I read Dana Spiotta's Stone Arabia right after The American Heiress, and it was a tough transition. I can be schizophrenic with my reading preferences - I want something dark and challenging one day and something frothy and light the next. Stone Arabia was a challenge after the easy breezy American Heiress and I must say I almost threw in the towel, even though the book is short - around 250 pages. The book is about a middle aged brother and sister - Denise and Nik. Neither is successful or happy in their lives. They used to be LA rocker kids in the late 70s and early 80s- Nik in a band and Denise a sunset strip teenage groupie. Those were their glory days and they are long gone. There is not much of a story so to speak but more of an introverted look at Denise and Nik and their lives now, in their late forties, and when they were kids. I guess what I think the book is really about is how much it sucks to get older.
Whiskey BBQ Chicken Sliders, adapted from The Pioneer Woman
OK, this dish has virtually nothing to do with the book. The book doesn't have much food. There is plenty of drinking, whiskey in particular since that is Nik's drink of choice. The only other food inspiration I had was Denise memories of being a teenager in the night life scene on the Sunset Strip in LA, including late night trips to Hamburger Hamlet. The combo of whiskey and burgers led me to these sliders from the Pioneer woman, who makes them with beef. I used ground chicken instead and really any ground meat will work. Using bottled BBQ sauce makes these especially quick and easy.
2 lbs ground chicken
salt and pepper
2 -4 tablespoons of butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of whiskey
1 cup barbeque sauce
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos
12 slider buns (I used brioche rolls)
- Mix the chicken with salt and pepper and form into small patties (make 12)
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat until it is melted and bubbling.
- Add the burgers to the skillet - half at a time and cook until done, 3-4 minutes a side.
- Remove the patties and cook the other half. Keep them on a plate and cover.
- Drain most of the fat out of the pan. Add the onions and cook until translucent over medium heat for 4 -5 minutes.
- Add the whiskey and stir. Allow the whiskey to reduce by half, 3 minutes or so. (Note, be careful adding the whiskey if you are cooking over an open flame).
- Stir in the barbeque sauce and the jalapenos.
- Reduce heat to low, add the burgers back into the skillet and nestle them in.
- Spoon sauce over the burgers and let them soak up the sauce, cooking on low, for a few minutes.
- Serve on either plane or toasted buns.