Collection of Go-to Recipes for Parties and Gatherings – Food Stories from New York & Beyond

Spinach Dip

By Jane Rubinsky

For parties or gatherings, I usually make a spinach dip that everybody loves with the Lipton vegetable soup mix in it. I add chopped-up water chestnuts, chopped spinach, low-fat mayonnaise, and low-fat yogurt, so it’s guilt-free. And whatever is leftover I find justification for eating it, sometimes with a spoon. But I try to use celery sticks or crackers. The dip is always a hit.

Goat Cheese Logs

By Jane Rubinsky
You can buy these fancy logs of goat cheese rolled in different things, and I’ve done my own. I’ve chopped up dried cranberries and walnuts and whatnot and rolled a log of goat cheese in it, sometimes with herbs. 

Back in the mid to late ’70s, it was the height of elegance to have that Boursin Cheese with the garlic and herbs, the little round cheese you buy in the supermarket. I bought a seasoning from a small farm that sold herbs and I would make my own. Those little round things were expensive, so I made my own and had as much of it as I wanted.

Salmon Mousse Dip

By Jane Rubinsky

One of my friends doesn’t live in New York anymore, but she always used to make a salmon mousse dip that everybody loved – that was pretty simple too. I don’t remember where she got that recipe, but she decorated it with fresh dill.

We were in our 20s, so I felt like I had to offer my guests real food. I always wanted to serve stuff that I would eat if it was left over.

Deviled Eggs 

By Jane Rubinsky

I’ve been experimenting with different ways to make deviled eggs because people seem to like them. And I’ve discovered that it’s easier to transport them if you cut them in half and prepare the filling and bring it in a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag. And when you get where you’re going, you can snip the corner and pipe it into the shells. You don’t have to deal with the filled eggs sliding around in a container as you’re bringing them.

I have one of these cake decorating sets, they’re plastic tips and it comes with plastic bags that are in a V shape with a snip at the bottom. You put the plastic tip in so that the point of it sticks out the bottom of the bag, and then you fill the bag. And I’ll bring my deviled-egg filling in one of those and very quickly set them up. The hostess doesn’t have to do anything except give me a plate.

Sometimes I put horseradish in them. They’re all kinds of things you can chop up very finely and put in the filling. Sometimes I do them with curry, sometimes fairly plain with just a little paprika or smoked paprika. It kind of depends on the crowd, whether they’re traditional, or whether they like something with a twist. 

With the dips it’s easier to mix yogurt and mayonnaise, or low-fat mayonnaise in the mixture for the deviled eggs. You have to be careful because the texture isn’t quite as satisfying if you use too much yogurt – but it adds a little bit of a tang.

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