The book–Cook & Deal by D.J. Cook is unique combining instructive bridge hands by a Goren Master Teacher with recipes for at home entertaining with bridge . It provides a time capsule of what it was like to teach and learn to play bridge before the bridge establishment of the 90s became obsessed with conventions and esoteric bids.
Back in 2009 when I wrote my book, I included D.J.’s cookbook chronologically in the 90s because I first acquired a copy in 1998, the 3d edition, and it was published in 1993. The book, however, had been originally published in 1982 with a 2d printing in 1983 and a Second Edition in 1988. The back cover of the 3d Edition says: “The best of Cook & Deal I and II with additional favorite recipes.”
The recipes are many and diverse. In my book I featured the Parsley Pastry Shells (page 130), Frozen Amaretto Cream (page 207) and Green Grapes with Sour Cream (194)–each for a specific reason.
The parsley shells are an innovative “containment” for chicken salad (to keep a lady’s luncheon plate un-messy). It is simply half a cup of soft butter blended with three ounces of chive cream cheese, and then made into a pastry with one and one-half cups of flour combined with half a cup of finely chopped parsley and quarter teaspoon of salt. Divide into 12 pieces and press into individual muffin cups to form shells. Bake 20 minutes at 350; cool, and fill with your favorite recipe for chicken salad.
A couple of things attracted me to this recipe. First, the parsley pastry dough is very like my mother-in-law’s Hungarian Kifli without the parsley and chives. Kifli dough is rolled out, filled with a variety of sweet fillings–prune, apricot, walnut, poppyseed–formed into crescents and baked. Why couldn’t one make these same shells for a dessert instead and fill with anything from fruit, to pudding, to ice cream?
Second, Cook & Deal indicates this recipe was contributed by Nina Bruner of Merritt Island and had won the grand prize at the 1985 Dairy Days contest in Cocoa. Both places are my neighboring villages here in Florida, and I enjoyed the serendipitousness of that.
The Frozen Amaretto Cream epitomizes the parfait to serve at a bridge luncheon. Requires nothing more than a quarter cup of Amaretto liqueur blended with a cup of heavy cream that has been whipped stiff, and then re-blended into a pint of softened vanilla ice cream. Serve in parfait glasses (can make ahead and store in the freezer) and serve topped with finely chopped toasted almonds.
The Green Grapes with Sour Cream are described by D.J. as “deliciously different” and they were innovative when introduced in the 70s. It brought back memories for me. To serve 8, wash two pounds of seedless green grapes, dry well and chill thoroughly. Fold into a cup and a half of sour cream. Spoon into serving dishes and sprinkle with two-thirds cup of dark brown sugar. This is a recipe worthy of a renaissance in this millennium.
Cook & Deal is buy-able on the internet. Mine is a used book, and I see from the front pages that it was given as a gift in 1998 to Betty M. from Caroline Recktenwald of North St. Paul, Minnesota.
More about D.J. Cook in 48-4, as a nongenarian, bridge teacher and tournament player.