Easily Entertained

... parties, crafts, & celebrations that are anything but ordinary!

Category: Mad Men Dinner Party

Cool as a Cucumber Sandwich

Or perhaps a canapé depending on your mood.  In any case, cukes are where it’s at for a versatile, fun and even healthy, party food powerhouse.

Image from RebuildingChampions.com

Image from RebuildingChampions.com

As far as cocktail parties go, finger foods are the best line of defense.  Small and visually appealing, they do not require utensils, and massive amounts of dishes.  Plus, they aren’t too drippy so they probably won’t stain your tablecloth, pets or guests.  They are also small enough to allow partygoers a nice variety of tastes as opposed to a giant vat of one single item… Sorry Not sorry, Velveeta dip.

A canapé consists of a base, usually bread or crackers,  a spread, a main item, and a garnish.  The spread is traditionally either a compound butter or a flavored cream cheese.  For our party, we made two versions using cucumbers as the main ingredient – once as the main ingredient and once as a combination of both the main ingredient and the base.  Both recipes are similar in idea and ingredients, but structured differently to appeal to different tastes and different diets.


Cucumber Sandwiches

photo 3 (4)We love a good cucumber sandwich.  It’s both fresh and healthy AND creamy and bad for you… all at the same time!

INGREDIENTS:

  • (1) 8 oz. brick of cream cheese (your choice: full fat, half fat or vegan)
  • ¼ cup of sour cream (any version)
  • ¼ cup of mayo (any version)
  • 1 packet of Good Seasonings Italian Dressing
  • Bread (we used plain white bread, but a favorite variation is whole wheat pita)
  • 2-3 cucumbers (either English or your general garden variety.  Cut into slices about a ¼ of an inch thick)

DIRECTIONS:
Bring cream cheese to room temperature or soften in microwave.  Stir together with the sour cream, mayo, and Italian dressing packet.

Spread on one side of bread then layer with cucumber slices. Spread the cream cheese mixture on another slice of bread then top off the sandwich and cut.  (If using pita, cut the pita in half and spread the cream cheese mixture inside on both sides.  Then layer the cucumbers inside and cut each half into 3 triangles.)


Easily Entertained Tip: Make sure you spread the mixture on both sides of your bread to avoid the sandwiches falling apart as you artfully arrange them on your serving dish people try to eat them.


At this point you can do squares, triangles or rectangles/strips.  You can leave the crust on, or cut it off.

As you are making the next sandwiches be sure to keep your finished ones covered with a damp, clean towel.  The bread can get stale quickly if just left sitting out.

We suggest that you make the cream cheese mixture in advance, assemble the sandwiches closer to your guests arrival to ensure top quality!  The mixture can even be made a few days in advance and stored in the fridge.  This is actually recommended, because it gives the flavors time to mix and marinate and get all good like.  Just remember to bring it to room temperature the day of the party so that it’s easier to spread.  You can also cut your cucumber slices and store them in a ziplock bag in the fridge.  We like to throw a damp paper towel in there too to keep them from drying out.


Cucumber Canapés

photo 2 (2)For a lighter version of Michele’s Cucumber Sandwich above, we recommend you try out Montana’s Cucumber Canapés, which give you and your guests all the flavor with less fat and carbs!

INGREDIENTS:

  • (1) 8 oz. brick of Neufchâtel (it has much less milk fat than its cream cheese equivalent)
  • ¼ cup of plain Greek yogurt (any brand)
  • 2 tsp fresh dill
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp fresh chives
  • 2-3 cucumbers (either English or your general garden variety.  Cut into slices about a 1/2 inch thick)
  • sliced radish for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
Bring Neufchâtel to room temperature or soften in microwave.  Stir together with the Greek yogurt and fresh herbs.


Easily Entertained Tip: You know we love to pipe our spreads from the Deviled Egg post, so break out your tips again for this recipe!  However, make sure to finely chop your herbs so that they don’t get stuck in the piping tip.


Pipe the mixture onto your cucumber slices and garnish with a slice of radish.

– M&M

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A Good Old Fashioned Threesome… Followed by a Good Old Fashioned

Old FashionedWell, now that we have your attention…

We regret to inform you that were aren’t talking about THAT kind of threesome.  Unlike Don, Megan and her friend Amy’s tryst following that very bohemian get together in Season 7… we’re talking about 3 versions of everyone’s favorite cocktail party staple- the deviled egg. (Quite a departure from Season 7, huh?)  We’ll be following that up with a recipe for one of our personal favorite cocktails, the classic Old Fashioned.  Because after our threesome, you’re going to need a stiff drink.


These days, a girl’s got to keep her options open.  And, who doesn’t like a three way?  Appetizers, we mean.  We love a recipe that can easily be tweaked several different ways to suit all those picky eaters vegetarians/gluten free/paleo guests in your crowd.  Take our deviled egg recipes, for instance.  We have you covered whether you are a vegetarian with a craving for something spicy, an average party guest looking for a delicious nugget to pop into your mouth, or even something in between (aka, all you flexitarian’s out there)! Deviled Eggs

Why should deviled eggs be on your cocktail party list?  Because they are easy, fast to make, endlessly customizable, and the perfect option for your friends that are watching their weight.  One large hard boiled egg has 6 grams of protein, and is generally the best low carb appetizer option for your guests.  They are also rich in choline which helps reduce brain inflammation, which we think is a pretty awesome side effect to indulging in our deviled egg recipes!  Because let’s face it, after a Mad Men theme cocktail party, your head is sure to be hurting the next morning!


Traditional Deviled Eggs

Traditional Deviled EggsINGREDIENTS:

  • 12 hardboiled eggs
  • 2 dashes worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon pickle relish
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • seasoned salt and pepper to taste
  • sliced black olive and seasoned salt for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Slice your hardboiled eggs in half and scoop all the cooked yolks into a bowl.  Mash, and add all the remaining ingredients, mixing until smooth.  Pipe the yolk mixture into your egg white halves and enjoy!

Guilty Pleasure Deviled Eggs

Bacon Onion EggsINGREDIENTS:

  • 12 hardboiled eggs
  • store bought real bacon crumbles
  • French fried onions
  • chives

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the yolk mixture like the traditional deviled egg recipe.  Top each egg with bacon crumbles and a French fried onion.  Enjoy!

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Guacamole Deviled EggsINGREDIENTS:

  • 12 hardboiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup store bought guacamole
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sliced fresh jalapeños for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Slice your hardboiled eggs in half and scoop all the cooked yolks into a bowl.  Mash, and add the store bought guacamole, mixing until smooth.  Pipe the yolk mixture into your egg white halves, top with a jalapeño slice, and enjoy!


Easily Entertained Tip: An absolute must for deviled egg preparation is a piping tip to take your appetizers from “homemade” to “how the hell did she do that?”  We recommend stocking up at your local craft store when they are running a coupon (aka always), since these tips can be used for everything from cupcakes to meatloaf (no really).  If using a piping bag to fill your eggs, just make sure that you are dicing your mix-ins small enough not to clog the tip.  (We hate when that happens.)


The Old Fashioned

In our opinion, the Old Fashioned has everything a cocktail needs – something sweet, something bitter, a nice shot of booze, and fruit.  And, we all know that the fruit here is very important since it makes this cocktail healthy!  The Old Fashioned falls into the category of what our friends like to call, “old man drinks.”  It’s an ongoing joke that we think is supposed to be offensive, but it isn’t.. we’ll take a classic cocktail over a pink or blue, cotton candy flavored frozen-tini any day!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • a sugar cube or 1 1/2 teaspoons simple syrup (Easily Entertained Tip: To make simple syrup combine the same amount of sugar to water and microwave until sugar is melted.  Stir and let cool.  We used ¼ cup sugar mixed into a ¼ of a cup of water.)
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters** (We used orange)
  • a slice of orange
  • a maraschino cherry
  • a splash of seltzer water (or not based on your preference. It’s good either way.)
  • ice

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the bourbon, sugar cube or simple syrup, and bitters in a glass, then add ice and stir.  Top with the orange slice and maraschino cherry and enjoy!

** Or you can make your own bitters with this fantastic how-to on Liquor.com.

– M&M

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Mad Men Inspired Fare for the Modern Gal

MM CollageMad Men. We love the style. The booze, the décor, the food… or well, we WANT to love the food.

We love the look and the idea of the food – the eye-catching, bite-sized canapés with their olive and radish garnishes, the tangy creaminess of a good deviled egg, and even the occasional miniature hot dog floating in a sea of sweet and sour sauce.

But let’s be honest here… how much cream cheese and processed meat can one girl eat in the name of being social?!? Especially now that at least half, if not every 3rd person in your circle of friends is on the: eat-like-a-caveman-cauliflower-is-a-reasonable-substitute-for-all-food-groups-diet.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

For the next few weeks, during the run of this final season of Mad Men – yes, we are still trying to come to terms at the thought of a future with no Joan(!) – we are going to be running a series of recipes and tips on how to throw a totally modern and yet totally retro cocktail party, that ALL your friends will enjoy.

So without any further delay, here is the first recipe in our series so that you can enjoy all the food, and the fun, of the Mad Men era with decidedly less of the cream cheese that comes along with it!

Boozy Basil Olivesphoto 3 (2)

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