EASY ENTERTAINING: HOW TO MAKE A DEVILED EGG BAR

I love to set up interactive stations for easy entertaining. A self-serve DIY bar offers guests lots of options and encourages conversation, too. In my book, that is a win-win. For Easter brunch (or any brunch for that matter) a DIY Deviled Egg Bar is nothing but easy, yummy fun and with a price tag under ten cents per serving, deviled eggs are super affordable.

How to Make a Deviled Egg Bar

THE HOW-TO:

Make your deviled eggs. I'd suggest making a pretty basic recipe since your guests will be adding toppings and piling on lots of flavor. Try my classic deviled egg recipe... and learn all about the best way to hard-boil eggs here.

How to build a deviled egg bar with toppings. Photo: Arden Photography Location: The Sonnet House, Leeds, Alabama

How to build a deviled egg bar with toppings. Photo: Arden Photography Location: The Sonnet House, Leeds, Alabama

Assemble the eggs on a variety of different plates, egg dishes, and platters. Arrange the platters at different heights. Put the toppings in small dishes, jars, or bowls in groups. I like to get a bowl and fill it with ice and arrange bowls filled with toppings that are best kept chilled.  

Offer guests a menu of different combinations: BBQ, Asian, etc, to help them craft their eggs.

Deviled eggs with assorted toppings. Photo: Arden Photography

Deviled eggs with assorted toppings. Photo: Arden Photography

SUGGESTED TOPPINGS: Use as many or as few as you like based on your budget and the amount of room you have.

  • Herbs: Fresh Dill, Thyme, Tarragon, Chives, Italian parsley, or cilantro; finely chopped
  • Scallions, finely chopped
  • Capers
  • Spicy pickle relish
  • Pickled okra slices
  • Roasted red peppers, diced
  • Jalapeno peppers, diced
  • Green olives, sliced
  • Toasted pecans, chopped
  • Bacon crumbles
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Fresh horseradish
  • Country ham, sliced ultra thin and cut into small pieces
  • BBQ (beef or pork, shredded)
  • Smoked salmon (thin sliced)
  • Fresh lump crabmeat (cooked)
  • Cooked baby shrimp
  • Caviar (if you have the budget)
  • Sour cream, creme fraiche or Greek yogurt
  • Fig preserves
  • Chutney
  • Hot sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
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FAVORITE BRUNCH RECIPES: SUNDAY MORNING POPOVERS

I'm not a big breakfast person. That's not exactly true... let's just say I don't always make time for breakfast so I skip it most days. But on Sunday morning, when I try to stop for a bit and have a word with God about all my many blessings, I often cook while God and I chat. One of the things I often make is Popovers. I first fell in love with them while living in Chicago; the little restaurant inside Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue had them on the menu. One of my friends, a woman named Gwendolyn Watson who I have long ago lost but will never forget, told me about the Neiman's Popovers. These light, airy little puffs are so delicious- plus they are fast and SO easy. I don’t have a popover pan;  I just make them in muffin tins and so dang what if they are not perfect? They are still perfectly delicious. The secret? Pour the batter in a hot pan much like you do for cornbread. Trust me.

Fast and simple, elegant and delicious: make Sunday Morning Popovers for breakfast or brunch... a great little vehicle for almost anything you want to stuff in there. Plate by my friend Tena Payne of Earthborn Pottery.

Fast and simple, elegant and delicious: make Sunday Morning Popovers for breakfast or brunch... a great little vehicle for almost anything you want to stuff in there. Plate by my friend Tena Payne of Earthborn Pottery.

 Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cook Time:  35 minutes

SUNDAY MORNING POPOVERS

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 ½ cups whole milk

 Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place an oven rack so that the popovers will be in the middle of the oven once they rise. If the rack is too close to the top of the oven, the tops of the popovers will burn.

Brush a standard 12-cup metal muffin tin with softened butter. Grease thoroughly including the area between the cups as well as the cups themselves. Put the pan in the oven to heat.

In a bowl, add the eggs, milk, and salt. Whisk till the egg and milk are well combined, with no streaks of yolk.

Add the flour all at once, and beat with a whisk till frothy with no lumps in the batter. Stir in the melted butter, combining quickly.

Pour the batter into the hot muffin cups, filling them half full.

Make sure the oven is at 450°F. Place the pan on the lower rack.

Bake the popovers for 20 minutes without opening the oven door. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until they're a deep, golden brown. Resist the urge to open the door as the popovers will deflate easily.

Remove the pan and let the popovers cool slightly. Take a knife and run around the cups to release. Serve hot with butter, whipped cream, berries, honey or your favorite filling. In the fall, I like to go all Autumn and saute some not quite ripe apples in butter. Add some sugar, some cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe a little vanilla. Let the sugar begin to dissolve. Pull it off the heat, pour on some Calvados or brandy and light the thing on fire. Swirl the pan until the brandy burns off. Don't catch yourself or the house on fire. Pour over the Popovers. Count your blessings. #blessed

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COCKTAIL RECIPE: CLASSIC BLOODY MARY

Something about football screams Bloody..... Mary:)

I'm not sure where it started, but no tailgate worth it's ribs would be complete without a Bloody Mary. And just like ribs, potato salad, and gumbo, everyone has a recipe (most very closely guarded secrets) for the world's best Bloody Mary. I've researched. I've asked my friends. I've taste-tested, mixed, and poured. Now, I'd like to offer my own entry into the Bloody Mary Hall of Fame. Try one this weekend and let me know what you think!

Put a garden in your glass with this Bloody Mary recipe perfect for brunch or game day get-togethers.

Put a garden in your glass with this Bloody Mary recipe perfect for brunch or game day get-togethers.

MARTIE'S CLASSIC BLOODY MARY

Makes about a quart of mix; enough for 6-8 drinks

In a blender add:

3 cups tomato juice

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 1/4 tablespoons horseradish (fresh or jar)

2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

1/4 teaspoon celery salt (plus more for rimming the glasses)

1/3 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Whir everything together until smooth, transfer to a glass pitcher and chill. Before serving, assemble your mix-ins, garnishes, and rim mix.

Rim mix: Pour 1/4 t. celery salt, 1/4 t. Kosher salt, 1/4 t. black pepper onto a saucer. To rim glasses, use a lemon or lime wedge to wet the rim of the glass. Dip the rim into the mix.

To serve: Add one ounce good quality vodka (I often use Absolut Peppar for a spicy kick) to each glass. Fill with ice. Pour Bloody Mary mix over ice. Let guests garnish at will. 

Garnish and mix-in options:

Limes, cut into wedges

Lemons, cut into wedges

Celery stalks with the leafy green tops

Pickled green beans

Pickled okra

Green onion stalks

Tabasco

Additonal Horseradish