Tag Archives: pasta

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

Monthly Review: March 2013

Another month went by in a flash, hopefully spring is here!  Check out what photos I have captured on my iPhone!

Interested in what we did in the past?
2013: January February
2012: May June July August November December

March 2013 Review 1

Unfortunately, the month of March started off on a sad note for us.  One of our adorable kitties, Malcolm, passed away.  I realize not everyone feels this way, but to us the cats are like family and it’s difficult when they’re gone.  Thank you to all of our friends and family for the kind words, wonderful memories, and flowers.  We’ll miss you Malcolm!

March Review 2

I’m probably the last person to check out Union Market, but thanks to my friend Alix- I (finally) did!  After sandwiches from Red Apron Butchery, I also got some goodies for Sam.  Alix and Sam are pickle lovers, so thanks to her I was able to choose the best one’s from Oh! Pickles.  I also bought some fresh bread, from Lyon Baker, and a new beer from Cordial.  Have you been to Union Market?  If so, what’s your favorite place to eat at?

March 2013 Review 3

One early afternoon, Sam and I explored a new place- The Coupe.  It’s a 24 hour diner in DC.  Since then, I’ve also stopped by for coffee on a Saturday morning- lots of people coming in for brunch!

March 2013 Review 4

We also checked out a new gem in our new locale- El Chucho.  If you’d like to see what we ate and drank check out our El Chucho Review blog post!  What’s your favorite dish on their menu?

March Review 2013- 5

The 2 days before running races I like to make a giant pot of pasta.  Of course, I get bored of just red sauce- so I tried out a brussels sprouts mac ‘n cheese recipe.  Need other some new recipe ideas? Clams and Linguine with White Wine Sauce; Green Pea & Pancetta Linguine; Kale Lasagna; Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese; Mushroom Bolognese Fettucini; No-Cook Spaghetti Sauce; Provencal Pasta Sauce; Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs & Blue Cheese; Sam’s Summer Pasta Sauce.

March 2013 Review 6

I ran in the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon!  This was my 10th half marathon!  Congrats to all the runners out there, and thanks to my friends Steph & Cassie for being great cheerleaders.  Unfortunately, Sam was unable to run- but as always, he was my best cheerleader out there!  I also celebrated by eating a couple of our Green Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting!

I’m excited for #11 next month: the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Nashville.  Anyone running that race?  Any Nashville recommendations?  It’ll be a fun girls weekend which includes my friends Becky and Lianne- make sure to check out how their training is going!

March Review 2013- 7

Welcome the newest member of our family at Fifth Floor Kitchen!  His name is Fuggles- it’s a type of hops used in British beer.  One of Sam’s hobbies is brewing his own beer, which is where we got the idea for this cutie’s name.  He’s a little less than a year old, and a very energetic little guy!  I’m sure he’ll keep Van Gogh (our other kitty) on his toes!

March 2013 Review 8

Every couple needs a date night.  Everyone needs a date night at Red Rocks.  It’s our favorite pizza place in DC, and you all should check it out (at least) once.  Above is the Roasted Eggplant pizza (roasted eggplant, goat cheese, pesto, parmesan).  You should all be happy I shared this classified secret with you!  ;)

March 2013 Review 9

I really enjoy having dinner dates with food blogger friends- I always get the great gossip about new restaurants, best dishes and fun events.  This past month Olga, from Mango & Tomato, and I went to Dukem.  I haven’t had Ethiopian in a long time, and it was nice to try a new spot.  Have you had Ethiopian?  If not, definitely give it a shot.

March 2013 Review 10

Thanks to Liza, of (a)Musing Foodie, and her post about Tonx- I knew we had to try a new coffee.  Check out how to get a free sample of Tonx Coffee here!  We received a medium roast for our sample, and it was perfect for the cold March mornings!

Full disclaimer: For the free sample Tonx will ask for credit card information, and automatically subscribe users to the lowest monthly subscription, unless you cancel (which is done with a quick press of a button).  They will provide reminders (via email) before moving you to the subscription (a couple of days notice).   

*This was not sponsored by Tonx, just me sharing a link to a free sample!

March 2013 Review 11

The Monday’s in March have not had the best weather- hello snow!  I’m hoping April will bring more sunshine and higher temperatures.  We did stay warm this month by making some of these recipes: Dal with Lots of Vegetables; Provencal Pasta Sauce; Rhubarb-Blueberry Pie; Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce and the Banana & Chocolate Chip Cake.

March 2013 Review 12

To end the month on a delicious notice- my runner friend Tracy and I tried this amazing dessert: Deep Fried-Bacon Wrapped PB Cups.  Where can you find this treat?  At The Passenger!  Awesome bar too, so doubly worth the visit.

Food Matters Project #35: Provencal Pasta Sauce

It’s another Monday installment of the Food Matters Project!  Last week we hosted the Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce, a perfect recipe for the upcoming grilling season.  This week’s host is Nancy, of Funkytown Foodies.  She’s one of three friends that have a food blog together- they all document delicious, healthy and local recipes.

Nancy chose the Provencal Vegetables with Chicken in Packets recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out Nancy’s recipe- she made a few changes to the original.  Also, all other ideas from FMP participants can be found here.

Thanks to the weather, I took a completely different take on this recipe.  It’s the second Monday in a row that DC has been gloomy and rainy.  Why Monday?  It’s such a hard way to start the week.  Since it’s cold and blah out, I wanted something comforting and saucy.  And due to poor planning, I forgot to defrost the chicken…had various vegetables that needed to be eaten in our fridge.

So I began chopping up the vegetables, hoping an idea would just pop into my head.  It did, once all of the vegetables were chopped up and mixed together- why not make a sauce to put over some pasta?  Comforting, warm, and full of flavor…making me wish for spring even more!  We didn’t have any parsley in our fridge, but it might be a good garnish on top.  This really reminded me of Sam’s Summer Sauce, and now I can’t wait for farmers market tomatoes!

Provencal Pasta Sauce

Provencal Pasta Sauce
Inspired by: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 464)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 large red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup black olives, halved
3/4 cup green olives, halved
1 zucchini, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups of water
1/2 lb pasta (we used whole wheat spaghetti)
Parmesan or feta cheese (optional)

Pour the olive oil into a large pot, heat it up.  Once it’s hot add all of the chopped vegetables, the herbs, salt, pepper and water.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, bring down the temperature to low, simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.

If you prefer chunkier sauce, then leave the sauce as is.  If you’d prefer a smoother sauce, then puree all of it.  If you’re like us, and you want it somewhere it the middle, puree about half of it in a blender or food processor.

Cook pasta per package instructions.  Drain, and divide between the plates.  Then spoon out the provencal sauce, sprinkle with parsley.  If you prefer, top it all off with some Parmesan or feta.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013

Tune in tomorrow for some exciting news!  Until then, enjoy some chocolates & wine tonight!

Valentine's Day

Need last minute Valentine’s Day dinner ideas?  Check these out:

Appetizers:
Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey
Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Sides:
Shirmp ‘n Grits
Butternut Squash & Pomegranate Panzanella Salad

Main:
Filet Mignon with Bourbon Sauce
Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza
Vegetable Coq au Vin
Brazilian Fish & Shrimp Stew
Green Pea & Pancetta Linguine
Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese
Mac ‘n Cheese with Peas & Prosciutto
Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs & Blue Cheese
Clams and Linguine with White Wine Sauce
Eggplant & Broccolini Pasta Salad

Dessert:
Baklava
Blackberry Coconut Tart
Blueberry-Rhubarb Crumble
Chocolate Mini Lavas
Fruit Tart

Eggplant & Broccolini Pasta Salad

I’m sure many of you having cravings for different foods.  About this time of the year, tomatoes tend to be in the top.  Definitely love fresh tomatoes (check out the latest tomato recipe), but right now I have also been craving eggplant.  And specifically- roasted eggplant- something about the crunchy outside, and soft inside.  Yum!

When I spotted this recipe in June’s Vegetarian Times, I had to make it.  It’s a great recipe that tastes delicious the day you make it, but this is a great cold pasta salad for some leftovers.  Most pasta salads do not have eggplant, so this is definitely a tasty difference.  It’s a little fancier than you regular pasta or pasta salad, but just as easy to make!  Great for those busy summer days!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Eggplant & Broccolini Pasta Salad
Inspired by: Vegetarian Times (June 2012)

1 lb pasta
2 medium eggplants, washed
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
8 oz broccolini, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Heat up a large pot with water, once it’s boiling add in the pasta.  Cook the past according to the directions on the package.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  Cut the eggplant into 1-inch pieces and spread it all onto a cookie sheet.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.  Then using your hands, mix the seasoning with the eggplant.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the eggplant is slightly browned.

Once the eggplant is done baking, spread the broccolini on a cookie sheet (can be the same one).  Sprinkle it with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes.  Once again, using your hands (be careful if the cookie sheet is still hot) mix the ingredients together.  Bake the broccolini for 15 minutes at 425ºF.

When all of the ingredients are cooked and baked, toss them into a large bowl.  Then add in the grape tomatoes, regular tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Stir all of the ingredients well.  Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.