The last time I remember my sisters’ birthdays coinciding with Easter, we were kids and Easter baskets, dying eggs, and scrounging under sofas for plastic eggs full of pastel-colored malted milk balls was still fun in an un-ironic, I’m-totally-not-just-reliving-my-childhood type way.
As my sisters and I were raised good Catholic children (five years of Catholic school cured me of that PDQ, ask my mom sometime about my eight grade teacher calling home to ask if my mom knew I said I was an atheist), Easter was a Big Family Thing. And big family things usually meant trips to Cleveland to celebrate (aka feast) with either of our parents’ extended families.
Most memorable were the Easter egg hunts at our Aunt Sandy and Uncle Greg’s house with our cousins. There was always an egg in the mailbox and probably one on top of the ceiling fan in addition to the usual under chairs and in flowerpots. And we each had to find our own hidden basket–no hinting if you found someone else’s.
After the egg hunt were the egg wars. Much like the current March Madness, egg wars were based on a bracket system: pick one of the hard boiled eggs we had decorated the day before and pick your opponent. Small end to small end (we would have made Jonathan Swift proud), we’d smash our eggs together. Whichever egg was unscathed went on to compete against the other intact eggs–yes, my family is big enough they there were usually more than three rounds of this. My Uncle Greg and cousin Danny were the master at egg wars while the rest of us just waited for our wounded eggs to make a reappearance later in the day in the form of deviled eggs, usually courtesy of my Uncle Dave.
Once an egg champion was declared, it was off to church then on to my grandparents for lunch/dinner with an impossible number of people squeezed into their basement. And there was always lamb-shaped butter. I loved the lamb-shaped butter. The cousins would congregate upstairs around the Nintendo and the do-do-do-do-do-do of Mario Brothers and would only bug the adults to ask where the frozen strawberry dessert was…or maybe that was just me (that recipe to come soon).
I say all that to say this: Happy Easter everyone, and more importantly happy happy 27th birthday(s) Erica and Laura. I wish you success in all things, from your current creative endeavors to the next time you face off against someone with only a blue hard boiled egg on your side. If nothing else, you can always make deviled eggs.
My Uncle Dave’s deviled eggs are the best, but I think these are a pretty close second. I didn’t realize until I was comparing some other recipes that horseradish isn’t traditional in deviled eggs, but it’s how I’ve always known them and I love the heat it contributes to a dish that can otherwise be too rich. You can scale this up or down as you need, but be aware that these are such perfect snacks that you may find yourself munching away and realize you just ate half a carton of eggs. Hey Rocky did it, so it’s ok, right?
2 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons (or more) prepared horseradish
2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to garnish
Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Set over medium heat, uncovered, and bring just to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn the heat off, put the lid on the pot and set a timer for 11 minutes. When time is up, rinse the eggs with cold water.
Once eggs are cool, peel and slice eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks into a small bowl and fluff with a fork. Stir in the mayo, horseradish, mustard, Worcestershire, and relish until the mixture is pretty smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
If you want to be fancy, you can pipe the filling back into the eggs before sprinkling lightly with paprika, but personally I think deviled eggs are not a “fancy” food. These are best served soon after they’re made, but will keep set on paper towels and covered with plastic wrap for up to a day.