Bless Your Spoon: Good eggs and good works go together

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 21, 2022

By Stephanie Williams Dean

There are some good eggs out there. North Carolina provided eggs for the White House’s annual Egg Roll held Monday after Easter. That gives us all a sense of pride but doesn’t crack the shell of an amazing tale. Good work is the stuffing from which good eggs are filled, and good stories, too. Here’s the scoop.

The White House reached out to state egg producers across the country to see who could supply eggs for the egg roll. N.C. egg producers stepped up to the plate. Egg hunters talked to Braswell Family Farms, located in Nashville, N.C., and the challenge was accepted. At that point, the egg company was in hot water, or their eggs were soon to be. They had to identify someone willing to dye thousands of eggs. So Braswell reached out to Andrew McMillan of The Stocked Pot Catering in Winston-Salem. With a team of sous chefs, Andrew, and his dad, award-winning Executive Chef Don McMillan, got the pot boiling. From an initial request for 12,000 eggs, the project grew to 14,000 and then 18,000 eggs. 

With a deadline of seven days, the eggs had to be hard-boiled and dyed. The feat took six people working eight hours a day. The team completed the task in just five days — unpacking, cooking, cooling, putting them in dye solution, taking them out, drying them, repackaging them and then refrigerating them. Andrew was given Pantone colors the White House selected, then had to figure out where to buy such a large quantity of dye —like gallons. All eggs had to be boiled for the same amount of time and then put in an ice bath to cool. When cool, the eggs were plunged into a dye solution. For proper coloring, an exact mixture of dye and vinegar was necessary. The eggs then had to be circulated for even coloring. A lot of testing had to be done preliminarily.

Time and temperatures were also tested because the water had to be at a specific temperature for eggs to turn the same color. Varieties of eggs have different coatings on the outside, so some eggs absorb dye differently. Those eggs had to be taken out and put back into the dye bath for uniformity in color. Different colors required varying amounts of time spent in the bath. Who knew what it would take to be a good egg — and White House worthy?

The feat took place at the Masonic Center in Winston-Salem, where Don McMillan conducts his culinary team-building events. The location was chosen for its large, commercial kitchen with walk-in refrigeration. A refrigeration truck was rented after the number of eggs was raised to 18,000 eggs — and 14,000 of those were dyed. That was no small endeavor.

Braswell Family Farms is a fourth-generation family-owned company. The largest producer of eggs in N.C., it provides feed to the farmers who own the hens. Then Braswell pays the farmers for producing the eggs. The eggs are then graded and packaged by the company. Braswell has been producing and marketing quality eggs — Egglands Best — for families since 1943. Their eggs are sold at all major grocers.

It’s not the first time Braswell Farm and the McMillans have teamed up. Braswell is deeply involved in good works — cancer services being their focus. One year, Braswell wanted to cook omelets for the kids at the Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center — but their chef backed out. Don stepped up to the task. For several years now, the Braswell-McMillan team has continued to make omelets for charity fundraisers. Braswell Family Farms supports the V Foundation for Cancer Research, founded by legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano.

Chef Don stays busy with his corporate team-building events. He offers free culinary lessons on his YouTube channel — simpleanddelicious recipes — where he has more than 150 delicious recipes.

All of today’s recipe selections include boiled eggs. All eggs are good eggs — and some people are, too.

Rice Salad

• 1½ cup cooked rice

• 1 finely chopped onion

• 2 cups sliced celery

• 6 thinly sliced radishes

• ½ cup thinly sliced green pepper

• 4 chopped hard-boiled eggs

• ½ tsp. salt

• 1 cup mayonnaise

• 4 tbsp. yellow mustard

• 1 drained can mandarin oranges

• Favorite lettuce

• Favorite dressing for drizzling.

Cook and refrigerate rice. In a mixer bowl, combine onion, celery, radishes, green pepper, oranges, eggs and salt. Mix well. Add mayonnaise and mustard and blend well. Gently fold in mandarin oranges. Mix well. Fold in rice and mix well. Chill and serve over lettuce. Drizzle dressing over top.

Favorite Hot Chicken Casserole

• 1 cream of mushroom condensed soup

• 1 cream of chicken condensed soup

• 2 cups diced celery

• 1 small grated onion

• 3 pounds cooked, diced chicken

• 8 diced hard-boiled eggs

• 1 cup premium mayonnaise

• 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice

• 1 cup slivered almonds

• 1 tsp. salt

• Crushed potato chips

In a mixer bowl, combine soups and mix well. Add celery and onion. Mix well. Stir in chicken and eggs and mix well. Fold in mayonnaise and lemon juice and mix well. Add almonds and salt. Mix well. Pour into a well-greased 2-quart casserole dish and top with crushed potato chips. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly. You can prepare the day ahead and refrigerate, but add potato chips right before baking. Always a favorite.

Baked Egg Salad

• 6 chopped hard-boiled eggs

• 1 tsp. minced onion

• 1½ cup diced celery

• ¼ cup chopped pecans

• 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

• 2/3 cup premium mayonnaise

• ½ tsp. salt

• ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1 cup grated American cheese

• 1 cup crushed potato chips

In a mixer bowl, combine eggs, onion, celery, pecans, parsley, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Transfer to a well-greased baking dish. Top with grated cheese all over and then crushed potato chips. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Asparagus and Noodle Bake

• 1 can condensed cream mushroom soup

• ¾ soup can whole milk

• 1 sm. pkg. cooked, drained egg noodles

• 1 can asparagus

• 2 sliced hard-boiled eggs

• American cheese cut into strips

Combine soup and milk. Mix well. In a greased baking dish, thinly cover bottom with small amount of soup mixture. Then layer in this order: ½ noodles, ½ asparagus, 1 sliced egg, and ½ soup mixture. Repeat layers in order. Arrange cheese strips to cover top. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Spanish Egg Spread

• 4 chopped hard-boiled eggs

• ¼-pound grated mild cheddar cheese

• Small jar of chopped pimentos

• 1¼ cup chopped pecans

• 1 Tbsp. salted butter

• 1 Tbsp. sugar

• 1 beaten egg

• 3 Tbsp. vinegar

• 1 tsp. salt

• Shake of paprika

• 2 Tbsp. premium mayonnaise

• 4 dashes Texas Pete to taste

In a mixer bowl, combine eggs, cheese, pimentos and pecans, and set aside. In a saucepan, melt butter and add sugar. Add beaten egg and mix well. Add vinegar, salt and paprika. Mix well. Cook over hot water until thickened. Cool. Fold into egg mixture. Mix well. Fold in mayonnaise and add hot sauce. Use as a filling for whole-wheat bread to make sandwiches.

Shrimp and Crab Pie

• 1 Tbsp. salted butter

• ½ cup chopped onion

• ½ cup chopped green bell pepper

• 1 cup chopped celery

• 2 pounds small cooked, peeled shrimp

• 1 lb. crab meat

• 4 mashed hard-boiled eggs

• 1 can drained, sliced water chestnuts

• 1 small jar pimentos

• 1 can cream of mushroom soup

• 1 cup mayonnaise

• Crushed Ritz crackers

In a skillet, melt butter and sauté onion, bell pepper, and celery until softened. In a mixer bowl, add cooked shrimp, crab meat, mashed eggs, sliced water chestnuts, pimentos and sautéed vegetables. Mix well. Fold in soup and mayonnaise. Mix well. Season to taste. Pour into a well-greased casserole dish. Top with crushed Ritz crackers. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Chock-Full Veggie Toss

• 1 chopped green pepper

• 1 cup chopped celery

• ½ cup chopped scallions

• 1 cup cauliflower florets

• 1 cup thawed, frozen lima beans

• 1 cup thawed, frozen green peas

• 3 sliced carrots

• 1 pkg. prepared ranch-style dressing

• 1 torn romaine lettuce

• 2 chopped medium tomatoes

• 4 sliced hard-boiled eggs

In a bowl, marinate the bell pepper, celery, scallions, cauliflower, lima beans and green peas in the ranch-style dressing. Refrigerate several hours. When ready to serve, add lettuce, tomatoes, and sliced eggs and gently toss.

Egg and Ham Company Casserole

• 8 hard-boiled eggs

• ¼ cup melted butter

• ¼ tsp. yellow mustard

• ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

• 1 tsp. chopped parsley and chives

• ½ cup chopped cooked ham

• 3 Tbsp. butter

• 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

• 1 cup chicken broth

• ¾ cup whole milk

• Dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut eggs in half, lengthwise. In a bowl, add egg yolks, melted butter, mustard, Worcestershire, parsley, chives and ham. Mix well. Fill egg whites with mixture. In a casserole dish, arrange the eggs in bottom. In a skillet, melt butter and blend in flour. Gradually add stick, milk and seasonings while cooking until thick and smooth. Pour over the eggs. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Hot Mashed Potato Salad with Egg Sauce

• 6 peeled, boiled potatoes

• 4 Tbsp. salted butter

• 3 Tbsp. minced onion

• 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

• 2 cups half and half

• 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

• 4 finely chopped hard-boiled eggs

• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mash cooked potatoes for creaming and set aside. For the cheese sauce, in a skillet, melt butter. Add onion and cook until soft. Stir in flour to make a paste. Slowly add cream while constantly stirring, and cook until slightly thickened. To this cream sauce, add the cheese and salt, and pepper to taste. Cook until cheese is melted. Cool and stir in chopped eggs. Fold ¾ of cream sauce into the mashed potatoes. Pour potatoes into a well-greased casserole dish and pour remainder of sauce over the top. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Tossed Greens with Chicken-Egg Salad

• 2½ pounds diced, grilled chicken breasts

• 1 cup halved seedless red grapes

• 1½ cups premium mayonnaise

• 1½ cup sour cream

• 4 oz. fruit chutney

• ¼ cup whole grain mustard

• 8 chopped, hard boiled eggs

• 1 small bag toasted slivered almonds

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• Lettuce of your choice

• Favorite dressing

Grill chicken breasts and cool. Boil eggs, chop grapes in half. Toast almonds in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes. In a mixer bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, chutney and mustard. When cool, chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Peel and chop the eggs. Gently mix the chicken eggs, grapes and almonds. Toss salad greens with small bit of dressing of your choice. Place scoop of salad on top of tossed salad greens.

Chicken Salad Loaf

• 1 Tbsp. plain gelatin

• ¼ cup cold water

• ¾ cup chicken broth

• 2½ cups cooked, chopped chicken

• ½ cup chopped celery

• ¼ cup pimento

• 3 chopped hard-boiled eggs

• 1 cup premium mayonnaise

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• Fruit chutney

Dissolve gelatin in water and add broth. Add chicken, celery, pimento, eggs and mayonnaise. Mix well. Season to taste. Pour into greased loaf pan. Refrigerate 6 hours until set. Slice and serve with a fruit chutney.

Sweet and Sour Potato Salad

• 5 cups peeled, cooked, cubed potatoes

• ½ cup diced onion

• 1 cup diced celery

• 3 diced hard-boiled eggs

• ½ tsp. salt

• 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


• ½ cup sugar

• 1 tsp. all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp. dry mustard

• 1 tsp. salt

• 2 beaten eggs

• 2/3 cup cider vinegar

• 2 Tbsp. cold water

In a bowl, combine potatoes, onion, celery, eggs, salt and pepper. Gently mix well. For dressing, in a skillet, add sugar, flour, dry mustard and salt. Beat in the eggs. Add vinegar and water. Stir while heating. Cook until thickened while stirring. Pour dressing over salad and lightly toss. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

My Tuna Salad

• 1 large can Bumble Bee White Albacore Tuna

• 4 chopped hard-boiled eggs

• 1 cup mayonnaise

• Sour cream or soft cream cheese for creaminess

• Relish if desired

• Fresh lemon and onion juice, to taste

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients. Start with small amount of mayonnaise and a little sour cream or cream cheese, and use only enough to make it spreadable. Season to taste. I only use the Bumble Bee fancy white albacore tuna. Simple and delicious.

Egg Stuffed Mushrooms

• Salted butter

• ½ lb. chopped mushrooms

• 1 cup chopped onion

• 1½ cups bread crumbs

• 4 chopped hard-boiled eggs

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 4 Tbsp. sour cream

• 2 tsp. chopped parsley

• 10 mushroom caps

• 10 scooped out small tomatoes

• 10 artichoke bottoms. Melted butter

• Grated Parmesan cheese

In a skillet, melt butter. Sauté mushrooms and onions until soft. Add bread crumbs, eggs, and salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream and parsley. Mix well. Fill mushroom caps, tomatoes and artichoke bottoms. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with butter. Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan on each. Broil 3-inches from heat until browned.