Recently we had the good fortune of being able to visit my mother in California during my son’s winter break. This being February, it was the perfect time to get away and head to the warmer (a.k.a. perfect) climes of the Central Coast of California where I am from.
While there, my mom organized a potluck lunch among all of our old friends with whom I grew up — literally since I was an infant. We have been having these potlucks (usually dinners) every New Year’s Eve for as long as I can remember. The core group consists of my parents’ oldest friends whom they met almost 50 years ago when they first moved to California. Since they hail from Hawaii originally, they were eager to meet other Hawaiians and Asian Americans in the community.
With the passage of time, the potlucks have evolved to include other close friends and are now often organized by the second generation (my generation) families and in turn include their grown children as well. It’s kind of like a tribal event. 🙂
The highlight of course is always the food – of which there is such an abundance that everyone gets sent home with a plate of leftovers. We didn’t even get pictures of all of the dishes – this is pretty much just the first round. And sadly, no shots of the desserts which were amazing.
Since so many of us are Asian with Hawaiian roots, our food exemplifies the mix of cultures you find there: Chinese noodles, Japanese inarizushi and mochi, Filipino lumpia (not shown) set side by side to more typically “American” fare such as a Deviled Eggs and Cole Slaw. Over time, people have developed signature dishes and everyone expects that dish (e.g. Keith’s wontons and lumpia, Mrs. V’s bread pudding, etc.) to appear on the table, so we know better than to make something similar!
For this lunch, I made the Deviled Eggs (my mom made me do it), Teriyaki Chicken, Peanut Sesame Noodles, Double Chocolate Biscotti, and a Chocolate Cake. Surprisingly, the eggs were the most popular of the five, and there were no leftovers! I had never made Deviled Eggs before, so I kind of winged it, but they are really easy and so forgiving to make. I used some plain low-fat yogurt in place of some of the mayonnaise to reduce some saturated fat. Kids will love piping the filling in with a Ziploc bag and sprinkling with paprika.
1 heaping tablespoon light mayonnaise
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey mustard
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Paprika to taste and for garnish
- Hard boil eggs. I use the Martha Stewart method: Put eggs in large pot. Cover with cold water by about two inches. Bring to a boil on the stove. When the water comes to a boil, turn off stove, cover pot, and let sit for 12 minutes.
- Peel hot eggs under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel. Cut in half and remove egg yolks to a large bowl. Arrange whites on a serving dish.
- Mash yolks with a fork and mix in remaining ingredients until consistency is very smooth.
- Transfer mixture to a sandwich sized Ziploc bag. Remove air from bag, and seal shut. Cut a small hole in one corner of the bag. Use as a pastry bag and pipe filling into the shells on the serving platter. Garnish eggs with paprika and serve.
Makes 24 servings.