pink eggs

Food for fun’s last few posts have gotten a bit lengthy, so we’ll simplify this week with a simple story about a simple recipe.

A recent Dash magazine photo knocked me out.

so. pretty.

Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs. So. Pretty.

Deviled eggs are high on my list of favorite foods; pickling intrigues me. A dislike of canned beets (remember this?) wasn’t enough to dissuade me from giving these deviled eggs a go. It’s not like I was going to consume the canned beets, right? They were there only to add pretty pink and a tinge of sweet.

So, I set out to hard-cook a few eggs. My method? Foolproof and taken from the pros: Bring a covered saucepan of eggs and lots of water to a gentle boil. Turn off heat and let eggs sit 10 minutes. Drain and cool immediately under cold, running water. Works all the time.

Except today when I forgot about the saucepan and let it sit longer than 10 minutes (doh!). This particular batch of hard-cooked eggs sported the dreaded greenish halo around an otherwise yellow yolk. Yet their color didn’t bother me as much as the rubbery whites. These babies were tougher than I’d have liked.

Texture aside, I didn’t love these eggs as much as I’d hoped to. While they were still shockingly pink and pretty, that canned beet flavor was there. Using cooked fresh beets sounds lovely, but wouldn’t provide canning brine for the pickling. Perhaps it’s a recipe that would improve using home-canned beets?

Another note: The eggs had white spots where they had rested against the bottom or side of the bowl. A larger bowl may have helped as would have the occasional stir.

While I wouldn’t consider this as disastrous as my last round of canned beet cooking, I deem them better looking than they taste. Proper cooking would have improved the texture, but there’s no getting around that tinny, canned beet flavor.

That said, the filling was most definitely a win: yolks, a judicious amount of mayo, and sprinkling of celery salt, black pepper, and ground mustard. It’s now my go-to deviled egg filling as it has just the right amount of each ingredient.

overcooked, but still pretty

overcooked, but still pretty

I made these up on a sunny day, so have no excuse for this sad little photo. By the time I noticed my pictures were too dark, it was too late. The four pink-tinged deviled eggs had become my lunch, making them far more edible than my last beet escapade.

we got the beet (brownies)

Confession: Reading food blogs was never my original intent. As a food writer, I felt it was important to have a blog. But because my livelihood involves working with recipes–both in the kitchen and in print–my plate was already figuratively (and often literally ;-)) full. I didn’t see the appeal in poring over even more food prose than I was already reading.

Yet growing a blog is easier when there’s connection between writer and reader. And that means going out into that blogosphere and seeing what other folks have to say. In doing this, I’ve found myself repeatedly inspired by the gifted writers and talented cooks who put their culinary finds out there. Case in point: today’s recipe. Foods For the Soul recently ran a series about sneaking veggies into unexpected dishes. Carrot cake oatmeal, pumpkin custard, onion muffins, beet brownies–all intriguing. But a recently acquired can of beets meant that the brownies would get the first shot.

So I did it–I made beet brownies.

beet brownie ingredients reporting in

beet brownie ingredients reporting for duty

beet puree--it's pretty

beet puree is pretty

ready for the pureed beetsx

ready for the pureed beets

ready for mixing

ready, set, mix

It was a pretty enough process–ruby-red beets pureed to jewel-like brilliance. Fudgy melted dark chocolate. Golden and powdery ground oats. But even with all of the goodness, I had my doubts. Though I wanted to like these brownies, I wasn’t sure that FFtS’s claims of their being “dense, moist, rich, and fudgy — everything a brownie should be” would play out.

One tablespoon of fat (I used butter, though the recipe asked for margarine or shortening) seemed paltry. Subbing beet and applesauce in for eggs, using ground oats instead of wheat flour–none of it boded well for a sweet treat as all-American as the brownie. While the cocoa powder and melted chocolate were promising, I hedged my bets by chopping up a Mast chocolate bar with dried cranberries–high-end craft chocolate from Brooklyn, NY’s bean-to-bar shop–to stir into the batter.


beet brownies

beet brownies?

Pretty, yes, and also plenty moist, but I wouldn’t call them “brownies.” Chocolate-beet cake seems a better descriptor. I might appreciate these for what they are–a healthier version of a higher-fat baked good–if it weren’t for my biggest objection: these “brownies” tasted like beets. And while tasty roasted and topped with crumbled blue cheese, beets just don’t work (for me) in brownies. I’ve never liked canned beets and just couldn’t get past the astringent tangy aftertaste of these cakes. (Taste is a subjective thing, though, so you might like these. FFtS had high praise!)

While technically this was a fail (the brownies ended up in the trash–yikes), I still count it as success: I tried something new and now know how beets work in brownies. (Not so well.) FFtS’s carrot cake oatmeal still beckons and I’ll continue to seek out food blogs–both old favorites and new discoveries. Its been a fun and delicious community to join.