Today La Belle Dame channels Betty Draper as she prepares a small spread for a Mad Men-themed pre-housewarming get-together at her as yet bookshelf-less new apartment. Pre-housewarming in the sense that a big proper party, once bookshelves are acquired and pictures are hanged on walls, will certainly follow, but friends are leaving town soon, a friend is coming into town tonight, and I'm taking off soon for a last Russian-food-themed hurrah before the dreaded school year begins again, so a bringing together of our small summer gang of misfits seemed to be in order. Also, where else am I ever going to wear a raw silk floral cocktail dress too low-cut for weddings?? And what is the point in owning a cabinet filled with vintage cocktail glassware unless you use it, I ask you? There was clearly only one thing to be done: Mad Men, Mad Men, must have Mad Men! (to the tune of the credits music)
I've been devising a finger foods menu in-between a slow crawling out of bed, a potentially even slower (?!) run and exhausted shower followed by "breakfast" of an egg and a massive pot of coffee at lunchtime (fail, Belle Dame, fail). I have settled on: lettuce wraps with the massive remainders of "Crunchy Summerness Salad" culinary experiment of a day and a half ago, which still tastes delicious; Strawberry-Goat Cheese Crostini and a beloved Epicurious steal and old stand-by, Parmesan Walnut Salad in Endive Leaves. I was introduced to this amazing recipe by the Cunning Linguist, one of my best friends and legendary party-thrower in NY. Just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about: when this girl and her husband throw a party, people travel from Boston, Princeton, Philadelphia and DC, I am not kidding. I may but dream ... I will also be honest: not only is the Parmesan-Walnut business stolen from Epicurious, but the goat cheese and strawberry recipe is also the result of a Google search, but hey, some credit points for deciding that the two were a match made in heaven? I shamelessly reproduce for you Web recipes yummy enough to need no altering.
PARMESAN WALNUT SALAD IN ENDIVE LEAVES
1 garlic clove
dash of salt
1 tbsp mayonnaise (delicious, delicious mayonnaise ...)
2 tbsp fresh (or whatever) lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 stalk of celery
1 cup cubed (1/8") Parmesan cheese (or you can cheat and buy Parmesan flakes -- not the crumbs that you put over pasta, but the Bel Gioioso brand flakes, which are higher quality; if using flakes, my oh, so exact measurement is 1 handful)
1 cup of walnuts
3 Belgian endives (both the yellow and red varieties for prettiness factor)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaved parsley
Stay tuned for strawberry-goat cheese crostini once I have made them later on today and wish me luck and the survival of my beloved vintage champagne cocktail glasses, :).