It’s been a year and a half coming, but AMC’s Mad Men is coming back for Season 5 this Sunday night. To say I’m excited, is, pretty much an understatement. It’s such a wonderful program – the cast, the costuming, the sets. I just love it. I can’t wait to see what our favorite dashing gentleman Don Draper has been up to. And of course my favorite lady, Mrs. Holloway-Harris. How is she, ahem, progressing? All I can say is, I’m thanking my lucky stars that the premiere is 2 hours long!

So, to celebrate the return I wanted to share a retro cocktail. Whiskey sours are probably one of the most beloved mix drinks in existence. I’ve had them before, usually at a party or bar in my younger  years. They were always palatable, but they used the bottled sweet and sour mix, and that’s just not as good. The fresh lemon and lime juice, really sets it apart from the pack. Just enough to make you pucker, but then the sweetness added by the simple syrup rounds it out and brings all the flavors together. And, if you think you don’t like whiskey – give it a try. It’s amazing what lots of fresh citrus juice and sweetness can mask. Have no doubts though, these still have the power to put you on your ass.

I’m making a retro themed menu for Sunday night.  Nothing is set in stone yet, but I’m thinking Swedish meatballs and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. If you’re wondering where I got the flashy cocktail shaker and napkin, I applied to be a host for the Mad Men House Party that AMC was sponsoring, and I got chosen. So, in my party pack were a few Mad Men themed goodies, including the shaker and napkins. Thought they were too cute not to use!

I’ve been making my own pita bread at home for a few years now. Finding them in my local grocery store can be hit and miss, so it started out as a necessity. But, like everything else – once I had them homemade, I couldn’t go back. I figured it was high time I shared it with you guys. These pitas are puffy, pillowey, and soft . Everything that you could possibly want in pita bread!

They’re easier to make than you’d think too. I’m able to put the dough together at 3 in the afternoon, and we’re eating gyros with the pitas I’d made by 6 in the evening. It comes together quickly, and is very workable. To shape the dough, I like to stretch with my hands (like you would a pizza) and then finish with the rolling pin. I don’t like a giant “pocket” in my pita, and this technique seems to help with that. I also like a slightly larger pita, so I roll it thin.  But, if a pocket pita is what you’re looking for, just make the dough circle a bit smaller and thicker.

The recipes make 8 pitas, which was perfect for the guys and I to have dinner. Then, we enjoyed pita pizzas the next day for lunch simply by topping with pizza sauce, cheese, and some fun toppings. The boys loved having their own individual pizza to decorate, and I always love turning leftovers into something new. Enjoy!

A couple weekends ago, my girlfriend and I ventured out to the local flea market. I was hoping to find some unique vintage plates, flatware, linens, etc. to use as props. I’m happy to report that I did, flea markets and yard sales are a great source for stuff like that. There’s also a produce cart there, that a very nice Hispanic lady runs. Most of what she had to offer were things that one would use in Mexican food – chiles, tomatillos, dried beans, cactus (!!), garlic, onions. Everything was gorgeous too. I’m not stretching the truth when I say that it was the most gorgeous spread of produce that I’ve seen around here. I will definitely be going back!

At any rate, I bought a basket of 6 gorgeous, big, dark green poblano peppers for the small sum of $2. I knew I wanted to make chile rellanos for dinner, but we weren’t going to eat that many of them. I sat down to browse my favorite cookbooks and food sites when Courtney from Cook Like A Champion mentioned on the site’s Facebook feed that they were having these burgers for dinner. It was a sign, and I was sold. They were relatively quick to bring together, and absolutely hit the spot. Jon died and went to Heaven. We just had them last week, and he’s already asking for them again.

Poblanos are a relatively mild pepper, so I was worried the flavor would get lost in translation. But, it doesn’t! The flavor of the pepper shined right through the beef. And, the chipotle cream on top is just the perfect complement. Ant leftovers make a delicious dipping sauce for fries! I went full on pig style – and added a slice of Pepperjack cheese. But, eh, you hardly knew it was there. Next time I probably won’t bother. With all this gorgeous weather everyone’s been having, I know you’ve got to be itching to fire up the grill. These burgers are the perfect way to kick start the grilling season!

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here in Maryland, it’s been in the 70’s all week long. The boys and I have pretty much been living outside the past few days, and its been wonderful. On Wednesday, we had dinner plans with our local kids play group. But as luck with 2 small children would have it, those plans fell through. First thought was to just order a pizza, but we try not to order out too often. We had  some leftover taco meat from earlier on in the week, and a few bell peppers I’d picked up but not used. So, I thought why not a Tex-Mex twist on stuffed peppers?

We really enjoyed them. It was a light enough dinner that I didn’t feel weighed down by it, yet substantial enough that I was completely full and satisfied with one pepper. I used ground sirloin, but ground turkey is always wonderful in an application such as this. I loved the addition of the black beans and corn, I felt it really added a surprising twist that you wouldn’t be expecting in a stuffed pepper. I had made a batch of Spanish rice to go alongside, so I just added some of that to the stuffing mixture. Topped off with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, it really was a great dinner. Would be an awesome vegetarian dish too, just bump up the amounts of beans and corn. A great way to segue into the lighter, fresher meals of spring that I know we’re all jonesin’ for. Fingers crossed that this beautiful weather holds out through the weekend!