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Nancy Butter, founder and owner of The Gourmet Gals, instructs members of the class on how to prepare the first item—mini meatballs. PHOTOS BY MICHAEL SOMERBY

The Gourmet Gals and Blend partner for a night of cuisine and culture

By Michael Somerby EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – On Nov. 21, under the warm lighting and cozy ambiance of Blend Big Sky, members of the Big Sky community learned to how to “be ballers.”

That is, hand roll from-scratch meat and cheese balls, among other holiday-inspired hors d’oeuvres.

“We joke in The Gourmet Gals kitchen that we’re always ballin’,” said Nancy Butler, founder and owner of The Gourmet Gals, a specialty food service business that has been operating in Big Sky for over 12 years.

With a wide range of offerings, including “take and bake meals,” catering, in-store food purchases and food consulting, Butler has also taken to sharing her knowledge and passion with fellow Big Sky residents through classes.

So at this second offering in a series of three for-the-public classes in 2019—the first preceding by a few weeks and focusing on soup making—lucky attendees learned to make simple yet appropriately gourmet appetizers, all while Blend owner and operator Josh Kone poured freshly uncorked bottles of wine to couple with the bites.

“We paired our cellar with what Nancy was making, based on the flavor profiles,” Kone said. “We started with a Mahu Cellars sauvignon blanc, then we moved into a Valo Cellars pinot noir, back to a chardonnay, and then we went into a syrah.”

Starting with a delicious mini meatball recipe, which is of course secret to those unwise enough to pass on the class, attendees donned rubber gloves and got to work ‘ballin’.”

“Once these are cooked, you’ll want to put skewers in them,” Butler told the class. “Guests will devour these in minutes if you don’t. But with skewers, they’ll last much longer.”

A sour cream and pesto dipping sauce was then made to accompany the meatballs.

Next, the class prepped butternut squash cubes with Chinese five spice and turmeric powder for a vibrant yellow pop against a green bed of kale, a cranberry salsa with notes of ginger and garlic garnished with candied jalapeño, and finally chèvre and cream cheese balls with caramelized pecans and herbes de provence to be eaten with crackers.

If swapping jokes and stories over delicious food was not enough in building ample atmosphere, local big sky music duo The Benny and Zander Show backed the tail end of the event, picking and crooning covers of the Grateful Dead and J.J. Cale, among other tunes.

Mouth watering? Foot tapping? There is opportunity yet to get involved, with a to-be-determined menu.

“We set another date, on Dec. 12,” Butler said. “A lot of people really liked the soup one last time and are asking to do that again. So I’m trying to come up with a good concept people are going to like.”

Make the third class. Be a baller.

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