By Spencer Ackerman
Having some trouble loading the image, but I just made these deviled eggs. Festive, no? Odd as it may sound, I never ate deviled eggs in my life until the IFA’s own Emily Thorson served them at a party and they turned out to be delicious. So this morning I saw in my RSS that Washingtonian’s Recipe Sleuth had instructions for preparing the deviled eggs that 2 Amys serves. Now I’ve actually never had the deviled eggs there. But why not experiment? And that’s the reason for this post.
I get a little worried that food blogs, including this one, sort of pass along recipes without a caveat that following recipes misses the point of cooking. When I want to cook, I don’t want to do homework, and I don’t want to trace another person’s work. I want to create something my way. So if I read a recipe, I read it just until I understand the principles at work behind the dish, and then I think about what I might be able to do to make it more to my liking. Wouldn’t that be better with paprika? How can I get some bacon fat into this thing? It’s the difference between hearing a band play a straight cover and hearing it take the themes of an old or familiar song and work them into its own music. Patti Smith probably could have played a great faithful version of “Gloria.” But she changed the world by doing it her way. In a much less melodramatic or grandiose way, that’s how I feel about recipes. (Like Billy Beane and postseason baseball, my system doesn’t work for the exactitude of baking; but maybe that’s why I don’t bake.)
So I’d encourage you to read the 2 Amy’s recipe and do it your way. Here’s how I did mine:
Hardboil the eggs by putting them in boiling water for like 10 minutes. Put them in an icebath to cool and then crack the shells off. Slice them in half and scoop out the yolks. Place the yolks in a food processor. Into the processor, put some paprika, salt, arugula, lemon juice, a garlic clove and some chopped up pickles. Whazz. Taste until you’ve got something you like, changing as necessary. Scoop the mixture into the egg cavity and enjoy.
If you don’t have any of this stuff in your fridge — I used arugula simply because I had some in my fridge that was on its last legs and I find that most recipes calling for parsley taste better when substituting arugula — who cares. Use what you have. Experiment. Don’t stress. Don’t worry about proportions. Chances are if you cook you have an intuitive idea of how much of what to use. Experiment. Experiment some more. This is supposed to be fun, not stressful. Put on music. I broke out Wayne’s Da Drought Is Over 5 mixtape, because Amanda bought me The Carter documentary for Jewish Christmas; what a good friend.