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James Beard's American Cookery

James Beard's American Cookery

3.3 6
by James Beard

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Food and eating habits have fascinated me throughout my life, and after sixty-five years I have come to the conclusion that perhaps American cookery is one of the most fascinating culinary subjects of all.


Food and eating habits have fascinated me throughout my life, and after sixty-five years I have come to the conclusion that perhaps American cookery is one of the most fascinating culinary subjects of all.

Editorial Reviews

James Beard has become an American institution. The James Beard Foundation, housed in the late culinary master's home in New York's Greenwich Village, has become the center of American cuisine through its in-house dinners, awards, and generosity to young chefs. Any book by James Beard is an absolute essential to a serious cook's library. Still in print you will find Beard on Bread, James Beard's American Cookery, James Beard's New Fish Cookery, and James Beard's Menus for Entertaining. But don't pass by any out-of-print book you can find (either through our search or your own) written by or coauthored by James Beard.
"The bible of American cooking by 'the king of gourmets'."
Washington Post
"...his chef d'oeuvre...should take a place on the narrow shelf reserved for major American culinary literature."
Tom Colicchio
"The beauty of this book is that it allows you . . . to experience firsthand what made James Beard special and unique. His voice can be heard through his no-nonsense recipes and the choices he made that celebrated even simple, humble dishes for what they were: good food."
From the Publisher
"The bible of American cooking by 'the king of gourmets'."—Time"

...his chef d'oeuvre...should take a place on the narrow shelf reserved for major American culinary literature."—Washington Post"

I felt a shiver as I unpacked the new edition of James Beard's American Cookery, this big, fat, generous book, so like Jim himself. I just held it for a few minutes, remembering times in his kitchen, his big hand guiding mine in the motion of making mayonnaise with a fork. . . . It strikes me as timely that chefs who know only his image on a medal hung round their neck have this chance to see what James was cooking before they were born."
Gael Greene, Insatiable-critic.com "

The beauty of this book is that it allows you . . . to experience firsthand what made James Beard special and unique. His voice can be heard through his no-nonsense recipes and the choices he made that celebrated even simple, humble dishes for what they were: good food."
Tom Colicchio, 2010 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef and head judge on Top Chef, from the Foreword "

The tome's enduring popularity is due to the fact that it does more than deliver superb recipes, it digs deep into the history of American cuisine."—Fox News

Library Journal - BookSmack!
There are great cookbooks aplenty, but if you had to pick the bible of the genre, it's a safe bet Beard's would win. This hardcover beast sports more than 1500 of Beard's top recipes as well as general info and advice on everything from selecting meat and veggies to preserving. If you have only one cookbook in your collection, make it this. — Mike Rogers, "Classic Returns," Booksmack! 1/6/11

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James Beard's American Cookery

By Beard, James

Little, Brown and Company

Copyright © 2010 Beard, James
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316098687

Cocktail Food

The cocktail party grew out of the Prohibition era and out of the decline in entertaining with pomp and servants. At the same time new standards of living and a new tempo of living inspired informal, friendly gatherings of anywhere from ten to five hundred people for the purpose of sipping drinks and munching on small snacks. As we well know, these gatherings continue to this very day and have become so much a part of our lives that we take them for granted. Ironically enough, they can sometimes be as deadly as the most formal of gatherings. It takes imagination to throw a successful cocktail party, and part of the success depends on the quality of the food you offer.

With the advent of the cocktail party a new style of food was created — what is known in the trade as “finger food”: quite simply, food that can be eaten with the fingers without dribbling over clothing, rugs, and furniture. Many of the snacks created for such occasions are excellent, and many of them are garbage. One owes it to his guests to know the difference. Some of the more evil items are commercial dips dreamed up by those who have a product to sell, and others are concoctions fabricated with pastry bag and tube on small bits of soggy bread or toast. These are to be avoided at all cost. Nevertheless, there are many good edibles in the realm of cocktail hors d’ocuvre. Experiment until you find items that are easy to prepare and are never left behind on the plate. Do not attempt a great variety. Content yourself with a few things well done and in sufficient quantity. Sometimes nowadays hosts offer fare more substantial than the usual snacks so that guests will feel reasonably fed. This has its advantage in preventing oversaturation, and guests can go home or on to other engagements without bothering about dinner.

A few simple rules: Provide small plates and plenty of paper napkins of convenient size. Serve food that looks delightful and tastes even better. Remember that highly seasoned food stimulates drinking, and substantial food moderates it.

For appetizer recipes in other chapters, see the index.

Raw Vegetables

Cocktail food falls into a number of categories. One of the most indispensable is raw vegetables. Americans are greater consumers of raw vegetables than any other people. It is natural, then, that vegetables have become an important part of the cocktail hour. At their best they are crisp and accompanied by a dressing or dip that is well seasoned and interesting (see Dips, Sauces, and Spreads, below). They have the appeal of being not too filling, and for the most part are not highly caloric.

The choice of items available for use in a raw vegetable bowl is bountiful. Naturally one should choose the most perfect the market affords, and they should be nicely cut, thoroughly cleaned, and beautifully arranged. It is best to set them in crushed ice in a container to keep them crisp and cold. They should not, however, swim in melting ice and water — if this occurs, the ice should be replenished. Here is a list of candidates for the raw vegetable bowl, to be served with a dressing or dip.

Artichokes. Tiny artichokes, quartered, with their chokes removed.

Asparagus. Tiny tips of raw asparagus have delightful flavor and texture and are good with a pungent sauce, or just with salt, plain or seasoned.

Avocadoes. Small finger avocadoes are excellent when thoroughly ripe. A receptacle has to be provided for the skins.

Fava beans. Select young beans and either remove them from the pods or leave them for guests to pod themselves. Serve with coarse salt.

Green beans. Tiny ones are quite delicious raw.

Broccoli buds. Chill and serve with a dressing.

Brussels sprouts. Tiny ones, nicely trimmed and crisped in cold water, are delicate in flavor and pleasant in texture.

Carrots. These are naturally a standby, for they seem to have been one of the first vegetables eaten raw by children. Who of my generation cannot remember pulling young carrots in a garden patch, wiping them clean, and eating them right there on the spot. Carrots should be cut in long julienne strips or in smallish wedges. Serve crisp and cold.

Cauliflower. Break into small flowerets. They must be fresh, white, and crisp.

Celery. Another staple, whether served alone or with other vegetables. Cut into strips or trimmed pieces.

Cucumber. Strips or slices of peeled cucumber are perfect for the vegetable bowl — best when seeds are removed and the flesh is cut in strips.

Endive. Quartered or broken into leaves, it is refreshing and pungent.

Mushrooms. A must in any collection of raw vegetables. Choose smallish ones, as fresh as possible.

Onions. Green onions, peeled and chilled, are essential for most vegetable platters.

Peas. Tiny sweet new peas, served in the pod or shelled.

Peppers. Seeded, stripped green or red peppers or tiny whole ones, both sweet and very hot.

Radishes. All the different forms of radishes — the little red ones with their plumage, if it is fresh; the long icicle radish; and the great black-skinned white radish, sometimes sliced and at other times shredded and blended with chicken fat. These are exceptionally good with other vegetables and served with a sauce.

Tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes, currant tomatoes, plum tomatoes, both the yellow and the red, are absolute necessities for a vegetable arrangement.

Turnips. Young turnips sliced thinly or cut in thin strips have great flavor and texture.

Watercress. Available in markets nearly everywhere in the States, and a decorative and peppery addition to a vegetable group.

Dips, Sauces, and Spreads

As I noted above, the dips and sauces conceived for vegetables are legion and frequently indigestible. However, there are several standard ones which can be depended upon and which lend themselves to variations. Most useful of all, perhaps, are the mayonnaises and other dressings (see page 75). See also the chapter on Sauces for such recipes as Elena Zelayeta’s salsa fria, a superb cocktail dip.

Sour Cream Dips

There are several extremely good sour cream dips which may be used with vegetables. I’ll eschew the obvious ones like the dried onion soup dip, clam dip, and others which have run the gamut of television and radio commercials.

Sour Cream Herb Dip I. To each cup of sour cream add ¼ cup each of chopped parsley and chives. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Sour Cream Herb Dip II. To each cup of sour cream add ¼ cup finely chopped parsley, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, and chopped fresh dill or dillweed to taste.

Sour Cream Roquefort Cheese Blend. This is ideal to make if you have dry ends of Roquefort cheese on hand. Merely shave them until you have a cupful or more, or crumble ½ pound fresh Roquefort cheese. Add ¼ teaspoon Tabasco or to taste, enough softened butter to make a smooth paste when creamed in the electric mixer or with a heavy fork, and about 3 or 4 tablespoons Cognac or bourbon. Blend this with 1 to 1½ cups sour cream, and add salt if necessary after allowing the mixture to rest for 2 hours.

Sour Cream Curry Sauce. Saucé 3 finely chopped shallots or 6 scallions, cut very fine, in 4 tablespoons butter until just limp. Add 1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste, and blend well over low heat for 4 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add to 1½ cups sour cream along with 2 tablespoons chutney, and toss well. Correct the seasoning.

Note. Never add raw curry powder to such a dip. It will be far more subtle to the taste if first cooked.

Sour Cream Chili Dip. Sauté 1 cup very finely chopped onions in 4 tablespoons butter till just wilted and soft. Add 1½ tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon Tabasco, 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, and, if you like, ½ teaspoon oregano. Cook over low heat 3 or 4 minutes. Correct the seasoning and cool slightly before folding into 2 cups sour cream.

Liptauer (Cream Cheese Spread)

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese

¼ cup butter (½ stick)

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Chopped onion, chopped anchovy fillets, capers, chopped chives, radish roses

Mix the cream cheese, butter, and cream until fluffy. An electric mixer is good for this (use small bowl). Shape into a mound on a decorative dish and surround with the chopped onion, anchovy fillets, capers, and chopped chives. Decorate with radish roses. Serve with small pieces of rye bread (not sweet), thinly sliced.

Cheese and Ham Spread

1½ pounds grated Swiss Emmenthaler cheese

1 pound ground baked ham with some of the fat

2 teaspoons prepared mustard (Dijon preferred)

Mayonnaise to bind

Chopped parsley

Mix the cheese and ham well with the mustard, and blend in just enough mayonnaise to moisten and bind. Press into a bowl from which you can serve it, and chill for an hour or two. Sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving. Serve with small slices of rye bread or pumpernickel, and provide knives.

Note. For other cheese spreads, see Cheese for Cocktails, page 13.

Shrimp Butter

2 pounds shrimp

1 teaspoon mace

1 teaspoon finely chopped onion

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

½ to 1 cup softened butter

Clean and devein the shrimp, and cook in boiling salted water for 3 or 4 minutes after they come to a boil. Cool and chop coarsely, and blend with seasonings and enough softened butter to make a thick paste. Chill, but remove from refrigerator an hour to an hour and a half before serving to soften the butter. Serve with small rounds of bread, Melba toast, and lemon halves or quarters.

Baked Liver Pâté

2½ pounds pork liver

3½ pounds fresh pork with fat

2 medium onions, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon thyme

1½ tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

½ cup Cognac

4 eggs

½ cup flour

Thin slices fresh pork siding

Pâtés have become exceedingly popular as cocktail food. This one is fairly simple and keeps well. Serve with toast or rounds of French or rye bread.

Grind the pork liver and meat with a good deal of the fat, using medium to fine blade of meat grinder. Mix in the next six ingredients well. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and stir in the flour. (All this can be done with an electric mixer.) Line 5 or 6 small 2-cup casseroles with thin slices of pork siding. (This is the same cut as bacon, but has not been salted and smoked.) Almost fill the casseroles, leaving room for expansion during baking. Top with more thin slices of pork siding. Cover the casseroles with several layers of aluminum foil that can be tied on tightly. Place them in a baking pan or dish deep enough to accommodate boiling water reaching slightly more than halfway up the sides. Bake in 350-degree oven for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Remove the coverings, fit new foil inside the tops, and weight down until cooled thoroughly.

Quick Liver Pâté

½ pound braunschweiger (smoked liverwurst) at room temperature

½ cup butter at room temperature

2 teaspoons scraped onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons Cognac or bourbon

Put all ingredients into small bowl of electric mixer and mix well, or mash and mix with fork. Spread on bread for sandwich filling or on buttered cocktail rye, French bread, or Melba toast for appetizer. Decorate with tiny sprigs of parsley, small pickled onions, strips of green pepper, or strips of pimiento.

Or form into one large ball or two smaller balls or a log, then roll in chopped chives, parsley, or toasted chopped nuts. Wrap and chill until firm. Serve on a platter or cheese tray with crackers or cocktail breads.

To use as a dip, thin with sour cream or cream, and serve with crackers or potato chips. This can be frozen, wrapped in moisture-proof, vaporproof material. Stir after thawing.

Chili con Queso

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cans peeled green chilies, finely chopped and seeded

1½ cups rich cream sauce

1 pound shredded jack or medium sharp Cheddar cheese

A Mexican dish that is excellent as a dip for breadsticks, corn chips, small pieces of crisp tortilla, or celery or cucumber sticks.

Combine the garlic, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook down 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped green chilies. Cook and stir until the mixture is thick and pasty. Add the cream sauce and cheese. Serve warm from a chafing dish or electric skillet kept at low heat. Do not let it boil or the cheese will become stringy.

Cheese for Cocktails

We have always been good cheese eaters, although cheese has never figured as a separate course in our meals as it does in France. Cheese, for us, has been a snack, a luncheon food, an accompaniment to pies, and, of course, cocktail food. With the enormous variety of cheese to be found throughout the country now, it is a simple matter to assemble a staggering cheese board.

One thing most of us have not learned is the proper temperature for serving cheese. It should be at room temperature and not at refrigerator temperature. If you are serving it with cocktails, let the cheese stand out of the refrigerator most of the day. It develops full flavor and bouquet that way, which makes a great deal of difference in the pleasure of eating it.

If you are serving a cheese board or tray, be sure to have either one magnificent cheese — and that in sufficient quantity — or several cheeses which are varied in flavor, texture, and shape. For example, choose one cheese of high and rich flavor, a milder one of firmer texture and another which has a markedly different quality from either, and finally one which is mild, for those who think they like cheese but really only like the idea of cheese. Always serve butter with cheese, and it is a good idea to serve thinly sliced breads as well as good crackers.

Cheese logs or balls are completely American and have become important fixtures at cocktail parties. I know of several cheese purveyors and supermarkets in the countryside who have these already prepared for sale. However, they are rather amusing to make and are delightful to see when made correctly. Any of the mixtures may also be made into small balls and rolled in chopped nuts or in chopped parsley and chives.

Blue Cheese Spread, Dip, or Ball

¼ pound blue cheese at room temperature

½ cup butter at room temperature

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Few drops Tabasco

3 tablespoons Cognac or Armagnac

Blend all ingredients in small bowl of electric mixer or mix with a fork. This can be spread on buttered bread for sandwiches or on tiny pieces of toast or cocktail white or rye bread.

Or form into a ball, log, or small balls, then roll in chopped parsley or chopped, toasted nutmeats. Wrap and chill. Serve on a cheese tray or plate surrounded by small cocktail bread or crackers.

For a dip, add cream or milk, a very little at a time, and stir until of a good consistency for dipping crackers, fresh vegetables, or potato chips.

This spread can be frozen — see note under next recipe.

Cheddar Cheese Spread, Dip, or Ball

½ pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)

2 canned peeled green chilies, chopped

½ canned pimiento, chopped

1 small clove garlic, grated

Few drops Tabasco

½ cup butter, softened

3 to 4 tablespoons Cognac, sherry, or bourbon

Salt to taste

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Mix in small or large bowl of electric mixer or mash with a fork by hand. If this seems too stiff to spread, add cream or milk, a very little at a time, until of a good consistency. Serve as a spread, or form into one large or two small balls or logs and roll in chopped toasted nuts or chopped parsley or chives. Serve on a cheese board or tray surrounded with crackers, cocktail rye bread, French bread, or Melba toast.

This can be made into a dip by adding more milk or cream, and is especially good with raw vegetables such as celery, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, radishes, endive, cherry tomatoes, or sweet pod or snow peas.

Note. The cheese balls or spread can be frozen after wrapping in polyethylene freezer bags and sealing. Be sure to thaw several hours before using. The dip can be frozen in moistureproof or vaporproof freezer containers. It will appear to separate when thawed but can be stirred again to original consistency.

A Cheddar Cheese Log

3 pounds soft Cheddar cheese, grated

1 4-ounce can peeled green chilies, finely chopped

½ teaspoon Tabasco

Coarsely chopped walnuts

This is for a fairly large party, although leftovers can be saved for a couple of weeks by wrapping in plastic wrap and refrigerating.

Blend the cheese well with the chilies and Tabasco, and form into large sausage-like roll. Chop the nuts and spread on a piece of waxed paper or foil about 13 to 14 inches long. Place the cheese on the paper or foil and roll tightly so that the cheese collects the nuts. Pat extra nuts on with your hands to distribute evenly. Serve the roll with breads and crackers.

Cheddar Cheese Roll

2 pounds grated soft Cheddar cheese

1 tablespoons Dijon mustard or to taste

½ teaspoon Tabasco

½ cup finely dropped parsley

¼ cup finely chopped pimientos

Chopped pecans or pecan halves

Work the various seasonings into the cheese with your hands until it is a smooth mixture. Correct the seasoning. Form a long roll or ball of the cheese. Sprinkle a long piece of waxed paper or foil with the chopped or halved pecans and roll the cheese in the nuts.

Roquefort Cheese Log

2 pounds Roquefort cheese

1 pound cream cheese

½ pound butter

2 teaspoons dry mustard

¼ cup Cognac

Chopped parsley and chives

Crumble the Roquefort and blend well with the cream cheese, butter, and seasonings. Correct the seasoning to taste. I sometimes find it will take more mustard and more Cognac. Mold into a ball or roll and chill for a few minutes. Sprinkle parsley and chives on a piece of waxed paper or foil, and roll the cheese in the herbs until completely covered. Serve with breads and crackers.

Note. For storing, it is better to roll this in chopped nuts. Fresh herbs do not keep as well.

Vegetable Appetizers

See Raw Vegetables, page 9.

Baked Potato Hors d’Oeuvre

Scoop out the meat from baked potatoes, scraping the inside of the skins thoroughly, and cut the skins carefully into long strips about 1 to 1½ inches wide. Brush them lavishly with softened butter and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Broil about 6 to 7 inches from the broiling unit until browned and crisp. Watch carefully. Serve hot.

Katherine Smith’s Small Potatoes

One of the most satisfying snacks I have ever had with drinks was served in Washington at a party several years ago. It should become a classic.

Choose very small new potatoes and scrub them well. Boil them in their jackets until just pierceable. Remove. Hold each one with tongs or with a soft cloth and scoop out a little well in the top. The potatoes must be able to stand without rolling, so you may have to trim off a thin slice to form a base. Fill the hollows with sour cream blended with freshly chopped chives and crumbled crisp bacon, and serve. Or do not scoop them out, but serve as they are with a bowl of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper mixed. Either way they are excellent and filling.

Eggplant Caviar

2 rather good-sized eggplant

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons vinegar

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon chopped mint or basil

This is a Near Eastern dish which has become inordinately popular, perhaps because of the magic of the word caviar — for it is related to the real thing in name only. It is, however, a pleasant hors d’oeuvre.

Bake the eggplant whole in a 350-degree oven 1 hour, or until they are soft and cooked through. Slit them so the steam will escape. Peel, and chop them very fine. Add the seasonings and mix well. Let stand several hours or overnight in the refrigerator before using. Serve as hors d’oeuvre or with drinks, spooned on small bits of toast.

Eggs for Cocktails

Stuffed Eggs

From the beginning of good eating in this country stuffed eggs and pungent eggs have been part of the picture. Stuffed or deviled eggs were picnic fare and fare for the supper baskets prepared by cooks for basket socials. The attractively packaged baskets were auctioned off to raise funds for a new carpet for the church or a stove for the minister’s house, and many a romance was started between an unattached lady and a man bidding for her pretty supper basket.

Deviled eggs were then a much enjoyed delicacy, and even today, if you have taken care to observe at a cocktail party, nothing disappears as quickly as the eggs.

To prepare, hard-boil the eggs (see Eggs chapter), stirring them gently at the beginning so the yolks will be better centered. Transfer the eggs to cold water at once. Cut them into halves vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Carefully transfer the yolks to a bowl. Combine with seasonings. Stuff the whites with the aid of a pastry tube fitted with a large rosette tube, or spoon in the filling, smooth it off, and garnish. Estimate 4 stuffed halves per person for a large party and 3 per person for a smaller party.

Deviled Eggs. Mash the yolks of 12 eggs and combine with 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, ¼ teaspoon Tabasco, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon grated onion, and enough mayonnaise to bind the mixture into a smooth paste. Fill the whites as directed above. Garnish with parsley sprigs or chopped parsley.

Caviar Eggs. Combine the mashed yolks of 12 eggs with 2 tablespoons grated onion, 2 to 3 ounces caviar (adjust caviar content to suit your taste and your purse), 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, and enough sour cream to bind the mixture. Fill egg whites as directed above. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Mexican Eggs. Combine 12 mashed egg yolks with 3 tablespoons finely chopped green chilies (the canned roasted variety), 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander or parsley, and enough sour cream to bind. Stuff egg whites and decorate with fresh coriander or finely chopped pimiento.

Olive-Stuffed Eggs. Combine the mashed yolks of 12 eggs with ¼ cup each of chopped stuffed or ripe olives, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and enough mayonnaise to bind. Stuff the eggs as directed above. Decorate with toasted almonds or pecans.

Herbed Stuffed Eggs. Combine the mashed yolks of 12 eggs with 2 tablespoons each of chopped chives, chopped dill, and chopped parsley. Add ½ teaspoon salt and enough mayonnaise to bind. Stuff the eggs as directed above. Decorate with finely chopped herbs.

Salmon-Stuffed Eggs. Combine the mashed yolks of 12 eggs with ½ cup finely chopped smoked salmon, 2 tablespoons fresh dill, and 2 tablespoons chopped capers. Bind with mayonnaise. Stuff the eggs as directed above. Decorate with strips of smoked salmon or sprigs of dill.

Ham-Stuffed Eggs. Combine the mashed yolks of 12 eggs with ½ cup finely ground cold baked ham, ¼ cup finely chopped sweet gherkins, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and enough mayonnaise to bind. Stuff the eggs as directed above.

Roquefort-Stuffed Eggs. Combine the mashed yolks of 12 eggs with ¼ cup finely crumbled Roquefort cheese and 2 tablespoons Cognac. Bind with enough sour cream to make it firm and smooth. Stuff the whites as directed above. Garnish with watercress sprigs.

Scotch Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs

1 pound well-seasoned sausage meat


2 eggs, lightly beaten

Bread crumbs

Peel the eggs and flour them lightly. Divide the sausage meat into six portions and flatten each section a bit. Flour your hands and wrap the sausage meat around the eggs to form a firm egg-shaped covering. Flour the eggs, dip in beaten eggs and roll in crumbs. Fry in deep fat at 375 degrees until nicely browned and cooked through. Drain on absorbent towels. Serve either whole or carefully cut in halves. Best served cold.

Chili con Carne

6 tablespoons butter, margarine, or salad oil

6 medium onions, sliced

3 pounds ground beef

3 cans (20 ounces each) tomatoes

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

1 cup beer or ale

1 tablespoon salt

½ teaspoon Tabasco

2 to 4 tablespoons chili powder

2 cans (12 ounces each) whole-kernel corn

Meat and Fish Appetizers

A sound, all-around chili, made distinctive by the addition of corn. Serve in tiny cups with small spoons or in little croustades for cocktails. Or serve with hamburgers or frankfurters on buns for a more substantial cocktail snack.

Melt the butter, margarine, or oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook until tender but not brown. Add the ground beef and cook until lightly browned, breaking up with a fork. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beer, salt, Tabasco, and chili powder. Cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add the corn and simmer 15 minutes longer.

Tortilla Snacks

36 small tortillas, about 3 inches in diameter

1 #2 can Mexican refried beans (frijoles refritos)

1 to 1½ cups shredded roast chicken or pork

Mexican barbecue sauce or salsa fria

Heat the tortillas on a lightly greased griddle until crisp and keep warm by placing on a hot plate and covering with a cloth, or put in slightly warm oven, covered with a cloth. Heat refried beans until bubbling. Heat shredded chicken or pork just until hot. Top each tortilla with refried beans, then a little of the meat, and finally a spoonful of sauce. Put into hot oven for few minutes to heat through.

Sausages with Cocktails

Sausages with drinks is hardly a new idea. It has been known here among the German, French, and Italian groups for generations. However, the greater variety of sausages on the market and new ideas for serving them, such as metal trees designed for hanging sausages, have made them more sophisticated fare in the past fifteen years or so. Because most people love to carve for themselves (even though most of them are poor carvers), it is best to have a large board of sausages, or one of the now fashionable trees, with various sausages hanging from its iron limbs. Provide one or two good boards, sharp knives, and a selection of breads — rye, pumpernickel, perhaps Near East bread, if available, and certainly various kinds of crackers and rye hardbreads. Also lay out butter, horseradish, mustards, perhaps a sauce or two, relishes, dill pickles (if you can find good ones) and small sour pickles.

Here are some of the better-known sausages suitable for service with cocktails.

Salami. Italian, Jewish, or German, to say nothing of Hungarian-style salami. All are pretty much available throughout the country. Buy a whole one. It will keep for a long time and doesn’t even need refrigeration. Serve it sliced paper-thin.

Summer sausage. A dry, fine-grained sausage without too much high seasoning. Excellent with rye bread or with certain crackers. Must be thinly sliced.

Bologna. Our old standby. Very good bologna can be found if you shop for it. If not, buy mortadella.

Mortadella. This Italian sausage is like bologna except that it has small pieces of larding pork in it that make a mosaic when sliced. Best to have the mortadella sliced by machine when you buy it, for it must be sliced very, very thin.

Liverwurst or braunschweiger. These two standard sausages may be successfully used for cocktails, either sliced or as a spread, depending on consistency. More or less a poor man’s pâté.

Pepperoni. The rather hot, dry Italian sausage which can be thinly liced by hand.

Capocollo. Cured pork rather than a sausage, but it resembles sausage. Pungent and well-flavored.

Yachtwurst. Spicy German-style sausage with pistachio nuts strewn through it. Excellent when sliced not too thin.

Teewurst. A rather soft, nicely spiced sausage which may be used as a spread with crackers, toast, or bread.

Lebanon bologna. The typical Pennsylvania dry sausage, nicely flavored and related somewhat to summer sausage.

Sausages to Be Served Hot with Drinks

You should have a chafing dish or an electrically heated tray, and don’t let the sausages linger too long on the table once they have been heated lest they cool, shrivel, and become unappetizing.

Frankfurters. Small and large frankfurters have been standard cocktail fare for ages. The tiny ones are easy to serve with toothpicks. The larger ones may be served with hot dog rolls, relishes, and chili — rather hearty fare for cocktails but much appreciated by guests who would rather have one large snack than ten little ones.

Knockwurst. Large juicy ones may be cut in slices and served with mustards and relishes for dipping. Extremely good and simple to do.

Pork sausages. Tiny pork sausages grilled or sautéed have been favorites with drinks for years. Serve them with good mustards and with chutneys.

Kielbasy. The Polish sausages are ideal with drinks. Serve cold, or heat them in white or red wine flavored with chopped onion and serve hot in inch-long pieces with mustard or a barbecue sauce.

Bratwurst. Grill, sauté, or roast bratwurst and serve with rolls and perhaps a relish or mustard. Excellent flavor and a texture different from most of the other sausages.

There are other local sausages which are worth trying and adding to the list given here.

Sausage Rolls

12 to 18 small pork sausages

White wine and water

Dijon mustard

1 recipe cream cheese pastry

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

These rolls have a Scottish background but have been served in this country for generations. Superb when hot from the oven and even good when reheated.

Poach the sausages in a frying pan in half white wine and half water for about 10 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper and cool. Using half the pastry at a time, roll out on a lightly floured board into a square or rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Cut into smaller rectangles with a knife or pastry wheel, making each rectangle slightly longer than the sausage. Spread each rectangle with mustard to your taste, place a sausage on it, and roll it up. Place scam side down on a baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg. Bake in a 450-degree oven 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 10 more minutes or until the pastry is nicely browned. These rolls are good hot or cold. They can be made in advance, wrapped in moistureproof, vaporproof freezer bags, and baked on the day you plan to use them.

Ginger Sausage Balls

1½ pounds pure pork sausage meat

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 tablespoon grated fresh (green) ginger or slightly more candied ginger

3 eggs, separated

Slightly Oriental in feeling, these sausage balls have character and flavor.

Mix the sausage with the garlic, ginger, and egg yolks. Beat egg whites and fold into the mixture.

To deep-fry, drop by small teaspoons into deep fat heated to 370 degrees. Do not fry too many at once or the fat will cool and they will become grease-soaked. The balls should be quite small, about the size of a filbert or hazel nut. When browned, remove from fat and drain on paper towels.

To bake, chill the mixture, then form into small balls. Place on a baking pan about 1 inch apart. Bake in 425-degree oven about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

These sausage balls can be made ahead, wrapped, and frozen, either baked or unbaked, until ready to use. They should be served hot.

Sauerkraut Balls

1 large onion, finely chopped

5 tablespoons butter

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1½ cups finely ground cold corned beef

½ cup finely ground cold ham

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon Tabasco

6 tablespoons flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups well drained sauerkraut, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley



2 eggs, well beaten

2 to 2½ cups dry breadcrumbs

Fat for frying

Sauté the onion in butter until wilted. Add the garlic, meat, and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Cook over medium heat. Add the flour and blend thoroughly. Mix the eggs with the sauerkraut and parsley, add to the meat mixture and stir until thickened. Chill. Form into small balls. Roll the balls in flour, dip in well-beaten egg, and roll in crumbs. Fry in hot fat at 375 degrees until nicely browned and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot. It is best to cook only a few of the sauerkraut balls at a time. Overloading tends to make the balls greasy.

Tartar Steak

2 pounds freshly ground lean beef put through the grinder twice — top or bottom round, or chuck with little fat, or top sirloin

12 anchovy fillets

1 medium onion, very finely chopped

2 teaspoons or more Dijon mustard

3 raw egg yolks

2 teaspoons salt or to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoons Cognac

This way of serving it has convinced many people that raw meat can be thoroughly delicious.

Spread the chopped meat on a chopping board in a rectangle. Chop the anchovies very fine. Blend them into the meat with two heavy-bladed knives, using a spreading stroke with one hand and a chopping stroke with the other. Fold the meat in from the edges to the center and then spread it out as before. Add the onion, mustard, and egg yolks and spread and chop. Fold in again from the edges to the center. Spread and chop until it is a rectangle once more. Add the salt and freshly ground pepper. You may add Tabasco and Worcestershire, if you like, but I feel it is not necessary. Spread and chop, this time very well, and again bring in the edges to form a large patty. Turn over, spread and chop again, and re-form a large patty. Place in a bowl and cover with chopped parsley and chives, or form a nice patty and arrange on a board or platter. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with rye or pumpernickel breads. Tartar steak may also be shaped into small balls and rolled in chopped parsley or chopped nuts. Serve with toothpicks.

Grilled Flank Steak Sandwiches

2 flank steaks

1 cup dry red wine

½ cup salad oil

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 onion, sliced

½ cup chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 medium-size loaves French bread


1 clove garlic, crushed

¼ teaspoon thyme

Remove the tough outer membrane from the meat. Put the wine, oil, chopped garlic, sliced onion, and parsley in a shallow bowl. Let the meat marinate at least 2 or 3 hours, or better, overnight, in the refrigerator. Turn the meat several times while marinating. Flank steak should be at refrigerator temperature when grilled, so store it until the last minute. Grill it quickly over charcoal. The coals should be hot enough and the grill close enough to the coals to cook the steak to a crusty brown on the outside and red rare in the center in 4 minutes on each side. This is a cut that must not be well done. Brush with the marinade as it cooks and season to taste with salt and pepper.

In the meantime, prepare the bread: Split the loaves the long way. Mix the butter — a lot or little, as you prefer — with the garlic and thyme and spread on each half loaf. Put the loaves together again, wrap in foil, and heat on the back of the grill before you start the steak.

When the steak is ready, remove it to a cutting board and with a very sharp knife cut it in thin diagonal slices. Place on the lengths of French bread. Make open-faced sandwiches or cover with another length of bread, as you choose. Cut crosswise in a convenient size. Serve as an accompaniment to drinks, and provide mustard, barbecue sauce, pickles, chowchow, and the like. For a large party, one person should be assigned to grill the steaks and serve them as fast as they are demanded. This is one of the best and easiest of hors d’oeuvre I know.

Cocktail Reuben Sandwiches

These can be prepared well ahead, toasted in the broiler oven as needed, and served piping hot.

Spread slices of cocktail rye bread with butter. On half of the slices place a thin slice of corned beef topped with a thin slice of Swiss cheese. Add a few shreds of sauerkraut that has been well washed and drained. Top with another slice of bread. Press together. Toast when ready to serve.

Tiny Pizzas

1 yeastcake or package of dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

1¼ cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees)

3 to 3½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

The pizza epidemic broke out after the Second World War, and since then they have become one of the three or four most popular snacks in the country. Inevitably they have come to the cocktail table in smaller versions, which can be extremely attractive.

To make the dough, dissolve the yeast with the sugar in ¼ cup warm water, and stir and let stand till it proofs. Combine the rest of the water with 1 cup flour, the oil, and salt. Mix well, add the yeast mixture, and stir in enough flour to form a fairly stiff dough. Knead lightly for 5 minutes, place in an oiled bowl, and set in a warm spot to rise until double in bulk — about 1½ hours.

Punch the dough down and divide it in three pieces. Roll out, cut with a 3 or 4 inch cutter and form small pizzas, or form the individual pizzas with your hands. The center of the dough should be thinner than the edges. Place the pizzas on an oiled baking pan. Pat oil on surface with the fingers. Add any of the fillings (or a combination) presented below. Then let the pizzas rise for about 12 minutes. Bake them in a 375-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are throughly cooked through and the filling is perfectly done.

Suggested Fillings

Onions. Slice onions very thin or chop them, and steam in butter (for 1½ cups onions use about 3 tablespoons butter) in a heavy covered saucepan for 15 minutes over fairly low heat.

Tomato sauce. Use tomato purée, well seasoned, or follow recipe for tomato sauce, pages 461–463.

Sausage. Use thinly sliced pepperoni or salami, or any other sausage you prefer.

Anchovies. Boneless are the best. Traditional with onion, tomato, and cheese; or with soft black olives, onions, and grated Parmesan (without tomato sauce).

Garlic. Add minced garlic to taste to any combination of seasonings.

Herbs. The best herbs for pizzas are basil, which combines beautifully with tomato, or oregano, a pungent and sometimes too pungent herb if used with a heavy hand. Chopped parsley is always good, especially the flat-leafed Italian variety.

Sauerkraut. May be combined with sausage, Emmenthaler cheese, and onion to make a most delicious and unusual pizza.

Cheeses. Mozzarella, Monterey jack, Gruyère, or Emmenthaler for melting cheeses; and freshly grated Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano for grating cheeses.

Bacon-Wrapped Hors d’Oeuvre

Sometime about the middle of the 1920’s I seem to remember my first bacon-wrapped snack, served to accompany bathtub gin martinis. Good bathtub gin was not without its merits, but it needed food to keep one in shape for the second and third drink, so snacks became more hearty. I’m certain the first snack of this type I had was one I find often these days in trekking around the country — a bacon-wrapped crisp cracker or saltine. It still makes one of the more successful items in this genre, although practically everything you can think of has been wrapped in bacon these last years. However, one must use excellent bacon — sometimes a chore to find these days, but nevertheless possible. Also, there is an important point overlooked by many cooks. The bacon should be partially cooked before wrapping and broiling or baking so that a good deal of the excess fat and moisture (prevalent nowadays in bacon) is cooked out.

Crackers in Bacon. Use saltines or the long crackers called Waverly, among other names. (Each biscuit company has a different appellation, but they come four to a section and are short and crisp.) Wrap pieces of partially cooked bacon around the crackers and secure with toothpicks. Arrange on a rack in a broiling pan or shallow roasting pan and broil 5 inches from the heating unit, or bake in a 450-degree oven until bacon is crisped. Do not burn the crackers, however. Turn once if necessary. Serve hot.

Olives in Bacon. These are superb even though served rather frequently. Wrap partially cooked bacon around large stuffed olives and secure with toothpicks. Place on rack in broiling pan. Broil 5 inches from broiling unit or bake in 450-degree oven till bacon is crisp.

Sausages in Bacon. Blanch tiny pork sausages, tiny frankfurters, or chipolata sausages 4 minutes in boiling water. Wrap in partially cooked bacon strips and secure with toothpicks. Place on rack in broiling pan or shallow roasting pan and broil 5 inches from broiling unit or bake in oven at 450 degrees. Turn once if necessary.

Crabmeat Chunks or Legs in Bacon. Chunks of backfin crabmeat from blue crabs or legs of Dungeness crabs are excellent wrapped with partially cooked bacon strips and broiled or baked. Broil about 5 inches from the heat unit, and turn the pieces once, or bake at 450 degrees, in which case turning is probably not necessary. Be careful not to overcook the crabmeat; merely heat through.

Shrimp in Bacon. Marinate 24 large shrimp 1 hour in ½ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup oil, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, and ¼ cup chopped parsley. Wrap each shrimp in a strip of partially cooked bacon, place on rack in broiling pan, and broil until bacon is cooked, turning once.

Chicken or Duck Livers in Bacon. Cut chicken or duck livers into sections large enough to be rolled in bacon. Season with salt and Tabasco and wrap in partially cooked bacon strips. Broil on rack about 4 inches from heat until liver is delicately brown and bacon is crisp. Turn once during cooking.

Rumaki. This comes from the Polynesian school of cookery, which is a combination of American, Hawaiian, and Oriental, popularized by Trader Vic and his imitators. Very good some of it is, too. Buy 1 pound chicken livers and cut each liver in half. Marinate 1 hour in ½ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup oil, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, and 1 teaspoon curry powder. Slice 3 or 4 water chestnuts fairly thin. Wrap a piece of liver and a slice of water chestnut in partially cooked bacon strips, and secure well with a toothpick. Place on a rack in a broiling pan and broil till bacon is crisp, turning once.

Tiny Sandwiches in Bacon. Very tiny sandwiches filled with cheese and/or peanut butter may be wrapped in partially cooked bacon and broiled on a rack about 5 inches from the heat. Turn once during the broiling. Do not let the sandwiches get too brown.

Small Skewers as Hors d’Oeuvre

Small metal or bamboo skewers of food are excellent drink accompaniments, especially for outdoor cooking in summer. Merely string cubes of marinated meat — beef, lamb, pork, or chicken — on small skewers, leaving no space between the pieces. Marinate the meat for several hours in ½ cup each of soy sauce, oil, and sherry or red wine, 2 or 3 finely chopped garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, ¼ teaspoon Tabasco, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and ¼ cup chopped parsley. Turn the meat in the marinade several times. Bamboo skewers should soak in water for an hour. Invite guests to broil skewers to their own taste. Serve bowls of mustard, chili sauce, and soy sauce for dipping.

Tiny Chicken Legs

Follow any of the recipes for fried chicken, using only very small chicken legs or legs of Rock Cornish game hens. Put a paper frill on the legs, and serve them hot as finger food.

Tiny Lamb Chops

Small lamb chops — rib chops trimmed of their fat and the bone scraped to make a good handle — may be broiled and served very hot with a curry mustard sauce or a chutney sauce. Put a paper frill on the bone, and serve from a hot platter or from the grill.

Small Hamburgers

1 pound ground chuck or round with 25 percent fat

3 tablespoons grated onion

3 tablespoons heavy cream

¼ teaspoon Tabasco

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Here is an idea that came from one of the finest catering services in the country, Yours Truly, in Portland, Oregon. Prepare small hamburgers and season well. Cook to taste and pop into buttered hot buns, along with a thin slice of onion and a brush of mustard. Small hamburger buns can be ordered from good bakeries throughout the country. This hors d’oeuvre is invariably a hit.

Blend the ingredients well and form into small patties. Grill or sauté in butter. You should get 8 or even 9 patties to a pound, depending upon the size buns you choose.

Individual Oyster or Clam Cocktails

Sake cups have flooded the market during these last years, and they make efficient containers for individual oyster or clam cocktails, to be passed on a tray. To cat, one simply tips the cup to the lips, consumes the tiny oyster or clam and sauce, and returns the cup to the tray. In effect, one drinks the clam or oyster. Use petite points or Olympias from the Pacific coast, or very small Eastern oysters, or any small clam of your choice. Top the oyster or clam with a small amount of cocktail sauce or a sauce of your own creation, and serve at once.

Codfish Balls

1 pound salt codfish

2 cups freshly mashed potatoes (instant may be used)

¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon powdered ginger

4 eggs, beaten

These were in style in the East during speakeasy days and continued in style after Prohibition was ended. They are simple but extremely good when well made. Today, unfortunately, most people know only commercial codfish balls, which are frequently reduced in flavor to the point where they are without character.

Soak the codfish in cold water for several hours, changing the water after 2 hours. Place in fresh water and bring to a rolling boil. Drain and flake the fish and combine with the mashed potatoes and seasonings. Add the beaten eggs and beat well. One or 2 finely chopped garlic cloves may also be added to the mixture if you like (it gives a magnificent flavor although it is not traditional). Drop by teaspoonfuls into fat heated to 375 degrees, and cook until nicely browned and crisp. Serve with drinks.

Smoked Fish for Appetizers

Quantities of smoked and cured fish are available throughout the country, particularly in the Northwest, the Middle West, and the Northeastern States, as well as in Canada. In Florida, California, and other coastal states where sport fishing is popular, an interesting variety of smoked and hot-smoked fish is marketed locally and is smoked to order for fishermen. And in the large cities one usually finds an excellent selection of fish, some of the finest on sale in Jewish delicatessens.

It is nearly impossible to list all the small smoked fish on the market, so we must settle for the choices found most frequently. If available, assemble several different kinds of smoked fish, either sliced or whole, for your cocktail board or platter. Serve along with thin rye bread, pumpernickel, bagels, if you like, capers, olive oil, chopped onion, butter, and lemon or lime. (Sec also Smoked Fish in the Fish chapter.)

Smoked Fish

Salmon. If you are throwing a large party and you have someone to carve, purchase a side of smoked salmon. It should be sliced with a very sharp slicing knife in long, thin diagonal slices, not in thick chunks as is so often the case.

Sturgeon. Cut the same way as salmon, but it is impossible to cut it quite as thin. Often it is wiser to have it sliced in the shop where you purchase it.

Eel. Should be skinned, filleted, and removed from the bone. The larger eel are usually the juiciest and the best.

Whitefish. Should be skinned and filleted with a knife and fork. The meat is very tender, so treat it gently.

Trout. Should be skinned and filleted. It is good served with horseradish mixed with sour cream or whipped cream.

Winnipeg goldeye. Serve like smoked trout, skinned and filleted, or heat and serve warm.

Butterfish. Should be served whole, skinned if possible.

Tuna. Smoked tuna has a tendency to be quite dry, so slice cautiously.

Smoked shrimp. Usually smoked in the shell and served that way.

Kippered Fish

The terms “smoked fish” and “kippered fish” are frequently used interchangeably. However, kippered fish is really hot-smoked, a process that cooks it at the same time. It is quite delicious. These are the kippered fish found most commonly:

Salmon. Comes in small pieces, which should be carefully sliced.

Cod. Best when heated, but may be sliced and served cold.

Sablefish. Wonderfully flavored. Slice fairly thin and carefully. May also be served heated.

Cold Shrimp

From the very beginnings of cocktail snacks, shrimp have taken first place. One seldom goes to a cocktail party where they are not served in one form or another. However, they are frequently not as good as they ought to be. The failing of shrimp served both in restaurants and in most homes is that they are cooked with little or no salt and, in addition, are overcooked. For rules on cooking shrimp, refer to the section on fish.

To serve cold shrimp, use the largest or next to largest shrimp you can get — under 12 to a pound or larger. If the larger ones do not appeal to you, use those under 15 to a pound. Arrange the shrimp in bowls set within larger bowls of cracked or shaved ice. They will look especially handsome if first arranged on a bed of parsley heads. Provide bowls of mayonnaise, herbed mayonnaise, mustard mayonnaise, or Thousand Island dressing to be used as a dip. Napkins and small plates are helpful for this type of service.

Marinated Shrimp

4 to 5 pounds shrimp, poached, peeled, and chilled

1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced paper-thin

2 or 3 lemons peeled and sliced paper-thin

1 bunch fresh dill, broken into small clusters of leaves

Chopped parsley

Freshly ground pepper

3 garlic cloves, crushed and wrapped in cheesecloth

1½ to 2 cups olive or half olive and half peanut oil

3 bay leaves

You will need a large tureen or casserole for this, from which the shrimp can be served.

Alternate layers of shrimp, onion, lemon, dill clusters, and chopped parsley. Grind fresh pepper over each layer of shrimp. Place the bag containing the garlic in the center of the dish, where it can be removed before serving. Add the oil, which should come almost to the top of the shrimp. Cover the tureen or casserole, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours. Just before serving, remove the garlic bag. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and add the bay leaves. Serve from the tureen, and provide small plates and picks or small forks.

Small Pacific or Maine Shrimp

The tiny sweet shrimp of the Pacific Coast and those from the waters of Maine are reminiscent of the Icelandic and English shrimp prevalent in Europe. Some are offered already cooked and shelled. The best way to serve them for cocktails is merely to have a bowl of them on a table and let guests eat them up as they do peanuts or popcorn.

Shrimp in Shells

3 to 4 pounds smallish shrimps (15 to 30 to a pound)


2 full heads of garlic (not cloves), crushed (you need not peel; merely crush well)

1 bottle (fifth) of white wine

1 cup white wine vinegar

3 cups water

2 tablespoons Tabasco, or to taste

1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

3 or 4 sprigs of fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dillweed

1 tablespoon salt or more to taste

Serve the cooked shrimp in shells. Don’t worry about the black vein, it is not necessary to remove it. Place empty containers nearby to collect discarded shells.

Bring the court bouillon mixture to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning. Add the shrimp and let return to a boil. Boil 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp and reserve the bouillon. Cool both shrimp and bouillon, then return the shrimp to marinate in the bouillon 2 to 3 hours. Chill thoroughly and serve in a bowl set over crushed ice.

Fried Shrimp

3 to 4 pounds shrimp, cleaned but with the tails left on BATTER

2 eggs

1¾ cups beer or water

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ cup cornmeal

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

These must be served piping hot and never allowed to cool, else they will become soggy. Nothing except perhaps a cold fried clam can be as horrible as a cold fried shrimp.

To prepare the batter, beat the eggs and add 1 cup beer or water. Sift the flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder together, and combine with the egg mixture. Stir in additional beer or water to make a thick batter. You may not need all the liquid.

Heat oil or shortening in a deep fryer to 375 degrees. Dip the shrimp in the batter and fry them until delicately brown and crisp. Serve very hot with any of the sauces recommended for cold shrimp, above, or set out hot mustard and chili sauce in separate bowls. If you use mustard mayonnaise, make it very pungent.

Helen Evans Brown’s Shrimp on a Stick

2 to 3 pounds large shrimp COURT BOUILLON

2 cups white wine

6 cups water

¼ cup vinegar

1 onion, sliced

1 carrot, sliced

1 tablespoon salt

2 whole cloves

1 rib celery, sliced

3 or 4 sprigs parsley

1 teaspoon dillweed or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill DILL BUTTER

½ pound butter

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1½ teaspoons dillweed

1½ teaspoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon Tabasco

Clean the shrimp and impale each one firmly on a bamboo skewer, inserted at the tail of the shrimp and running through to the other end. Arrange on a platter or plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until serving time.

Put the ingredients for the court bouillon in an electric skillet or similar appliance that can be used efficiently on a serving table in the living room or on the terrace.

To prepare the dill butter, cream the butter well, and beat in the dill and other seasonings. Do not refrigerate too long before serving; the butter should be creamy and not firm. Divide it among several small bowls, and set around the table.

Cook the court bouillon 10 minutes. To serve, add several skewers of shrimp to the bouillon, and when it returns to a boil, let the shrimp cook about 3 or 4 minutes. Each person helps himself to a skewer and dips it into the dill butter before eating. Provide guests with napkins and small plates, and have receptacles available for used skewers.

Shrimp–Cucumber Cups

2 to 3 long cucumbers

1 pound shrimp, cooked and chopped fine

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon mace

Dash of Tabasco

Chopped parsley

These we invented years ago when I had an hors d’oeuvre business in New York. They make a wonderful snack, delightful to look at and good to taste. You may use a crabmeat, chicken, or lobster combination instead of the shrimp.

Wash the cucumbers but do not peel. Combine the chopped shrimp, butter, salt, mace, and Tabasco. Cut the cucumbers in ¾-inch slices. Use a small, fluted pastry cutter to make the edges more decorative. Form into little cups by scooping out some of the seeds with a melon ball cutter. Stuff with the shrimp mixture and decorate with a wreath of parsley, or put a tiny sprig of parsley in the top. Place these on a platter or in a baking pan, cover lightly with foil, and chill thoroughly. These can be made ahead very nicely and left to chill for up to 4 or 5 hours. Makes about 20 small cups.

Fruit for Cocktails

Piquant Tangerine Sections

2 cups tangerine sections

½ cup honey

½ cup water

⅓ cup cider vinegar

2 to 3 tablespoons Jamaica rum

½ tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Boil the honey and water for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients except the tangerine sections. Stir well. Pour the mixture over tangerine sections and let them marinate 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Serve with small picks and provide small plates or paper napkins.

Ham with Fruit

Italian prosciutto with halved fresh figs or with slices of melon, papaya, or pineapple makes a delicious and now quite standard appetizer. But very thin slices of cooked Virginia ham are even better. Either drape the ham over the fruit and serve on a plate as a first course, to be eaten with knife and fork, or cut the larger fruit into small sections, wrap securely with the ham, and secure with a toothpick. Serve as a cocktail snack and provide small plates or napkins.

Bacon with Fruit. Secure crisp bacon slices to fruit with a toothpick, if you like.

Fruit with Curry Dunk

3 to 3½cups rich chicken broth

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons arrowroot

⅔ cup seeded raisins, puffed in warm water

2 cups toasted Brazil nuts or almonds, finely chopped

2 cups coconut, fresh grated or dried

Fresh fruits

Originally a California idea, this cocktail delight has become known in other parts of the country and is especially good for summer parties in the garden or on the terrace.

Heat the broth and blend in the curry powder. Stir a little water into the arrowroot and stir slowly into the broth. Cook and stir until thickened. In the meantime put the raisins in hot water to puff them. Drain, add to the sauce, and heat through. Keep the sauce hot in a chafing dish over hot water or in an electric skillet on very low heat (the mixture will thin out if too hot).

Arrange two bowls, one containing the chopped nuts and the other the coconut. On a bed of ice, place fingers of chilled fresh fruit, such as pineapple, melon, banana, papaya, mango, or halved plums or apricots, whole figs, sliced peaches, or pear quarters. Brush with lemon juice to keep them from discoloring. Invite the guests to dunk a piece of fruit into the curry sauce and then into the chopped nuts and coconut.

Raw Vegetables with Curry Dunk. Substitute fresh, crisp vegetables, such as celery stalks, radishes, green pepper strips, cucumber fingers, fresh raw asparagus, raw baby carrots, and scallions. This is also a delicious luncheon dish served with rice, chutney, crisp toast, and cool white wine.

Avocado Balls Piquant

1 cup avocado balls

⅓ cup olive oil

¼ cup cider vinegar

1 small clove garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons Jamaica rum

Mix the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and rum, and pour over the avocado balls. Marinate for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight if possible. To serve, drain from the marinade. Serve as an appetizer in a small bowl sprinkled with a bit of chopped parsley. Provide toothpicks. Or serve as a beginning course in cocktail glasses on a bed of shredded lettuce with perhaps a bit of lettuce leaf at the sides, or serve on a small plate in a cupped lettuce leaf.


Excerpted from James Beard's American Cookery by Beard, James Copyright © 2010 by Beard, James. Excerpted by permission.
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.

Meet the Author

Until his death in 1985, James Beard was the nation's most acclaimed chef and food writer. The founder and director of the celebrated cooking classes in New York that still bear his name, Beard wrote James Beard's New Fish Cookery, The James Beard Cookbook, Menus for Entertaining, Beard on Bread, Beard on Food, and other works on the gastronomic arts.

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James Beard's American Cookery 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
loriaronsohn More than 1 year ago
I uploaded this to my nook app on my ipad and was welcomed with tons of problems...like amounts in the ingredients list for recipes that say simply "?" ie. pg. 577 for hot water pie crust: 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ? cup boiling water, ? cup lard, butter, or shortening... and word typo that yielded humorous results: page 534 in Pastes, (should be pastas?): Continue kneading mother 8 to 10 minutes... let me know when you can update this disaster for me.
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tfator More than 1 year ago
James Beard collected recipes from all over the country, converted them to modern appliances and measurements and published them with a witty, intelligent writing style. I have used this book as a reference and educational tool for 20 years. I am buying the ebook to reread it for the wit and humor of Mr. Beard.