Category Archives: Breakfast

Spring Vegetable Tart

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, many of you have already ordered flowers or presents for their mothers.  But for those of you who might be making brunch for them, I’ve got the perfect dish.

A couple of weeks back I was strolling through the Penn Quarter Farmers Market when I saw these giant and gorgeous spring onions:

Spring onions are are bigger than green onions.  The bulb is more defined (very round), and the flavor is a little stronger.  While green onions are available year-round (you can even grow them in your window sill), spring onions are only available in the spring (now)- find them and cook them, you won’t be disappointed!  They can be added to salads, roasted whole, or simmered with meat.

Although Sam and I ate this for dinner, this dish is perfect at any brunch table- it can be a substitute for a frittata or quiche.  More vegetables and less cheese!

Spring Vegetable Tart
Adapted from: Cooking Light (April 2009)

Rather than cooking potatoes, use mashed potatoes if you have them available.  This tart can be whatever flavor you’d like to to be, some substitutes/additions can be: mushrooms, shallots, prosciutto or parsley.

1 1/2 lb potatoes (1 big, 1 small or about 3 cups mashed potatoes)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 of big onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 spring onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
4 cups chopped spinach
1/4 cup Half ‘n Half
1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded pecorino cheese

Place peeled potatoes in a pot full of water, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Drain, allow to cool slightly.  Puree potatoes in a food processor, or mash with a potato masher.  Add to a large bowl.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, allow to cook until it is translucent.  Then add the garlic, jalapeño and spring onion; cook for another 2 minutes.  Stir in lettuce and spinach, cook for a couple of minutes until the greens wilt, stirring frequently.

Turn off the heat and pour into the bowl with the potatoes.  Then add the half and half, fontina cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper.  Stir all of the ingredients together.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Coat an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray, then dust with breadcrumbs.  Add the potato mixture to the dish.  Bake for 25 minutes, until the top is slightly brown.  Remove from the oven, let stand for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with pecorino cheese before serving.

The first ever Fifth Floor Kitchen Giveaway winner is comment number 4- Virginia!  Her favorite kitchen appliance is the Kitchen Aid stand mixer- excellent choice!

Please send an email to: fifthfloorkitchen@gmail.com with your full name and mailing address.

Thank you to EVERYONE who entered the giveaway! Love getting comments & new readers!  Come back next week for another giveaway!

Brunch: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

On Saturday a group of us ran the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon here in DC.  Post-race festivities were definitely needed, and our friend Stephanie hosted a brunch.  The weather couldn’t be more perfect: sunny, warm, with a light breeze.  All of us contributed to a little something, from champagne and croissants to egg dishes and french toast.  Runners and non-runners enjoyed the beautiful day and the company.

One of the things we brought over was some banana bread.  Sam had put it into his backpack, and carried it to the cheering locations and the finish line of the race.  It survived all in once piece, and I couldn’t wait to try a bite- a great motivation when running 13.1 miles!

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing through a bookstore and recognized Homemade Life Stories, a book written by Molly Wizenberg.  Her blog, Orangette, is one of the first that I had started reading about 3 years ago.  I was bored during my lunch hours at work, and started browsing different blogs for new recipes, new restaurants in DC or some fashion advice (if you need some blog links check out my list of Blogs, Books & Magazines).

I was really excited about this book, and finished it rather quickly.  The exciting part was that there were recipes after each chapter, which I couldn’t wait to try.  Molly has a great way to pulling you into her life, explaining how each recipe ties in.



Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Adapted from: Homemade Life Stories by Molly Wizenberg

Molly notes that this banana bread freezes wonderfully, once it has fully cooled.  Her original recipe called for crystallized ginger, I chose not to add this (I will next time) just so everyone could enjoy the bread during brunch- just in case we had any picky eaters.  I did add more chocolate chips- who doesn’t enjoy those?


6 tbsp salted butter
3 bananas, frozen or fresh
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl, microwave the butter until it has melted.  On a plate, microwave the bananas for 2 minutes.  Peel the bananas and mash them.  Alternatively, if yours aren’t frozen, then just mash them.

In a large bowl, mix together: flour, sugar and baking soda until they are well combined.

In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs.  Add in the mashed bananas, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla.  Stir the mixture until everything is mixed well.  Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture, stir gently until the flour is well incorporated.  The batter will be think and slightly lumpy.  Then, add in the chocolate chips and stir a couple more times.

Grease a 9×5 inch bread pan with cooking spray or butter.  Pour the batter into the bread pan, smooth the top.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Once the oven is hot, bake the bread for 50 minutes.  At this point, start checking if it has cooked.  If the toothpick comes out clean, you can take it out of the oven.  Ours didn’t, and the top was getting darker so I covered the top with aluminum foil.  I baked it for another 20 minutes, checking on the bread every 5 minutes (this will depend on your oven).  Let it cool before cutting it into slices.

The Perfect Breakfast: Lox

Spring is almost here, and every year all of us are yearning for more sunny days.  Nothing says spring like a wonderful breakfast spread, while you’re sitting outdoors on your patio, enjoying the beautiful weather.

The perfect way to start a morning is by eating this:


There are no instructions required, you add what you want onto this sandwich, and how much you want of it.  This lovely image above has this:

Cream cheese:
*I made enough for a number of sandwiches, so there will be leftovers*
1/4 cup cream cheese
2-3 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt

Mix all of the ingredients together, and spread it on the bread

Sandwich Ingredients:
rye bread
Boston lettuce leaves
lox
dill
capers
cucumbers, sliced

I’d love to know what your perfect sandwich is!

Breakfast: Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Cranberries

Are you a breakfast eater?  If not, you should definitely start, it’s a healthy habit to have.  I am definitely a breakfast eater, more or less within 30 minutes of waking up.  Although, I’m not the pancake-bacon-sausage-toast kind of girl.

We tend to make small, but savory dishes for breakfast.  And by “we”, I actually mean Sam.  Unless it involves mixing-up yogurt and granola at 6 am, you will not see me in the kitchen.

Sam is the egg master- and I’m not just saying that because we’re getting married!  Next time you stay over, just ask nicely- you’ll not be disappointed!

So to pull my weight in with breakfast dishes- I decided to make some muffins.  And they turned out delicious.

If you have some extra pumpkin puree or cranberries in your kitchen (post-Thanksgiving leftovers) this is a great recipe to use up the extras.  I don’t like muffins that are too sweet- so this was perfect- tart and savory.  The muffin was soft with a crunchy top!


Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Cranberries
Adapted the idea from: Back to the Cutting Board
makes about 6 big muffins

**Pumpkin Granola Topping:
2 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup flaxseed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp applesauce
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp maple (vanilla also works great)

Muffin:
4 oz (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree (rest of the can)
3 tbsp honey
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, mix all of the pumpkin granola toppings together.  Make sure all of the oats are coated with the other ingredients.  Spread the oat mixture evenly on the parchment paper.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  The granola should be slightly stiff, feel free to mix it around before pulling it out of the oven.  Let the oats cool.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter.  Slowly add the sugar, until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Then add the eggs, continue beating the mixture.  Slowly add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Once that is mixed, add the pumpkin puree and honey.  Once all of the ingredients are mixed well, fold in the cranberries.

Divide the batter into muffin cups (I used the big 6-muffin tin).  Fill the cups 3/4 full, and sprinkle the oats on top.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10-15 minutes before trying them out.

**This makes significantly more oat granola.  I used the extra with yogurt.  If you keep it in an air-tight container or ziplock bag, it’ll last for about 4-5 days.

Hurricane Irene Frittata

Hurricane Irene’s rains are creeping into DC, so today is gloomy and dreary.  The kind of morning that makes you want to stay in bed and read a good book (or browse food blogs for new recipes!).

We braved the grocery store yesterday (against Sam’s better judgement) after work since we had nothing in our fridge.  I know, it sounds crazy, but I didn’t want to live the weekend eating plain rice.  So as many people were picking up toilet paper and batteries, we got eggs, veggies and Corona’s.  Clearly, we didn’t have the same priorities.  (But don’t worry, we do have flashlights, toilet paper, water, etc just in case.)  Safeway was packed, and the lines were long (about 30 minutes) but we came out alive.

This morning we decide to make a frittata with some mushrooms, shallots and Gruyère.  If you’ve never tried a frittata, you should give it a chance.  It’s the lighter, fluffier version of a quiche.  And it’s very simple.  So if you’re stuck at home due to the hurricane, and your power isn’t out, enjoy a new breakfast dish.

Mushroom Shallot Frittata
Serves: 4-6 portions

8 eggs
2 shallots, diced
1 cup crimini (baby portabella) mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded (goat cheese would also be delicious!)
¼ cup half-and-half
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Sauté mushrooms and shallots in butter on medium heat until soft.

Once those are cooked, add all of ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix until everything is well incorporated.

Coat a 9-inch, stainless steel pan (do not use a nonstick pan!) in butter or cooking spray, then pour in the mixture.

Add the pan to a preheated, 375° oven for 30 minutes, until the frittata has risen and has taken on a nice golden color.