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In the spirit of Easter (a few days late), here are two recipes for deviled eggs. The first is more traditional, using a bit of onion and lots of pickles and the second is a fresher version. Try them both!

Version 1: sour

  

6 hard-boiled eggs

1 tbs finely chopped white onion

3 tbs chopped dill pickle

1 tbs chopped pickled peppers

1 tbs brown mustard

2 tbs mayonnaise

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

First chop the onions, pickles and pickled peppers and measure out the proportions into a bowl. Set this aside. Next, slice eggs in half and remove the yolks. Place these in a bowl with the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together until the mixture is consistent and smooth. Gently blend the chopped vegetables into the yolk mixture. Spoon heaping portions of the filling into the halved eggs and serve cold with a dash of tabasco.

*Other options for fillings: olives, pimientos, pickled carrots, relish, celery

Version 2: fresh/spicy


6 hard-boiled eggs

1 tbs chopped radishes

3 tbs chopped raw green beans

2 serrano chilis, seeds removed and finely chopped

1 tbs lime juice

2 tbs mayonnaise

Salt to taste

Directions:

Combine as in the recipe above: first chop all the vegetables and then whisk the yolks with lime juice, mayonnaise and salt. If you want these to be spicier you can leave the serrano seeds in.

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After 3 weeks of waiting in anticipation, my pepper seedlings have finally sprouted. I experimented with various methods of planting and it turns out that the seedlings planted in an egg carton in regular soil after having been soaked for 24 hours have sprouted the quickest. By July these sprouts will hopefully be producing serrano and tabasco peppers.

Prepared as described here, these noodles are one of my favorite meals. Apart from being delicious, this dish is easy to prepare and the ingredients are easy to find. It’s informal enough to throw together yourself and enjoy with a cold beer or two, but works just as well as the main dish at a dinner party where you set out the various garnishes and each person creates their own combination. There’s no exact formula for this dish- just make sure you have a spicy, flavorful sauce and plenty of crunchy, finely chopped vegetables (for the health!). I like using a fish like tuna or salmon – just barely seared – but you could also use pork, chicken or shrimp. The mix of colors, textures and flavors will make you never want to eat a boring, oily pasta salad again!

Ingredients (for 1 person):

3-4 tbs. Spicy Sesame-Chili-Garlic sauce

2 oz dry soba noodles

2 tbs. finely chopped scallions

1/4 lb sushi-grade tuna or salmon

2 tbs. sesame oil

Garnishes:

Shredded red cabbage

Shredded iceberg lettuce

Finely chopped spinach leaves

Finely chopped cucumber slices

Julienned carrots

Slices of red bell pepper

Hard-boiled eggs, cut into slivers

Dried seaweed flakes

Directions:

In a medium pot, bring salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, place several ice cubes in bowl of cold water and set aside. Add soba noodles and cook until tender- just a couple of minutes. Remove immediately from water with a slotted spoon and plunge into the ice water. After about 5 minutes, drain the noodles and toss them with the dressing and scallions.

Heat sesame oil in a pan. Sear the fish until the edge of the meat turns white – this should take only a minute or two. When seared, remove from heat and cut the meat into bite-sized portions.

Place the noodles in a bowl. Arrange garnishes and chunks of fish around the sides of the bowl in clusters and serve.

To eat: mix all of this up until vegetables are lightly coated with the sauce. Serve with cold beer or a fragrant white wine like gewurztraminer.

Tuna salad is often too fishy or worse yet, flavorless and watery. This recipe might just change your outlook on this lunch-time classic.

Ingredients:

2 cans of tuna in water

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 tbs or so minced red onion

1/4 cup finely chopped radishes

1-2 serrano chilis, finely chopped with seeds removed

juice of 1 lime

2 tbs mayonnaise

pinch of salt

Directions:

Drain tuna well.

In a large bowl, combine tuna, radishes, onion, cilantro and chilis.

Mix lime juice, salt and mayonnaise well. Add this to the salad until well incorporated.

Taste this and adjust ingredients accordingly: you might want more crunch, for example, or for it to be creamier or more spicy.

Serve with flavorful bread or on crackers.

Kale and other dark leafy greens are both nutritious and cheap. For those of you with year-round farm shares, kale may be ubiquitous during the colder months. I personally love it, especially the darker green varieties, and cooked in the following simple way it makes a great addition to many meals or even a quick meal all by itself.

Ingredients

Kale bunch (around 3/4 lb.)

Several cloves of garlic, minced

Pinch of red chili flakes

Pinch of salt

4 tbs olive oil

Directions

Wash the kale thoroughly in a strainer several times, rubbing individual leaves to make sure no dirt remains between the folds. After you’re done do not dry the leaves with towels or shake them off: you want the leaves to be wet so that they steam properly, but not so wet that they will be soggy. The key to this dish is getting the leaves to brown a bit in the pan before steaming so that you get that caramelized taste.

Next, roughly chop up the kale leaves down to the base of the stem and set the chopped leaves aside in a large bowl. Toss these with salt.

Heat olive oil in pan and saute the kale on high heat, moving the leaves around to coat with oil. Cover the pan for a minute or two until the leaves begin to wilt. Uncover and stir in the garlic.

Re-cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook covered for 9-10 minutes.

When the 10 minutes are up, the leaves should be well wilted and the stems should be tender. Add the red pepper flakes and serve immediately.

Variations: you can use almost any type of dark leafy greens to make this simple dish. If you use a heavier, more bitter green like collards, toss them in white vinegar with the salt before cooking. This results in a lighter version of the classic collard greens, which are usually cooked uncovered in pork stock rather than steamed.

This dressing is the result of an attempt to replicate the spicy chili sauce used in one of my favorite Korean dishes: cold buckwheat noodles with chopped vegetables and topped with raw fish. The result was not quite the same as the sauce I intended to replicate, but it turned out to be delicious anyway. In addition to being great on cold buckwheat noodles, a diluted version of the sauce works marvelously with raw salads that are heavy on vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or carrots. Mix it with mayonnaise or yogurt and you’ve got a less spicy, creamier dressing that you could use for a chicken salad sandwich.

The key to the dressing is choosing the right chili paste. I used a Thai brand of fried chili paste with garlic that has a rich, earthy flavor. Another option would be the sweeter Korean type more traditionally used in this type of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 part Sesame oil

2 parts Rice vinegar

1 part Soy sauce

pinch Sesame seeds

Chili paste to taste (use a brand with garlic)

Directions

Mix 1 part sesame oil, 1 part soy sauce and 2 parts rice vinegar.  (I used around 2 tablespoons oil and soy sauce and 4 tablespoons vinegar)

Add chili paste to taste. For 1/2 cup of dressing total, I added a heaping tablespoon. You’ll want to add at least enough to give the sauce its characteristic reddish hue.

Add sesame seeds. Then taste and adjust seasonings.

Stir thoroughly before serving, and note that a little bit of this dressing can go a long way.