The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Just in Time for the Finale! #review #giveaway

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a Mad Men fan for years. As difficult of a time as the 1960s (and now ’70s) were, Mad Men has always made this decade seem so sexy and cool. I’ve had a long time love affair with mid-century decor and watching Mad Men is like TV porn for me.  The costumes are so specific and structured, the sets are so stylistic and unique, and although the food of the ’60s isn’t featured on the show as much (outside of alcohol, so, so much alcohol), the food of the ’60s was also very interesting.

When I find a cookbook from this era, I get really excited. The colorful, yet desaturated photography of the time made the food look almost plastic, and in some cases unappetizing, but I still feel a sort of whimsy when I see the recipes from so long ago.

One book that captures both the recipes of the time and the show Mad Men is The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin. This book delves into the food and drink that appears on the show. Featuring recipes from some of the restaurants and bars mentioned on Mad Men, and cookbooks of the time, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook gives us a nice sample of of the cocktails, entrees, and desserts of the ’60s. Many of the recipes are paired with a show reference, history of the dish, or a suggestion for a character from the show. This is a cookbook that informs you of the past while teaching you the recipes. I love that!

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While there is a lovely section of full-color pictures from some select recipes, this cookbook is more focused on print information than photographs of the final products. What that means is the book is packed with more than 70 recipes that represent mid-century eating and drinking and the stories that go with them. Speaking of drinking, over 25 of those recipes are cocktails alone, which isn’t a surprise when you consider alcohol is one of the most consistently prevalent things on Mad Men.

One of the recipes I tried from the cookbook was the Manhattan. I love Old Fashioned cocktails, just as Don Draper does, but since I’ve had those before, I decided to try the Manhattan. It’s a similar cocktail, using whiskey and bitters, but with less ingredients and not nearly as sweet.

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 Manhattan

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish

Pour whiskey, vermouth, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.

**recipe reprinted with permission


This version of the cocktail is from the Oak Bar on Central Park South in New York where Don and Roger Sterling stop for an after-work drink in season 1 episode 7.  One thing that makes this cookbook unique, especially for a Mad Men fan, is that it points you to the episode that the drink or dish appeared, or could have appeared, in the show.

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Product Spotlight: Tiny Hands Jewelry

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Lately I’ve been posting a lot about Tiny Hands Jewelry on my Facebook page and you may be wondering why I’ve been obsessed with it so much recently.  I got the opportunity to become a Tiny Hands Ambassador this past month and I couldn’t be happier. What this means is that I can bring you Tiny Hands jewelry at a discounted rate, and in return I’ll get a small commission from each sale made through my Shane’s Killer Cupcakes Facebook page. Keep an eye out for future sales! All the money I make from this adventure will be funneled back into the blog, and I’ll be able to offer more giveaways in the future, so it’s a win-win for all of us!

I came across Tiny Hands jewelry a couple of years ago and fell in love with it immediately. All of the adorable artistry is thanks to Mei Pak, the founder of Tiny Hands, and her assistants. You may have seen her work before and not even realized it. She’s had her jewelry featured in many lifestyle magazines such as Every Day with Rachael Ray and InTouch Magazine, and even Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope wears her maple scented waffle necklace on NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

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I also own the maple scented waffle necklace and it smells and looks as good as you can imagine. I’m a huge fan of Parks and Recreation, so I just had to have the same necklace that Leslie has (I’m also about as crazy for breakfast as she is too).

tinyhands-owner-mei-lowresBack in 2006, Mei set out to create a product that combined quality with sweet, feminine charm. What she’s ended up with is a lovely collection of delectable scented food jewelry that comes in necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets and even customized pieces. All of her polymer clay pieces are created in the USA at her Minnesota studio. Do you like desserts and comfort food? If you do, then Mei will have just the piece for you! Currently she offers miniature versions of your favorite foods (cupcakes, ice cream, bonbons, donuts, popcorn, corn dogs, bacon, etc) which can be worn daily or even saved for a special occasion. The quality and expertise imbued into each piece is remarkable.

As you know, I LOVE sweets, but one thing that always keeps me from enjoying them is those darn calories! With Tiny Hands deliciously scented jewelry, now you can have your sweets without all those pesky calories. Sure, you can’t eat them (I wouldn’t recommend it) but when you’re craving a dessert maybe just looking and sniffing some of Tiny Hands jewelry will suffice! And it’s zero calories! Whoo!

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Tiny Hands jewelry is perfect for gift giving. Each piece is packaged in a lovely gift box. When I bought my piece last year, I was surprised how pretty the packaging was. It was like a surprise gift I received in the mail even though I was expecting it to arrive!

Take a look at her full collection. It just makes me hungry looking at it! For just a sample of her beautiful jewelry take a look below:

In the coming weeks/months, I’ll be running flash sales featuring pieces of Tiny Hands jewelry marked down 10%-15%. I want to offer you discounts on the pieces you want to buy, so let me know which pieces you love in the comments and maybe you’ll find them on sale soon!

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake {Recipe}

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I went to a ’60s themed cocktail party last week and wanted to bring something of the era as a treat, so I scoured my mom’s recipe box and found my grandma’s recipe for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake that seemed perfect. I love how it turned out.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients

    For the topping:
  • Large can of sliced pineapple (save the juice)
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • For the cake:
  • 2 eggs (separate the yolk from the whites and put both aside)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup boiling pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (I used all-purpose flour and it worked just fine)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar until completely mixed together and caramelized. Don't let it burn.
  3. Pour into an 8" cake pan, making sure to coat the whole bottom.
  4. Arrange pineapple slices in the bottom of the cake pan on top of the caramel mixture. I put one in the middle and six around it.
  5. Place halved cherries inside and in between the pineapple slices.
  6. Beat egg yolks until very thick.
  7. Gradually add sugar to yolks and continue beating.
  8. Boil pineapple juice in a small sauce pan and add to egg/sugar mixture. Combine well.
  9. Then add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet mixture; mix until smooth.
  10. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.
  11. Bake for 50 minutes, checking it every so often.***
  12. It should be done once a toothpick comes out clean or almost clean.

Notes

***Notes on baking time

The recipe I used somehow forgot to put how long to cook the cake on it. At 325*F, mine took 50-55 minutes to completely cook. Since it was taking so long, I ended up changing the temperature to 350*F for the last few minutes. My experience may be different from yours, so check on the cake occasionally to make sure you don't over bake it.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/07/pineapple-upside-down-cake-recipe/

Here’s some other great photos from the cocktail party:

 

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Inverse Apple Cobbler Cake + Dinner! {Recipe}

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I know I haven’t posted any cupcakes lately, but regular cakes keep coming up that I want to try. I’m planning a few new cupcake ideas for the next couple months so stay tuned. Until then, enjoy my write up on a delicious meal that my good friend Amber and I teamed up to make last night. Everything turned out so well, we wanted to share our creations with you.

For the dinner portion of the meal head over to Amber’s blog for a delicious Slow Cook Crockpot Roast Beef. It includes roast beef, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, onion, apple and other tasty ingredients. Look how lovely it turned out:

We also made the best Garlic Bread I’ve ever had. For instructions on how to make awesome garlic butter for your french bread, jump over to Amber’s blog for that too.

To keep up with the apple theme of the night, we decided to make a cake. We’ve decided to call it Inverse Apple Cobbler Cake because a normal apple cobbler has a lot of apples on the bottom and a crumbly cake-like top but we reversed that a bit for this cake.

Here are the instructions:

Inverse Apple Cobbler Cake

Ingredients

For Cake:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (or your favorite yellow cake recipe)
  • cinnamon (we didn’t measure, but I’d guess about 3 tsp.)

For topping

  • 1 can of vanilla or cream cheese frosting (or your favorite white frosting recipe)
  • 3-4 apples*
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • 2-3 tsp. lemon juice
  • cinnamon
  • ground cloves
  • nugmeg
  • ground ginger

*Note: Our cake mix only made about a half of a batch of a normal cake mix. We used 3 apples for the topping, but for a full batch you may need 4. Add a little more water if you add more than 3 apples.

We used a peanut and egg free yellow cake mix from Cherrybrook Kitchen but we doctored it to fit our needs. We followed the cake instructions (add water and butter or margarine) but the cake looked way too dry so we ended up adding one egg to it.  Follow the directions on your cake mix box or recipe to make the batter. Since we planned to make a cinnamon apple topping, we added a bit of cinnamon to the batter too. Then we whipped it up for a couple of minutes.

The cake mix only made enough for about a half batch so we had to get a smaller baking pan to cook it in. Thankfully, Amber’s mother-in-law had the perfect sized Pyrex dish.

We baked the cake in a preheated oven at 350?F for about 25 minutes until it was cooked all the way through. To bake your cake, you should follow your cake mix box or recipe directions. While the cake baked, we started making the apple topping. It’s basically the same thing that goes in an apple cobbler.

Skin your apples and cut them into thin slices. In a pan on the stove at medium-high setting, heat some water and the apple slices until it’s at a boil then lower the temperature to low so that the water is just at a simmer. Add your spices next. We didn’t really measure this out but put a dash of the ground cloves, ginger, and nutmeg and if you really like a lot of cinnamon put a a good amount in (several shakes or so). Also add about half of the brown sugar and all of the lemon juice into the simmering apples and mix everything around. We used the other half of brown sugar at the end once a good portion of the water cooked off.

While the water is simmering, put a lid on the pan, allowing the steam to come out one side a little, and let it sit for a while. Stir often. We had our apples simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes and then took it off for the final 5-10 minutes. It may not take you nearly as long because we put way too much water in (like close to 2 cups) so you may not need to simmer it as long. Keep an eye on it. When it’s done there won’t be very much water left, and the added brown sugar will caramelize a little. It should become a runny, gooey, brown appley treat and look a little like this:

Once it starts to look like that turn the stove off and let it sit there with the lid on until you’re ready to frost the cake.

By now your cake should be ready to come out of the oven. Ours looked like this when it came out. It looked so good, I was ready to dig into it already!

I fought my impulses and let it cool for a long time before frosting it. In fact we ate Amber’s yummy Slow Cooked Roast Beef while it cooled.

Once the cake was completely cooled we frosted it with the vanilla frosting. If I were to do this again, I’d choose cream cheese frosting instead of vanilla because the cake tasted a bit like carrot cake without the carrots, and cream cheese frosting would have been awesome here. Get it good and frosted and then add your apple topping like so:

 

The combination of the cake, frosting, and soft cinnamon apple topping really complimented each other nicely. I would definitely try this again sometime.

As always, if you give my recipe a try, share pictures of how it turned out on my Facebook page. Also feel free to share pictures of any other desserts you make.

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