Oh hello, Don Draper. Why yes, I’d love a drink.
As you may know, this past Sunday night was the season premiere of Mad Men; which, besides The Great Gatsby remake (LEO! LEO! LEO!), I’ve been looking forward to since last year. So yea, I guess you could say I’m a big Mad Men fan. The costumes, Jon Hamm, hidden meanings everywhere, feminism (go Peggy!), Jon Hamm – what’s not to love?!
It’s now become a bit of a tradition between my friend Elana and me to cook up a retro-themed feast to gorge on while we (mostly me) swoon over Don. Last year we went classic 1950’s with deviled eggs, onion dip & chips, and mint juleps. This year we stayed in the 50s/60s era, but decided to amp up the flavors a bit.
Next up were our favorite spicy cocktail meatballs. These have quickly become one of my go-to recipes for entertaining. The spicy-sweet sauce is so addictive, and the meatballs are small enough that they’re easy to eat while socializing (or have your eyes glued to the TV).
Finally, and not necessarily in theme, were chocolate brownie cookies from Joy the Baker. These treats really are the best of both worlds: a brownie and a cookie wrapped into one perfectly fudgy and chewy package.
If I can’t transport to the 1950’s for a drink with Don Draper, I’ll just have to make do with a whiskey sour and 15 brownie cookies on my couch.
Spicy Cocktail Meatballs adapted from Food Network
serves a crowd
For the meatballs:
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped
3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the canned chipotles)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1-2 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 scant cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar.
1. In a large bowl, gently mix together all ingredients for the meatballs except the olive oil. Using your hands is the best way to get a feel for when everything is incorporated without over mixing.
2. Roll the meatball mixture into 1-inch balls.
3. Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. In batches, cook the meatballs, turning occasionally, so they brown on all sides and cook through – about 5 minutes per batch. Add more olive oil to the pan between batches if needed. Place cooked meatballs on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
4. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until just translucent, about 8 minutes.
5. Add in crushed red pepper flakes and stir until slightly fragrant, 30 seconds-1 minute.
6. Add in remaining ingredients for the sauce. Stir to combine and reduce heat to low.
7. Add the meatballs to the pot and gently stir to coat in the sauce. Simmer 5-10 more minutes for the meatballs to heat through and absorb the sauce. Serve hot or cold!