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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 - Sixties-Inspired Party Bites

Season 5 Spoiler Alert! 
We left Don Draper in a familiar place at the close of season 5 of Mad Men - sidled up to the bar, deep in thought, with beautiful strangers buzzing around nearby. When one of the women propositions him on behalf of her friend, Nancy Sinatra's ominous rendition of "You Only Live Twice," swells even louder.
Then the screen goes black. 

Photo Courtesy of AMCTV.com

So we begin the penultimate season of our most favorite show with great anticipation. Will he or won't he? The suspense has been killing us for a year. 

Whether or not Don will return to his skirt-chasing ways, we are surely back to our old tricks with yet another Mad Men Premiere Party Menu. The success of last year's (check it out HERE) made us even more excited to create the spread that we'll feature today. 

Yet again, we set out to remake some mid-century classics, but this time, we are focusing on retro-inspired finger foods that are party-ready and easily adaptable to feed a crowd. Naturally, cocktails will also be involved. If you're waiting to watch Season 6 on tivo and looking for some easy to make nibbles, you're in luck: 

Coconut Shrimp, Photo: NK


Mad Men Menu for 4

Cocktail Moscow Mule 


Baked Coconut Shrimp Served in a Pineapple


Steak Satay "Diane"


Dessert - New Ambrosia Fruit Dip 
COCKTAIL:
The Moscow Mule originated several decades before the Mad Men days, but it does make our list of cocktails that our favorite ad execs would have enjoyed. A party-ready drink that can be assembled right in the glass, the Mule is, as classic cocktails go, somewhat under appreciated. We chose it for its refreshing character. A healthy squeeze of Lime pairs with a clean Vodka base while slightly sweet and refreshing Ginger Beer (we prefer Gosling's brand) rounds out the drink. Toss in a sprig of Mint for color. 
Want other ideas? Check out AMC's Official Mad Men Cocktail Guide: HERE.

Moscow Mule
Recipe from AMC's Mad Men Cocktail Guide
Makes 1 Drink

Ingredients:
1 1/4 Oz Vodka
3 Oz Ginger Beer
1 teaspoon Simple Syrup
1/4 Oz Lime Juice
1 Sprig of Mint
1 Slice of Lime

Method:
Pour Vodka over Ice in a short glass or copper mug. 
Add Lime Juice and Simple Syrup
Top with Ginger Beer and stir.
Garnish with a Mint Sprig and a slice of Lime. 
Enjoy! 
Moscow Mule, Photo: NK

PARTY BITE # 1:

Our first shareable dish is Baked Coconut Shrimp served in a Pineapple. A nod to the fact that all things Polynesian often dominated Sixties cocktail parties, the presentation and some of the ingredients of this dish are also inspired of my grandma, Dolly. One of her standard party classics, she would coat the Shrimp in a little Bisquick and Egg batter before rolling them in Sweetened Coconut Flakes and deep frying them. Grandma was always focused on smashing presentation,  so she'd serve these crowd-pleasers in a hollowed out Pineapple. While we won't be deep frying our Shrimp, we will use her serving method and will also adapt her standard Duck Sauce accompaniment to add a bit of spice and a bit more tanginess. She liked to use Saucy Susan brand Duck Sauce. I hope you enjoy! 

Lighter Baked Coconut Shrimp Served in a Pineapple with Lime Jalapeno Duck Sauce
Adapted From The Girl Who Ate Everything and My Grandma, Dolly
Approx 24 Shrimp - Serves 8 as a Cocktail Nibble, 4 as an Appetizer 

Ingredients:
1 Lb Large Shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail on 
1/2 a whole Pineapple, hollowed out (flesh reserved for other use - like our dessert!)
2 Egg Whites
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
2 Cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes
1/2 Cup Duck Sauce
1.5 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1.5 Tablespoon Jalapeno, chopped finely 
1/8 teaspoon Salt

Method: 
For the dipping sauce - combine Lime Juice, Jalapeño, Duck Sauce and Salt. Stir and set Aside.

Preheat oven to 400 and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
Spread Coconut Flakes and Cornstarch on two different plates.
Place Egg Whites in a bowl and whisk vigorously until frothy.

Holding Shrimp by the tail, dredge in Cornstarch, dip in Egg Whites, and finally, roll in the Coconut Flakes. When finished, sprinkle all the Shrimp very lightly with a pinch of Salt. 

Place Shrimp on cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes until they become golden. Make sure to turn in the middle of the cooking process, at around 8 minutes in.
Place Shrimp in the hollowed out Pineapple with the dipping sauce on the side. 
Serve and enjoy!  

Baked Coconut Shrimp in a Pineapple with Lime and Jalapeño Duck Sauce Dip, Photo: NK

PARTY BITE # 2:

Our second shareable party bite is derived from an uber popular Sixties dinner party dish - Steak Diane. The earliest mention of Sauce Diane comes from French culinary master, Escoffier, around the turn of the century, but in the Sixties, Steak Diane was de rigueur for any elegant soiree. How do you translate this sit down dish for a crowd?  I decided to make it handheld by putting it on a stick just like you would Beef Satay. Steak Diane's typical cream sauce laced with flambeed Cognac and Beef Broth can be drizzled over the Satay or served in a small bowl. Either way, the dish that was once the hallmark of haute cuisine (and fittingly for Mad Men, is said to have originated in New York) deserves a remix. 

Steak Satay "Diane"
Adapted from Saveur and Epicurious 
*Cooks note - start marinating the steak at least 2 hours ahead 
Serves 8 as a Cocktail Nibble, 4 as a Light Entree

Marinade Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup of Vegetable Oil 
Tablespoon of Chopped Chives
Tablespoon of Chopped Parsley
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard


Ingredients for the Skewers:
1 Lb Flank Steak 
Salt
At least 25 Long Wooden Skewers 

Sauce Diane Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups Beef Stock
2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
3 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 Large Shallot, minced 
Black Pepper
4 Oz Cremini Mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/4 Cup Cognac
1/4 Cup Half and Half
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard 
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tablespoons minced Chives plus extra for garnish
1 Tablespoon chopped Parsley


Method: 
Several hours before, whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Put Steak in a large ziploc and pour Marinade over Steak.  Let it sit refrigerated for at least two hours or overnight.

Soak wood skewers in a bowl for at least a half hour. 

When ready to cook or an hour before, slice Steak against the grain into centimeter wide strips. Thread a strip of Steak onto each wooden skewer and when done, sprinkle them all with a pinch of Salt. 

Put Beef Broth in a medium sauce pan. Over medium high heat, cook for 15 minutes until reduced to about a 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Remove broth to a bowl and set aside.

Reheat the Saucepan and melt 2 Tablespoons of Butter in it. Next add Garlic and minced Shallot and cook for another 2 minutes until softened. Add the Mushrooms and cook, stirring, another 4 minutes until tender. Add Cognac to the sauce pan.

Carefully light the Cognac aflame using a long match. Allow to flambée until the flame dies down naturally. Next, stir in your Beef Stock, Cream, Mustard, Worcestershire and Hot Sauce. Cook another 4-5 minutes until sauce thickens a bit. Finish with a sprinkle of Black Pepper. Turn flame to the lowest heat to keep warm. 

Heat up a grill or grill pan over high flame. Cook each skewer about 2 minutes per side until medium rare or done to your liking. Stir Parsley and Chives into the Sauce Diane and remove it to a small bowl. Serve with Skewers around the sauce and garnish with extra Chives and Parsley.
Enjoy!

Steak Satay "Diane," Photo: NK

DESSERT:
Since everything old is new again, I figured why not revamp another Sixties' holdover: Ambrosia Salad. Ambrosia is said the be the nectar of the gods, but this questionable creamy Fruit Salad with Coconut and Mini Marshmallows appears to be anything but. Still very popular in the southern states, there's no doubt that Ambrosia can indeed be incredibly delicious, but I think we can agree that the standard presentation leaves much to be desired. If you fancy traditional Ambrosia, I really love the following recipe and post from a blog called The Country Cook HERE. To modernize this dish and make it more visually appealing, we took all the creamy, marshmallowy goodness of it and turned it into a more palatable fruit dip. This recipe is easily adaptable to any fruit that suit your tastes, and bonus - our version is deliberately lighter in calories and fat. A sprinkle of toasted Coconut enhances both the taste and visual appeal. We hope you take a dip!

New Ambrosia Fruit Dip 
Adapted from Taste of Home
Serves 4 to 6 

Ingredients: 
2 Cups Strawberries
1/2 a Pineapple, cut into bit size wedges
3 Fresh Mandarin Oranges, peeled and sectioned

Fruit Dip and Topping
1/4 Cup Sweetened Coconut flakes, lightly toasted for 2 min in the toaster oven* 
4 Oz Fat Free Cream Cheese, softened
3 Oz Fat Free Greek Yogurt (we like Fage brand)
4 Oz Cool Whip Free
4 Oz Marshmallow Fluff
1 Heaping Tablespoon Confectioners Sugar

Method:
*When toasting Coconut, keep an eye on it as it burns and smokes easily. Once golden brown flakes begin to appear, it is done enough. 

In a large bowl, combine yogurt and cream cheese until well incorporated. Gently stir in Marshmallow Fluff, sprinkle on Powdered Sugar, and add Cool Whip. Stir to combine.
Add half of the Toasted Coconut to the mixture and stir again to incorporate. Serve Dip in a bowl surrounded by assorted fruits. Top the Dip with the remainder of the Toasted Coconut and sprinkle additional Coconut over Fruit as well. Refrigerate dip until ready to use. Enjoy!  
New Ambrosia Fruit Dip, Photo: NK
We hope you enjoyed our Mad Men Party Bites Menu. Until next season! And enjoy the show!

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