Category Archives: Veggies

Food Matters Project #43: Tomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked Mozzarella

I apologize for the silence on the blog, don’t worry we didn’t leave you!  Truthfully, there have been some small changes to our schedule due to a new job, and therefore small adjustments.  But we have been cooking- so don’t worry, there recipes will be coming!

Today is another great Monday for the Food Matters Project.  Our host today is Laura, of Chef Laura at Home.  She chose Mark Bittman’s Tomato Carpaccio with Mozzarella.  Check out the original recipe in The Food Matters Cookbook, or look what other FMP participants did here.

My version is not very similar to the original recipe.  Today was my first day at a new job, with different hours than I’m used to.  In addition, we’ll be out of town this weekend- so we’re trying to use up everything that’s hiding in the fridge and freezer.  Tonight’s meal was very simple, back to the basics.  There are always days where we come home from work, and don’t want to cook or prepare anything.  I resist the urge to dial the local Chinese takeout to order our dinner.

Instead, I make a plan for something healthier for us:

1) In our freezer we had 2 Polish sausages (from the Amish Market)- I defrosted them this morning.
2) We had a lot of lettuce and tomatoes left over- it was easy to chop those up and throw them together.
3) Sam stopped at the store to pick up a ball of cheese, and chose one of his favorites: Smoked Mozzarella.

This was one of those Monday meals: fast, light and filling!  And it did make a little more room in the fridge.

Tomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked MozzarellaTomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked Mozzarella
Fifth Floor Kitchen Original

This recipe does not have ingredient amounts, it’s meant to be a “clean out your fridge”.  Feel free to swap out lettuce varieties (spinach, arugula), vegetables (cucumbers, zucchini, corn), herbs (cilantro, parsley), or cheeses (cheddar, blue)

greens, chopped
tomatoes, sliced
smoked mozzarella cheese, chopped
basil, finely chopped
olive oil

Add all of the ingredients (except the olive oil) in a large bowl, then toss all of them together.  Divide the salad between plates, and lightly drizzle olive oil over the salad.

Enjoy this salad as a side with grilled meat or vegetables; or make it larger as a meal.

Food Matters Project #42: Potato & Corn Fritters

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  I hope all of you had a long weekend full of relaxing, great barbeque food and fun with friends and family!  We stayed home, but had a chance to visit with friends we don’t spend a lot of time with.  It’s been great catching up, and exploring some new spots around town!  To finish up a delicious weekend, we made a recipe for the Food Matters Project!

There is no host this week, rather, it’s a Wild Card post- you can pick your favorite spring/summer recipe.  We went a different route, and chose a FMP recipe which was already posted before, but we had not made it that week.  It sounded delicious, we had all of the ingredients (when does that happen?), and wanted a side with our dinner.

To check what recipes Fifth Floor Kitchen has participated in during the Food Matters Project, take a peak here.  Also, check out fellow FMP bloggers Memorial Day recipes:

 Lexi's Kitchen: Watermelon Salad  
 Keely Marie: Calico Beans
 Cooking Poetry: Raw Strawberry Cheesecake
 Meadows Cooks: Lentil Rice Chili
 Let's Cook & Be Friends: Chocolate-Cherry Panini & Tomatoes

Last summer we attempted fritters for a Food Matters Project recipe.  They didn’t turn out as expected, but a cook can never give up (try, try, try again!).   This was a fast recipe, although it does involve a bit of frying- so it’s probably not the best for a mid-summer recipe.  But DC’s weather was a bit gloomy today, and cool enough to keep our windows open- so I figured this would be worth a shot!  We served these fritters with a Greek Salad, a more flavorful option to a slice of bread!  Check out how other FMP participants made this Sweet Potato and Corn Fritters with Thai Dipping Sauce recipe (back in November!).

Potato & Corn Fritters

Potato & Corn Fritters
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 88)

We served these fritters with a dollop of our Spicy Mayo Sauce.  Definitely worth making for this recipe, or for other dishes as a topping.

4 medium potatoes, grated & squeezed dry
1 cup corn, defrosted
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 large egg
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a medium bowl mix together the poatoes, corn, jalapeño, green onions, cilantro, egg, flour, salt and pepper.  This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated for a couple of hours before cooking.

Pour about 1/8 inch of oil into a large skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, drop about a 1/4 cup of potato mixture into the oil and allow it to spread out.  Cook until golden brown, then turn once and cook again.  Both sides should be cooked in about 5 minutes.  Serve hot, or at room temperature.  We recommend frying these in batches (of about 2-3), so the pan does not get too overcrowded.

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Green Apple

As summer is creeping back in, we’re looking for easier dinners.  You know, one’s that don’t require tons of steps, or a million dishes.  We want something that has lots of flavor, but is simple and tasty.   And since it’s still that transition between spring and summer, we figured it’s not overly hot just yet, and turning on an oven is doable.

One beautiful Sunday afternoon, as we were wanting a lighter dinner- so we threw together some bacon and brussels sprouts.  We paired it up with a focaccia bread, and we had an easy meal.  I had made the dough from scratch earlier in the day, but you can always use a fresh baguette, or make something else.

What’s everyone’s preference for summer meals?  Would love to hear some new ideas!

Balsamic Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Green Apple

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Green Apple
Fifth Floor Kitchen original

1 lb bacon
1 1/2 lb brussels sprouts
1 green apple, cored & chopped into 1 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1-3 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Cook the bacon strips in a hot skillet until they are crispy.  Allow the bacon to cool, then chop into smaller pieces.

Preheat the oven to 420ºF.

Then on a cookie sheet, spread out the brussels sprouts, cooked bacon, apple, salt, pepper, red pepper.  Over everything pour the cooled bacon fat.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are cooked to your liking (shorter time, they will cruchier).

Once the brussels sprouts are out out of the oven, divide it up on plates.  Then sprinkle a little (about a tsp) of balsamic over each plate.

Food Matters Project #36: Dal with Lots of Vegetables

To make it 3-in-a-row, yesterday was another gloomy Monday.  Last week we made the Provencal Pasta Sauce to keep us warm and toasty.  But yesterday it wasn’t just rain, there was even a little bit of snow on the ground here in DC!

Snowy Day

Yes, we got snow on March 25th, it must be a record.  Fortunately, today it’s sunny and getting warmer by the hour- I think everyone is ready for spring!

Yesterday’s Food Matters Project recipe was perfect for a gloomy day.  It was chosen by Anita, of Cooking Poetry.  She hosted Dal with Lots of Vegetables from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out her blog and the Indian feast she had made- I’m a little jealous, everything looks delicious!  There are also other versions of the meal from other FMP participants here.

I’m a huge fan of Indian food, thanks to Sam.  He introduced me to the spice  soon after we started dating, and I have craved this cuisine ever since.  My favorite reason behind it is because you can make most of the dishes vegetarian, and not feel like you’re missing out.  Slow cooking the lentils and vegetables gives them extra flavor and fills you right up.

Want to try some of our other Indian creations?  Golden Red Lentil Soup; Indian Chicken Soup; Indian Chicken Curry Wrap; Baingan Bharta; Curry with Vegetables; Samosa Casserole; Spicy Veggie Lentil Curry.

Dal with Lots of Vegetables

Dal with Lots of Vegetables
Adapted from: Food Matters Cookbook (page 362)

Feel free to swap vegetables for what you have on hand- for example, I’ve had half a bag of green beans I’ve been needing to use up.  If you don’t want this dish to be as spicy, don’t use the jalapeño or chili powder.  Not into a deep curry flavor?  Just halve, or quarter, the Indian spices. 

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 jalapeño, chopped
1/2 head of cauliflower, florets & stems cut into small pieces
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 cup green beans (I used frozen)
2 cups fresh spinach
3 cups of water
1 cup dried brown lentils
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Punjam Red Tandoori powder
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Add oil to a large pot, and allow to heat up.  Then add the onion, allow to simmer until the onion is translucent.  Next, add in the garlic and ginger and cook for about 3 minutes.  Then add in the rest of the vegetables: jalapeño, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini,  green beans, and spinach.  Cook the vegetables, while stirring, for at least 5 minutes.  Then add in the water, lentils, curry powder, garam masala, Punjab Red Tandoori, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Stir all of the ingredients together, bring to a boil.  Then turn the heat to low and simmer for at least an hour (up to 2 hours).

Serve over rice, or with a piece of naan.

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!