*actual count Mark Bittman taught me how to do this in his How to Cook Everything Book, but basically you bring a pot of water up to a boil, slide in your eggs, and cook for 12-15 minutes. [I find that 13 is perfect.] Remove promptly.... ....and then "plunge" into cold water. [Be careful with the plunging...I prefer a delicate 'plop' so as not to crack the eggs prematurely.] Let them cool completely. [I like to go ahead and put them back in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.] Then you are ready to summon the devil. (Voodoo dolls and black magic optional.) If you did everything correctly, you should be able to easily crack off the shells. You should end up with some pretty beautiful specimens. There is always a second of suspenseful anxiety when you slice them in half, however, as you just never know if you've cooked them just a little too long, and you'll end up with gray rings around the yolks. I am a master hard-boiler. I don't need to worry about The Cat in the Hat leaving any rings from my bathtub---er...I mean...egg yolks? Take a small spoon and scoop out the yolks into a separate bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, and a dash of salt and pepper. [I was making four eggs (or 8 halves), but you can adjust your proportions as necessary.] Mash everything together.... ...and then it's time to fill up your little egg 'boats.' :) Spoon the yolk 'mash' back into the eggs. Traditionally, deviled eggs are sprinkled with paprika, but you can put on sliced chives or other fresh herbs if you'd like. As I had used a dijon mustard with basil, I sprinkled some dried basil leaves on top as well as paprika. Then I packed 'em up for the kids!
"Can I have two, Miss Smart?"
I may not have taught my students how to read...but they will certainly know their way around a backyard BBQ or cocktail party.