Category Archives: olive oil

Zucchini Enchiladas

I apologize for the lack of posts this week.  I was actually planning on putting this recipe up on Thursday (Cinco de Mayo), but unfortunately I was not eating Mexican that evening but at a work function.  It’s been a busy week!

We love Mexican food.  We (more like Sam, but I’m getting there) cannot find anything spicy enough in restaurants.  So, homemade is usually better since it is spicy enough.  In this recipe, we added the adobo chiles and jalapeños in the sauce, but feel free to omit them if super spicy is not your taste.

These are excellent vegetable enchiladas, I would have not thought to shred the zucchini before adding it to the dish.  But it gives it a meaty and soft texture, even though there is no meat in there.  Excellent idea!

We plan on making these again, but adding either shredded pork or chicken, we’ll make sure to share it with you!

Zucchini Enchiladas
Adapted from: Skinny Taste

Non-stick Cooking Spray
2 tbsp olive oil
7 garlic cloves, chopped
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (optional or more if you want spicy)
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 zucchinis, sliced or grated
1 onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups Mexican-blend cheese
4 large tortillas
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Preheat the over to 400°F degrees.  Spray a baking dish so the tortillas do not stick (appropriately sized dish to fit the tortillas).

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil.  Then add 3 chopped garlics and sauté.  After a minute add: chipotle chile, jalapeño, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, 1/2 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Then reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Set aside until you are ready to pour over the enchiladas.

Either grate the zucchini with a grater or in a food processor.  In a saucepan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Once it’s heated, add 4 garlic cloves and onion and sauté.  Then add the zucchini, green onions, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp chili powder and 1 tsp ground cumin.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese.  Mix well, until the cheese has melted in the mixture.

Divide the zucchini mixture between the 4 tortillas.  Roll each tortilla and place, seam side down, into the baking dish.  Once all of them have been arranged, pour the sauce over the tortillas.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the dish.  Bake until the cheese has melted, and enchilada sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

After plating, sprinkle chopped cilantro on each enchilada.

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Tomato Soup with Basil

As the days get warmer, and the sun shines longer, no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen.  Especially with the oven on…too hot!  As I mentioned before, I try to search out recipes that are fast, simple, and require very minimal cooking.  But just because you want a simpler recipe, does not mean that flavor has to be lost.

This is a very simple soup, although I’ve noticed I say that quite a bit!  Nonetheless, it’s hearty enough to fill you up (thanks to the rice)- but not too much that you feel stuffed.  And, it’s easy since I cooked it between going for a run.  Once all the ingredients were boiling, I grabbed my shoes for a quick run around the Mall.  By the time I came back, the soup was done cooking.

We let it cool off a bit before we ate, a bit more “gazpacho” style.  And even though it was cooler, it still had the great flavor.  Tomato season hasn’t started yet, but this would be a great one to do with fresh tomatoes rather than the canned.  It would give the soup more flavor.  But that’s something we’ll have to wait for, and enjoy over the summer.

We bought some bread from the Farmer’s Market, and ate it with the soup.  The bread was dense, and it absorbed some of the liquid from the soup, giving it a little more flavor.  Yum!

Tomato Soup with Basil
Adapted from: A Chow Life Blog

4 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans whole tomatoes (28 oz each)
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 chicken bouillon
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1/4 cup rice

In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, let it sauté for about 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Then add the tomatoes, basil, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Then add the bouillon, broth and water.  Stir in the rice, and cover the pot until the soup is boiling.

Let it simmer for 15-25 minutes.  Remove the tomatoes from the soup and add them to a food processor (or blender).  Blend until it turns into smaller chunks (choose the consistency to your liking).  Pour back into the pot, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes.

When serving, feel free to sprinkle some basil as a garnish.

Barley Salad with Veggies

Rain was predicted for today, and thunder.  Instead, it’s hot outside here in DC!  Summer is just around the corner, yay!  We’ll enjoy it for today- outdoors!

Every month 2 of my friends and I meet up at each other’s places and make dinner.  We switch off between our homes and the themes for the dinners, and the person who hosts also does the cooking.  Others bring the wine/beer.  Every month I really look forward to my time with A* and C* just because we always end up having fabulous conversations, and have tons of fun.  =)  Last night I hosted, and we had an array of wonderful food (if I do say so myself), which I will write about later in future posts.  But for now, I’ll give you some hints: dinner rolls, a Nutella bar, orzo salad and vegetable soup with parsley crisps.

Although, wonderful company makes food taste even better!

Barley Salad with Veggies
Adapted from: Cooking Light

1 cup uncooked pearl barley
3 cups arugula, lightly chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large roasted red bell pepper, chopped
1 15oz chickpeas, rinsed and drained
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup pistachios

Cook barley according to package directions.

Once the barley is cooked, combine: barley, arugula, red bell pepper, roasted red bell pepper and chickpeas in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl mix: lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and stir.  Sprinkle the top of the salad with pistachios.

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.

Cucumber Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a cold, tomato-based soup which originated in Spain.  I spent the summer of 2004 studying abroad in Spain, while living with a Spanish family.  For my first meal with the family, my señora made gazpacho.  Having only had warm tomato soup growing up, I did not like it.  The idea of a cold soup just wasn’t appealing to me.  But she kept making it throughout the summer, and I kept on eating it a little at a time.  After the summer of falling in love with Sevilla, when I arrived back in the US, I realized I began craving gazpacho.

It’s a great summer staple for me: fast, easy, simple.  You can make it ahead and the flavors blend nicely.  It’s perfect when tomatoes are in season, full of flavors.

So when I was flipping through the April’s Cooking Light and saw a cucumber gazpacho, I was excited to try a new version of the cold soup.  The original recipe had shrimp, which is also a great addition, so keep that in mind.

Cucumber Gazpacho
Adapted from: Cooking Light

1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/3 cup cilantro, lightly chopped
2 large cucumbers, lightly chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup yogurt
1/4 cup onion, chopped
dash of red pepper flakes
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Add all of the ingredients, except the cherry tomatoes, into a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  Ladle into bowls, and use cherry tomatoes as a garnish.