To be honest with you guys, as cute as these chick devilled eggs are, I had a bit of an ethical dilemma making them. As a vegetarian I often avoid thinking about the source of the eggs or dairy products that I eat, but that is not right. As ethical consumers we need to be conscious of how all of our food is sourced, but most importantly, animal products. That is why I only purchase pasture raised eggs, and if possible from local farmers that I know.
So what does it mean to be pasture raised? Well, it is complicated. Eggs are regulated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and graded from B (lowest quality) to AA (highest quality), based on factors such as the condition of the white and yolk, size of the air cell, and quality of the shell. But these grades do not indicate how the eggs are raised.
Food claims such as “cage free”, “humanely raised” and “pasture raised” can help a consumer determine how the hens were raised, but this is where things gets dicey, only the terms “free range” and “cage free” are regulated by the agricultural marketing service(AMS), a branch of the USDA. So let me break down some common terms for you.
- Cage Free: Indicates that the hens are housed with unlimited access to food and water and the freedom to roam during the laying cycle. Note this roaming area does not have to be outside. This is USDA regulated.
- Free Range: This claim has the same requirements as cage free, but require access to the outdoors during the laying cycle.
- Humanely raised: This term is not regulated but the USDA, but you may see a “Certified Humane” or “American Humane Certified” badge indicating the the eggs have been certified or audited by a third party.
- Pasture Raised: This term is not regulated by the USDA, but generally means that the hens live and forage on a dedicated organic pasture. Although this term on its own is not regulated, in conjunction with one of the humanely raised badges it indicates that each bird has a minimum of 108 sq. ft. to roam outdoors.
So, think about the little chicks when you are making these cute little deviled eggs and try and make egg choices to ensure they are treated properly. In addition to your mind being at ease knowing you made a conscious effort in choosing a humanely sourced product, your body and taste buds will thank you too! Pasture raised eggs are more nutritious than factory farmed eggs, typically have a richer yolk color, and in my opinion taste better.
Okay, now that my egg rant is over let me give you the rundown on these chick deviled eggs because they are always a huge hit at parties. The recipe is pretty simple, but feel free to make any substitutions you like. If you are feeling wild you can even substitute the greek yogurt for a mashed avocado and make these green “hatching dinosaur” eggs for a kids party!
- 1 Dozen Eggs (I used Chino Valley Pasture Raised Eggs)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- 2 tsp mustard
- ¼ cup light mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp plain greek yogurt
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Small can of sliced olives
Hard boiling the eggs:
- Begin by hard boiling the eggs. Place the eggs in a single layer on the bottom of a large pot. You do not want the eggs to be touching so you may want to do this in batches.
- Fill the pot with water until the eggs are covered with water about 1 inch above the top of the egg. Add in the baking powder and vinegar.
- Bring the eggs to a boil. Once boiling cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let the eggs sit, covered for 10-12 minutes.
- Once the eggs have finished cooking poor them directly into an ice bath. This will stop the cooking process and make them easier to peel.
- Peel the eggs.
Making the Devilled eggs
- Slice through the top third of each egg ensuring you slice through some of the yolk.
- Remove the yolks and place them in a medium bowl. If the do not just pop out use a teaspoon to gently scrape them out.
- Mash the yolks with the mayonnaise, greek yogurt, mustard, and salt.
- Place the mixture into a plastic bag and cut the corner of the bag to allow you to pipe the filling into the egg yolk hole and around the top of the white to ensure enough room to place the eyes and beak.
- Slice the carrot into thin rounds and stack to rounds on top of each other to cut out matching triangles. Place them on the chicks as “beaks”
- To make the eyes use the end of a straw as a “cookie cutter” to make circles out of the olives.
- Add two eyes to each chick and top each chick with the remaining ⅓ egg white.
- Use older eggs, as they have more air between the egg membrane and the shell and are easier to peel
- The vinegar helps the keep the whites contained if an egg cracks and the baking powder makes the eggs easier to peel, but both can be omitted if you do not have them on hand.