I remember years and years ago—actually it was almost ten years ago, kill me—when Ben was jumping on a bed with his friends Ava and Zaim, but he was afraid to jump off the bed like they were doing. And the kids coached and cajoled, encouraged and praised courage, until Ben triumphed. I remember thinking at the time that it was such an amazing metaphor for friendship, even as it was actually just friendship in action, and not a metaphor at all. Love each other up into the air. Right?
I keep trying to pitch a piece about friendship. The gist of the piece I want to write is this: that our job as a friend is to say a million times, in a million different ways, “You’re perfect” or “You’re okay” or even “I know, but I like that about you.” For some reason, there are no editors interested in that piece. Is it too obvious? I feel like it should be, but I’m not so sure.
I’m thinking of this today, because last night we attended the reading event of Birdy’s little writing group, and if ever I have witnessed perfect community in miniature, this was it. The kids read their stories, their crazy, amazing, brilliantly out-there stories, full of candy-bearing reptiles and dead mothers and creepy mothers and cheese and friendship and bad mothers. And when they weren’t reading, they listened and praised, they lovingly introduced each other, and they laughed loudly at the funny parts, and they testified. Oh, I love this story! and This is the scary part. and Yay you! I am not cynical. But if I were, boy would that have been the perfect antidote. Love each other up into the air.
Of course, then I had to wipe my sentimental eyes and get down to the serious, narcissistic business of finding someone to photograph the dish I’d brought to the post-reading potluck. Luckily, my talented and enthusiastic friend Chris obliged, turning his lens from the thronged group of happy young writers to the plate of boiled eggs, like I asked him to. (These are amazing, they're beautiful, he said, like a pornographer, and then tasted one and made me feel like a miracle worker for having made them. Love each other up into the air.)
|photo courtesy of Chris Perry
Thank you, Chris.
|photo courtesy of Chris Perry
Sriracha again! And miso! And mayonnaise. Please bear with me through my latest round of flavor obsessions. I’m sure it won’t be long. These are, simply, insane: creamy, dreamy, spicy, rich umami bombs. I know you might not have pickled beans sitting around, but if you do, sliver them up for topping, along with your garden’s first chives.
Miso-Sriracha Deviled Eggs
Makes 24 deviled eggs (i.e. not enough)
I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart, but tinkered with the seasoning. Deviled eggs are so, so good and nearly unruinable that you should feel free to substitute away, omitting ingredients you don’t like (sriracha) or don't have (miso) and swapping in ones you do (wasabi, say, or soy sauce). The thing is? At bottom, you could use just the mayo, vinegar, and a little extra salt, and they would still be good. But these? These are sublime. (Note: The weird amounts represent me trying to account for the way I end up adding a little more of this or that after I first measure out the amounts.)
12 extra-large eggs
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white miso
1-2 teaspoons sriracha
2 teaspoons white vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
Slivered pickled beans and/or chives for garnish
Put the eggs in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat off, cover the pot, and leave the eggs for 10 minutes. Drain them, then run cold water over them, adding a tray of ice if you like, until they are cold. Peel them, laying them on paper towels as you go. (If they don't peel well? It's likely that they're too fresh. Consider the freshness a silver lining to the dinged-up eggs.)
Slice the eggs in half, wiping the knife as you go if you want the whites to stay white (I would not bother for my plain old family, but bothered for An Event). Pop the yolks out into the bowl of a food processor, add the mayo, miso, sriracha, vinegar, and salt, and process until very smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Taste the filling. It should be just a little bit too salty and flavorful, because you need it to season the plain old whites. Re-season accordingly. You can also just mash up the yolks and seasonings with a fork, which is what I would typically do. Again: Event.)
Scrape the filling into a small Ziploc bag, seal it, and snip off one corner. Squeeze the bag to fill each white half with the yolk mixture. (Alternately, you can spoon the filling in--but I swear the bag is easier.) Top with garnishes and serve, ideally without needing to refrigerate the eggs first—but, obviously, refrigerating them if you need to.