Laura and I had our second annual holiday bash this past Sunday, and overall it was a great success. Unfortunately, out of the 25 girls who RSVPed, only 10 showed, apparently because of the weather, but the girls that did come made this our best holiday party ever—and almost every girl who came walked away with one of our fabulous trophies or prizes (see below for a look at Laura’s serious craft skills).
Laura and I made a gigantic vat of wassail, or hot burgundy wine spiced with cinnamon, allspice, cloves and apple cider, to warm up those coming in from the cold. Beside our spiced wine we served up a giant sweet basil cheesecake (recipe coming this week) as our cheese plate, two different kinds of meatballs—spicy marinara and BBQ—salami horns filled with cream cheese, mixed roasted nuts with rosemary and cayenne, cheesy Chex mix, and the hit of the party: beet-pickled deviled eggs.
In terms of our food, we were going for an old-school vibe with a gourmet twist, and these beet-pickled deviled eggs really hit the mark. First off, they’re absolutely brilliant when they come out of the beet marinade and even more gorgeous when you cut them in half and see the brilliant pink fade to white and then to the yellow yolk. I oohhhed and ahhhed at the eggs like you would a newborn, and our guests did the same when they walked in the room and saw them on the platter.
If you’re not a big fan of beets, never fear—the beet flavor doesn’t come through too strong in the egg. It’s mostly for color, and the sweet flavor of the beet is countered by the anise-like flavor of the toasted caraway seeds in the egg filling and garnish. Overall, I would say this is one of my favorite deviled eggs recipes, and it’s just perfect for holiday entertaining. With just a few extra steps, you can wow your friends with the most gorgeous deviled eggs they’ve ever seen. I’ve included the recipe below, as well as some pics of my decorated apartment, the trophies we made, and the hors d’oeuvres platters we created—all for your enjoyment of course!
Salami horns are easy to make: Simply whip room temperature cream cheese and gradually add half-and-half until you get a pipe-able spread. Then scoop the mixture into a piping bag or zip-top bag and pipe into salami cones made by slicing a piece of salami in half and rolling along your finger. Beautiful presentation, isn’t it?
Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs
This recipe appeared in the November 2009 issue of Bon Appetit. It makes 8 appetizer servings. Active time: 25 min. Total time: 3 hr. The eggs can be marinated, chilled, in an airtight container up to 3 days. The eggs can also be filled 2 hours ahead and chilled, loosely covered. Click here to download a copy of this recipe.
3 c. water
1 c. distilled white vinegar
1 small beet, peeled and sliced
1 small shallot, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
12 hard-boiled large eggs, peeled
1 tsp. caraway seeds, toasted and cooled
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 Tbs. grainy mustard
1 Tbs. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Equipment: an electric coffee/spice grinder or a mortar and pestle
Make pickle marinade. Bring water, vinegar, beet, shallot, sugar, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan, then simmer, covered, until beet is tender, about 20 minutes. Cool completely, uncovered. Put beet mixture in a container with eggs and marinate, chilled, gently stirring once or twice, at least 2 hours.
Finely grind caraway seeds in grinder.
Make egg filling. Remove eggs from beet mixture and pat dry (discard beet mixture). Cut in half lengthwise and remove yolks. Mash yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, and half of caraway. Season with salt and pepper, then divide among egg whites. Sprinkle with remaining caraway.