Category Archives: spinach

Food Matters Project #34: Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce

It’s another Monday post of the Food Matters Project.  This week we’re hosting the recipe, and have chosen Mark Bittman’s Brown Rice and Lamb Burgers with Spinach, from The Food Matters Cookbook.

To catch up all of our readers, we joined the Food Matters Project with these fellow bloggers last winter.  Each week we have a new host, who chooses a recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.  The recipes are your own interpretation, and it’s great to see the creativity from all of the blogging participants.  To read more about the project, check out the web site here, and this is our schedule.  We’d love to have you join in!

Sam and I had hosted one dish so far on Fifth Floor Kitchen.  Almost exactly a year ago we hosted the Vegetables au Vin with Coq.  If you’d like to see the rest of our recipe interpretations, check out this list.

To host our 2nd recipe we chose another delicious one, although as always, we did make some changes.  As you all know, we recently moved from a condo to a house.  One of the bigger changes (aside from having more space and a bigger kitchen), is that we can finally have a grill!  Our fantastic realtor, Peter Raia, got us a wonderful housewarming gift- a new grill! What perfect timing to enjoy a burger, especially since yesterday DC had amazing weather- sunny and in the 60′s!

Tzatziki Sauce

How did we change the recipe from Mark Bittman’s original?  First, we added a tzatziki sauce, rather than using feta cheese.  We also used less rice (he had 1 cup) and more onion (1 whole one).  The biggest change is he did not use burger buns as we did, instead he placed each burger on the bed of spinach (and more of it, 1 lb).  Check out what creative ideas other bloggers came up with here.

Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach

Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce
Inspired & Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook

Servings: 4 patties

Tzatziki Sauce
16 oz plain Greek yogurt
9 sprigs of mint leaves
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 cucumber, peeled

Spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Burger Patties
1 1/4 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup cooked rice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground sumac
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

4 burger buns

To make the tzatziki sauce, blend together the Greek yogurt, mint, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor.  Also add in 3/4 of the cucumber and puree it.  Scoop out the tzatziki sauce into a bowl.  Chop the remaining 1/4 cucumber, and add it into the bowl, stir.  The sauce can be made ahead of time, and actually tastes great when it’s served cold.

To make the spinach, add the olive oil to a large skillet and allow to heat up.  Once the olive oil is hot, then add the spinach to the pan.  Stir occasionally until the spinach begins to soften and wilt, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan.

To make the burgers, mix the following ingredients in a mixing bowl: ground lamb, cooked rice, garlic, red onion, cumin, sumac, salt, and pepper.  Mix the ingredients together and form 4 patties.  These can be made ahead of time, or be added onto a grill right away.  Grill to 6-8 minutes on each side, depending on your preference of cooked meat.  If you do not have a grill, you can still make these on a skilled over medium-high heat, cooking the patties for about the same time until they are cooked through.

To make the burgers, place some spinach on the bun, then the burger patty.  Lastly, drizzle with tzatziki sauce.  Feel free to add tomato or onion slices.  Enjoy!

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

As I’ve mentioned before, Sam and I do a lot of running.  Currently, we’re training for the Rock ‘n Roll USA Half Marathon, which is held in DC in March!  Are any of you running it?  I would love to see some bloggers and readers out there!

For me, the hardest part about training for distance races (halfs, fulls, etc) is providing your body with enough nutrition and energy.  Specifically, the day you do your long run- ours tend to be Saturdays.  What can you eat after a run during which you’ve burned over 1,000 calories?  A burger definitely hits the spot, but I some mornings all I want are eggs.

A couple of weeks ago, I was perusing my Google Reader and I saw the perfect post-long run breakfast dish.  It was from Liza, of (a)Musing Foodie- a fellow blogger I met at the Eat, Write, Retreat Food Blog Conference.  The best part was, it’s a dish you put together the night before, and just pop it into the oven in the morning.

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Even if you don’t have a long run planned for this Saturday, this is a perfect dish for your brunch guests.  Easy, delicious and very versatile!

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole
Adapted from: (a)Musing Foodie

Liza used a baguette, I did not have one on hand- so I used leftover whole-wheat bread from Trader Joe’s that had flaxseeds and sunflowers seeds in it.  Feel free to use what you have in your bread box!  Additionally, use any type of milk product for the 2 1/2 cups of liquid (regular milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc)- I ran out of the soy milk so I substituted the rest with the half ‘n half.

2 cups of bread, cubed
6 slices of bacon
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1 lb Polish sausage, cut into small pieces
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
10 large eggs
2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup half ‘n half
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Spray a 9×13” baking dish with cooking spray. Then spread the bread cubes on the bottom of the baking dish.

Heat up a large skillet, place the bacon on it and heat it up until crispy on both sides.  Set aside on a paper towel, but leave the bacon grease in the pan.  Then add in the onion, let it cook until translucent over medium heat, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and jalapeño, cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Next, add in the sausage and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until it begins to brown.  Add all of these ingredients into a large bowl.

Once the bacon has cooled off, chop it up and add it to the bowl.  Then mix in cheese, spinach, and green onions.  Once the meats and vegetables are mixed, spread this out over the bread cubes in the baking dish.

Next, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, soy milk, half and half, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.  Then pour this mixture over the layers in the casserole dish, and gently press down so the liquid drips down.

Cover the casserole, and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

Once you’re ready to cook it, preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Bake the casserole covered with aluminum foil for 45 minutes.  Then uncover it, and bake it for another 15 minutes when it starts to bubble.

Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Veggie Flatbread with Cilantro Hummus

As many of you have probably noticed through  most of these posts, we don’t eat much meat here at Fifth Floor Kitchen.  Our thoughts are that if we do want to eat meat, we prefer “happy cows/chickens/etc”.  The fact that we didn’t have any meat in our fridge came in handy this weekend.  Our fridge broke!  Well, the freezer was working, but the fridge was warm.  (Yes, the beer did not get as cold.)  It’ll be completely fixed today, at 5pm, when the Refrigerator Man comes by and changes a thermostat.  I guess these are the pleasures of home ownership?  Most of the food survived, except some of the dairy products such as: milk, sour cream and some half-and-half.  But we’re back to a happy kitchen. 

This accompanied the Cucumber Gazpacho for dinner one night.  Also very simple to make, and very springy.  The original recipe called for pita bread, but while searching for it at Whole Foods I was concentrating on the “whole wheat”.  So instead I grabbed a flatbread.  (to me, these two are fairly similar- pita bread is thinner, while the flatbread is a bit thicker and softer)  I would say this was similar to a personal pizza, it’s got veggies and cheese (but could have so much  more on it).  The only exception is the “sauce” is cilantro-hummus-flavored.  So as long as you like cilantro, this is defintely worth a try.  The veggies on this don’t need to be the same, feel free to add what you like on your flatbread. 

Veggie Flatbread with Cilantro Hummus
Inspired by: Vegetarian Times

1/2 cup cilantro leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
2 flatbreads (or pita’s)
2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained & sliced into strips
1 cup spinach leaves
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

To make hummus, add the cilantro and garlic into the food processor.  Turn on for about 1 minute until everything is chopped.  Then add the chickpeas, lime juice, oil and water.  Puree for 3 minutes until the mixture is creamy. 

Place the 2 flatbreads on baking sheet.  Spread each with the cilantro hummus.  Then top with peppers, mushrooms and spinach leaves.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes, the flatbread should be crisp and the cheese should be melting.

Tofu & Spinach Quiche

We recently posted on a quiche, but this is another which we had tried fairly recently.  Remember when we tried the tofu lasagna, and the consistency of the tofu was similar to ricotta cheese- well, I wondered if tofu can also replace eggs in a quiche.  That is how it ended up on our menu one night.  Luckily, it turned out great, as long as you provide the tofu lots of flavor (jalapeno, cheese, garlic, lemon).  I must admit, the night of the quiche was great (when it was still warm), the next day for lunch it didn’t have the same taste.  If I had put it in a toaster oven, and then it would be just as delicious.  Lesson of the day: if eggs cannot be found in the fridge, you can still make a quiche!

Tofu & Spinach Quiche
Adapted from: Fresh 365 Blog

1 pie crust (I used a frozen pie)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fresh spinach
2 cups grated cheese (Cheddar or Colby Jack or Manchego)
1 jalapeno, chopped
12 oz tofu, pressed to remove excess moisture
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tbsp white cooking wine
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small pan, add olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are beginning to brown.  Transfer to a large bowl, and add the spinach and cheese.  In a food processor, combine tofu, milk, jalapeno, wine, lemon juice, salt, pepper and the red pepper flakes.  Puree until smooth.  Transfer the puree into the bowl with the spinach mix.  Mix well.  Spoon filling into the crust, pressing evenly to all sides.  Put in heated oven, and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven, let sit for 8-10 minutes before cutting.

Squash Lentil Salad

This is a great salad for a quick and easy dinner.  Since it’s more savory when the squash is warm, and the greens don’t get soggy- this one is a make right before you eat.  It’s a good mix of a light salad, but filling with the squash and lentils.  Since there are plenty of squash to choose from, it should not be limited to butternut squash, feel free to try others. 

Squash-Lentil Salad
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen Blog

3/4 cup lentils
2 medium size butternut squash; peeled, seeded, cubed (1 inch)
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups spinach (or arugula)
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, thinly shredded

Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Toss the squash with 4 tbsp of oil, cumin, paprika, salt and red pepper flakes.  Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes; flip squash and roast for another 15 minutes.  When squash is tender, take it out of the oven and let it cool.

While the squash roasts, cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender (20-30 minutes).  After they are cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. 

Combine the lentils, squash, goat cheese and greens in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl mix mint, vinegar and 2 tbsp oil.  Add the dressing to the salad, season with extra salt if desired. Divide between 3-4 bowls, and lightly sprinkle each of them with Parmesan.