Tuesday, January 3

A festive MadMen themed Dinner Party brings us back to the stylish past


Do you watch Madmen?
We re-created a dinner emulating this television series about the advertising industry in the 1960s
Our Culinary Dinner Club serves it up with a stylish Madmen dinner and classic American fare 

During the Holidays we embarked upon a fun dinner with our Culinary Dinner Group, and this time we decided to mix it up a bit with a full on theme dinner.  As if a torn page straight from a 1960s magazine, we focused on the television series Madmen.  We headed back in time to reminisce about days gone by, complete with festive cocktails, kitschy food, stylish dress, and lots of dry humor. Although the food may not be the most challenging to prepare, the entire evening was one of the most festive dinners we've had.  The menu, dress and chit chat brought us back to our parent's generation
Randy and I about to catch a cab, and off to our host's home with our contribution--Scalloped Potatoes!
the ladies dressed for the occasion--pearls, sweater sets and cocktail dresses!
looking like from the archives of Madmen
our host and hostess dressed appropriately in vintage smoking jacket and cocktail dress with pin lapel
the ladies offering a toast! 
Gail and Brian's home is the perfect forum for this dinner, and their eclectic art collection combined with the beautiful Art Deco decor set the tone for a festive evening.  Ironically, the prolific painting above them by Kelly Reemsten would fit nicely in the Madmen set - that dress!  Read more about Kelly's art on her website - fascinating. 

 The guests arrive bearing gifts and food
a beautiful table set with holiday-inspired flowers, sparkling accoutrements and American cuisine - each place setting assigning us a character from the Madmen series
once we found our place settings the conversations spilled over.  I'm not too familiar with Madmen but I was assigned to (Joannie Harris) quite the  controversial gal around the office - and I soon found out more than my share about the show. I need to catch up on reruns now that I have been infused with the culture
Diana dressed perfectly for the part
we felt dressed up, and even by NYC standards - love the satin gloves.
 Once we discovered which character we were to portray the evening instantly was filled with laughter.
the food brought us back to our childhood -
the scalloped potatoes recipe is from my mother in-law.  I made it while she talked me step-by-step on the telephone, and although quite simple, there is absolutely no cheese. This recipe from Gourmet magazine is the closest to mine, however, replace the nutmeg
with fresh thyme and ground pepper for a more interesting flavor (in my opinion)
Gourmet magazine's scalloped potatoes
Madmen Dinner Menu:
cocktails:
Manhattans 
(Esquire Magazine's perfect Manhattan recipe)
Sidecars
appetizers:
brie en croute
shrimp cocktail mushroom rolls
salmon roe triangles
dinner:
wedge salad w/ bacon and roquefort dressing
creamed spinach
Dessert:
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
 wedge salad with bacon and blue cheese -- what's not to love?
 the sidecars were delicious - a complete throwback to another era
our hosts thought of every little detail,
and even Lucky Strike cigarettes
(with no filters, can you believe?)
were available -
heck, everyone smoked in the 1960s, right?
the conversation quickly turned to the various roles of the cast of characters on the show, how much our society has changed over time, and yet how much we remain the same. The food and lifestyle created lots of dinner conversation, and we laughed a great deal. Brian gave us quite the historical background on main character Donny Draper, explaining his serendipitous journeys.  We may feel a little bit more sympathy for his cad-like behavior now, no?  Read here for tidbits on Donny Draper and see who his character is loosely based upon.
 it was time to break out the vintage purses - very lady like!


simple food, yet hearty and delicious
Shrimp Cocktail chilling!
Food Network's perfect Beef Wellington Recipe
from Tyler Florence
I can honestly say I had never eaten Beef Wellington en croute before
and it is delicious --
*for delicious Beef Wellington and Green Peppercorn sauce,  choose Prime Filet Mignon wrapped in fat (not completely “trimmed” per recipe.) Searing beef is critical step. Rolled pastry dough (Pepperidge Farm) to about 1/16 inch, rather than ¼ normally called for; results, in my mind, in a more delicate encasing for the beef. Lastly, note the addition of prosciutto to the wrapping. As for the peppercorn sauce, it literally was about 4 hours or reduction, so do prepare early!
Melissa and Barry's Baked Alaska was the icing on the cake! The combination of the warm meringue and cold ice cream delights.
Irene and Rob's 
Pineapple Upside Down Cake was divine!

Baked Alaska was perfect!
I cannot remember the last time I had either of these desserts but while I was growing up we knew we were in for a treat if our family broke out the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and only our favorite "fancy" restaurant offered Baked Alaska. All the kids would squeal with delight when being served this treat -- where did these dessert go?  I say bring them back and offer them up to your kids for a walk down memory lane...
In true Madmen style Gail breaks out the fancy rubber gloves to wash dishes--Barry cuts the cake for all to "ooh and aah"
As we plan this week's Indian dinner,
I am up for the challenge on a cuisine I am not too familiar --
Happy Nesting,
XO Tamara