Green (Deviled) Eggs & Ham


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If it’s been a little quiet on this blog, well, there’s been good reason.

There is the issue of this book, you see. A book editing deadline, to be precise. After following my various exploits while traveling and researching “A Tiger In The Kitchen,” you’ll be patient, I hope, as I wade my way to the finish line later this month. The blog, with all its death-defying bread baking, restaurant explorations and virtual lunch dates, will be back to normal in no time, I promise.

In the meantime, however, there are things that can prod the bloggery back to life.

In this case, that would be a carton of green eggs, large, pert and in the loveliest shade of pale sage. The moment they were spied, said carton was whisked off the table at the Brooklyn Heights farmers market and ferried home for further inspection.

What to do with these green eggs? I immediately thought of the deviled eggs a talented artist friend, Moses Hoskins, recently served up for lunch …

If you’re curious, these green eggs are laid by a particular breed of chicken — the lovely people at the Rexcroft Farm stand directed me to their sign, explaining, apologetically, that the spelling of the name of the chicken was probably wrong …

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A little nosing around revealed that the eggs were probably from Araucana chickens, a breed of poultry from Chile that lays bluish-green eggs.

Now, several weeks before the green egg discovery, there had been a little visit to the Queens studio of my friend Moses to see his latest work.

I’d gotten to know Moses at Yaddo, one of the oldest artist colonies in the U.S. — a place that was gracious enough to offer me a studio in the woods for seven weeks to complete my book this winter. Moses does large abstract paintings that attract collectors as far away as Abu Dhabi and smaller collages (which are currently on display at OK Harris gallery in New York City through July 17).

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After living, eating and working together for weeks, one can get fond of the people around them. Perhaps, even missing them when you’re back in real life.

And so, on a sunny afternoon back at home in New York, I found myself hopping on a Subway train with Gordon, another Yaddo-mate and fellow author (whose work you may know), speeding toward Queens for a little catch-up lunch with Mo.

The spread, when we arrive, is anything but simple. The large table in Mo’s kitchen is filled with bowls of potato salad, pickled cucumbers, a shredded garlic and olive oil dip — all of it homemade.

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And, of course, Mo’s very own deviled eggs.

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Mo protests when I whip my camera out. “Don’t take pictures–they look TERRIBLE!”

But the best tasting food often doesn’t look great — and besides, since the chef du jour is also a visual artist, I choose to think that the eggs are simply a little abstract.

And they taste just divine, of course — the eggs are perfectly hard-boiled, springy and fresh. And the filling is sweet and creamy, with just enough of a mustardy zing.

Mo, who grew up in Iowa, says he learned to make deviled eggs from his mother. However, he thinks it’s utterly ridiculous when I ask him for a recipe. “There’s no recipe,” he says. “They’re STUPID easy!”

Finally, though, he agrees to run through the steps. First, you hard-boil some eggs. (“You know how to boil eggs, don’t you?” he says.) Next, you peel them, slice them lengthwise and scoop out the yolks into a bowl.

Then, “you take a fork and you CLOBBER the BEJESUS out of it,” Mo says.

(Am I the only one who thinks Mo needs his own Food Network show — pronto?)

Next, you add mayonnaise — enough to make the filling smooth and creamy — a few “squirts of brown mustard,” tasting as you go along. “Now you need enough for each egg, so you can’t test it too much or there isn’t going to be enough to go around,” Mo warns. At this stage, Mo notes that some people add curry powder or relish but “Well … I don’t do that.” After “CLOBBERING” the filling some more, scoop it into the hollowed egg halves and serve.

I decided to try this at home with my green eggs, which taste just like regular eggs, except that the yolks are massive and so deep in hue that they’re almost marigold …

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Mo was right — deviled eggs are “STUPID easy.” When following his instructions, I also added some salt, freshly ground pepper, a dash of cayenne and contemplated adding a dribble of soy sauce but decided against it. Next time, perhaps.

Since I was making these with green eggs, however, I did decide on one addition: Chopped up bits of bone-in ham. (Making the filling using six hard-boiled eggs, I added about half a cup of finely chopped ham.)

These Dr. Seuss-inspired green deviled eggs and ham may not have been the most traditional, but they sure turned out delicious.

As Sam might say, I would eat them in a boat, I would eat them with a goat … 

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Special thanks to Moses Hoskins: http://web.mac.com/moseshoskins/Site/index%3A___HOME.html 



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