Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Estonian Deviled Eggs

The Recipe: Deviled Eggs Estonian-style with a secret ingredient that might surprise you: butter!

The Conversation: Why 2014 is an especially fascinating time to visit Estonia, which shares a border with Russia and whose independence was restored only twenty-three years ago. Skip straight to the photos, if you like.

How to Make Estonian Deviled Eggs, with a single secret ingredient, butter. Low carb, just two Weight Watchers points. KitchenParade.com

Twas a fascinating time, 2014, to visit cities along the Baltic Sea, especially Finland and Estonia which each share a border with Russia – and a history of Russian occupation. Their capital cities of Helsinki and Tallinn are only 50 miles apart, separated by the cold waters of the Gulf of Finland. (It's not unlike the separation and affinity between Miami and Havana, say.)

In the times following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Finland became independent in 1918 and Estonia in 1918 - 1920. But Estonia's independence was short-lived. During World War Two, Estonia lost a quarter of its people: the country was invaded by the Russians, the Germans and then the Russians again. This time the Russians stayed: Estonia, along with its neighbors to the west, Latvia and Lithuania, became the "Baltic States" of the Soviet Union.

Slow-forward fifty years. As the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 – only twenty-three years ago, just a single generation ago – Estonia's independence was restored. The country's determined return to independence is movingly recounted in the documentary "The Singing Revolution": yes, music was central to Estonia's remarkable fight, in fact, some will say that Estonians sang themselves free from the Soviet occupation.

This next week, about the time when Canadians celebrate Canada Day on July 1 and Americans mark our own Independence Day on July 4, Estonians will gather to sing together in an open-air song festival. Imagine multiple choirs singing at once, up to 18,000 voices!

For many of us, World War II was a long time ago, an almost ancient history. But in Finland and Estonia, the effects of World War II remain writ large on the psyche of the people and every-day life and commerce.

Today Finland and Estonia are both thoroughly modern and thriving countries with diverse economies; both are members of the European Union, Estonia is also protected by NATO. But during our trip earlier this month, we had many conversations with friends and family about the worrisome implications of a contemporary expansionist, empire-building Russia.

Yes, twas a fascinating time, 2014, to spend time in these fiercely independent countries. Freedom, it's more than a word, more than a moment and I find myself wondering, What would I do to be free?

CURIOSITY PIQUED?
Watch the The Singing Revolution. Right now, the documentary is available on DVD through Netflix and streaming through Amazon. I much recommend its moving, inspiring story. I was especially fascinated by the commitment and determination of the Forest Brothers.
Watch for news about Estonia's 2014 Song Festival, July 4 - 6, 2014.
Make the chance to visit Estonia! And while the cruise ships stop for a few hours to allow a quick tour of the Old Town, that's hardly time to explore a place with a fascinating history and contemporary culture. Stay awhile, it's a place of many rewards.
Or you know, make Estonian Deviled Eggs!

ESTONIAN DEVILED EGGS

Step-by-Step Photos
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Makes 12 halves
    FILLING
  • 6 cooked yolks
  • 1 or 2 extra cooked whites, optional
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature but not soft
  • 4 tablespoons (about) mayonnaise, either Homemade Mayonnaise store-bought
  • 2 tablespoons (about) non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Lemon juice & cayenne pepper, if needed
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish, drained well
  • Salt to taste

EGGS Peel the eggs, rinse under water, let dry on paper towels. Halve the eggs, wiping the knife on a paper towel between cuts.

FILLING In a large bowl, with a large fork, mash the yolks, butter and (if using) 1 or 2 whites until well-combined and no yolk or white or butter is distinctly visible. Add the mayonnaise and yogurt.

Taste and adjust: if the filling needs more "creaminess", add a little more mayonnaise; if more "tang", add more yogurt; if more "sharp", then add a teaspoon or so lemon juice; if a little "kick", add a sprinkle of cayenne. Stir in the pickle relish, taste again, then salt to taste.

DEVILED EGGS Transfer the filling to a quart-size freezer bag, removing the air to seal. Clip one corner and squeeze filling into egg halves.

GARNISH Arrange egg halves on a plate and garnish.

ALANNA's TIPS To make Estonian Deviled Eggs ahead, cook the eggs two or three days ahead of time but leave in their shells and refrigerate. Make the filling on serving day, especially if using homemade mayonnaise. The filling may be refrigerated for a few hours before filling the egg halves but it will need to soften to room temperature to be squeezeable. When I need exactly six hard-cooked eggs for deviled eggs, it pays to cook a few extra since a couple always seem to fall apart. Besides, cooked eggs make a great healthy snack, just be sure to mark the cooked eggs somehow so not to confuse them with raw eggs! If one or two of the cooked whites aren't sturdy enough to fill for deviled eggs, feel free to throw them in with the yolks and butter. When the filling flavor is "just right", you won't taste the butter but the mouthfeel will be creamy-smooth.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half: 74 Calories; 5g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 112mg Cholesterol; 94mg Sodium; 2g Carb; 0g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2 & WW Points Plus 2. CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = a half plus a third of another half (5g protein).
Adapted from my dear friend Pille's recipe, Estonian Deviled Eggs, my go-to recipe for Easter, especially!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. 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. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

A Small Window Into Our Time in Tallinn,
the Captivating Capital of Estonia


Photo collage of our time visiting Tallinn, Estonia in 2014

The Old Town is Tallinn's first attraction, a beautifully preserved medieval town at the city center. It's easy to wander the cobblestone streets imagining yourself in another age, tucking in from one building to another. The buildings have distinctive red-tile roofs, their stucco sides are painted soft, saturated colors that reflect light in the North's long summer days and dark winter nights.

Upper left and lower right – the rooftops of Tallinn's Old Town.

Upper right – our gracious guide, my friend and fellow food blogger, Pille Petersoo of Nami-Nami (in English) and Nami-Nami (in Estonian). Tallinn is a small city, just 400,000 people and everywhere we went, people knew Pille!

Lower left – Pille and I overlooking the Old Town on a drizzly morning.

Lower center – Pille in Freedom Square in Tallinn's Old Town, behind her is the War of Independence Victory Column


Pille's three beautiful children.

As much as we loved seeing the tourist-y places, the real thrill of our visit to Estonia (and frankly of our entire five-country trip) was the time spent with Pille, her dear husband K and their three beautiful children in their home near Tallinn. Pille visited me in St. Louis in 2008 so it was especially remarkable to see her in her own space, her own kitchen, with her own raised vegetable beds, her own chickens. She's had three babies since that St. Louis visit!

Her children are just beautiful – inside and out!


Now Back to Those Estonian Deviled Eggs,
Step-By-Step Photos


How to Make Estonian Deviled Eggs, with a single secret ingredient, butter.

Estonian Deviled Eggs have one secret ingredient: butter. After that, it's just typical deviled egg ingredients. You might even add butter to your own favorite recipe, taking an old favorite to a whole new level!

How to Make Estonian Deviled Eggs, with a single secret ingredient, butter.

Start by mashing room temperature butter (it should be too soft) and the egg yolks (plus a white or two if you're using those) with a big fork until you can't distinguish the individual ingredients. At this point, it'll be a thick, almost-heavy eggy paste and taste way too buttery.

How to Make Estonian Deviled Eggs, with a single secret ingredient, butter.

Then stir in the mayonnaise and Greek yogurt until a nice, smooth consistency is reached, adjusting these ingredients as needed for the right flavor and consistency. Obviously you want it to taste good – to you! But you don't want the filling to "taste" the butter, you just want it to all to "hold together" and be soft enough to squeeze, sloppy or syrupy. Ask yourself, will it "pipe" into the egg halves? That's the idea!

How to Make Estonian Deviled Eggs, with a single secret ingredient, butter.

Now squeeze the filling into the egg halves. I use a freezer bag with a corner snipped but you could also use a pastry bag with a fancy tip.


More Favorite Egg Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
How to Poach a Perfect Egg Shakshuka (Eggs Nested in Summer Vegetables) Easy Creamy Scrambled Eggs for a Crowd
~ Easy Egg Recipes ~
a collection of thrifty egg recipes from my fellow food bloggers
~ more egg recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

For Clean, Sharp Tomato Slices, Invest in a Tomato Knife:
One Quick Tip

Ever struggle with ragged edges on sliced tomatoes? For anyone who loves summer's best ripe tomatoes, consider investing in a tomato knife, a short serrated knife that cuts tomatoes into clean, sharp slices.

For sharp, clean tomato slices, pick up a tomato knife, a short serrated knive. Another Quick Tip from Kitchen Parade.

This is the latest in an occasional series of posts I call "One Quick Tip" ... because, well, each one includes just a single quick tip, quick to absorb, easy to adopt, memorable to use.

Do you have One Quick Tip you'd like to share? Leave a comment or send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. This time, I'd love to hear about an inexpensive kitchen tool that you find indispensable, one that really makes life easier, one that's worth keeping around even if it has just a single purpose. Old or new, big or small, I'd love to know what's useful in your own kitchen!


SUMMER TOMATOES ARE (SOON?) HERE! Just yesterday, we harvested the season's very first tomato from our backyard garden here in eastern Missouri, a sweet golden tomato with great color and heft. Did we do the happy dance? You bet! Wish us luck keeping the resident groundhog and box turtle away from the tomatoes, if so, in a couple of weeks, it'll be tomato heaven around here.

WHAT IS A TOMATO KNIFE? A tomato knife has a short, serrated blade. It cuts through tomatoes like butter, especially compared to non-serrated knives which tend to tear tomatoes apart.

WHEN TO USE A TOMATO KNIFE You'll use a tomato knife all summer long for cleanly slicing tomatoes for:
Burgers
BLTs (where I definitely recommend Homemade Mayonnaise)
Caprese salads like Insalate Caprese
Impressive but ever-so-simple dishes like Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella for a Crowd
Scandinavian-style open-faced sandwiches (see the photo above?!)
Cutting cherry and grape tomatoes into halves or quarters

NOT JUST FOR TOMATOES In just a few days, I've started to pull out the tomato knife again and again. So far, I'm loving it for:
Cutting small loaves of bread like French baguettes
Cutting the kernels off ears of corn, you know, like How to Cut Corn Off the Cob, Keeping All Ten Fingers, Capturing Every Delicious Kernel and Every Drop of Sweet Corn 'Milk'
Slicing soft fruit like peaches, nectarines, plums and grapes
Slicing angel food cake and other tender cakes into thin slices without mashing

THAT'S IT! Really! One Quick Tip!


Except Just Another Quick Thing or Two


Gift bags from Fiskars, filled with Fiskars knives, including my new favorite tomato knife.

FISKARS TOMATO KNIFE My tomato knife was "swag" from Fiskars, the Finnish company many of us know for their orange-handled scissors, I've had three different sizes of Fiskars scissors since living in Finland as an exchange student for a year back in the 1970s! Fiskars has a long, long history of manufacturing quality "sharp blades" like knives dating back to the 1800s when it made the famous "puukko knives". Fiskars was a much-appreciated sponsor for the photography workshop I attended during our recent trip to the Baltic.

FUNNY STORY What did we bring home from our trip to the Baltic? Knives, knives and more knives! First there were seven handmade Finnish "puukko" knives for gifts plus then, surprise surprise, another seven Fiskars knives. For the flight home, we wrapped all the knives carefully in a small bag with other gifts and tourist-style purchases – obviously, the bag needed to be checked, it definitely wasn't hand luggage! Is it any wonder, however, that when we opened the bag at home, the TSA left a notice that it had searched the bag? All those knives must have set off some warning bells!

DISCLOSURE For the record, this is NOT a sponsored post. As always, the opinions are my own. Fiskars gifted knives to all the workshop participants with no requirement or even expectation of coverage. I've never owned a tomato knife before, I'm so glad I do now! (My Disclosure Promise)


So So Ready for Summer Tomatoes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Wedge Salad with Homemade Low-Cal & Low-Carb Blue Cheese Salad Dressing Summer Couscous with Mango & Tomato Ina Garten's Tabbouleh Salad
Creamy Ricotta with Tomato-Cucumber-Corn Salad Summer's Tomato Soup Grilled Steak with Summer Tomato Salad





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