Suddenly, there seem to be many reasons for parties of all kinds, and most of them demand hors d’oeuvres. Here are three lovely seasonal offerings.

Deviled Eggs With a Shower of Tarragon

An all-American picnic treat, deviled eggs appeal to both kids and adults and are something of a secret passion for many people. For a one-bite hors d’oeuvre, medium eggs make a daintier deviled egg than large eggs, and when sprinkled with vibrant green fresh tarragon, they look and taste downright sophisticated. A pastry bag fitted with a star tip is by far the easiest way to fill the eggs, but if you don’t have one, simply spoon the filling in with a teaspoon.

Makes 24 halves

1 dozen medium eggs

About ½ cup mayonnaise, or to taste


2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

Place eggs in a large non-aluminum saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand for 12 minutes, stirring once. Drain off hot water, run cold water into the pot to cover the eggs and add a cup or so of ice cubes. Let the eggs stand 5 minutes, drain and peel, or refrigerate until ready to peel.

To peel, crack eggs all over by banging gently on the inside of the sink. Beginning with the fat end (which usually has an air pocket), peel eggs under cool running water to rinse off shells. Cut in half lengthwise, use your thumb to remove the yolks, and place yolks in a food processor. Add mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper, and pulse to a smooth puree. If the mixture is too stiff, add a bit more mayonnaise.


Scrape the yolk filling into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe rosettes into the empty egg-white shells, or spoon in with a teaspoon. (Can be prepared up to 3 hours ahead; cover loosely and refrigerate.) Sprinkle with tarragon before serving.

Blanched Asparagus With Lemon-Thyme Mayonnaise

Serves 8 with leftover mayonnaise

This homemade mayonnaise tastes fabulous but if you don’t have time, you can doctor up store-bought mayonnaise by stirring in lemon juice and zest and thyme.

1 egg

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest and 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


1 cup vegetable oil – soy, corn, canola or light olive oil

1 teaspoon salt, plus additional for blanching asparagus

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1½ pounds slender asparagus


Lemon slices for garnish

In a food processor, combine egg and lemon juice. With motor running, pour oil slowly through feed tube and watch as a thick sauce forms as if by magic. (Don’t do this too quickly or the emulsification may not happen.)

Add salt, pepper, lemon zest and mustard and pulse to combine. Scrape mayonnaise into a bowl and stir in thyme. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to blend flavors. (May be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add about a teaspoon of salt. Snap asparagus stalks off at the bottoms where they break naturally; trim ends; peel tougher lower stalks with a vegetable peeler, if desired.

Add asparagus to pot of boiling water and cook just until the stalks turn bright green, about 3 minutes. Remove with tongs to a bowl half full of ice water to stop cooking and set color. Drain, wrap in paper towels, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate until serving. (Can be cooked up to about 6 hours ahead.)

Transfer mayonnaise to a small bowl, surround with asparagus and garnish with lemon slices.


Radish and Chive-Fruit Butter Canapés

These canapés require very little effort, and they are delicious and very pretty.

30 to 40 canapés

¼ cup butter, softened

1½ tablespoons snipped fresh chives

1 tablespoon apricot preserves


8 to 10 slices thin-sliced bread, whole wheat or white

About 6 radishes, thinly sliced

Chive spears, if available


Stir the butter, chives and preserves together. (Can be made up to 3 days ahead. Soften at room temperature before using.) Remove bread crusts and cut each slice into 4 quarters; spread with chive-fruit butter. Arrange 3 radish slices on each, top with chive spears, sprinkle with salt and serve. (Can be made an hour or 2 ahead, covered with damp paper towels, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated.)

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She can be contacted via Facebook at:

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