I used to hate themed parties - but the cocktail party I went to this weekend was fabulous. Everyone looked stunning, in early-to-mid-60s garb and three piece black suits, carefully popping bits of olive and cheese into their mouths, holding a cocktail with their free hand. And even though I've seen maybe one episode in totality, I could appreciate the style and grace of a Mad Men themed gathering.
Being what I predicted would be the only two vegetarians amongst the bunch (not true - there was a third!) I figured we should bring some nosh. So I perused my thrifted cookbook collection and settled on three - Baked Chedar Olives, Swedish Meatballs, and Mushroom Stroganoff in Puff Pastry.
The second two are simple - for the Swedish Balls, I used TJ's frozen Meatless Meatballs, a bottle of grape jelly, and a bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce. Mix, put it in a crock pot or electric fondue pot, toothpicks on the side, finito. For the Stroganoff, I made a thick version of this dish with finely minced rehydrated mushrooms and plopped 1.5 tsp of the stew onto the middle of squares of TJ's puff pastry. Bake on a greased sheet at 400f for 15 minutes. Oila!
The olives were a little more fiesty, but totally worth it - little green salt bombs surrounded by, basically, a Cheez It. Lovely and awesome with beer. Give 'em a whirl next time you're going for salt overload.
Baked Cheddar Olives
2 cups shredded mild cheddar
1 cup flour
Garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne to taste - about 1 tsp of each
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 jar pimento stuffed olives - about 36 should do it, drained and dried on paper towels
In a bowl, massage the butter into the cheese until well mixed, then add flour, and continue working the dough with your hands until it is blended and soft.
Take about a tablespoon of dough and press it flat into the center of your palm, somewhat thinly. Put an olive in the center of the dough and cup your palm, and thus the dough, around the olive. Carefully blend the edges together, covering the olive completely. Repeat until the olives are gone.
Chill wrapped olives in the freezer for 15 minutes while your oven heats.
Bake the olives in the top of the oven for 12-14 minutes until the dough has crisped and is somewhat golden. They'll pool a little bit around the olives but should retain a circular shape.
Cool and serve!