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      Alanna's Deviled Eggs

      Ingredients:

      6 hard-cooked eggs, cooled and shelled

      3 T. mayonnaise or sour cream

      2 t. or so of Dijon mustard (or about 1 t. of dry mustard)

      1 1/2 t. vinegar or pickle juice

      1/2 t. salt

      Freshly ground pepper

      1 T. chopped fresh herbs

      Pinch of curry powder

      Dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce (optional??to taste)

      Garnishes:

      Paprika (regular or smoked)

      Sliced olives (pimento-stuffed green ones and/or black olives)

      Thinly sliced strips of bell pepper or canned pimento

      Sprigs of herbs like parsley

      Bacon bits

      Tiny salad shrimp

      Directions:

      To hard-cook the eggs: place in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a low boil on high heat, then remove the pan from the heat immediately and cover it. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. Drain off the hot water and run cold water over the eggs to stop their cooking. Gently crack the shells and peel the eggs carefully under cold running water. Eggs peel best if they??re a couple of days old, by the way.

      Cut the hard-cooked eggs in half, either longways or crossways. If you choose crossways, also cut a tiny sliver of white off the bottom of each piece so it won??t topple over. Pop the yolks carefully out of the whites and mash the yolks thoroughly with a fork. If the yolks seem lumpy, put them through a medium sieve. Mix in the mayonnaise or sour cream, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, herbs, curry powder, and cayenne or hot sauce. Feel free to be creative with seasonings: cumin is also nice, instead of the curry powder, and some folks add finely chopped onions too. If you don??t like heat, leave out the cayenne or hot sauce. Adjust the yolk mixture as needed: if it??s too dry, add a bit more mayonnaise but don??t let the texture get too soupy. If it does get too liquid, add a couple more mashed hard-cooked yolks.

      Either spoon or pipe the yolk mixture into the whites and start decorating! The classic finish is just a quick dash of paprika for color, but you can jazz up that presentation by using smoked paprika. Other toppings might include sliced green or black olives, bell pepper strips (or canned pimento pieces), herb sprigs, bacon bits, or for a fancy occasion, little salad shrimp or even caviar. Keep the deviled eggs refrigerated till service