In less than one month I will be a married woman. If you know me, and you know what the past year has been like, you will understand why there’s a certain weariness to those words. It’s not that I don’t want to be married to my fiancé – I love him very much, and, as he likes to remind me, in the most important sense of the word we already are married. It’s just that planning a wedding has taken such a toll on my mind, body and soul that I’ve gone from “excited and naïve” about weddings to “angry and cynical” about weddings. I won’t get into all the details because that could fill up a completely separate blog, and I’m not asking for pity because I know that I’m lucky in comparison to people whose problems go beyond not being able to find the right wedding dress. But, I feel like with less than a month to go, I have to let you guys in on what’s happening in my life because, for the next month, “wedding” will be all that’s happening in my life. For the past year, this blog – along with the food I make for it like life-changing deviled eggs – has been an escape from the wedding drama and disappointments, but there comes a time when one thing in your life gets so big that it seems to merge with and take over everything else. This is one of those times.
As background, let’s just say that we were forced to forgo my dream wedding (which I had spent not less than six months planning) for budgetary reasons. Instead of bankrupting ourselves, we made the decision to cancel the whole shebang and have a smaller, more intimate, less stressful (I laugh) wedding in Paris. Of course, nothing in my life is ever simple and our smaller, more intimate, less stressful wedding in Paris has turned into a 60-person weekend affair and two parties upon our return to D.C. The stress of planning not one, but four wedding events – one of which failed miserably and shattered all my childhood expectations – has gotten so bad that I’m now one month from my wedding and my usual take charge, to do list-making, decision-making self has turned into someone I don’t even recognize with eight potential wedding attire options hanging in her closet who is too busy lying on the floor in a heap of wedding woe to pick one. I say “attire options” because they range from a BHLDN wedding dress to a skirt from Anthropologie.
Some would say I’ve lost perspective, but I think it’s just the opposite – I’ve actually gained perspective. I see things more clearly now about becoming an adult, about learning to accept that some things are just fantasy and that reality can deal a hard blow. I now get that everyone refers to “dream wedding” because it is just that – a dream. I’ve been hit with such a depressing and heart-wrenching clarity (my late 20s/early 30s overly-dramatic, existential crisis as Alasdair calls it) about certain things in my life and about myself that other things, less important things, are becoming fuzzy to the point where I’m having trouble performing simple tasks – like picking a dress.
Fortunately, one thing has always remained clear (though it too waivers in the pre-wedding bridal diet pressure), my love for food. Yesterday, I came home from work overly exhausted and wrought with anxiety, and, instead of crashing on the couch per usual, I got to work in the kitchen making a pork scaloppine with a mustard sauce from Cooking Light and a kale and pancetta salad for dinner. By the time I was done, I felt a little more centered. It’s probably no surprise to you then, that through this whole wedding experience, the food (not the flowers or the dress or the color scheme) remained one of my top priorities. In Paris, we’ll be covered. It’s Paris – whether we’re eating a 5-course meal in a restaurant or crepes on the street, I know it’s going to be good. But for our Gatsby-themed celebration party back here in D.C. (a nod to the ex-pat writers who ruled Paris in the 1920s), I know it won’t be complete without some delicious and theme-appropriate party eats.
That’s why, this week, I was brushing up on my deviled egg making – as you can see from my photos, hard-boiled eggs are not my specialty. Fortunately, like I said in my last post, taste buds don’t have eyes! Two things (among many other things) were big in the 1920s – Caesar salads and deviled eggs. Being as how Caesar salad is my favorite salad and deviled eggs are a not-so-secret addiction, I decided that only good things could happen from throwing them together into one dish and making Caesar salad deviled eggs. And I’m glad I did, because having these little treats to eat all week (in addition to having an amazing fiancé who really stepped it up with pep talks, back massages, and even dress advice and having my recipes featured on other blogs, not once, but twice) has kept me sane amidst all the wedding insanity.
Healthy Recipe Ecstasy? As I mentioned, I love deviled eggs. If I go to a party, and there is a tray of deviled eggs, watch out, I’ll probably eat half of them. So, I knew that no matter how this recipe turned out, I was going to be happily eating away creamy egg halves all week long and not feeling bad about it because deviled eggs are a great gluten-free, low-carb snack (or breakfast or lunch…). Plus, I’ve decreased the amount of olive oil and nixed the raw yolks usually included in a classic Caesar – no need for raw egg yolks when you’re mixing the dressing with hard-boiled yolks; even for me that’s egg overkill – so there are fewer calories in this dressing than in most Caesar dressings.
What surprised me was Alasdair’s reaction, which was: “these are the best deviled eggs I’ve ever had.” As a Caesar salad lover, I’d have to agree. The amount of flavor that’s packed into one little deviled egg bite is pretty impressive – you have the creamy egg yolk mixed with the salty anchovy, the cheesy parm, and the tangy lemon zest. It really does pack a punch, and the Caesar dressing elevates these eggs from fun party favorites to something special. Something worthy of a wedding celebration, maybe? 🙂
- 12 eggs
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 pinch of kosher salt
- 12 anchovies, divided
- ¾ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus a handful of Parmesan cheese shavings
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped kale, plus more for garnish
- Lemon zest
- Freshly-ground black pepper to taste (optional)
- HARD BOIL EGGS:
- Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover them with cool water by 1 inch. Slowly bring water to a boil over medium heat; when the water has reached a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 12 minutes.
- Transfer eggs to a colander; place under cool running water to stop the cooking. Peel eggs.
- Cut each egg in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the yolk from each egg half and put it into a medium bowl.
- CAESAR DRESSING:
- While the eggs are cooking, make the dressing. Using the side of a sturdy knife (or a mortar and pestle), mash 1 large garlic clove and a pinch of kosher salt until reduced to a paste. Add 5 anchovies; mash and chop until well combined and nearly smooth. Scrape into a medium bowl.
- Whisk in ¾ teaspoons Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; whisk to blend. Working drop by drop to start, add ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil; whisk constantly until dressing is thick and glossy. Whisk in 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.
- Season with more kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.
- MAKE DEVILED EGGS:
- Mash together all the yolks. Slowly add in the Caesar dressing, whisking until yolks and dressing are combined. Put approximately 1 teaspoon yolk mixture back into each egg half.
- Chop remaining anchovies in half. Top each egg with half an anchovy and a cheese shaving. Sprinkle the eggs with chopped kale, lemon zest, and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- NOTE: Why kale? I know that romaine is the traditional lettuce used for Caesar salads, but the huge bags of kale at the grocery store called to me, and I thought it would be a fun twist on the classic. Plus kale is easier to chop into little pieces as a fine garnish than romaine lettuce. However, if you'd rather use romaine or can't find kale, go right ahead. Though, I would suggest shredding the lettuce rather than finely chopping it.