The Wurst Party Ever

Along with some culinarily adventurous friends, we decided to spend our Labor Day a little different this year. Three couples, three animals, three types of sausage, two different casings and one “consultant”, all together made for one brilliant idea. The plan was to have a sausage party (insert dirty joke here) or to be specific, a sausage making party. We all gathered at Jeri and Dan’s house, grinders and meat in hand for a night filled with food, wine, and dirty jokes. Jeri and Dan made wild boar sausage with their Kitchen Aid grinder attachment. Joe and Jane made duck sausage with their old school human-powered grinder and David and I made Merguez (a spicy lamb sausage) with our Cuisinart grinder attachment. Gianni, the owner and chef at Amici Bistro was the consultant and grill master. Jeri had her house set up perfectly for such an event. Each couple had their station equipped with aprons, gloves, paper towels and plenty of open counter space. Jeri is always the “hostess with the modest, but even she outdid herself this time. Jeri, Jane and I made the appetizers: goat cheese and basil wrapped asparagus, bacon wrapped dates, zucchini fritters, bruschetta and an assortment of olives and cheeses. Gianni had the brilliant idea of frying the duck skin, which were delightful and David named them Quacklings. For side dishes to accompany the sausages we had watermelon & feta salad and a broccoli, corn & pea salad. For dessert, Jane made homemade vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and a blackberry puree.

There was a lot of planning and coordination that was required to pull everything together, but in the end I think it was worth it. We had to plan for two types of casings: sheep casings as well as the more traditional pork casings (no artificial casings as this party). The sheep were hard to work with at first (different texture and much smaller than pig casing), but we got the hang of it by the end. It was gorgeous outside and we enjoyed many bottles of wine and appetizers on the deck between each stage of the process. At 10pm, we happily sat down to eat and the sausages were just incredible. We were blurry-eyed, not knowing if it from exhaustion or Joe and Jane’s homemade wine (who knows), but the sense of accomplishment was satisfying to an epic degree. It was a memorable night filled with laughter and hard work. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

A big thanks to Joe for coming up with the BEST name for our wurst party! xo

White Sangria

Sheep Casings

Wild Boar

Joe with his duck - Cool shades dude

Duck Sausage

Gianni & Jeri

Merguez Sausage

Ground Boar, Ground Pork Fat & Seasonings

Mix Away Jane

Slight problem with the sheep casings

First Lamb Sausage

Who needs some help?

Are those pretty or what?

Dan's Apron

Here come the Boar Sausage!

Finished Product

Pure Perfection

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A Tuscan Feast

There are few events in life where one looks back and describes it as truly magical. Our engagement party at JM Cellars in 2009 was one of those nights. I feel confident saying that everyone there felt that magic. The founders of Salumi, where I use to work,  Armo and Marilyn Batali (yesMario’s parents) were guests that night  and were blown away with JM Cellars. The wine, the grounds, and the  owners John and Peggy all usually have that kind of effect on people. Armo was really excited following the party and talked often of holding some kind of event there.  On August 21st, the Tuscan Feast finally happened and the magic was back and in full effect. The night was a benefit for the Chef’s Collaborative with Armandino Batali and John Bigelow, along with Chef Roy Breiman, . I was working the event and my husband David along with our good friends Joe and Jane were in attendance. Guests were able to make gnocchi with Marilyn, stuff sausages with Chef Roy and stretch mozzarella with Armo . With my Italian upbringing and working at Salumi for years, I was expecting an extraordinary amount of food, but I don’t think anyone (besides the Chefs) could imagine what this feast would entail. There was a large circular wooden table approximately 15 feet in diameter tiered with platters covering every inch of space. From the porchetta & veal loin stuffed with sweetbreads to the prosciutto and figs & manila clams smothered with caramelized onions, every morsel on the table was delicious and decadent.
More importantly than the food (I can’t believe I’m even typing those words) were the people who made the event happen and the guests that attended. There were farmers, foragers, bakers, chefs, foodies, photographers, wine makers, and executives, (by executives I mean the founder and creator of Amazon, Jeff Bezos) I think it would be safe to say that the Seattle food community was well represented. There was an exceptional amount of talent present that night and everyone shared the passion of local and seasonal food. It left you feeling warm inside with a beaming smile on your face, truly wonderful. Listening to Armo, Chef Roy and John talk about one another was something special that I had not been apart of before. Armo inducted John and Peggy into the Salumi Family which almost made me shed a tear.  John, Peggy, Armo and Marilyn are people who I respect tremendously and to be apart of this night was such a blessing. I couldn’t help but think back to the engagement party and be thankful for that special night and bringing the people together who meant a lot to David and I. The Tuscan Feast was a once in a lifetime opportunity. My husband looked happier than I had seen him in years Part of it being that he was surrounded by food, and people with such a strong passion and respect for one another and the food; The other part being he made gnocchi with Marilyn for almost an hour. David made unbelievably perfect gnocchi and it was hard to believe it was his first time. Marilyn MAY have mention that you don’t have to be Italian to make good gnocchi, but I’m choosing to ignore this comment. This feast is yet another example of what kinds of fireworks can happen with you bring together great people, mouth-watering food, and lots of love.

INTERACTIVE STATIONS

  • Gnocchi
  • Mozzarella Stretching
  • Old World Prosciutto Slicing
  • Handmade Sausage

THE FARM TABLE

ANTIPASTI

  • Clam Fregola
  • Salt Cod .Bacala. Tomatoes and Capers
  • Handmade Sausage with Grapes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes with Fresh Basil, Chemlali Olive Oil
  • Fresh Lima Beans with Olive Oil & Tuna Genovese
  • Fennel Salad with Burnt Citrus, Toasted Coriander
  • Prosciutto, Figs, Arugula, Balsamic
  • Grilled Salumi Cotto, with Soft Cheeses
  • Grilled Veggies Antipasti
  • Pimento, Red Onions, Pickled Radish
  • Baby Zucchini with Flowers, Aubrergine, Baby Cauliflowers, Young Carrots

PIATTO PRINCIPALE

  • Stuffed Veal Breast-Cima Ripiena
  • Tuscan Porchetta- Stuffed Pork Belly with Crisp Skin
  • Gnocchi with Spare Ribs

DOLCE

  • Rhubarb Tart with Basil Foam
  • Fresh Berries Italian Ribbon Sauce
  • Poached Stone Fruits Sweet Vanilla Verjus

Me, Armo, One of the cooks, David

Joe making Sausage

David making Sausage

Marilyn making Gnocchi

Figs & Prosciutto

Love is in the Air: Armo and Chef Roy

Clams Fregola