Archive | April, 2015

A Bite of Spring: Cauliflower and Caper Pasta

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Photo by Sandra Ramos

Photo by Sandra Ramos

 

Growing up I only ate raw cauliflower drowned in ranch dressing or boiled within an inch of its life dripping in cheese sauce. I had no idea how glorious cauliflower could be or that it came in so many shapes and sizes.

A few years ago, a local chef made me a cauliflower pasta dish and I suddenly understood the beauty of cauliflower. I love it roasted, in curries and in pasta with briny capers, salty parmesan cheese and a few spicy red pepper flakes. If you get a little crazy and buy the purple or Romanesco (the green pyramid shaped cauliflower) you can create a truly beautiful spring dish that will have your guests begging for more.

Enjoy!

Tip: use a light touch (don’t bear down hard) with a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese into thin strips, rather than your typical grated cheese.

Cauliflower and Caper Pasta

Serves 4

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 tbps olive oil

1 pound of cauliflower

1/4 cup capers

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp red pepper flakes

12 ounces of pasta

2 ounces parmesan

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 7-8 minutes until the cauliflower. Add the capers and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.

While the cauliflower is cooking, cook the pasta in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving a 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Combine the pasta, reserved pasta water and cauliflower mixture. Season with the salt and red pepper flakes, then shave the parmesan onto the pasta.

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Fire, Farms, and Mud Bugs: April Texas Food Events

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Springtime ushers in wildflowers and Texas food events galore. Get out your calendar because there is great line-up of local food events coming up. Here are a few of our favorites this month.

live fire

Live Fire!
Thursday, April 4

Experience Austin’s favorite meat- centric live-fire cooking event in it’s fifth year. Head out to the Texas hill country for live music, premium wines, craft beers, and chef mastery over open flame. Benefitting the Austin Food & Wine Alliance culinary grants. Check out the full line-up and grab tickets here.

East Austin Urban Farm Tour
Sunday, April 12

Spend the afternoon strolling through the fields of four urban farms and learn about their growing crops, share their experiences and get answers to your gardening questions. At each farm, chefs will provide bites using the freshest farm ingredients while local brewers, wine merchants, and mixologists offer sips. More on the farms and tickets here.

May events just around the corner…

3rd Annual Crawfish Boil
Sunday, May 3

Join Tipsy Texan and L-Style/G-Style in supporting local heroes, Urban Roots and enjoy a sunny afternoon with friends, music, food & fun at Lenoir. Crawfish and all the fixins with drink and raffle tickets at the door. Get your tickets now!

Farmgrass Fest
Sunday, May 3

Celebrate local farmers with a  beautiful day of bluegrass, food and fun on the Simmons Family Farms. All of the proceeds from the festival will go to an emergency medical fund for farmers in central Texas. More information and tickets here

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Our Favorite Things: 2015 Austin Food & Wine Festival Preview

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Can you feel the excitement? Have you started the countdown calendar? I have! It’s almost time (22 days and counting) for my annual food holiday weekend – the 2015 Austin Food & Wine Festival on April 24-26. Woo hoo!

Kim Crawford Prickly Pear Punch and Kim Crawford Citrus Wine Slush from Kelvin Natural Slush Co.

It’s hard for me to pick what I most excited about it. I love the demos by superstar chefs who I’ve only admired on TV. I’m intrigued by Jenn Louis’ tartare 101 with three types of raw dishes and the mystery basket challenges with Graham Elliott and Andrew Zimmern promise to be spectacular as the chefs demonstrate their improvisation skills. But, the double-header paella class with Jamie Bissonnette Ken Oringer of Toro may be the highlight of the demo sessions for me. Paella was one of the first complex dishes I learned to make and I can’t wait to learn masterful tips from these creative East Coast chefs.

SundayFest_SaltandTime

Salt and Time talking about the art of salumi at 2014 festival

Of course the beverage side of the house is stacked with great talent as well. Mark Oldman’s tasting session on pairing wine with spicy foods is a perfect match for our Texas cuisine, and I’m delighted that we have three of our local wine pros (Craig Collins, Devon Broglie and Vilma Mazaite) each leading separate tastings. I can’t wait to see how  David Alan Rescues the Rita as well. If anyway can teach us to make a perfect margarita, The Tipsy Texan can.

Festival_Sat_Bubbles

Sparkler session at 2014 festival

The festival is bringing rising stars from across the state in for the sold out Taste of Texas event on Friday night and a few of the chefs are sticking around for demos and the fire pit. Hearing from Matt McCallister of Dallas’ FT33 and Chris Shepherd of Houston’s Underbelly without having to travel out of town is a real treat. And, I can’t even imagine what kind of hi jinx Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner of Pass and Provisions (Houston) will get into at the Fire Pit.

Vegetables cooked in clay from Gardner

First bites from Gardner at 2014 festival

Both the Fire Pit and the Chef Showcase are expanded this year with more chefs and some sneak peeks. I’m looking forward to finally having a bite from Wu Chow, the Swift’s Attic team’s new Asian adventure.

SundayFest_Luke_QuailSundayFest_Luke_Berries

And not to be overlooked, the Grand Tasting tent is going to be busting at the seams with sips and nibbles. The festival has a attracted a whole slew of new vendors as well as old favorites.

High Brew Coffee, cold-brew in a can

High Brew was just one of the new vendors introduced at the 2014 festival

I’m so excited! If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, now is the time. You do not want to miss this!

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