Food Of My Friends: The Best Meals in Town

Food Of My Friends: The Best Meals in Town

by Judith Shepard

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A collection of recipes from friends and family of Judith Shepard.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504028615
Publisher: The Permanent Press (ORD)
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 134
File size: 359 KB

About the Author

Judith Shepard is an actress and writer, and is co-publisher at The Permanent Press. She lives in Sag Harbor, NY.

Read an Excerpt

Food of My Friends

The Best Meal in Town

By Judith Shepard

The Permanent Press

Copyright © 1981 Judith Shepard
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-2861-5



The problem with appetizers is that we eat too many of them. They are intended to "whet the appetite" and prepare us for the feast to come. Instead, we stuff ourselves gluttonously and then moan and groan when the first course appears. I have finally realized that I enjoy my meals a great deal more if I don't overindulge. Here, then, are a few good recipes. The less served, the better.

My friend, Jane Wilson, has a catering service in New York called "The Party Box." She is a marvelously creative cook who puts meals together like an artist mixing her paints. Once, at a local food stand, some beautiful cauliflower so entranced her that she decided to concoct an all white dinner, which turned out splendidly, as usual. She has helped me to explore the color and textures of food. This is a snack which she brought back from Japan.

Jane's Japanese Peanuts

Crystallized ginger (about 6 pieces, each the size of a quarter)
1 6½-oz. can salted peanuts

1. Cut the ginger into small pieces.

2. Mix the ginger with the peanuts and serve. Simple!!

We have two good friends, Florence and Jerry Grey. Florence is a fashion illustrator and Jerry is an engineer and a solar-energy consultant. They both have boundless energy, it seems, and entertain frequently and very well, always preparing the dinner together. I often wonder how they fit everything into their busy schedule with such apparent ease. I suspect they're both very organized, something more difficult to copy than their recipes.

Florence's Seviche

2 small fish fillets (flounder, weakfish, etc.)
2 or 3 limes
½ lb. scallops

Chinese Hot Pepper and Garlic Sauce (This can be found in Chinese stores, or in Chinese sections of certain markets. It should be used sparingly, to taste. If you can't find it, use some hot chilis and garlic, also sparingly.)

1. Cut the fillets into bite-size pieces.

2. Squeeze two limes.

3. Mix fillet pieces with the scallops and pour the lime juice over fish. The juice should cover the fish; if there is not enough use the third lime.

4. Marinate (soak) for at least three hours, preferably overnight.

5. When you are ready to serve the seviche, add ¼ tsp. of the Chinese sauce, stir well and test for spiciness. Add more sauce if you like it hotter.

Florence's Sardine Dip

2 cans sardines (4½-oz. each)
1 small onion, minced
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ cup yogurt
Chopped parsley for garnish

1. Drain oil from sardines and mash in small bowl.

2. Add onion to sardines.

3. Mix mustard and lemon juice with yogurt.

4. Add yogurt mixture to sardines and mix thoroughly.

5. Garnish with chopped parsley.

One evening we were invited for dinner at our cousin Cynthia's house. We already had plans for later in the evening, so she urged us to come just for drinks and a first course. She explained that a friend, who had a cooking school in New York, would be there. When we arrived, everyone was busily following her friend's instructions. The first course was a quiche which was so good and so easy to make that I have included it as a last-minute addition. It was served as an hors d'oeuvre, but it might easily be included as part of the main dinner.

Easy Quiche

1 10-inch pie shell
3 medium tomatoes
2 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. Dijon type mustard
½ lb. Danish Fontina cheese, sliced
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bake pie shell until done.

2. While pie shell is baking, slice tomatoes and marinate in the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

3. Cool pie shell and spread with mustard.

4. Place the sliced and drained tomatoes on top of the mustard.

5. Place Fontina over the tomatoes.

6. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and bake in a 350-degree oven until cheese has melted.

Bernice Hunt seems to do all things well. Along with having raised a family, she is also a writer, an editor, and a superb cook. She is aided and abetted in all this by her husband, Morton, also a writer and a gardener who manages to grow lovely vegetables without using either herbicides or pesticides. Bernice has written an excellent book called The Bread Book for which Morton tested the recipes. They make good partners and the meals that they serve are always both simple and elegant.

Bernice's Anchovy Spread

4 tbsp. butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
5 tbsp. anchovy paste
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped

1. Blend the butter, cream cheese and paste into a smooth mixture, suitable for spreading.

2. Garnish with chopped parsley.

3. Serve with crackers.

This is an appetizer that I copied from a restaurant in San Francisco years ago. I don't make it as much now because I don't like all the preservatives in bacon, and I prefer not to deep fry. However, it's quite exotic and if it is accompanied by the kind of rum punches the restaurant served, you might even forget all that.


6 pieces of bacon (some stores carry bacon without preservatives.)
¼ pound chicken livers
Garlic salt, to taste
1 8-oz. can water chestnuts
Corn or safflower oil for deep frying

1. Cut bacon into two-inch pieces.

2. Cut chicken livers into small bite-sized pieces, removing any membranes.

3. Sprinkle liver with garlic salt.

4. Alternate bacon, liver, and water chestnuts on small skewers.

5. Bring oil to boil in a deep fryer or a heavy, deep saucepan.

6. Deep fry, a few at a time, making sure the bacon is thoroughly cooked.

7. Drain and serve warm.

We have two lovely and special friends named Bill and Gay Tarlo. Bill is a retired English barrister and Gay is pure New England. They entertain beautifully in a house filled with shining silver, lovely antiques, and a profusion of flowers. Gay has a great eye for color and style. Bill loves to cook and has a great eye, period — with a perennially mischievous twinkle. For years he has been promising me his curry recipe for which he is famous, but I just can't seem to pry it away. However, he did call to donate these two party appetizers.

Bill's Basic Ham Sauce

1/3 cup cream
1/3 cup chutney
1/3 cup mustard sauce. (See last chapter for recipe.)

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender to make a smooth sauce.

2. Serve on buttered, thin sandwich bread with thin slices of ham.

Bill's Tuna Dip

1 cup of Bill's basic ham sauce
1 cup sour cream
1 large can tuna (6½-oz.), drained
1 tsp. curry powder
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

1. Blend all ingredients and serve with raw vegetables and/or crackers.

The next three recipes have evolved over the years. I can't credit any particular person. They are probably "remembrances of things past," embellished and made my own. There are many versions of guacamole, I know, but this one seems consistently good.

Salmon Spread

1 8-oz. can salmon 1 8-oz. package of softened cream cheese 2 tbsp. dill weed or 4 tbsp. of fresh dill, minced. Salt and pepper

1. Drain salmon and chop very thoroughly.

2. Mix the cream cheese and salmon.

3. Add the dill and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.


2 ripe avocados
1 small, ripe tomato
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt to taste
1 chili pepper, minced, or 2 tsp. chili powder (more for spicier version)

1. Skin avocados and mash the pulp thoroughly.

2. Skin tomato, chop into small pieces, and add to avocado.

3. Mince onion and add to avocado mixture.

4. Add olive oil and stir.

5. Add lemon juice and salt to taste; stir again.

6. Add chili pepper or powder; use more if you like it hotter.

7. Stir, chill, and serve with crackers, corn chips or celery.

Anchovy-Tuna Spread

1 2-oz. can anchovies
4 tbsp. tuna fish, drained and chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped fine
1 small tomato, chopped
½ sweet pepper, chopped fine
2 tbsp. onion, minced
1 or 2 sweet pickles, minced
Black pepper, to taste
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp. catsup
Parsley, for garnish

1. Drain anchovies well and chop into very small pieces.

2. Add tuna and mix well.

3. Add eggs, tomato, onion, sweet pepper, pickles, black pepper and mix.

4. Mix mayonnaise with catsup and add to mixture, stirring well. (For creamier consistency, add more mayonnaise.)

5. Decorate with parsley and serve with melba toast.

My mother is pretty, very youthful looking, and known for her thoughtfulness. She has been making cheese balls for years. At Christmas, she wraps them in cellophane, ties them with a bow, and hands them out to friends who drop by. Since exotic cheeses are so expensive, this is a nice, inexpensive way to economize.

Mother's Christmas Cheese Ball

½ cup chopped walnuts
4 oz. blue cheese, softened
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. pimento, finely chopped
1 tbsp. green pepper, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and toast walnuts on a baking sheet for about 8 minutes, being careful not to burn them.

2. Blend softened blue cheese, cream cheese, pimento, and green pepper in a blender, or by hand.

3. Add a dash of salt and pepper.

4. Shape into a ball and chill until firm.

5. Roll cheese ball in the toasted walnuts.

6. Serve cold with crackers.

These are two dips for dunking. I like to serve them with whatever vegetables are in season, such as broccoli, celery, radishes, mushrooms, zucchini, string beans, cauliflower, etc.

Tarragon Dip

¾ cup yogurt
¼ cup cottage cheese
Juice from one clove garlic
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. tarragon

1. Mix all ingredients well and serve with vegetables.

Curry Dip

1 cup yogurt
Juice from 1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. minced onion
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 tbsp. sesame seeds

1. Mix all ingredients.

2. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Dorothy Friedman seems to have a special way with vegetables. I asked her husband, Gene, why he thought her dishes were so distinctive. He said that she tastes and seasons a great deal as she's cooking. Dorothy volunteered another secret — substitution. In other words, if she usually makes potatoes au gratin, but happens to see some nice turnips at the grocery, she asks herself, "Why not turnips au gratin?" Why not indeed! I have many of her recipes in the section on vegetables, but here is one of her appetizers.

Dorothy's Eggplant

1 medium eggplant
1 small onion, minced
1 small green pepper, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of two lemons
1 clove of garlic, pressed
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp. parsley, minced

1. Pierce the eggplant with a fork in a few places and bake in a 350-degree oven until done, about one hour.

2. Peel eggplant, chop into small pieces, and let drain in a colander.

3. Add minced onion and green pepper to eggplant.

4. Toss eggplant mixture with olive oil.

5. Add lemon juice and stir.

6. Add cayenne pepper to taste. (Dorothy makes hers quite spicy and I prefer it to a milder version.)

7. Sprinkle parsley on top.

8. Chill and serve with crackers.



Adele Davis said that the best way to make soup was to save all your leftovers for a week — vegetable parings, broths, even scraps from your plate, if you're not too squeamish. Then she recommended that everything be boiled vigorously in a pot of water for fifteen minutes, strained and allowed to sit overnight. In the morning you have a vitamin-enriched broth from which to make your soup. I have tried her method, but find that often I like to start from scratch. My husband prefers her way and loves to throw in "everything but the kitchen sink." To me, they usually taste very good, but the children invariably scream, "Oh, no, not one of Dad's soups again!" Whatever method you choose, the two basic requirements are a large soup pot so things don't become crowded and, for most recipes, plenty of time for long, leisurely cooking. Remember that a fine meal can consist of soup, salad, bread and a piece of fruit for dessert — nothing fancier.

My son Caleb is eighteen now but has been making this soup since he was about twelve years old. He has always had a great deal of enthusiasm for many things and cooking is no exception. He's a happy cook. Maybe that's a secret ingredient. I think this started out as one of my recipes, but he took it over, gradually adding his own embellishments.

Caleb's Clam Chowder

1½ cups chopped onions
4 good-sized potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pint clam juice
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 cans minced clams with juice, or a comparable amount of fresh, cooked clams
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
Dash of paprika

1. Fry onions and potatoes in oil over low flame until almost tender.

2. Add the pint of clam juice, salt, and pepper; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the 2 cans of minced clams with their juice (or fresh, cooked clams) and simmer another 15 minutes, covered.

4. Boil milk and cream together for one minute; then add to the chowder.

5. Sprinkle with paprika and serve piping hot.

This is another one of Bernice Hunt's recipes, true to her own style — simple and delicious.

Bernice's Pumpkin Soup

1 large onion, sliced
1 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. curry powder
1½ tsp. salt
1 can unsweetened pumpkin (approximately 15 oz.)
4 cups chicken broth
1 large (16-oz.) carton yogurt (You'll have some left over for the topping.)

1. Cook sliced onion in butter until transparent.

2. Add curry powder, salt, and pumpkin and blend until smooth.

3. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil, and remove from heat.

4. Add 1 cup of yogurt and blend well.

5. Serve in individual soup bowls topped with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkled with nutmeg.

My husband and I were invited for dinner one night by a Hungarian doctor we had recently met. He served us salad, soup, black bread, and wine. The food plus the exuberant conversation of his Hungarian guests made it a delightful evening. I loved the simplicity of the meal.

I have often scrambled to find the chili in order to remove it before serving. If it is left in too long, the soup can become too peppery. You just have to keep tasting and then hope you can find it.

The salad that accompanied this soup consisted of shredded cucumbers and green peppers in an oil and vinegar dressing with a generous dab of sour cream on top. Black bread and wine make it a true Hungarian meal, I'm told.

Doctor Frank's Hungarian Soup

1½ lb. Hungarian sweet sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces. (Kielbasa is the easiest to obtain but our Italian Pork Store makes something comparable which has no preservatives.)
1 large onion, sliced
2 tbsp. safflower oil
8 cups chicken broth
½ cup red or white wine
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ to ½ head cabbage, shredded
1 red or green chili pepper
1 tbsp. paprika

1. Cut sausage into 2-inch pieces.

2. Brown sausage and onion in hot oil.

3. Place sausage in large pot with broth, wine, potatoes, salt and pepper.

4. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are done.

5. When potatoes are done, add cabbage, chili, pepper and paprika.

6. Simmer until cabbage is tender.

My husband's cousin, Cynthia, was mentioned earlier. Both of them were born on the same day only a year apart. They're both Scorpios with enormous amounts of energy. Maybe that is why Cynthia, who has a doctorate in sociology, can teach her college classes, write, lecture and then come home to cook an elaborate meal for twelve friends.

Cynthia's Cold Green Soup

3 medium zucchini, sliced
1 head broccoli
3 cups chicken stock
1 large (16-oz.) carton yogurt (1 cup for the soup, plus 1 tbsp. for each serving)
2 tbsp. curry powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Chop broccoli, removing leaves and tough stems.

2. Cook zucchini and broccoli in 1 cup boiling water until tender.

3. Put the vegetables, along with their cooking water, in a blender.

4. Blend in chicken stock and 1 cup yogurt.

5. Add the 2 tbsp. curry powder, salt and pepper to taste.

6. Serve cold with 1 tbsp. yogurt in each bowl.

This is a very simple soup and is supposed to be very good for you. The recipe was given to me by Pauline Gomez who was experimenting with macrobiotic diets, trying to find good recipes that were also slimming. I understand that if you are willing to discard your usual breakfast rituals, it's a good way to start the day.


Excerpted from Food of My Friends by Judith Shepard. Copyright © 1981 Judith Shepard. Excerpted by permission of The Permanent Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


1. Shopping,
2. Meats,
3. Additives,
4. Butter, Oils, and Margarine,
5. Sweeteners,
6. Flour,
7. Rice,
8. Milk, Cream, and Yogurt,
9. Breakfast Cereals,
10. Salt,
11. Breads,
12. Health Food Stores,
13. Cooking Methods,
14. Quantity,
15. A Last Thought: Time,

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