Time to Party Semi-Heartily!

I am never one to turn down an opportunity to party.  My cousin is getting married and all the pomp and circumstance must be marked along the way.  Being that this was an afternoon shindig for the announcement of said engagement, some semi-heartily partying did happen.  :)

For many years, I ran and planned events for a non-profit organization for millionaire entrepreneurs.  Kinda paradoxical, I know.   The events centered around networking and education to further enrich the rich.  It was fun, challenging, and rewarding.

I parlayed that into wedding planning which is an entirely different beast.  Weddings have the potential to bring out the worst and best in people.  The Husfriend and I witnessed the latter at our own wedding a few months ago.  We were humbled by the graciousness, generosity and kindness of  those who came to wish us well in our future life together.  Happy sniff, sniff.  :)

I hope that my cousin finds this to be true for her own wedding and Sunday marked the first occasion of the wedding party planning journey.  Woo hoo!

She attempted to keep it small to start for the engagement party – a mere 100 guests which happened to be 33 more than the fire marshall allows.  :/  Size matters.  And is relative.  Our wedding had 200 guests, which was small compared to my eldest sister’s 400 and my brother’s 1,000.  Yes, that last number required a comma.

There was lots of food, fun, friends, and family.

The Husfriend, Pepsi, and I were on hand to lend a hand and tiny paw with whatever we could.

Our contribution to the menu was chicken satay crostini.  I initially tried baking miniature loaves of brioche that, although tasty, didn’t look so purdy so that was scrapped.

My sister sent me a recipe many moons ago that I have successfully repeatedly repeated for the chicken satay:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of palm or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of whole cumin seeds
  • 2 inches of peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • cilantro sprigs for ganish
Basting Oil:
  • 1/3 cup of coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon of palm or dark brown sugar
Satay is most often cooked and served on skewer sticks.  It would have been too labor intensive to do so in this case so we opted for the crostini route which was basic white bread triangles toasted on a baking sheet until golden brown for about 5 minutes at 400°.

However, if you are doing the stick method, most recipes recommend soaking the sticks for 30 minutes beforehand to prevent the sticks from catching fire.  Because chicken breast cooks so quickly, I’ve always skipped this step and have not had to call on Fire Marshall Bill yet.

The next step is to toast the coriander and cumin seeds.  This step makes quite the difference in bringing out their flavor and adding a subtle smoky/nutty quality.  I’ve been lazy before and used the pre-ground stuff and it’s not the same.

After they’ve cooled a bit, grind the seeds either in a spices-dedicated coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Then add everything else, sans chicken and fresh coriander, and brutalize into a paste.

Grilling chicken breast doesn’t necessarily have to mean chicken jerky.  My mother, who is one of the best cooks I know, taught me that if you cut the breast against the grain, on the bias, in long strips, the juiciness can be preserved.

Next, smush the sliced chicken pieces together with the paste, making sure to not leave any pieces unmolested.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or preferably, overnight.

Next, combine the basting ingredients.

Satay can be grilled on an actual grill or griddle at medium high heat.  Grill the strips in a single layer for two minutes on each side.  Be sure to baste with a few dabs of the basting oil before and after flip.

Satay is often served with peanut sauce.  I tweaked this recipe and it turned out great:

  • 1 cup of crunchy all-natural peanut butter
  • 2/3 cups of water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, to taste
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon of green curry paste
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
Smear peanut sauce on toasted crostini, top with satay and garnish with dainty coriander sprig.


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