Toolbox Tuesday: One Marble Rolling Pin & One Open Springtime Window!

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Spring Window Pies 2

by Tina LeBaron, Kitchen Store Specialisttina

As far as pie making goes, I still consider myself in the “novice” stage. However, I have acquired a few tricks, of which I’d love to share with you now, that make me quite confident I’ll be moving up to the “skilled” pie maker level after a few more rounds of trial and error while tampering with recipes. For any beginners out there interested in making pies, let me tell you the most helpful factor I’ve learned in making a successful crust – cold. Unlike other baking norms, like say for cookies where room temperature butter is important, keep your butter cold. Put your bag of flour in the freezer for a bit before beginning.

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And, you can even opt for a nice heavy marble rolling pin that will hold its chill while you roll out the dough. When working with pie dough, it gets quite sticky as it warms, and the more you work with it, the warmer it gets. Of course you could chill your rolling pin in the fridge or freezer, but mine at home sits on my kitchen windowsill.

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On one of those very first sunshiny, brisk spring mornings of the season, two things happened that set me up for absolute pie crust success. One, I was finally able to open the kitchen window for fresh air. Two, a recipe for hand pies scrolled across my Facebook news feed (thank you justataste.com!). With a large board set over my sink for plenty of rolling space, the cool spring air blowing directly on my work space not only kept my rolling pin cold, but my dough as I worked with it as well! It became incredibly easy to take my sweet time as I rolled, cut, filled, and prepared each and every little handful of personal pie bliss!

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I urge you to try my kitchen window technique before summer arrives. With a marble rolling pin in hand, check out the Strawberry Nutella Hand Pie recipe from justataste.com below. Though any piecrust, whether it be for a whole pie or hand pies, would be great in a cool room. You may notice their recipe is topped with crystal sanding sugar, which I didn’t have but substituted powdered sugar instead. I might point out that I also couldn’t have had such an easy time making my hand pies if it weren’t for my Norpro board scraper, Silpat mat, and round fluted cutters!

Strawberry Nutella Hand Pies

Yield: Makes 10 (3-inch) hand pies

Prep Time: 1 hour (includes chilling)

Cook Time: 15 min

Ingredients:

For the dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup cold sour cream

For the filling:

3/4 cup Nutella

2 cups diced strawberries

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 large egg

Crystal sanding sugar (optional)

Make the dough:

  • Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
  • Add the cubed butter to the bowl and use your fingers to work the butter into the flour until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand.
  • Stir in the sour cream (the dough will be very wet), and then turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface.
  • Knead the dough a few times until it comes together, adding more flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, if the dough is too sticky to handle. Roll the dough into an 8×10-inch rectangle and dust both sides with flour before folding it into thirds as if you were folding a letter.
  • Rotate the dough 90º and roll it out again into an 8×10-inch rectangle. Fold the dough again into thirds then wrap it securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes while you make the filling.

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Make the filling:

  • In a small bowl, combine the diced strawberries with the flour, tossing to combine. Set aside.

Assemble the pies:

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unfold it onto a well-floured surface, rolling it out to a 14×14-inch square.
  • Using a 3-inch circular cookie cutter or cup, cut out as many circles as possible. Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting out circles until you run out of dough, ensuring you end up with an even number of circles. (You should have approximately 20 3-inch circles.)

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  • Place six of the dough circles on a Silpat or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Spread a portion of the Nutella in the centers of half of the dough circles leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges.

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  • Spoon a small portion of the strawberries atop the Nutella. Place a second dough circle atop each filled circle then use a fork to crimp the edges together, sealing each pie.

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  • Whisk together the egg with the water to make an egg wash. Brush each pie with the egg wash, and using a sharp knife, cut two or three vents on the top of each pie. Sprinkle the pies with crystal sanding sugar (optional).

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  • Bake the pies for about 15 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
  • Remove the pies from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Repeat the filling and baking process with the remaining dough circles.

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Welcome Spring!

by Cheryl Shaffer, Chef Instructor

Spring has officially arrived on the calendars, and even Mother Nature is trying to give us a sneak peak by reigning in the cold, (at least a little!), and whisking away the ice and darkness of winter. Spring is here. The days are longer, the sun a little brighter, the sky bluer and hopefully, the welcome of Alaskans as we greet each other after a long winter is a friendlier and happy note to your day.

Last week, we explored the joys of deviled eggs to share with our patrons. This week, we’ve made delightful baby animal cookies on a lollipop stick. We started with chicks, then bunnies and ended with ducklings. Credit goes to the website, HowDoesShe.com, for creative ingenuity.

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For the Cheeps: You’ll need a package of round sandwich cookies. We used Golden Oreos, but any type will work. Carefully push a lollipop stick, (the cookie sticks are too thick for this project), then press down on the cookies to secure the stick inside. You’ll want to be gentle, the cookies snap easily, but you can press them back into their cream filling and they worked fine for this project.

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Melt a package of yellow candy melts in a medium sized bowl, in the microwave oven, according to package directions. We found that the initial melting time took about 1.5 minutes, adding bursts of 15 second melt times, to keep the candy at the perfect consistency.   Using a spoon, stir the melts until all of the candy is melted into a nice liquid, and carefully pour the candy over the cookie, until it is completely coated, and allow the excess to drip off. Place the coated cookie onto a sheet of parchment paper. While the coating is still wet, place two candy eyes and half of a Nerd jelly bean candy, cut widthwise, for the beak. Continue with the rest of the cookies. Allow to cookie cool completely. We placed ours on a parchment lined cookie sheet and put them into the freezer for 15 minutes to set the chocolate.  We had a little bit of the yellow candy melt left over. When it was thickened, but not completely hard, we took a small amount and rolled it into a small tube shape, and pressed it against the top of the Cheep’s forehead, like a cockscomb. Once completely cooled, wrap the Cheeps in a cellophane bag and tie it closed with a cheerful ribbon.

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For the Ducklings: Use the same steps as for the Cheeps, but mix ½ bag of yellow melts with ½ bag of marshmallow flavored melts. Coat the cookie lollipops with the mixture, shake off the excess, place the candy eyes and this time, use half an orange Nerd jelly bean, cut lengthwise, for the beak- and we shook yellow sugar sprinkles over the whole cookie. Again, allow them to set on a parchment lined cookie tray. You can speed up the process using the freezer for about 15 minutes, then wrap them in the cellophane wrappers and tie a bow with ribbon.

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For the Bunnies: This time, you’ll use the plain white candy melts to coat the cookie lollipops, shake off the excess and place them on a parchment lined baking tray. You’ll want to place the eyes and the little hard candy bunny head for the nose, while the coating is still wet. Continue until all of your cookies are coated. Now comes the fun. We used a tube of  black gel frosting to draw on the bunny smiles.

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We took sugar wafer cookies, and removed the outer layers of the wafers and actually used the legs/feet of the Gnome cookie cutter that we sell in the store, to shape the bunny ears. Using a pair of tweezers, dip the ears to coat them in white candy, and carefully adhere them to the cookie, just above the eyes. You’ll have to hold each one for a moment, in order for them to stick. Use a little touch-up melt on the end of a toothpick to cover any bare spots from where the tweezers held the ears. You can also add a few whiskers to each side of the nose with a small dip of the coating and a toothpick. When the melt is dry, we used a toothpick to pick-up a little of pink cupcake decorating dust to give the ears a little dimension and color. Allow them to dry completely, then wrap them in cellophane and add a bow tie.

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If you prefer a pickle in your deviled eggs…

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Just when you thought we’d twisted all we could from deviled eggs, Chef Lisa gets us all in a pickle – but if you’re wondering if it’s dill or sweet she prefers, it’s not at all what you’d expect – and the results are both darling and delicious!

by Chef Lisa Chang

Five eggs, hard boiled

1/2 tsp chopped pickled ginger

1/2 tsp chopped pickled mango

1/2 tsp hot chili paste

3 Tbsp Japanese Kewpie Mayo

1 tsp dry hot mustard powder

1 Tbsp pickling liquid from your favorite pickled product

1/2 tsp Smoked AK Pure Sea Salt

Fresh ground Black Pepper to taste

Place refrigerated eggs into a pot of cold water bring to a rapid boil, cover and continue to boil 8 mins. Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, an additional 12 mins. Run eggs under cold water until cool enough to handle. Remove shells under running water.

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Using a sharp knife, gently cut egg white around center yolk. Pull off one half of white and remove whole cooked yolk. In small bowls, prepare dyeing mix by combining 3/4 cups cool water and 1 drop of food coloring. Add halved whites to die baths and allow to soak for 45 minutes – stirring occasionally to avoid tips that may peak out of the liquid – or until desired color is achieved.

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Prepare filling:
Dice pickled ginger and mango, add to egg yolks, mayo, mustard, chili paste, pickling liquid and salt. With a fork, mash and blend all ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until halves are finished coloring.

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Remove egg halves from die baths and allow to dry on a cooling rack until drips have stopped.

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Using a portion scoop, fill each ‘hole’ with a scoop of filling.

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Garnish with Cilanto leaves and an additional sprinkling of Smoked Sea Salt and cracked pepper.

Serve chilled on a deviled egg platter.

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Side Note: While we’re talking dyed eggs, we also love using food dyes to color the outside of Easter Eggs. Turmeric for yellow hues, red cabbage for blues and beet juice for warm tones. You can also use beat juice to color the whites of your deviled eggs, like these Curried Mustard Eggs with Dill, though we haven’t tried the other two, which may overtly alter the overall flavor of your egg – so stick with the one drop of food coloring like Chef Lisa suggests.

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Toolbox Tuesday: Ravioli Press

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By Lucy Gibson, Chef Instructor

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Making pasta is a really fun activity that everyone in the family can participate in, particularly making raviolis! You can make pasta dough itself on your countertop or using a kitchen aid mixer.
With the countertop method, you start with a flour well and break the eggs into the well, using a fork to gently mix the eggs into the flour. It can get a little messy but it is well worth any mess that is made. Once the pasta dough is made it needs to rest for a while. This is the perfect time to start to make the sauce or the filling for your ravioli. We like to make a combination cheese and spinach filling for our ravioli and serve it with a homemade marinara sauce. We also make a cream and garlic sauce for homemade spaghetti.

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Once the dough is ready, you can begin to roll it through a pasta roller. A traditional roller clamps to your countertop and uses a hand crank to move the dough through rollers that can be moved progressively closer again and again until the sheet reaches your desired thickness. Electric hand mixer attachments can also be used, freeing up your second hand for catching the pasta sheet at the other end!

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There are so many ways to use the pasta: spaghetti, linguine, ravioli, lasagna- it can be an great way to spend time together and create a meal. It may not always look just the way you planned (particularly if little hands are helping), but it will be delicious and everyone will know they helped.

The ravioli maker with press is the best tool I have found to use in our kitchen for the hands on ravioli making.

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You just lay the pasta on the tray and press gently to make little indents in the pasta.

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Then, using a small cookie scoop, scoop the cheese mixture into the pasta indents and gently push into place.

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With a small bowl of water handy, dip your fingertips into the water and gently dab the pasta in between each pocket of filling.

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Put the other layer of pasta on top, press into place,

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turn out onto floured board,

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press with the template,

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and cut into ravioli portions.

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Your delicious little pasta pillows are ready to be cooked and served with your favorite sauce!

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Smokin’ Devilled Eggs

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by Tina LeBaron, Kitchen Store Specialist

Ingredients

6                      Boiled extra large eggs

1                      Smoked salmon filet

2 pc                 Smoked bacon, cooked & minced

3 Tbs              Red onion, minced

2 Tbs              Sour cream

1 Tbs              Mustard

½ tsp              Summit Spice Ancho Chipotle powder (optional)

Salt & pepper, to taste

Summit Spice Smoked paprika & any fresh herb on hand, for garnish

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First, bring eggs to room temperature or place in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes while prepping the other ingredients. Next, gently place eggs in a medium saucepan and cover one inch over the eggs with water. Bring to a rolling boil then remove from heat. Cover for 19 minutes, or use an Eggsact egg timer until thoroughly cooked. Place eggs in an ice bath until cooled enough to work with.

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Peel eggs under cool running water. Next, slice the eggs lengthwise, placing yolks in a medium sized bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork, spoon, or ricer. Add the minced bacon, red onion, sour cream, mustard, and seasonings. Mix until thoroughly combined.

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Use a spoon, cookie-scoop, or piping bag to portion the mixture back into the sliced eggs.

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Next, flake apart the smoked salmon to top each egg as desired. Garnish with smoked paprika and chopped herbs.

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Toolbox Tuesday: Egg Poaching Pan

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By Claire Mothershead, Appliance Specialist, Mom and Eggs Benedict Enthusiast

Induction. People think it’s a new thing but it’s not. I grew up with an induction cooktop in my childhood home. The cooktop is over 30 years old now and 6 years ago when I built my own house I was sure to include an induction cooktop as well. Induction is a way of heating your pan. It has a generator that excites the molecules in your pan which causes heat and allows you to have greater control over your heat vs. a standard electric cooking surface (one with coils or a glass and coil top) yet has the control of a gas cooktop but allows for safer cooking. For example, I don’t have to worry about accidentally turning on my cooktop because it will not turn on unless a pan made with ferrous material is making contact with it.

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I’m not writing about induction though. I want to tell you about a new pan I found that works on my cooktop! I always get exited when I can find a new ‘gimmicky’ pan that works with my cooktop. With induction, I have to carry a magnet with me to make sure pans will work on my cooking surface. That’s the key with induction, it must be magnetic on the bottom. As a result, there are some pans we sell that I can’t purchase; the egg waffle pan, the Abelskiver pan, the classic Whirly Pop, all the fun pans! One can imagine my excitement when I came across the egg poacher pan made by Norpro.

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My co-workers can attest the excitement I had when I made this discovery. I quickly purchased one and made Eggs Benedict that same night.

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My kids LOVE Eggs Benedict. I am not a fan of making them because I can never get the poached egg right. My eggs are too runny, too well done, fall apart, and most certainly never picture perfect. I tried all the tricks I could find on Google and watched several YouTube videos professing the ‘perfect poached egg’ or ‘easy poached egg’. No amount of swirling water, vinegar or ‘cracking an egg into a smaller bowl first’ could help me with my demise. I gave up. In my frustration I resorted to making fried eggs and covering them up with lots of Hollandaise sauce.

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Just this morning I made Eggs Benedict for my kids before sending them off to school. In less than twenty minutes I had 4 beautiful, picture worthy Eggs Benedict ready to be gobbled up with the help of my new pan.

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The Norpro egg poacher is incredibly easy to use. I added some water to the pan and got to a boil. While the water was heating up my kids sprayed the non-stick inserts with a little cooking spray and put them into the pan. They then each cracked an egg into their insert and we covered it with the glass lid and watched magic happen.

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After a few minutes we lifted the lid and shook the pan. We decided that the ‘jiggle’ was just right and the eggs were done.

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We placed them on our English muffin topped with Canadian bacon and smothered them in Hollandaise sauce. The result, the perfect poached egg!

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I love my new ‘gimmicky’ pan because it is induction friendly for my cooktop and can also double as a saucepan. My kids love it too!

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Four Eggstraordinary Recipes

You’ve likely seen the recent fad of cooking an egg inside an avocado half, but Chef Cheryl Shaffer brings a whole new twist by putting the avo – as well as many other delicious combinations – in the eggs! Check out her fun and fancy flavors and add one of these deviled egg recipes to your Easter Menu:

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Guacamole Inspired Deviled Eggs

6                hard boiled eggs

½              ripe avocado, scooped out and mashed

½              rib celery, minced

1/8 tsp    Summit Ancho Chipotle Blend Seasoning

½ tsp.      white wine vinegar

1                heel / clove of garlic, minced

2 Tbs        Rondele’ Cheese

1 Tbs        heavy cream

½ tsp       sriracha sauce

½ tsp        salt

1 Tbs        fresh lime juice

1 tsp.       grated fresh lime peel

1 Tbs.       grated parmesan cheese, plus a little more for garnish

Place eggs in sauce pan, cover with water, bring to a boil for

3 minutes, cover, remove from heat. Allow to remain covered for 19 minutes, then dump water and run cool tap water over them. Peel and cut the eggs in half lengthwise, removing the yolk and placing it in a bowl, and the whites onto a plate.

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Mash the egg yolks, avocado and the balance of the ingredients together in the bowl. I used a folk and the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust salt / seasoning if needed.

I used a 1 teaspoon sized cookie scoop to fill the egg yolk mixture in the egg white, then grated a little extra parmesan cheese over the tops for a festive look.   Enjoy!

 

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CHICKALOON CUCUMBER & DILL DEVILED EGGS

great for ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Ingredients:

6               hard boiled eggs, halved

1 tsp.     dried dill weed

1 ½ tsp Summit Chickaloon Chicken Blend Spice

3 tsp.     minced green pepper

6 Tbs.     (heaping) minced English cucumber

½ tsp.     kosher salt

1/8 tsp   fresh ground black pepper

¼ tsp.     white Balsamic vinegar

2 tsp.       red onions, minced

2 Tbs.     whipped cream or heavy cream

2 Tbs.     mayonnaise

2 dots     leaf green food coloring paste

In a heavy sauce pan, place 6 eggs, cover with water and bring water to boil. Boil 3 minutes, turn off heat, cover pan with a lid and leave untouched for 19 minutes. Drain, crack and peel eggs under running water, then place the peeled eggs in a bowl with a sheet of paper towel or a washcloth to allow them to dry.

Slice the eggs in half, lengthwise, and remove the yolks, placing them into a medium sized bowl. Add the mayonnaise and gently mash the eggs with a fork or the back of a spoon. Now add the remaining ingredients, then mix to incorporate. This will be a chunky mixture. Check the taste; you may want to add a little more salt to season it.

Using a 1 teaspoon cookie scoop, fill the holes in the egg whites with the yolk mixture. I found that allowing the eggs to sit after filling, for about 30 minutes, will allow the filling flavorings to meld together. Enjoy!

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PESTO AMERICANO DEVILED EGGS

INGREDIENTS:

6                 hard boiled eggs, halved lengthwise

1/8 tsp.   The Spice Works Black Truffle Oil

1 Tbs.         Pesto (may need to add an additional 1/8 tsp.)

¼ tsp.         white wine vinegar

¼ tsp.        salt

1 Tbs.       cream cheese, room temperature

2 Tbs.       heavy cream

2 tsp.         butter, room temperature

2 tsp.           grated Romano cheese

1 ½ Tbs.   chopped pecans

Place 6 eggs in a heavy sauce pan, add enough water to just cover the eggs, and bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Cover pan with a lid, turn off heat and allow to sit for 19 minutes. Crack and peel eggs under running water, then place eggs in a bowl with a paper towel to dry the eggs. Slice the eggs lengthwise, removing the yolks. Place the egg whites on a plate.

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In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients with the yolks, until smooth, using a fork or the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Use a

½ tablespoon cookie scoop to fill the yolk mixture in the egg whites.

 

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MEDITERRANEAN SPRING EGGS

INGREDIENTS:

6                           hard boiled eggs, cut lengthwise, yolks removed

1 tsp.                 roasted red bell pepper, minced

½ tsp.               capers, minced

2                         Kalamata olives, minced

½ Tbs.               artichoke hearts, minced

¼ tsp.               basil paste

2 Tbs.                 pepperoni, minced

1 Tbs.                 shredded mozzarella cheese

1 Tbs.                 Rondele cheese spread

3 Tbs.                 heavy cream

1 Tbs.                 grated parmesan cheese

½ tsp.               salt

Place the eggs in a heavy sauce pan, add enough cold water to just cover the eggs, and place on medium high heat, until the water comes to a boil. Allow to boil for 3 minutes, cover and remove from heat. Allow to remain covered for 19 minutes, then crack and peel eggs under cool running water. Place the eggs in a bowl with a paper towel to allow them to dry.

Cut the eggs in half, lengthwise, and remove the yolks to a bowl and place the whites on a plate. Mix the remaining ingredients with the yolks, using a folk or the back of a spoon, until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. ** Note: the basil, olives, capers and roasted bell pepper are all from a jar, and were preserved in an oil / vinegar based marinade.)

Use a ½ Tablespoon cookie scoop or a pastry bag with large piping tip, to place the yolk mixture in the egg whites. Enjoy!

 

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