As some of you know, I often take pictures for a Marin County Cooking School that holds chef demonstrations and cooking classes to support its partner homeless shelter, Homeward Bound. Fresh Starts Culinary Academy works alongside Fresh Starts Chef Events at the Key Room to provide some of the most fun and unique cooking events to benefit the homeless, and this past event with Dave the Butcher from Marina Meats in San Francisco was no exception.
The evening was a late Oktoberfest celebration revolving around the art of sausage making. Dave the Butcher (aka Dave Budworth) had previously taught classes at Fresh Starts and is a repeat favorite. This particular class was a combination of cooking demonstration and cooking class, in which students watched sausages being encased and cooked as well as prepared their own crepinette sausage patties to take home.
Crepinette is the french name for a small, flattened sausage that is also sometimes referred to as a sausage parcel.
The crepinettes are wrapped in caul fat or lace fat — a thin membrane which surrounds the stomach of animals, like cows, sheep, and pigs.
This membrane is also known as the greater omentum, which, if memory serves me right, is where Dr. Oz told Oprah that your bad belly fat is stored after having her hold up a human omentum.
As one group of students prepared their lamb and pork crepinettes, the other group watched sausages being encased, which could then be purchased at the end of the evening with proceeds going to Homeward Bound.
The full menu included an appetizer of handmade soft pretzels with house made mustards,
Marina Meats lamb and pork specialty sausages,
braised red cabbage and german potato salad,
and baked orchard apples for dessert.
My favorite dishes were the red cabbage and the baked apples, but that’s because I haven’t been eating as much meat lately. Interestingly, these sausages were really lean, which was probably due to them being made of organic, grass-fed meat — very different than what I was used to from a typical supermarket and much more flavourful.
I did learn a thing or two about sausages and how sausages do not need to be encased to be a sausage, just rather be a combination of ground meats and spices. I also learned that hot dogs are actually a liquid emulsion that is often encased in artificial casings such as collagen, cellulose or plastic. Yuck — this is why I no longer eat hot dogs!
Baeltane Brewing supplied the artisanal beer for the evening to make it a true Oktoberfest celebration. Head Brewer, Alan Altha was on hand to answer questions about beer pairings as well as their brewery’s beer offerings, like Venus in Blue Jeans or The Frog that Ate the World.
We each got to take home our uncooked crepinettes to prepare at home. Truly a fun and delicious evening! Can’t wait for January’s class with Chef Jeff Cercielo from Farmshop. Check back for the post soon!