Collecting for the Kitchen: Deviled-Egg Platters (and Deviled Eggs) by Peggy Ehrhart

Like my sleuth Pamela Paterson, I can’t resist thrift shops, tag sales, flea markets—any venue where someone’s castoff can become my treasure. Browsing is more fun if one is on the hunt for something in particular, and I have several collections in progress. One of my favorites is deviled-egg platters, especially platters with decoration that’s themed to the very food they’re designed to serve.

Ready for her closeup…

Since I’m an avid cook—also like my sleuth—I love to showcase items from my platter collection by serving deviled eggs. The eggs are always included in family dinners when my vegetarian son and his wife visit. Deviled eggs add a nice protein complement to a vegetarian feast.

There are probably as many deviled-egg recipes as there are cooks, but here’s mine.

6 hard-boiled eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few grinds black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco—optional

If you’re uncertain of the best way to boil eggs, here is one method. Starting at least a few hours in advance, put the eggs in a saucepan large enough to accommodate them in one layer. Cover them with water and add an additional inch. Put the lid on the pan and bring the water to a rolling boil—you can hear when it reaches this stage. Lift the lid to make sure the water is really boiling well, then put the lid back on and turn off the heat. Leave the covered pan on the same burner until the water cools completely. Your eggs will be boiled just right and cool to work with.

Peel the eggs and cut each one in half lengthwise. Pop the yolks out by holding the halves over a bowl cut side down and squeezing gently. Set the empty whites aside, in your egg platter if you have one.

Mash the yolks with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, salt, pepper, powdered mustard, and the Tabasco if you are using it. Mix everything well.

To fill the whites, you can simply spoon the filling in, trying to make it look smooth and nice. If you have a cookie press, you can use that for a professional look.

Another technique is to put the filling in a small sandwich bag, cut off one corner of the bag, and squeeze the filling through that opening into the egg whites.

The last step is to decorate the eggs. A sprinkle of paprika is the classic touch I remember from my childhood, but I like to use capers. You can also use olive halves (black or green), pimento or pickle bits, even dabs of anchovy. The filling plus topping might end up being quite highly flavored, but it sets off the bland egg whites nicely.

The finished eggs, in an egg-shaped platter.

Since her only daughter left for college, widow Pamela Paterson has kept busy as associate editor of a craft magazine and founder of the Knit and Nibble knitting club in quaint Arborville, New Jersey. Now, she’s trying out a new hobby—solving murders!

Pamela is hosting the next Knit and Nibble meeting and can’t wait to liven up her otherwise empty home with colorful yarn, baking, and a little harmless gossip. She even recruits Amy Morgan, an old friend who recently moved to town, as the group’s newest member. But on the night of the gathering, Amy doesn’t show. Not until Pamela finds the woman dead outside—a knitting needle stabbed through the front of her handmade sweater . . .

Someone committed murder before taking off with Amy’s knitting bag, and Pamela realizes that only she can spot the deadly details hidden in mysterious skeins. But when another murder occurs, naming the culprit—and living to spin the tale—will be more difficult than Pamela ever imagined . . .

Knitting tips and delicious recipe included!