Saturday, April 9, 2011

Is there anything an egg can't do?

As Easter draws near, eggs seem to be everywhere. Symbolic of the earth and new life, they also manage to be tasty, versatile and so often chocolate.

I love eggs. I think they are like magic. There’s nothing they can’t do: become meringues, make cakes rise, turn into omelets or soufflés. Best of all, eggs are easy. And so they are often the answer to a meal when you are standing in front of the fridge with a panicked look on your face.
As this was the week that my new book, The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder, was released, I was short of time. I am sharing two egg recipes that saved the day and were made with ingredients I had in my fridge and freezer. Even in the same week, they were different enough to appeal.

I discovered this recipe for Eggs and Shrimp during our year in England. If I remember correctly it came from a Scottish-Italian cookbook, but that may have been a hallucination. I’ve had the recipe in a file for years and never tried it until last week. I’ve fiddled with it a bit (Don’t we all find that irresistible?) and was really pleased with the result. My husband loved it. He actually said, “I sure am glad you joined Mystery Lovers Kitchen!” I am not making that up. I appreciated this recipe because it didn’t taste like anything else I’d been cooking. Aren’t we always looking for something that tastes different, without being frightening?

I hope you’ll like it too. It sounds more complicated than it is. It’s another one of those recipes that take longer to type up than to make.

Eggs and shrimp


6 hardboiled eggs, shelled and cut in half (I cooked them ahead of time)

½ pound shelled cooked shrimp (Lucky me, I had cooked shrimp)

3 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of flour

2 cups of milk

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Tablespoon of lemon juice

Pinch of cayenne

Dash of Worchestershire sauce (unless you hate it)


Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Melt butter over medium-high heat until it is foaming. Add flour, lower heat to medium, stir and cook for two minutes without browning. It really does taste better if you don’t cheat on the two minutes. Add milk and Dijon and cook on high until thickened. Use a whisk to blend until smooth. Keep whisking so it doesn’t burn. But do not abandon hope as this hasn’t really taken you very long! Remove from heat and add salt and pepper, lemon juice, Worchestershire sauce and cayenne and let it cool a bitl Of course, you can vary the seasonings to suit your own taste (and I know you’ll do that anyway). The sauce should be thin enough to pour easily, but have a nice creamy texture, so adjust accordingly.

Cut the eggs in half, remove the yolk and mash with a fork (just like deviled eggs, so far). Add the mayo and the chopped shrimp. Add half the cream sauce and mix. Place the eggs in a baking dish and heap the centers with the mixture. Cover with the rest of the cream sauce and bake for about 10 minutes or until brown and bubbly. That’s just enough time to set the table and make a crisp salad.

This is supposed to serve six, but that’s just not true. It also looks better in 'person'.

The second time and energy saver was Cheese Custard Pie. It’s been a family fave for years and really takes almost no time to prepare, especially if you can convince someone else to grate the cheese. It’s a great way to use up leftover cheese from one of Avery’s fabulous recipes.

Cheese custard pie


8 inch baked pie crust shell

1-3/4 cups 5 % cream (or milk)

1 cup shredded cheese (whatever you have in the fridge – I used old cheddar, Havarti and a bit of something quite mysterious).

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp paprika

1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions (the green bits)

A pinch of cayenne

3 eggs, beaten


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Scald the milk or cream over high heat.

Reduce the heat and add the shredded cheese, stir until melted.

Add salt, paprika, green onion and cayenne.

Remove mixture from heat and add eggs slowly.

Fill pie crust and bake it until the custard is firm, about 45 minutes.

This looks and tastes great! Next time, I may slip in a bit of crisp bacon too. Now I can sit back and relax a bit. The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder is out! And if I take some of Charlotte Adams' time management hints, I'll be even further ahead. After all, I don't have to solve the murder.

The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder was a top pick in April RT Book Reviews with 4 1/2 Stars. In addition to murder and mayhem, Charlotte's spoiled miniature dachshunds are trying to pass their Therapy Dog test. Will it be three strikes you're out? Or third time's a charm?

You could win this cute watch if you guess the right outcome. Just pick the correct answer to this question:

What happens to the darling dachshunds during the Therapy Dog Test?

a)Truffle succeeds. Sweet Marie leaves in disgrace.

b) Sweet Marie shines, but Truffle snarls at an evaluator.

c) Success! Break out the champagne!

d) Both bomb. Charlotte is mortified.

e) None of the above

Send MJ the answer at! Good luck all round. Visit MJ over at or on Facebook.


  1. Congratulations on "Busy Woman's Guide to Murder" being a top pick in RT! So excited about your release and Charlotte's next adventure.

    Thanks, also, for these delicious egg recipes! Shrimp is one of my favorite foods, I love the custard, and quick and easy is my mantra! :)

  2. RT has such good taste! (Ooh, a food pun.)

    You mean there's a Scottish-Italian cookbook and I don't have it? We should come up with some other unlikely combinations. Greek-Mex. Albanian-Hawaiian. Oh, the possibilities.

    Eggs have gotten a bad rap for cholesterol over the past few years. We should push that pendulum back the other way!

  3. I love these recipes. Okay, everyone with a bit of mysterious cheese in the fridge raise your hands! I always seem to have a tiny bit of leftover cheese that I can't identify.

    BTW, the egg and shrimp recipe would be a wonderful way to use extra Easter eggs.

    ~ Krista

  4. MJ, love the pretty egg pictures! Also love the egg and cheese custard. Looks delicious.

    Krista, that's why they make cheese paper. Yep, cheese paper so you can wrap the cheese and write the name on the paper to identify. But, yes! Waving hand. There's always one that "gets away."


  5. Elizabeth, I know you love shrimp - I thought of you when I was doing this. I always print out and try your shrimp recipes.

    Sheila, I think I'll write the Scottish-Italian cookbook. You want the Albanian-Hawaiian gig?

    I am glad I didn't end up with egg on my face with this. Good suggestion, Krista - leftover Easter eggs.

    Cheese paper, Avery? What? Where? How? (I already know who)

  6. MJ,

    Your posts are always delightful. I adored Closet Confidential and have Busy Woman's Guide on the top of my teetering TBR pile. Can't wait to read it!
    We are an emergency omelet family, so I am printing out both of your recipes to add to my collection of "Dinner? Oh, you want dinner NOW?" recipes. They sound delish. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. MJ, I love this post! Eggs to the rescue - delicious and good for you, too. I can't wait to try the egg and shrimp recipe. I think I may have some frozen here, too. Shrimp, not eggs!
    Congrats on being a top pick at RT!! Woo-hoo!! I love Charlotte as I'm sure everyone who has ever read her, does!

  8. Thanks, Jenn and Julie! I have been saved by your recipes many times, to say nothing of the wonderful reading hours you have both given me.

  9. MJ, I made deviled eggs just last night to have for "picnic" lunches this weekend. We are also BIG fans of shrimp,and what's not to like about quick and easy-- so I can't wait to try your Eggs & Shrimp dish. Sounds right up my alley!

    Congrats on being a top pick--I'm looking forward to reading it. And BTW, your doxies are just adorable in that photo!

  10. Thanks, Lynn. Mmmm. Deviled eggs! Love 'em. Hope you like the shrimp and eggs. The doxies are always insinuating themselves into blogs, however unconnected!

  11. MJ - BIG congrats on the release of THE BUSY WOMAN'S GUIDE TO MURDER. I just love that title *and* your very witty writing, and I can't wait to read it! The RT 4-1/2 star Top Pick is fantastic, and I'm not surprised one bit.

    Your recipes today are wonderful! My husband, Marc, is especially excited about the Eggs and Shrimp. He says the dish reminds him of his late mother's chicken tetrazzini, which she made with a white sauce, peas, and hardboiled eggs. Sounds strange, I know, but he says it was truly delicious, and I believe him -- and you. I think this will be a hit. (And in my experience, hardboiled eggs in recipes is very Italian! :))

    Fun contest, btw, and I agree with Lynn - the photos of your furry babies are adorable!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter