“BUT DAMN, SHE CAN BAKE.” – LIBBY’S 1950’S BIRTHDAY SOIREE: POT ROAST + AU GRATIN POTATOES + PATACHOU’S CHOCOLATE CAKE

Since I will in Paris for my 29th birthday, I decided to have a dinner party to celebrate with a few of my best friends before I leave. A friend in St. Louis sent me the most beautiful, Audrey Hepburn style vintage party dress, so I chose a 1950’s theme and asked my friends to dress the part. I researched 1950’s menus and Mad Men themed parties and finally decided that I was going to make food that I like. No jello or pudding here. When I think of the 1950’s, I imagine comfort food. I decided to make a pot roast, au gratin potatoes, asparagus, salad, and Patachou’s chocolate cake for dessert. To be perfectly honest, we could have just skipped right to the cake and called it a night. It was amazing. I hate to brag about my own baking, but it was one of the best cakes I have ever had. It is really decadent due to the amount of chocolate and hardly any flour (only a few tablespoons).

Like a true 1950’s housewife, I even showed off my new washer and dryer to my guests. We played Motown on Pandora to set the mood and it was the perfect night of conversation, lots of laughs, and time with a few of my very best friends. The Polaroid camera was also one of the best purchases I have made in a long time. Get it from Amazon (a lot cheaper than Urban Outfitters) and stock up on the film. The film is the expensive part, but was so worth it to have a keepsake for my friends to take home. That and treat bags of chocolate chip cookies to get them through the week.

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My friends were also way too kind and showed up with the perfect Libby themed gifts. While I may have thrown my own birthday party, it was more a celebration of my friends and the year to come. Sneaky ninja cards  and a coloring book from my friend Denver. A monogramed picnic blanket from LP! A very Indiana themed assortment from Ali and a coloring book and crayons for the plane from Kim. I did a little dance when I opened up the adult coloring book and the illustrations are beautiful. What a great excuse to take some me time and do a little coloring. My friends know me so well and I feel very loved. Denver’s gift even came with a pink bow – it did not take long for it to end up in my hair.

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PS – Thanks to Kim for the blog title.

POT ROAST

Recipe via Joyously Domestic

1 chuck roast (mine was 3 pounds and I ended up freezing the other roast – I bought two)
Olive oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks (*Note: I did not add potatoes because I had au gratin as a side dish)
2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks (optional)
1 cup beef broth (I used a little more)

SEASONING MIX
2 tablespoons steak seasoning (mine is store-bought and has a blend of peppercorns, garlic, paprika, parsley and salt)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary

Combine together seasoning mix in a small bowl.  Set aside. Coat both sides of meat with olive oil.  Sprinkle on a third of the seasoning mix onto each side.

Sear both sides of the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Transfer roast to slow cooker. Place the vegetables in a large bowl.  Drizzle on a little olive oil to coat vegetables.  Sprinkle on the remaining seasoning mix.  Add the vegetables to the same skillet that was used to sear the meat. Sauté for about five minutes.

Transfer the vegetables to the top of the roast in the slow cooker.  Pour in the beef broth. Cover with lid. Cook on low for 9 hours or on high for 6 hours.

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AU GRATIN POTATOES

Recipe via the Organic Kitchen

I doubled this recipe and used a 13 x 9 baking dish, but the original recipe feeds 4-6 (see link above)
  • 8-10 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups milk (I used two percent milk)
  • 2 cups jack cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, freshly grated
  • 1 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 tsps flour
  • 4 tsps sea salt
  • ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place oven rack in center position.
  2. Grate all cheeses and toss together.
  3. Set milk in a pan and warm.
  4. Peel and thinly slice your potatoes, set aside.
  5. In a large saucepan on medium heat melt butter, add salt and pepper.
  6. Add flour to melted butter and whisk. This is your roux.
  7. Slowly add warm milk to the roux, continually whisking and heat till mixture begins to thicken.
  8. When milk is thickened, add cheese a handful at a time (retaining the ½ cup for later) whisk cheese, slowly adding more as each handful melts.
  9. When cheese is completely melted and sauce is smooth turn off heat.
  10. Place a layer of potatoes in dish, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, and a little sea salt. Pour some cheese sauce over potatoes. Repeat layering (potatoes, salt, pepper, onions) two more times or until all potatoes and cheese sauce are used. Do not worry if potatoes are not completely covered with sauce. As they bake the sauce thins out, melts and covers any empty spots. Sprinkle reserved cheese over the top. Bake for 50 minutes

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PATACHOU’S CHOCOLATE CAKE

Recipe via the Indy Star

10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (my bag was 12 ounces and the extra two did not hurt!)

1 cup butter, unsalted

5 eggs

1 1/4 cups of sugar

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven 325 degrees.

Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan with at least 2¼-inch-high sides

In a microwave safe glass bowl, heat chocolate chips and butter together for 1 minute, so that the butter is melted. Stir chocolate and butter until the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly.

Beat eggs and 1 1/4 cups sugar in large bowl until well blended and beginning to thicken and lighten to pale yellow color-about three minutes.

Sift flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt over eggs and fold in. Gradually fold in chocolate mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake 20 minutes. Cover pan with foil. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs still attached, about 30 minutes longer. Uncover cake and cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cake will fall as it cools. Don’t be alarmed. \

Cake may be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover but do not refrigerate.

Source: Martha Hoover

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THE SIDE DISHES

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THE SOIREE

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I had impromptu craft time and cut out vintage glasses and pearls (attached to kebab sticks)

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THE TREAT BAGS

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THANKS, Y’ALL FOR READING!

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