19 April 2009

Curiosity can kill a girl

Dear Reader, the force of my curiosity is unmeasured, the consequences are unforeseeable. Neither of my parents seems to be recklessly curious, so I don’t really know whom I took after. I don’t know about a cat, but let me tell you this: curiosity can kill a girl, and that girl could be me.

This time it all began with shampoo, whose list of ingredients spanned organic coconut and corn sugar syrup, garden mint essential oil and peppermint extract, among a few others. It also contained mysterious rhaussoul, which, according to words on the package, is used for a traditional African hair treatment. Provides light volume for the hair.

I tried the stuff on my hair all right, but I did not stop there. Given the knowledge of the ingredients, I decided I should taste it as well. Sure as hell curious, you understand.

Dear Reader, I've got to share with you - to let it out of my chest, if you will - what the thing was like. It tasted sweet and very minty. Besides, it had a suggestion of orange notes which I attributed to this certain rhaussoul. I decided this funky name stood for some exotic fruit of African origin or something. Or Dear Reader, I was mistaken. Check this out: rhaussoul is African soap mud.

As least it tasted of orange.

The moment the truth revealed itself to me I quickly washed my hands. I don't know, really, how washing my hands would help the matter, but that rhaussoul, it distressed me alright -- and it made me hungry. Today is Orthodox Easter, so I slid into my kitchen where I instantaneously figured I should engage my very startled mind with eggs preparations. Normally, I would simply hard-boil and paint them as we do in my family. But empowered (or distracted?) by the African soap mud in my blood, I stuffed the eggs instead. Quite devilishly.

Stuffed Eggs with Feta
Yield: 8 half eggs (the cook was hungry, so you see only six in the photo above)

I  like stuffed, or deviled, eggs, but until recently I always questioned the necessity to use mayonnaise for thickening the yolks. It just seemed redundant, as if you add yolks to yolks. So I used olive oil and a splash of lemon juice in lieu of mayonnaise -- I picked up this trick from Alice Waters's The Art of Simple Cooking. As to feta, it adds a desired depth, richness and creaminess to the yolks, it makes the yolks here better. A touch of Tabasco sauce at the end, and you got yourself a fine and simple deviled egg.

4 medium free-range eggs
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ Tbsp feta, finely crumbled
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 Tbsp or more finely chopped spring onions, green parts only
Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

1. Cook the eggs. Put the eggs in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. As the water starts to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Then drain the eggs and put them in a bowl with (ice)cold water. Once cooled, carefully peel the eggs and scoop the yolks into a small mixing bowl. Set the egg whites with the cut side up on a platter and salt slightly.

2. Working with the back of a fork, mash the yolks. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and mix well. Work the feta into the yolk mixture. (It’s all right if you still have small lumps of the cheese in the yolk mixture.) Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and salt, but go easy on the salt, since feta is salty enough. Add the spring onions. If the mixture is too thick, add some more olive oil – ½ tsp at a time - until you have the right -- easy to scoop but not too thin -- consistency. Add the spring onions. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

3. Fill the whites with the yolk mixture. Tip a tiny drop of Tabasco on top. Before serving, garnish with parsley (optional). If not serving right away, refrigerate until ready to eat (keeps well in the fridge for one day).

P.S. "Don't fear difficult moments. The best comes from them," says an almost 100-years old Rita Levi Montalcini, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist from Italy. The woman should also be awarded some grand prize for her positive thinking, I'd love to add.


Anna said...

mmm, these eggs sound great. i don't like feta that much (i know, what's wrong with me?) but i like the idea of olive oil and lemon juice instead of mayonnaise.

also, i'm going to have to re-try my rhubarb with lavander. we have so much in our yard and that sounds so classy. thanks for the tip!

Cinnamonda said...

The best things are often simple, like your recipe. It sounds just great. And the picture of the eggs is beautiful.