Food Matters Project Wrap-Up

This week is a wrap-up of the Food Matters Project.  It’s the final week of posting recipes from The Food Matters Cookbook.  Rather than another recipe, I’ve spent some time thinking of what I’ve learned doing this project, so here are some conclusions (in no particular order:

Mushrooms

1. My favorite and most memorable recipe: Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs & Blue Cheese.  I loved the blue cheese and fig combination in a pasta, and I can’t wait to try this again when figs are in season!

2. We finally learned how to make our own pizza.  Thanks to the post on whole wheat pizza, we’ve explored other toppings and new pizza crust recipes.  This has definitely been a staple in a our house a couple of times a month.

3. We made hummus from scratch.  Although it wasn’t my favorite recipe at that time, we’re recently added a Vitamix into our kitchen- can’t wait to try making it again!

4. Bruschetta comes in different varieties- it’s such a time saver when you’re hosting a dinner party!

5. Chimichurri is another awesome dish when you have friends over for dinner.  Quick, easy and delicious- what more could you ask for?!?

6. We tried anchovies for the first time, and they are delicious in a salad.  Don’t miss out!

7. My favorite dessert adventure was due to FMP- we made kumquat sorbet.  It was delicious, and I am now less intimidated to break out my ice cream maker.  Sorbets on the porch, during a DC summer, are a perfect way to wrap up the day.

8. Give cookbooks without photos a chance.  They encourage your cooking imagination and creativity- it was so much fun learning this for over a year.

This was a wonderful opportunity, and I’m so glad our blog continued to participate in this project (although sporadically).  The idea of eating less meat should be encouraged in more households, and I hope we spread Mark Bittman’s words a bit more.  Definitely play around with more foods, especially vegetables.  There are flavors and textures out there you may not have ever tasted, but don’t be afraid to try.

Start with what we’ve made before, there are a number of delicious dishes out there!  Or check out the other participants blogs to see what they’ve made!

Recipes We’ve Made via the Food Matters Project

Squash with Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Seasoned Popcorn
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese
Seared Bean Sprouts with Mushrooms
Hummus
Curry with Vegetables
Vegetable Coq au Vin
Vegetable & Bean Casserole
Cod in Spicy Rhubarb Sauce
Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza
Mostly Whole Wheat Bread
Asparagus & White Bean Soup
Black Bean & Corn Salsa
Bruschetta
Chicken in Green Salsa
Vegetable Burritos
Tomato, Leek & Brie Tart
Crunchy Fish Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce
Walnut Pâté Sandwich with Arugula & Pears
Beet Chips with Pistachio Dip
Fresh Corn Salsa
Chicken & Potatoes with Romesco Sauce
Asian Vegetable Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Greek Panzanella Salad
Veggie Stir Fry
Summer Tabbouleh Salad
Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey
Broccoli & Cherry Rice with Acorn Squash
Polenta with Mushrooms
Cardamom & Pistachio Pear Crisp
Lamb, Carrot & Turnip Stuffed Cabbage
Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce
Provencal Pasta Sauce with Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Dal with Lots of Vegetables
Central American Red Beans & Rice
Spinach Cobb Salad with Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette
Bulgur Wheat Mango Salad with Avocado
Spicy Grapefruit Scallops with Arugula
Kumquat & Orange Sorbet
Potato & Corn Fritters
Tomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked Mozzarella
Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers

Food Matters Project #44: Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers

I’m so happy to be the host of this week’s Food Matters Project.  It’s a perfect recipe for our household these days.  Between a new schedule and a new job, our lives have been a bit busy.  Easy, make-ahead and delicious recipes are perfect for us.

A while back I chose Mark Bittman’s Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers.  It’s a great recipe that can be changed to what you have in your fridge.  It’s fantastic prepared the night before, and wonderful for lunch the next day!  Check out what other FMP participants did with their recipes here.

I love tuna salad, but I really hate to order it in deli shops or restaurants.  There is always so much mayo in there, it doesn’t have the tuna flavor.  And it’s heavy, loaded with calories.  I loved this pasta salad- served cold, it was perfect for a hot summer day, and it’s still light enough that it doesn’t make you too sleepy after you eat it for lunch!

Food Matters Project: Tuna SaladPasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 232)

1 lb pasta (type: your choice)
4-5 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 cans 5 oz can of tuna in water, drained
1 small onion, chopped
3 tbsp capers
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.

In a large bowl mix together the following ingredients: cooked pasta, tomatoes, tuna, onion, capers, parsley, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Stir well and serve.

Food Matters Project #43: Tomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked Mozzarella

I apologize for the silence on the blog, don’t worry we didn’t leave you!  Truthfully, there have been some small changes to our schedule due to a new job, and therefore small adjustments.  But we have been cooking- so don’t worry, there recipes will be coming!

Today is another great Monday for the Food Matters Project.  Our host today is Laura, of Chef Laura at Home.  She chose Mark Bittman’s Tomato Carpaccio with Mozzarella.  Check out the original recipe in The Food Matters Cookbook, or look what other FMP participants did here.

My version is not very similar to the original recipe.  Today was my first day at a new job, with different hours than I’m used to.  In addition, we’ll be out of town this weekend- so we’re trying to use up everything that’s hiding in the fridge and freezer.  Tonight’s meal was very simple, back to the basics.  There are always days where we come home from work, and don’t want to cook or prepare anything.  I resist the urge to dial the local Chinese takeout to order our dinner.

Instead, I make a plan for something healthier for us:

1) In our freezer we had 2 Polish sausages (from the Amish Market)- I defrosted them this morning.
2) We had a lot of lettuce and tomatoes left over- it was easy to chop those up and throw them together.
3) Sam stopped at the store to pick up a ball of cheese, and chose one of his favorites: Smoked Mozzarella.

This was one of those Monday meals: fast, light and filling!  And it did make a little more room in the fridge.

Tomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked MozzarellaTomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked Mozzarella
Fifth Floor Kitchen Original

This recipe does not have ingredient amounts, it’s meant to be a “clean out your fridge”.  Feel free to swap out lettuce varieties (spinach, arugula), vegetables (cucumbers, zucchini, corn), herbs (cilantro, parsley), or cheeses (cheddar, blue)

greens, chopped
tomatoes, sliced
smoked mozzarella cheese, chopped
basil, finely chopped
olive oil

Add all of the ingredients (except the olive oil) in a large bowl, then toss all of them together.  Divide the salad between plates, and lightly drizzle olive oil over the salad.

Enjoy this salad as a side with grilled meat or vegetables; or make it larger as a meal.

Almond Orange Cake

One of my favorite things about the spring and summer is that everyone spends more time with friends.  I feel like summers are busy- travel, vacations, weddings, etc.  But it’s so much easier to venture out of your house (or your PJ’s) and have a drink or dinner with a friend when it’s still light out at 8pm.  With the dreaded cold weather behind us (90′s have started off the summer in DC), summer is in full swing.

As we mentioned previously, we recently bought a new house and the extra space allows us to entertain more.  It’s nice to have friends drop in for barbeque, pizza or dessert.  And when you want to throw something together in a hurry it’s always hard to find a quick dessert.  So I’ve done a little research (ahem: taste testing) for all of you, and I highly recommend this cake.

Almond Orange Cake 1

It’s not even a cake, it’s a delicious dessert that can be eaten after a meal, or a perfect breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee.  I made this over a month ago when I had some girlfriends over for a Mexican night, and I can still remember the moist and fluffy cake.  It was perfect the next morning, so it can easily be made the night before.

Almond Orange Cake 2

Almond Orange Cake
Adapted from: The Mexican Cookbook

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
juice from 1 large orange (about 4 tbsp)
10 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Add the almonds to the food processor, and puree them until they are a mealy mixture.

In a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar, until smooth and fluffy.  Then beat in the eggs, pureed almonds, almond extract, vanilla extract and orange juice.  Next stir in the flour and salt, mix until it’s incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter or spray  an 8-inch spring form.  Pour in the better, smooth the top of the surface.  Bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until it feels spongy when gently pressed.  Remove from the oven and let stand to cool.

Prior to serving, dust with powdered sugar.

Food Matters Project #42: Potato & Corn Fritters

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  I hope all of you had a long weekend full of relaxing, great barbeque food and fun with friends and family!  We stayed home, but had a chance to visit with friends we don’t spend a lot of time with.  It’s been great catching up, and exploring some new spots around town!  To finish up a delicious weekend, we made a recipe for the Food Matters Project!

There is no host this week, rather, it’s a Wild Card post- you can pick your favorite spring/summer recipe.  We went a different route, and chose a FMP recipe which was already posted before, but we had not made it that week.  It sounded delicious, we had all of the ingredients (when does that happen?), and wanted a side with our dinner.

To check what recipes Fifth Floor Kitchen has participated in during the Food Matters Project, take a peak here.  Also, check out fellow FMP bloggers Memorial Day recipes:

 Lexi's Kitchen: Watermelon Salad  
 Keely Marie: Calico Beans
 Cooking Poetry: Raw Strawberry Cheesecake
 Meadows Cooks: Lentil Rice Chili
 Let's Cook & Be Friends: Chocolate-Cherry Panini & Tomatoes

Last summer we attempted fritters for a Food Matters Project recipe.  They didn’t turn out as expected, but a cook can never give up (try, try, try again!).   This was a fast recipe, although it does involve a bit of frying- so it’s probably not the best for a mid-summer recipe.  But DC’s weather was a bit gloomy today, and cool enough to keep our windows open- so I figured this would be worth a shot!  We served these fritters with a Greek Salad, a more flavorful option to a slice of bread!  Check out how other FMP participants made this Sweet Potato and Corn Fritters with Thai Dipping Sauce recipe (back in November!).

Potato & Corn Fritters

Potato & Corn Fritters
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 88)

We served these fritters with a dollop of our Spicy Mayo Sauce.  Definitely worth making for this recipe, or for other dishes as a topping.

4 medium potatoes, grated & squeezed dry
1 cup corn, defrosted
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 large egg
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a medium bowl mix together the poatoes, corn, jalapeño, green onions, cilantro, egg, flour, salt and pepper.  This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated for a couple of hours before cooking.

Pour about 1/8 inch of oil into a large skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, drop about a 1/4 cup of potato mixture into the oil and allow it to spread out.  Cook until golden brown, then turn once and cook again.  Both sides should be cooked in about 5 minutes.  Serve hot, or at room temperature.  We recommend frying these in batches (of about 2-3), so the pan does not get too overcrowded.