I’ve had the good fortune to strike up a beautiful working relationship with my lovely neighborhood bookstore, Magnolia’s Bookstore, in the heart of Magnolia village in Seattle. The owner, Georgiana, has not only agreed to consign “Bad Aunty’s Kitchen Smarts,” but has also invited me to hold a series of book signings on Saturday afternoons this fall, to coincide with the weekly farmer’s market. This terrific, mutually beneficial relationship may be just the break that I was looking for with “Bad Aunty”–it forces me to perfect my sales pitch, converse with customers face-to-face, hear their feedback, and actually sell my book!
Knowing that the way to a customer’s heart is often through his or her stomach, I am also offering passers-by an appetizer–a single bite sampling of a recipe from “Bad Aunty’s Kitchen Smarts”. At first, the thought of re-tooling dinner entree-sized dishes into appetizers was a bit challenging, but hell, I’m up to the challenge. Besides, what else was I to do? I don’t have an appetizer section in my cookbook, so I have to adapt an entree. (An entire cookbook will be devoted to nibbles sometime in the future.)
So here is what I came up with–‘Sex with a Steak’ skewers, and Pork Tenderloin and Caramelized Apple bites. I had previously prepared the grilled garlic-jalapeno flank steak into skewer appetizers for my launch party and was extremely pleased with how they turned out. I sliced the raw flank steak very thinly across the grain, then marinated the sliced meat in the lime juice marinade for about 4 hours, instead of overnight. Here’s a tip–freeze the whole flank steak to almost frozen solid. This makes slicing very thin slices much easier. And with meat sliced so thin the marination time is greatly reduced while still delivering full flavor.
I then threaded/wrapped the sliced beef onto 6-inch wooden skewers and grilled them on a very hot grill for about 45 seconds a side. The final result was just exactly what I envisioned–fully flavored single-bite beef skewers, tender, savory and just a bit pink. They were a big hit at my launch party, and helped me sell 16 copies of “Bad Aunty’s Kitchen Smarts” on my first day of book signing.
The second Saturday I chose another recipe to bribe the peeps with–a single-bite version of the Mustard Maple Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Apples, also from the book. l prepared this dish just as written in the cookbook, but after roasting I sliced the pork into 1/4-inch slices, then cut each slice into 4’s. I prepared the apples as written, let them cool, then cut them into pieces that would fit neatly on top of the pork slices, and then secured each bite with a toothpick. They looked beautiful served on a bed of arugula.
This appetizer was so delicious, and popular with adults and kids alike, that I ran out with 1/2 hour to go in my signing appearance. It was like trick-or-treat at the farmers market last Saturday. I think I’ll make the pork tenderloin bite again this Saturday, only provide twice as much.
I wholeheartedly recommend that you try these preparations for your next shindig–they’re delicious, a bit different than the normal appetizers, simple to put together, and impossible to f*** up!