When my cookbook, Cookin' Crunk, came out in September, I had a ton of local and regional events lined up — booksignings, cooking demos, a release party/tasting. But besides my recent "Keep On Crunkin'" social media campaign, the promo events have slowed down quite a bit.
But somehow, I wound up with three Cookin' Crunk-related events this past weekend! Whew! I stayed busy, but it was such fun. On Friday night, I went to a vegan/vegetarian food tasting at a local grab-and-go food place called Take Home Gourmet, and they let me bring along some books to sign.
Take Home Gourmet in Collierville sells fresh, homemade meals that are frozen in either single-size or family-size portions. Busy folks who don't have time to cook can stop in and pick up dinner on the way home.
Back when my book first came out, THG co-owner Jimmy read about it on Twitter. He sent me an email, letting me know that they were looking to expand their options for vegetarian and vegan customers, and he asked if I could act as a sort of vegan consultant since he and chef/co-owner John are meat eaters. Of course I said yes! I'll do anything to help ensure Memphis veg folks have more options. So I helped them brainstorm some ideas, and Jimmy's wife Jackie went to work in the kitchen. THG rolled out their first line of vegetarian/vegan meals on Friday, and they held a tasting (with wine!) in the store.
Look! A special vegetarian section on the menu!
There was a Black and White Bean Chili (look at the cute little signs!):
Jackie created this AMAZING Couscous with Chickpea Marinara. The sauce was to die for. She said it was her first time working with chickpeas and she was excited to have discovered a new food. Also on this plate is the New Mexico Corn Salad, which is basically the Southwestern Corn Salad from Cookin' Crunk. How cool that they're selling one of my dishes!!
The other new meatless dishes had cheese, so I didn't try those. But my partner Paul went crazy for their new Southwestern Bean & Spinach Lasagna. If you live in the Memphis/Collierville area, check out Take Home Gourmet at 2130 W. Poplar Ave. They change their menu often to keep things fresh, so they'll be trying out some more veg dishes soon.
Take Home Gourmet reserved two cooking demo spots at the Southern Women's Show at the Agricenter over the weekend. This annual women's expo has fashion shows, cooking demos, shopping, and "celebrity" appearances (this year, it was Sean Lowe from The Bachelor). John did a watermelon carving during their Friday demo slot, but they were so sweet to give me their Saturday spot.
So on Saturday, I made the Spaghetti Squash with Tofu and Tomatoes from Cookin' Crunk. Here I am cooking up some tofu:
And here's the finished dish (spaghetti squash sauteed in vegan butter and mixed with fried garlicky tofu, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil):
Finally, on Sunday, I had a successful booksigning at Neshoba Unitarian Universalist Church in Cordova:
I sold 18 books (thanks to the awesome organizing and marketing efforts of Ms. Lorena Rostig)! The signing was a fundraiser for Gen Q, our local LGBTQ social club for young adults. I gave them 30 percent of my sales (which was 50 percent of my actual profit) to use for their upcoming trip to an LGBTQ advocacy event in Nashville.
Well, I'm tired. It's been a long, busy weekend. I'm off to bed.