#TheMorningAfter Bloody Marys

playboy-host-bar-bookHello, fellow Mad Men fans!

Still recovering from last night’s finale?

Well, here is a restorative libation to ease you into your Monday morning.

I made two versions from two different cookbooks. Pick whichever suits your liking!

The first is from the Playboy’s Host & Bar Book (1971) written by Thomas Mario. (If you want to read more about the Playboy book, click HERE).

How fitting that I chose Bloody Marys, especially after the scene in which Joan proposes that she and Peggy go into a business venture together. Man, I wish I could find a screencap of that lunch.

Instead, you’ll have to do with just Peggy. Imagine Joan sitting across the table from her.


Click through to see the drinks–but be warned, there are finale spoilers. Continue reading

Posted in Beverages & Cocktails, cookbooks, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Better Than Tom Selleck Cake

And we have a winner!

The people have spoken and the people wanted Better Than Tom Selleck Cake!

Yes, with 39% of the votes, the Better Than Tom Selleck Cake bested two Selleck-themed cocktails, a Thanksgiving salad, and Tom’s own recipe for Chicken with Wine and Mushrooms.


You may have had this cake before under other guises–the Better than Robert Redford Cake, or the Better than Sex Cake. All variations on a theme.

Nowadays, what would it be? Better than Jon Hamm Cake? Better than The Clooney Cake? Well, I don’t know if there could be a cake better than either of those fine men (nor David Duchovny–I mean, c’mon. Have you seen these photos of him macking on Scully recently? Be still my beating heart!!!)

mulder kisses scully

My head has just exploded, yinz guys

OK, in my world it’s hard for anything to top that. But maybe this cake did. You be the judge!

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Ramp-O-Rama: Ramp Butter

rampsRemember all those ramps that I got?

Well, even after making that delicious ramp pesto, I still had tons of ramp leaves yet. What to do…what to do…

Why not make a compound butter?

This is soooooo easy. This is all you need:

  • Ramps
  • Butter
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried thyme

Bring the butter to room temperature and then fold in the remaining ingredients to your taste. Try to get the cleaned ramps as dry as possible because as you fold, they will release liquid. ramp butter

Place a blob of the butter in parchment or wax paper. Roll into “sticks” (they’re more like logs). Twist the ends of the paper. And freeze!

ramp compound butter

A little goes a long way since it’s so concentrated. But I’m looking forward to using in a roux for a punchy white sauce (think fettuccine alfredo) and brushing it on chicken or fish and bake/broil. So far I have just used it on a side of pasta (I didn’t want to go full-on pesto), but it was good!

I think it’ll last long, too. Just cut off what you need from a stick and wrap it up and put it back in the freezer. It’ll last until the ramps come back again next year!

And her’s an idea–at the end of the summer, if you have lots of leftover herbs from your garden, this is an excellent way to savor fresh herb flavor all-year round. Waste not want not, kittens!

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Ramp-O-Rama: Ramp Pesto with Artichokes & Hearts of Palm



Hello, my little chickadees! It’s been a while, right? Well, with the exception of my recent cocktail posts. I haven’t done actual food as of late.

Not to make excuses (although this is an excuse), but I think I’m still tired from the Mad Men party last month! I’ve been cooking a lot, but getting back onto the computer once I get from home from work is just the last thing I want to do. Plus, since spring has sprung, I’ve been busy cleaning up my teeny-tiny front yard and planting my veggie containers. And I’ve been going out. A lot. We’ve finally thawed and my social life is coming back like a dormant plant.

Speaking of plants…

rampsI was hanging out with Retrofurn Rick when his neighbor Jim (the hubcap Christmas tree guy) pulled up with a giant pillowcase full of something. Imagine the haul that you used to get on a really, really good Halloween–that’s what this pillowcase looked like. But no, this wasn’t candy, it was RAMPS. For those not familiar with this farmers’ market favorite, the  ramp (a.k.a. wild leek or spring onion) is a skinny, little, garlicky-oniony bulb that, this time of year, pops up in wooded areas up and down the Appalachians.

I didn’t know that the ramp was a thing until a few years ago. I kept hearing about them and seeing them on restaurant menus and then I finally got a bunch. Well, I was a bit surprised. Who knew that the famous ramp was just the same spring onions that grew rampant (ha!) up and down the banks of the Connoquenessing Creek would sell for over $15/lb!

I wish I could go back, ransack the place, and sell ’em.

Anyway, when Jim dragged the pillowcase up the stairs and said that it was packed with ramps fresh-picked from West Virginia, my eyes lit up. Those are all ramps??? He sent me home with a produce bag full of 2 pounds of ramps. TWO POUNDS.

Well, what to do with them?

My retro cookbooks don’t tackle the ramp, so I had to turn to the interwebz for some inspiration and I decided to do ramps three ways (that’s how many goddamned ramps I had).

Let’s get to the first one:

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The Classic Old-Fashioned

The preferred Rye of Baltimore, MD

The preferred Rye of Baltimore, MD

Holy shit, that’s delicious!

I said out-loud to absolutely no one when I had the first sip of this Classic Old-Fashioned.

Here’s the skinny:

  • 1 rough-cut brown sugar cube***
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 thickly cut orange zest twist, using paring knife, not peeler
  • hand-cut ice cubes***

Place sugar cube in old-fashioned glass. Wet the cube with the aromatic bitters. Singe the orange zest twist by holding it firmly behind a lit match and pinching it to release its natural citrus oils. be careful to spritz the citrus oils into the glass. Place the orange zest twist into the glass; using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon, press it gently against the sugar cube. Then add the rye whiskey and stir gently. Add a couple large hand-cut ice cubes to the glass; stir gently again. Garnish with another orange zest twist, and seve. It’s restrained, potable elegance in a glass.


The recipe is from Whiskey Cocktails: Rediscovered Classics and Contemporary Craft Drinks Using the World’s Most Popular Spirit by Warren Bobrow. I won a copy from the Mad Men Virtual Dinner Party last month (it was one of the prizes for the Ted Chaugh/Joan Harris Bold & Creative Award, natch). It’s a pretty swell book and it definitely offers a lot of contemporary craft drinks in it; but I’m more of a purist when it comes to my cocktails, so I went with an old standby, albeit with a twist.

Literally. A twist. The, thick, lit-on-a-match twist is what made this drink! I was so shocked by how orangey (that’s a word now) the drink was since I didn’t muddle any actual slices of fruit in it. The orange bitters probably helped as well.


The glass says: “Man’s mind stretched to a new idea, never returns to its original dimension. -Jim”

I stirred it with a beautiful WMF drink spoon, which was also a prize from the Mad Men party.

I love winning things, don’t you?

And now I am going to make another delicious Old-Fashioned.

Because I can. Don Draper would.

***Note: no one will be surprised to know that I didn’t have brown sugar cubes on hand. Nor any hand-cut ice cubes.
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The Ann-Margret Cocktail

Happy birthday to the sexy, sensational, actress-singer-dancer and all-around diva, Ms. Ann-Margret!

I’ve had the biggest girl crush on Ann-Margret ever since I saw Bye Bye Birdie for the first time as a small kid. I wanted to be Ann-Margret. Shit, I still want to be Ann-Margret.

However, as awesome as Bye Bye Birdie is, Viva Las Vegas is my favorite. Because Elvis. And because Ann-Margret does some of the most bizarre choreography ever. And because her character, Rusty, manages to be sans pants for about 80% of the movie. Seriously. Hot pants. Swim suits. Leotards.

Whatever this ensemble is:



And this:


Tights are not pants, missy.

But anyhoo, in honor of the sauciest of all Swedish-American stars, I bring you a little libation I made up all on my own.

Ann-Margret Cocktail

  • Lingonberry concentrate (that’s what makes this Swedish)
  • vodka
  • cherry bitters
  • seltzer

Fill stem of a hollow-stemmed champagne flute with lingonberry concentrate.

In an ice-filled shaker, mix 1 jigger vodka with a few dashes of cherry bitters.

Pour the vodka over the back of a spoon to “float” over the berry concentrate. Top with seltzer if desired.


Doesn’t that look cool?

Now I’m just going to share some Ann-Margret album art, because they’re just wackadoo….

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Guest Post: Shirley Temple and Rob Roy


Today, April 23, is the birthday of Ms. Shirley Temple Black. So let’s toast this Hollywood icon with her namesake cocktail!

Originally posted on Rantings of an Amateur Chef:

Today we have Emily from Dinner is Served 1972. She brings not only two recipes for us but a story that brings me back to my own childhood and ordering a special drink. Take a look at Dinner is Served 1972 and Emily’s great post below

When I was a small child, there was no greater thrill than going to a restaurant with a cocktail lounge (or “lawnge” as I would say—look, that it is how it’s spelled!) and ordering a Shirley Temple. That was just the classiest, fanciest, most cosmopolitan thing that a girl could do. Especially if it was served in a pretty glass and garnished with fruit. An orange slice and maraschino cherry on a little red, plastic sword drove me absolutely wild.

According to the book Chasen’s, Where Hollywood Dined: Recipes & Memories, the drink was indeed created for Miss Temple herself when…

View original 481 more words

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The Bawlmertini

In Baltimore (or as they say it down here, Bawlmer, hon!)  there are 3 men who are revered more than any others: Cal Ripken, Jr., Johnny Unitas, and John Waters. Out of those 3 I think you can discern which one is my favorite.

So, in honor of the 69th birthday of John Waters, Baltimore’s favorite director, I bring you the most Baltimore of all drinks, the Bawlmertini!


  • Old Bay
  • National Bohemian
  • Pikesville Rye

Pour Pikesville Rye into shot glass. Rim big glass with Old Bay. Pour Natty Boh into Old Bay glass. Drink.

OK, you’re gonna think I’m crazy, but I do really dig Natty Boh with the Old Bay! It’s delicious.

Hm. Maybe I’ve been in Baltimore too long.


You like my Pink Flamingos coaster? And, yes, that is a Chi-Chi’s margarita glass. In this case it is a Cha-Cha Heels Margarita Glass.

And if you don’t get that reference, then you need to see Female Trouble, like yesterday.

Is it wrong that I soooooo want Divine’s pajamas? I also would totally sport that hair.

In fact I may have already

I measured. 6 inches.

I measured. 6 inches.

I miss those glasses. And how thin I was three years ago.

Happy birthday, Mr. Waters! If I were out tonight maybe I’d see you at Club Charles. It’s happened before!


Click on the photo for his insider’s look at what to do in Baltimore

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Best Wishes, Tom Selleck

On Saturday I received one of the greatest gifts ever:

selleckwishesYes, that is an autographed photo of Tom Selleck in a Speedo. And a visor.

This was a housewarming gift from my cousin Chuck, his wife Christine, and their boys, Charlie and Henry (you may remember them from my Orioles Magic Cheese Ball).

I initially thought that I’d hang Tom in Brian’s room (yes, Brian has his own room), but the frame matches the furniture on my first floor so well, that he now lives on an end table. And when I sit on the couch to watch TV, it looks like he’s yelling at me.

I wonder what Tom Selleck would say to me.

Anyway, in honor of this most awesome of presents, I want to make something special. So, I’m asking you, my friends, to pick a dish worth of Tom and his swim skivvies.

Vote as many times as you like!

Also, I just want to acknowledge that yesterday was Rex Manning Day, and the 20th Anniversary of Empire Records. Holy shit does that make me feel old! It is such a 90s time capsule.

Anyone recognize the man in that puffiest of puffy shirt???

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How We Partied like Mad Men for the End of Mad Men

parties with personality

I plan and give Parties with Personality!


After weeks of teasing yinz guys, I finally threw my Mad Men Party featuring recipes from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin in honor of the end of the show. My shindig was just one part of an entire virtual Mad Men party with other bloggers from around the globe. And boy-oh-boy, at my house did we party. Perhaps, we may have partied even harder than anyone else.

You see, when I host, I wanna be the Hostess With the Mostess. And I fully believe that, to quote my boy Liberace, “too much of a good thing is wonderful!” Consequently, this ended up the menu for the evening:

  • Oak Bar Manhattans
  • mad men party bar

    How cute are these card suit snack dishes?

    Grand Central Oyster Bar Martinis

  • Pete’s California Dip
  • Avocado Dunk
  • Betty’s Stuffed Celery
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Cheese & Nut Balls
  • Barbetta’s Roasted Fresh Peppers alla Bagna Cauda
  • Betty’s Around the World Rumaki
  • Lime Treat
  • Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake

Yes. All that. Because I am a crazy person.

I just cued up my Cocktail Shaker Pandora Station and got myself a nice a little buzz from a couple of cocktails, so let’s get this party started!

First, the very, very, very delicious Oak Bar Manhattan:

Oak Bar Manhattan

Manhattan Cat

Pretty! Especially with Claude, my sweet 1950s TV lamp.


Manny (what a Beatnik!) and Noah enjoy Manhattans in my absolutely fabulous mid-Century pad. It is rather swanky, no?

And the equally delicious Grand Central Oyster Bar Martini (we switched out locally-produced Sloop Betty wheat vodka for the gin) and made them slightly dirty:

Mad Men Martini

mad men martinis
Now for the food (which there is a lot of. Like I said, I am a crazy person).

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Posted in 1950s, Beverages & Cocktails, cookbooks, Dessert, Eggs, Food, International Cuisine, Jell-O, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments