did, for you and others. Write them down in one of those black and white school theme/thesis books at the school supply depts. in Target, Walmart or stationery stores. They store well, easy to transport when you need a thought jotted down. Take one and dedicate it just to Linda, of the thoughts you remember, things she said, things she did, things she did to make you laugh, in short, her life with you.

"Memories lost are memories not written down."

My best to you, and when you remember her while you are driving, do as the Pastor told us when my mother-in-law passed away at her memorial service. "Stop driving until the tears pass. Don't let your grief get you into an accident because of the memory that came. Just be thankful that the memory is there."

That is my advice to you.

Be careful Alanna, but don't forget the love of life that the two of you shared.

Continue on.
 
My sympathies to you and her family. Aren't the food we share and the recipes we keep a wonderful legacy? I know I find myself growing nostalgic when browsing recipes and finding one in my grandmother's or mother-in-law's hand. As fortunate as you feel you were, I'm guessing she felt even more fortunate for knowing you. Thank you for sharing.
 
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. That's such a lovely letter to your friend's family - I'm sure they appreciate hearing how much she meant to someone else.
 
We hold these dear friends in our hearts forever. I know that I am a better person for having known and loved these friends who have passed on. May you find deep comfort in your memories, Alanna.
 
Lovely . . . .
 
Your friend, she knew.
 
What a beautiful tribute. I'm glad I had a chance to meet and learn from Linda Behrends.
 
Dear Alanna,
Thank you for this loving and moving tribute to my Aunt Linda. One of her expressions of care to me was her regular sharing of links to vegetarian recipes on your blog. She was so thoughtful, always thinking about might sound good to her far-away niece.
 
Dear Alana,

I am so sorry for your loss, truly. I heard from your cousin Jessica, too, and am glad that Linda's family can see how much she meant to people outside the family too.

I met your parents on Saturday, I'm sure they told you that so many people, but especially women and strikingly, women of such age range, gathered to celebrate her life.

I still can't believe she's gone ...

THANK YOU for writing, Alana.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna