Tag Archives: lunch

Food Matters Project #38: Spinach Cobb Salad with a Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette

I absolutely love salads for lunch!  If you choose one that has fresh ingredients, lots of vegetables and a delicious dressing- it’s the perfect dish that won’t weigh you down, or make you sleepy in the afternoon.  Fortunately, this week’s Food Matters Project recipe was a salad I can add to our meal rotation!

When I saw that Sara, of Pidge’s Pantry, chose Mark Bittman’s recipe for the Mediterranean Cobb Salad, I was excited to see what changes he made to the salad to pack it with flavor and nutrients.  I’ve never been too happy after ordering a cobb salad at a restaurant- it’s usually served with iceberg lettuce, tomato, bacon, egg, and blue cheese.  Not the healthiest of ingredients, and definitely not a refreshing salad.

I made additional changes to Bittman’s recipe.  I wanted the salad to have a bit more nutrients and vegetables, so I mixed the romaine with spinach.  I also had some red bell peppers, cucumbers and green onions which I added to the salad.  For those who are not fans of anchovies, I can sense your apprehension- I had that once myself.  But if you’ve had a good dressing with anchovies in it, then you just might be a convert.  This dressing fit perfectly with the salad, providing that tangy, salty flavor that it needed.  But if you’re not that adventurous just yet, then double the capers, and skip the anchovies.  You’ll make this salad again- so there is plenty of time to try new ingredients down the road.

Check out Sara’s version of the Mediterranean Cobb Salad, and all other Food Matters Project participants variations here.

With spring here, and summer just around the corner, here are some additional salads we’ve shared and eaten in the past: Greek Panzanella Salad, Lentil & Summer Vegetable Salad, Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market Salad, Spicy Asian Salad with Sunflower Seeds, Arugula Salad with Eggs & Mushrooms, and Asparagus, Tuna & Bean Salad.

Spinach Cobb Salad with a Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette

Spinach Cobb Salad with a Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette
Adapted from: Food Matters Cookbook (pg 149)

I’m not providing specific amount of the ingredients since this can be tailored to how many people you plan on feeding, or if you want more of certain ingredients.  The dressing produces about a 1/2 cup of liquid- enough for at least 4 servings.  If you don’t want to use anchovies in the dressing, just double the amount of capers.

spinach, chopped
romaine lettuce, chopped
tomato, chopped
red bell pepper, chopped
cucumber, chopped
hard-boiled egg, chopped/crumbled
chickpeas
green onion, finely chopped

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 anchovy fillets, with a bit of their oil
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp parsley
pinch of pepper

To make the vinaigrette combine the oil, vinegar, anchovies, capers, parsley and pepper into a food processor.  Blend together until a creamy emulsion forms, within 30 seconds.  Taste and add more vinegar or pepper if necessary.

Mix the spinach and romaine lettuce together on a large plate.  Then spoon the ingredients on top (the order doesn’t matter): tomatoes, red bell peppers, cucumbers, egg, chickpeas and green onions.  Then drizzle the vinaigrette on top, right before serving.

Monthly Review: January 2013

First monthly review for 2013!  What photos did I capture with my iPhone this month?

Interested what we did in the past?
2012: May, June, July, August, November, December

Pizza- Jan 2013

We make pizza at home regularly.  This was a shaved pizza recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  I went to see her at Politics & Prose in November, and now I can’t wait to try out more recipes from her book.

We also made some pizza for our friends who have a newborn.  We came prepared: dough, chopped ingredients, pizza stone.  What a fun nigh!

Need pizza topping ideas?  Try these: Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza; Mushroom & Broccoli Pizza.

wontons

I was trying out a recipe to post for the Chinese New Year- which will be in February this year.  Look forward to a delicious post in the next couple of weeks!

Need Asian-inspired recipes for your Chinese New Year party? Asian Vegetable Rolls with Peanut Sauce; Pear Sorbet with Sesame Wonton Crisps; Asian Noodle Bowl; Spicy Asian Salad with Sunflower Seeds; Veggie Stir Fry.

Rock Creek Park

Sam and I are really excited to run the Rock ‘n Roll DC 1/2 Marathon in March!  This is a photo from one of our long runs in Rock Creek Park.  Are you running any upcoming races?  What distances?  Where do you do your long runs?

Ice skating

One beautiful Sunday afternoon, Sam and I went ice skating.  It’s been on our bucket list for some time, and we had a great time.  We went to the Sculpture Garden Ice Skating Ring!  What are some of your “to-do” activities for 2013?

Meridian Pint

Recently, our favorite bar has been Meridian Pint in Columbia Heights.  They have a large selection of beers, and some good food.  Have you been there before?  If not, definitely add it to your list!

Paul USA

We spent a fun Saturday afternoon people watching and eating sandwiches from Paul, the delicious French bakery.  Stop in: buy a sandwich, pastry, or coffee and read a book- it’s a perfect weekend afternoon!  There are a number of DC locations: Penn Quarter, Farragut North, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, and soon there will be one out in Tysons Corner.

Kushi Sushi Jan 2013

Back in May, Sam and I tried Kushi for the first time.  This time around I tried the lunch version with my friend Alix.  The dish pictured above was my Ocean’s Oyako Don (salmon & roe), and she had the Spicy Zuke Don (spicy soy sauce tuna).  The lunch dishes come with miso soup, salad and pickles- most within a $12-$15 price range.  What’s your favorite sushi place?

IMG_2663

The 2013 Presidential Inauguration was held over Martin Luther King weekend.  This photo is from the day before, where you can see they covered up that fresh grass that had been growing.  I think everyone was a little worried it’d get trampled up with so many people walking all over it, but it’s good thing they had a Plan B!  Did anyone attend any fun Inauguration Balls?

cooking sheets

I won a set of AirBake cookie sheets from a giveaway Olga, of Mango & Tomato, was having on her blog!  I’m excited to bake some delicious cookies- any suggestions or recommendations?

Olga and I met at the Eat Write Retreat DC Blogger Conference back in May.  It’s been great making a new friend, and fellow food blogger.  I love her recipes, so definitely check out her blog for more giveaways and her fun stories!

Breakfast for Dinner

I also received Breakfast for Dinner, the new cookbook by Lindsey and Taylor, of Love and Olive Oil.  We got this signed copy for helping out with some recipe testing earlier this year.  This was one of the first blogs I started reading, long before Fifth Floor Kitchen started, and I was so excited to help them out!  Can’t wait to try more delicious recipes from this book (in bookstores on February 12)!

Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potatoes

Lastly, we finished off the month by trying out the Moroccan Chickpea & Sweet Potato Stew from A Couple of Cooks.  They have some fabulous vegetarian recipes, so definitely check out their blog- this particular one was easy and delicious, makes for great lunch leftovers!

We’ve got exciting news coming in February, so come back soon!

Boston: Flour Bakery

This past weekend, I got to spend some time with friends in Boston.  It was great to see the city in some warmer temperatures, since it was a little chilly when we were there in April.  Check out what Sam and I did on our last visit: Sam Adams Brewery and Boston Review.

This time around it was a girls weekend, so there was some running, brunching, eating delicious pasta and enjoying the beautiful weather!  One of the highlights was a visit to Flour Bakery.  As stated on their website, Flour Bakery was “borne out of a passionate desire to share the simple pleasures that mouth-watering pastries and foods can bring”.  Walking in you can smell the delicious variety of baked goods from tarts and decadent chocolate cakes, to traditional cookies and croissants.

Joanne Chang is a Harvard graduate with a degree in applied mathematics and economics.  At 24, after two years as a management consultant, she changed her career and dove into the pastry and restaurant business.  Today, in addition to the three locations of Flour Bakery (Fort Point, South End and Central Square), her and her husband also manage Myers + Chang.

As we walked through the door of the Central Square location, there was a bit of a line- but it moved quickly.  After a run that morning we decided to each have a brunch item, as well as a dessert, so we can share.  There is standard menu of breakfast items, sandwiches and desserts.  In addition, there are also daily and weekly items.  On this board, a couple of items were already crossed out and unavailable by the time we arrived (around noon).  So what did we eat?

Beth and I had ordered the exact same thing, but prepared differently.  All sandwiches can also be prepared as a salad, unless they are roasted.  So I chose the Smoked Salmon with Herbed Cream Cheese, Red Onions and Arugula Sandwich.

Meanwhile, Beth decided on the salad version of the same dish.  After trying the salad, we all raved about the dressing- but couldn’t exactly decide what was in it!

Becky opted for another weekly special of the summer squash quiche, which was served with a small side salad.


Now for the best part, the desserts!  We had an oreo:

A chocolate chip macaroon:

And a Sticky Buns, the signature dessert at Flour Bakery.  I’m not a huge fan of anything cinnamon, but these might have won my heart.  They were a little sweet with notes of caramel and brown sugar, a little nutty with pecans, and a little sticky per the name.  My favorite was that they were lightly airy and not too heavy, makes for a delicious treat after a run!

Becky said that she’ll definitely be back, and I’m excited to hear what she’ll get next time!

Tabbouleh with Shredded Chicken

I apologize for the silence on the blog the last couple of days, but we’ve had a bit of an internet problem.  Yesterday we not only fixed the internet, but also our dishwasher.  Hard work, but someone has to do it, right?  The joys of home ownership!

Whenever there are many items on my to-do list, I try to make dishes that don’t require too much time, or work.  If I can use up extras from the fridge, that’s a double-bonus.

A couple of weeks ago I made pitas, but had lots of leftover dough.  I divided it into separate balls, and kept it in the freezer.  And when I had the right ingredients for some tabbouleh- I made a tasty, and fast, lunch!

Tabbouleh with Shredded Chicken
Adapted from: Cooking Light (March 2009)

Even if you don’t have any pitas, tabbouleh is great as a lunch salad- very refreshing and light.  I had leftover chicken, which I shredded and added to the salad, but feel free to omit it.  A great addition is some feta cheese sprinkled over the top!

1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
3/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup mint, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine the bulgur and the boiling water in a large bowl.  Cover the bowl and let it stand for 15 minutes.  Then fluff the bulgur with a fork, drain any extra water.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, mix well.

Southwest Pasta Salad

Marathon training has started, only 118 days until the Marine Corps Marathon!  Which means Saturday’s start early, and lunch becomes significant.  During the rest of the year, on the weekends, we tend to have a bigger breakfast, which then leads to a skipped lunch and early dinner…or something along the lines of that.

Since we ignore weekend lunches, I need some quick and healthy ideas.  It’s probably not a good idea to do a long run, and then fill my tummy with some greasy stuff, right?  This salad was great: easy to make, delicious to eat and nutritious.  And when you’re like me, the Mexican flavors are always welcome in my tummy.

Since it is 4th of July weekend, some of you might be picnicking- well this would be a great addition.  This can be made a day ahead and takes almost no time.  In addition, pasta salads are always liked by many.

Southwest Pasta Salad
Adapted from: Aggie’s Kitchen

1/2 box spiral pasta (or other fun shapes)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried cilantro
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

Cook pasta according to directions on the box.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, then add the onion and garlic.  Cook for a couple of minutes until the onion turns translucent.  Add the chili powder and dried cilantro, stir well.  Then add the red bell pepper and jalapeño.  Cook for another couple of minutes.  Finally, add the black beans- cook and stir this mixture for 3-4 minutes.

Finally, add the pasta and vegetable mixture into a bowl.  Add the tomatoes, cilantro, salt and pepper.  Toss the salad well.  You can serve it warm, or you can put it in the fridge for some time to cool it off.