After seven glorious seasons, Mad Men is drawing to a close. In other words, the time to throw the ultimate '60s (and early '70s) bash is nigh. Take a drag from your cigarette holder and whip out your pearl necklaces and cufflinks, your fedoras and your cat-eye glasses: it's time to get retro. We're talking Swedish meatballs with a side of toothpicks, creamy deviled eggs, tangy French onion dip, pastry-encased beef Wellington, and beyond. And yes, don't worry, we've got the drinks covered too.
No Mad Men-themed soirée would be complete without getting a little bit blotto. Make it easy on yourself by mixing up a large batch of a classic cocktail or three. For the Don Drapers in the crowd, whip up the lightly sweetened, bitters-dosed, whiskey-based Old-Fashioned, and offer those who prefer clear liquors (like Roger Sterling) a pitcher of Martinis. (Add homemade cocktail onions to make it a Gibson.)
Deviled eggs may have been popular in the '60s but they're still just as much of a crowd-pleaser today. Our rendition is light and punchy, packed with Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and Frank's Red Hot, plus a healthy splash of extra-virgin olive oil. Garnished with chives, smoky paprika, and some crunchy sea salt, they're just as easy to make as your average deviled egg, with a whole lot more flavor.
French Onion Dip
Pete Campbell loves himself some Chip 'n' Dip. Ours may not come from a French onion soup packet, but we like to think that's a point in its favor. A foolproof technique for quick-caramelized onions makes an otherwise time-consuming process almost absurdly quick. The onions are mixed into a base of tangy sour cream and mayonnaise, seasoned with tart lemon juice, salty Parmesan, and a meaty dash of Worcestershire sauce. Serve it with a bag of chips, or go all-out with your very own extra-crunchy potato chips.
Juicy and Tender Swedish Meatballs
Toothpick-skewered Swedish meatballs may have been all the rage back in the day—so very continental, don't you think?—but they weren't necessarily the most delicious. Here, a two-to-one ratio of beef to pork yields rich, flavorful meatballs with the perfect balance of springiness and tenderness. They're served in a silky roux-based sauce that's spiked with soy sauce and cider vinegar for some extra punch. Don't forget a dollop of lingonberry jam for dipping!
Vegetable Platter With Green Goddess Dressing
Before there was ranch, there was Green Goddess dressing. The mayonnaise-based dip was created in the 1920s but became especially popular in the early '70s, which makes it a fitting choice for our fond farewell to the show. Seasoned with tarragon, garlic, anchovies, and chives, it's creamy, tangy, a touch sour, and pleasantly herbal. Plus it's just about the only way you're going to get any veggies in this meal. To stay strictly on-theme, your produce options will be limited to string beans, broccoli, and grape tomatoes. But we'll opt to serve it with a platter of squash, radishes, snap peas, asparagus, and other fresh spring crops.
What do you call a medium-rare, buttery slab of beef tenderloin encased in creamy foie gras, creamy mushroom duxelles, delicate sheets of prosciutto, and a light, crisp, golden-brown puff pastry crust? Say hello to beef Wellington. This rendition has been painstakingly deconstructed, studied, and built back up for the best, most reliable results. It may sound like a lot of work, but it only takes around three hours from start to finish. And for a roast this epically savory, decadent, and all-around delicious, we're confident saying it's totally worth it.
It's a name so nice, they said it twice. That's right, scampi is actually Italian for shrimp (or prawns, to be more accurate). But shrimp scampi is a whole lot more than just shrimp: namely, one helluva sauce. It starts with sautéed garlic and red pepper flakes, which get a generous pour of vermouth. Once the vermouth has reduced, it's finished with butter, lemon juice, and a medley of minced herbs. It's bold, bright, fragrant, and deeply satisfying. Not to mention that it's easy to make enough to feed a big crowd.
Side: Green Bean Casserole
Campbell's original green bean casserole was introduced to the American diet in 1955, to help promote the company's cream of mushroom soup. Can of green beans meets can of soup, and they tie the knot beneath a canopy of pre-packaged fried onions. If that sounds downright delicious to you, then go for it. But while it's probably the version they'd be eating on Mad Men, we're pretty sure you can do better. Step one: Upgrade from canned beans to fresh. Then, tackle a savory homemade mushroom sauce and fry up some fresh shallots. Nobody said we couldn't tweak things a little, did they?
Dessert: Ambrosia Layer Cake
Speaking of tweaking, this dessert may not strictly qualify as traditional. If you've never met it, ambrosia is a sweet, sticky bowl of canned fruit, maraschino cherries, whipped cream and/or marshmallows, dried coconut, and nuts. Is it a dessert? A salad? The answer's complicated, to say the least. What's not up for debate, though, is this cake inspired by the '60s classic. The four layers of fluffy yellow cake are separated by a creamy icing studded with tropic fruits and mini-marshmallows. It's all the '60s attitude with a little contemporary flair.
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