When I was young child, Easter meant a new dress, fancy hat, and church shoes (often patent leather Mary Jane’s). In addition, there was the gathering of family centered around food, egg hunts and those coveted chocolate bunnies. I always looked forward to the holiday. As I moved into my teens, my father insisted we give up any activity, that was fun and enjoyable, for Lent. This meant no movies, dances or dates. Being a social being, this was my private “hell” and I longed for Easter not for the new clothes or treats, but the lifted restrictions on my social life. As a mother of two, my children and I celebrated with the traditional basket fanfare with EB cleverly hiding the goods prompting the big hunt, followed by a special meal. Depending on the plans, this meal was either brunch or dinner. As I get older, what I look forward to the most is less fanfare, sunshine and a relaxing day. This year it was overcast and rainy and we found ourselves with no plans. You might think this depressing or sad but I embraced it, gave myself the day off, using my time to create a “Zen garden” terrarium, a project I was very excited to tackle. It now anchors my dining table as a beautiful centerpiece and reminder to breathe, stay in the moment and carpe diem. Life is good.
This past week I received a phone call from my neighbor asking if I could do her a huge favor. She was desperate to unload some eggs from her backyard chickens. Apparently the ladies are feeling the effects of spring fever producing a dozen eggs a day. Of course I accepted the offer and fittingly found myself pondering what to do with them. My mind went to egg salad, my mother’s “go to” for the day after Easter and one of my all time favorites. The only thing standing in my way was the nearly 100 calorie/tablespoon mayonnaise required in its preparation. My love affair with this versatile condiment goes way back but, being on a health kick, has caused me to limit its use. Not wanting to feel deprived, I set out to find a substitute. The result was this zesty, creamy dressing for a “mayo-less” version.
Here is how it went down.
“MAYO-LESS” EGG SALAD 4 Servings
Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis
2-3T Greek yogurt, plain
2T Dijon mustard
2T fresh lemon juice
1t garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Sea salt and
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2T chives, snipped
- Peel and chop eggs, set aside.
- Combine yogurt, avocado, Dijon, lemon juice, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Using a mini food processor or blender, mix to a smooth and creamy consistency.
- Taste “mayo” and adjust the seasonings as needed..
- Add the capers and chives to the chopped eggs and mix thoroughly.
- Add 2T of the avocado mixture and stir to incorporate. Add additional avocado mixture as needed until it is moist enough. Taste and adjust as needed.
Note: Additional ingredients such as, celery, dill relish, scallions, parsley or other herbs can be added, if desired.
I think this condiment would serve well in any application where the recipe calls for mayonnaise. With picnic season approaching, potato salad, slaw, deviled eggs and pasta salads are just a few ideas. I could also see serving this as a creamy dip in place of traditional guacamole. Bring on the tortilla chips!
In my last post, I addressed the topic of Easter dinner, my thoughts leaning to some preparation of lamb. Nice thought, but truthfully, it never happened. The plans evolved to Hot and Sour Soup and Chicken Lo Mein from the local Chinese take-out. Not thinking about food preparation left me free to pursue other creative interests as I mentioned above. In a weird way, it felt somewhat liberating yet not quite in the category of celebratory. Celebratory in my mind would be my friend’s Easter story, shared on FB, complete with pictures of her homemade pasta and 14 grandchildren. Now that is a celebration! I hope she had some good kitchen helpers.
Deep seeded traditions usually prevail for most significant holidays, but it can feel good to bust away from that on occasion and center simply on things that make us happy. There are many ways to spread the love whether it is just being there for a friend or making those special dishes for those we hold dear. It is important to keep putting it out there. I have found it to be contagious. However it went down in your world this weekend I hope a good time was had by all. Until next time, I send my love out to you. Carpe diem. Jeanne
Note the meditating frog on the right. That might be my favorite part.