For those not in the know, the term ’sausage party’ is slang for a party or a crowd where the majority of the people are dudes. What do you do when your life is overrun with gay men? You can do what I do and co-host a literal sausage party for my friend Stephen’s birthday. This was definitely not an event for homophobic, vegetarians but you can’t please them all.
The truth is, everyone loves sausage, but no one likes to admit it. It’s kinda trashy, totally phallic and so bad for you. All the things that make for a fantastic party! A local German bar, The Red Lion, is known for the imported beers and brats, oh and the sausage is good too. This place is more packed than ever these days.
We had bratwurst, Italian sausage, pork chorizo, smokies, genoa salami, duck salami, saucisson, Spanish chorizo. We went all out, yet there still seems to be sausages of countries we missed entirely. There were some greens, uhm parsleys and green onioin garnish, and many cheeses, but we really ran with the sausage theme.
As usual, I spearheaded the event and gave out digital commands like a drill sergeant via text messages and emails and ichat. Some common things I said were “did you look at the list?” and “I texted you earlier”. The event was pulled off with ease, even up to the last minute with the co-hosts showing up an hour early, to light candles, assemble canapés and hors d’oeuvres, and put out the cheeses.
It was co-hosted by four other friends so we could go all out with the food and drinks and made our lives easier by not having to get a gift or be subjected to an expensive night of dinner and drinks, or better yet, Medieval Times. Of course, my boyfriend, Jason, does all the behind the scenes, like hanging lights, getting propane, cleaning the patio furniture, and doing just about anything I ask for. What a sport. Sometimes I don’t realize how much work is put into these events but the collective effort of everyone pitching in as well as guests showing up with nice ales and beers, and chocolates for me, certainly made for a very memorable evening.
When hosting cocktail parties, I really like to make the food bite size. Slicing a piece of cheese is about as much effort as I want to put into getting some food in my mouth while balancing a glass of wine and clutching a purse. It’s rare to have both hands free.
This was my game plan,and is directly quoted from my email to the co-hosts:
overall we have a couple warm apps, a “wow” dish, some different takes on cheeses, and a specialty cocktail with additional mixers, like grapefruit juice and tonic water for vodka based drinks. We are gonna ask guests to bring a beer of their choice, ie Chimay etc.
Signature Cocktail: Pomegranate sake-tini
Mini pigs in a blanket: puff pastry with dijon mustard
canapés- persimmon and prosicuitto
white bean bruschetta
five spice braised pork on daikon radish slices with carrots in ponzu
sticky rice stuffing with Chinese sausage, served on cucumber slices
grilled sausage platter with grilled onion and roasted fennel
(mixed sausages pork chorizo, spicy Italian, brats etc)
marinated picholine olives
salumis- cheese store- spanish chorizo and assorted salumi.
artisan wildflower honey and goat cheese
quince paste and manchego
cakes- wan and beth…a hotdog cake and a delicious salty sweet chocolate cake
The best part about the event was a bit of an impromptu ‘cake room’. I happened to be re-doing my office and we (as in my boyfriend) painted two of the walls with the Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint just that week, which comes out like a very matte charcoal colored paint. We had put the desserts up in the office on my new mid-century credenza that I got from Silica Three.
The chalkboard walls came in handy since throughout the evening, everyone snuck in and scrawled birthday wishes to Stephen. We were planning to bring the cakes down to the main food table but it just seemed like a great idea to have the wall-of-love be the backdrop.
If you are wondering, the bird lamp is from ebay. The 2 cake stands are vintage Indiana milk glass, one that is hobnail that I gifted to Bethany last year and one that is mine.
The food highlights of the night were probably the Humboldt fog with honey and the lil beef smokies in puff pastry. Those were being eaten like popcorn shrimp. The five spice braised pork on daikon was my own invention as well, and though had no sausage, was part of my scheme to introduce people to that unique flavor since I am making a micro-roasted five spice blend as my holiday gift to all.
As for the desserts, Wan’s adorable cake with a sculpted hot dog out of fondant on it was hilarious. Bethany’s chocolate sweet and salty cake was absolutely delicious and I had no qualms about drunk cleaning that night at 2am while I snuck a few bites of it every time I shuffled past it on my way to the sink.
A good tip for making sausage on the grill with onions was something I had read about in Cook’s Illustrated. The trick is to cook the sliced onions and the sausage together in either the oven or on the grill, in a tented baking pan. The juice from the sausage will flavor the onions and fennel, in this case, then you basically just take the sausage and finish them on the grill to get the charred flavor and the nice grill marks. Grilling raw sausage directly on the grill, even if you can control the temperature, usually results in dried out shriveled weiners. Eek no thanks.
I made all these in the morning since it decided to be about 90˚F that day in LA. Then, I just reheated them in the oven at about 300˚ and served them on a large, wood cutting board with the fennel and onions and assorted mustards, spicy brown, tarragon dijon, and dijon mustards.
As my friend Anne summed it up, it was a “phallicly classy event”.