Well, its been a great weekend. We competed in The Pork Experiment yesterday and sure had a great time! I felt very supported by family and friends and put out some hella good food! I am totally proud of our first competitive effort and had a blast with Jo as my sous chef. Congrats to my fellow competitors! And a big shout out to our friend Ben, of the Wildly Natural One, for taking home an honorable mention. You all should go to the store and buy this spice blend right now. It is award winning good.
I can feel SXSW all over Austin these days and I love it, for now. By next weekend I will be ready to get this sleepy(ish) town back and traverse it without all the extra folk. It is no wonder everyone that visits falls in love with this place. We have perfect weather this time of year. We have glorious tacos and kick-butt BBQ. We are a friendly people with warm smiles and dang good music. As a matter of fact, a huge bonus to our year of not eating out is that we don’t have to battle the visitors for coffee or counter space. This might actually be my favorite SXSW based on that alone. I can get a little bratty when I go to my regular spots and have to wait extra time or fight for shoulder space and by the last weekend I usually have to leave town just to escape the crowd, so I don’t start screaming at every hipster in legging jeans that looks like they need a shower to go back to where they came from, so we will see if this no restaurant thing helps.
In preparation for the cook-off, I tested many a batch of pulled pork shoulder, and I am officially so sick of pork. I am bringing on the veggies in full force! Its going to be a while before I can let pulled pork pass these lips again. So, on to the veggies! This is one of my very favorite preparations of pasta. It works great to sub with just about any veggie that is in season. I got my hands on this broccoli rabb from Johnson’s Backyard Garden and have been waiting all weekend to turn it into this pasta dish. They have a really cool deal going on right now where you can buy plant starts from them, so that is worth checking out.
Broccoli Rabe and Giant Macaronis
1 box big macaronis or your favorite short pasta
1-2 T olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 big handfuls broccoli rabb and leaves, coursly chopped
2 cups of pasta cooking liquid reserved
2 oz parmesan, grated
2 oz romano, grated
salt and pepper
Bring water to boil, cook pasta to desired doneness. Heat olive oil over medium heat, add crushed red pepper and black pepper and let them toast for a minute or two. This brings a really toasty pepper depth to the dish. Add garlic and let cook for a minute. Add broccoli rabb and leaves and saute until they are tender. I take a coffee cup and scoop out some of the pasta water. The pasta water has some of the gluten and really helps to thicken the sauce and incoroporate the cheese into the dish without making it all clumpy and gross. Drain the pasta, add to the pan with the broccoli rabb and toss. Alternate adding cheese and a little water until the cheese is smoothly blended, you may not need to use all of the water, and it looks like you can’t wait to eat it. Then serve it up and eat it down!
The Challenge Update
All is well on the challenge front. We are having a change of season, so getting to wear some new clothes is SUPER refreshing. I have my flip flops back out and have even donned shorts. The sweaters I couldn’t stand for another second have been banished to the guest room closet until we bring them out next November. We have not planted our raised beds yet. The starts are living on our dining room table until the nights get consistantly warm enough to sustain their growth. The extra hour of daylight that we earned this weekend delights me and leaves much more time in the day for walks around the neighborhood and cooking outside. Spring is here, I hope you are enjoying SXSW or Spring Break or the extra daylight when you come home from work.
Thank you for reading,
Not That Martha