“BLT” Ranch Deviled Eggs

BLT Eggs5 The Curvy Carrot

I’m a deviled egg kind of girl.  Really. But I’ve known plenty of people who are not.  I understand why they might be a turn-off to some people-if you don’t like eggs, well, then there you go.  But you can make really bad deviled eggs, too. Bland, slimy…just icky.  But good deviled eggs are wonderful.  I like to keep some in my fridge just to have as a snack-when I want something savory and a little bit salty.  Something to divert me from the straight line from the couch to the potato chips in the pantry.  A little bit filling, and an endless combination of flavors.

And I used to be a deviled egg purist, too.  I liked them “plain jane”: mustard, mayo, paprika and some seasonings.  But, I’ve been branching out a bit.  A lot of the restaurants in Milwaukee will include deviled eggs on their starter menus.  I like to think of it as “picnic fare gone classy.”

This version is vegetarian (obviously, if you want, you can substitute in the real thing for the bacon).  I used a combination of ranch dressing (make your own sometime if you have the time….way better than store-bought, as I’ve learned) and nonfat Greek yogurt as the base.  If you like the consistency of the yolks to be a bit firmer, decrease the amount of ranch dressing and adjust according to your own taste.  And, as always, you can play around with the flavor profile quite a bit here.  If you are going to use vegetarian bacon, I highly recommend getting some smoked paprika-it definitely adds that smoky, bacon-y taste.

And if you’re in the mood for a little bit something different for deviled eggs, check these out:

 

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Not-So-Devilish Deviled Eggs

 

 

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The Original “Plain Jane”

 

 

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Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy.

 BLT Eggs4 The Curvy Carrot

 

“BLT” Ranch Deviled Eggs

Servings: 12 deviled eggs

 

Ingredients

6 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled **(I place the eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and cover for 10 minutes.  Then submerge the eggs in an ice-water bath for about 5 minutes or so.)

1/4 cup Ranch dressing

1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (or to taste)

For garnish:  bacon alternative (I used LightLife.), chopped spinach, chopped tomato

 BLT Eggs2 The Curvy Carrot

 

 

Instructions

1. Carefully slice each hard-boiled egg vertically, and gently scoop out the yolk.  Place the yolks in a medium bowl.

2. Gently mash the yolks with a fork.

3. Add in the ranch dressing and Greek yogurt, adjusting to your own desired consistency.

4. Stir in the smoked paprika and garlic salt.

5.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat the mixture on medium-high speed until smooth (and if you are piping-free of small pieces that would get stuck in your pastry tip.)

6. Gently spoon (or pipe) the yolk mixture into the halved eggs.  Garnish with bacon, tomato, and spinach.  Season to taste with salt.

 

Source:  A Curvy Carrot original.

April 15, 2014 - 8:32 am

Kelly Mitchem - I love deviled eggs, these look amazing!

April 15, 2014 - 12:19 pm

Maria - These look so good! Love the idea of adding ranch in the yolk mixture! AND I just made a big batch of homemade ranch with greek yogurt…so good. Never buying bottled again!

April 15, 2014 - 7:50 pm

Carol at Wild Goose Tea - You know people who don’t like deviled eggs? That’s unbelievable. The deviled egg plate is always first to empty at parties and pot lucks. That must mean that those of us who LOVE them, really dig in big. I really like the mayonnaise substitute that you used. I don’t always have mayo on hand, because I don’t use a lot of it. So this would be an awesome Plan B instead of running to the store with a coat over my bathrobe.

April 15, 2014 - 11:12 pm

Joanne - Somehow deviled eggs were never on my mom’s radar, so I didn’t have them until I was an adult. I think you’re right – when they’re good, they’re GOOD…but when they’re bad they are pretty gross. I love the sound of your filling! Super flavorful and meaty without the meat.

Chocolate Baklava

Baklava1 The Curvy Carrot

 

So baklava has always been one of those mysterious yet super intimidating desserts that I have always wanted to try.  I’ll start reading the instructions and think, “yes, I’ve got this”, but then all the layering of phyllo (or filo) dough just turns me off. Too much work.  I’d rather just throw together some chocolate cupcakes and call it a day.

One super cold and dreary Milwaukee weekend, however (thankfully those seem to be a thing of the past), I decided to forge, full steam ahead, and make a giant pan of baklava as a kind-of-dreaded but highly-desired project.  (a not so cheap project, either-as pistachios in bulk aren’t the cheapest nut to purchase.) As a side note, the original recipe called for hazelnuts, but, my grocer was actually out of hazelnuts in bulk-so I improvised with using different amounts of the other nuts (play around with this on your own, if you like) I figured since I had spent more than usual on ingredients, I was committed.  And so I began.

And you know what?  It wasn’t so bad.  Yes, you have to be vigilant and make sure that the phyllo dough doesn’t dry out during the layering process.  Yes, sometimes the dough tears and breaks up a bit if it does get a little dry (don’t worry-I still ate those parts).  But it’s really not so hard to make once you get the hang of it.

The end product?  Worth every little dried piece and tear.  Chocolate hazelnut spread (aka Nutella) with honey and pistachios equals pure perfection in my book.  It may not be the prettiest dessert on the planet, but it serves its purpose oh so well.

 

Baklava2 The Curvy Carrot

 

Chocolate Baklava

Servings: about 24 pieces (depending on how you cut them)

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup water

One 3-inch cinnamon stick

1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (aka Nutella)

3/4 cup roasted unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup blanched toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

1/2  cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

24 (14 x 9-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Special equipment: a candy thermometer

 

Instructions

1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the honey, water, and the cinnamon stick.  Stir until the honey dissolves.

2. Increase the heat to medium and cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 230 degrees (mine took about 8-10 minutes or so.)  Remove the saucepan from the heat and keep the mixture warm.  (Discard the cinnamon stick.)

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4. In a small saucepan, heat the chocolate hazelnut spread over medium heat until melted.  Keep warm.

5.  In a separate bowl, mix together the pistachios, almonds, walnuts, ground cinnamon, and salt.

6. Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

7. Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time (cover remaining dough with a damp tea cloth or light towel to prevent drying), place 1 phyllo sheet lengthwise in bottom of prepared pan, allowing the ends of the sheet to extend over the edges of the dish; lightly brush with the melted butter.

8. Repeat with 5 phyllo sheets and melted butter.

9. Spread about 1/3 cup of the melted chocolate hazelnut spread over the layered phyllo.

10. Sprinkle evenly with about 1/2 cup of the nut mixture.

11. Repeat steps 8-10 twice with phyllo, butter, chocolate hazelnut spread, and nut mixture.

12. Top the last layer of nut mixture with remaining 6 sheets phyllo, each lightly brushed with butter.

13. Press the baklava gently into the pan.

14. Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into your desired serving portions.

15. Bake until the phyllo is golden, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven.

16. Drizzle the warm honey mixture over the baklava; let cool.

 

Source:  Barely adapted from Cooking Light, as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

April 10, 2014 - 6:27 pm

Ashe - Looooove love love the idea of CHOClava! (Oppourtunity was given and I HAD to take it lol)

April 10, 2014 - 7:31 pm

srlacy - Oh….hell….yesssss. Best comment ever. :)

April 10, 2014 - 11:50 pm

Joanne - I actually think that it IS one of the prettiest desserts on the planet!! I love baklava (and may or may not be marrying a Greek boy because of it). This chocolate version sounds divine.

April 12, 2014 - 3:15 pm

Helen @ Scrummy Lane - Making baklava is definitely on my food bucket list as well. It seems so obvious now that you have suggested it, but I wouldn’t have thought of adding chocolate. Love it!
Beautiful pin-worthy photos, too!

April 14, 2014 - 8:40 am

charlotte - When I saw “chocolate baklava” on foodgawker, I thought, “Of course! Brilliant combination” – and as of this morning, more people had “favorited” it than “looked” at it. Ha ha!

April 14, 2014 - 1:43 pm

CakePants - Yummm…this looks SO scrumptious! After making spanakopita, I realized that I don’t have enough patience with phyllo dough to make baklava…but this recipe is making me reconsider, because I *need* this in my life. Immediately.

Cheesy Roasted Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread1 The Curvy Carrot

I’m a firm believer in super cheesy, super garlicky garlic bread.  If I’m going to dive right into a carb, I prefer it be loaded with butter and cheese.  Go big or go home, right?

This bread was sort of an after-thought accompaniment to this pasta dish.  I had originally planned on making some garlic bread for a side and had even roasted a giant head of garlic the night before in preparation.  But then, as I got completely wrapped up in the process of making the pasta, I forgot about the bread.  I put the pasta on hold so I could make the bread (actually, I just wanted an excuse to eat so much cheese).  Best decision ever. (In fact, I sheepishly admit to you that I ate the bread, by itself, as an entire meal on its own one night. No regrets.)

I used cheeses that I had on hand (mozzarella and cheddar cheese), but you could use whatever variation you like.  If I would have had some ricotta, I would have layered that on, too (the more the merrier).  Throw on some spinach or sun-dried tomatoes for a flat-bread-ish kind of feel.  I used half a loaf of ciabatta bread here-but you could use French bread or really anything you like.  And don’t feel like you have to stick to the rules here-eyeball this recipe. If you feel like you want more cheese, add more cheese.  If you want more butter, add more butter.  And if you are afraid of so much garlic, taste the garlic butter as you go.  And don’t forget to enjoy the process.

 Garlic Bread3 The Curvy Carrot

 

 

Cheesy Roasted Garlic Bread

Servings: about 6-8 slices of bread (depending on how wide you slice the bread)

 

Ingredients

1 large head of garlic

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 loaf of ciabatta bread, sliced horizontally (I used both horizontally-sliced halves).

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 cup cheddar cheese (I used mild cheddar), shredded

Parsley, for topping (optional)

 

Instructions

1. To roast the garlic:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Slice off about 1/4-inch of the wide, bulbous part of the garlic, leaving the bulbs exposed.

2. Place the head of garlic on top of a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle the garlic with the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

3. Wrap the garlic tightly with the aluminum foil and roast (you can either put the wrapped garlic directly on an oven rack or place it on a baking sheet), and roast until the garlic is softened, about 45 minutes to an hour. ***I was roasting some beets at the same time for a salad, so it was the temperature/time frame I was needing for the beets.  If you have another preferred way of roasting garlic, then use your own method.  Let the garlic cool before handling.

4. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

5. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, combine the butter, roasted garlic, garlic powder, and salt in a medium bowl (adjust the garlic and salt according to your own preferences here), mashing the garlic up as you go.  Don’t worry if you still have some small bits of garlic (I actually prefer it that way.)

6. Spread the garlic butter over each piece of bread.  Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over each piece of bread and bake until the cheese is melted and lightly golden, about 8-10 minutes (watch carefully).  Top the bread with fresh parsley, if using.  Enjoy.

 

Source:  A Curvy Carrot original.

April 8, 2014 - 3:44 pm

Maria Tadic - This looks SO good. Sooooo good! I just made garlic bread this past weekend and just sprinkled some parm on top. It was good…but ALL THIS CHEESE looks way better. Definitely doing this version next time!

April 8, 2014 - 4:10 pm

Katrina @ WVS - I need my garlic bread to be super cheesy and super garlicky too. It’s the only way!! This recipe is fab :)

April 8, 2014 - 10:20 pm

Carol at Wild Goose Tea - What is wrong with me? I never even thought of putting cheese on my garlic bread. Duh! What a spectacular idea. I am with you—-bring on the extra garlic and the extra cheese. Great!

April 8, 2014 - 11:27 pm

Joanne - A meal of cheesy bread sounds like a perfect meal to me! I mean…it’s basically pizza without the sauce. And pizza is a legit meal!