Tag Archives: an edible mosaic

Good-bye 2012, Hello 2013!

At the beginning of this year, I listed off some 2012 goals for Fifth Floor Kitchen- and looking back I think we did pretty good!  I’m so humbled and proud of this little space we have created, and since I’m feeling a little nostalgic about 2012, I wanted to share a handful of favorite highlights from this past year.

2012 Top 3 Recipe Posts:
1. Indian Chicken Soup
Indian Chicken Soup

2. Vegetable Coq au Vin
Vegetables au Vin with Coq 2

3. Seasoned Popcorn 2 Ways
Popcorn 2 ways

2012 Top 3 Travel Posts:
1. Bonn, Germany
2. Boston: Sam Adams Brewery Tour
3. Warsaw, Poland

Other 2012 Highlights:
1. We got married!  We had a wonderful wedding near Charlottesville, VA (check out our posts about this great city here and here) and we spent an amazing honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand (blog posts: Pt 1, Pt 2)!

2. Where else did we travel? Boston (Posts: 1, 2, 3), Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

3. Food-wise some of our personal favorites were: Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Pairing, Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese, Birthday Fruit Tart, Crunchy Fish Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce, Brazilian Fish & Shrimp Stew, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, S’more Cookie, and Buckwheat Crêpes with Corn Salsa.  If you haven’t tried these, definitely add them to your “to-do” list for 2013!

3. Other fun stuff: Eat Write Retreat Blogger Conference, Slave-free Tomato Day, Holiday White House Tour, An Edible Mosaic Book Launch, and being part of the Food Matters Project.

4. We also started a series “Monthly Reviews”, a great way to see some of our iPhone photos and adventures we might not write about: May, June, July, August, and November.  A December one is coming up soon!

Over the course of 2012 we have had 116 posts- that’s a lot of words, photographs and recipes!

But I do love the feeling of a New Year- a fresh start, being able to look ahead towards all the new opportunities this year will bring.  We are looking forward to 2013 to continue sharing our culinary and travel adventures with you all- remember to keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!

We wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!  Thank you so much for reading, commenting and being part of Fifth Floor Kitchen!

Warm wishes for a happy new year!

Many hugs,
Evi & Sam

Evi & Sam Wedding

*Our wedding photos were taken by our friend Meaghin Kennedy- check out some of her photos here, or her blog: These Salty Oats

Leafy Brussels Sprouts with Nuts

When making Faith’s, of An Edible Mosaic, Saffron Rice I needed another side to have a filling dinner.  We didn’t have any meat or fish in our fridge, so instead I opted for a veggie side dish.

Sam and I love brussels sprouts- and this variation was a perfect way to indulge.  For those of you looking for Thanksgiving side dishes, this is definitely one to consider.  The brussels sprouts came out light, slightly sweet and a perfect pairing with this rice.  And with the leaves peeled, this gives you just a slight variation of texture, and elegance to this side dish!

Leafy Brussels Sprouts with Nuts
Adapted from: Kiss My Spatula

1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried pomegranate seeds
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb brussels sprouts
1 tsp olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

To prepare the candied nuts, mix the pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds and pomegranate seeds with 1 tbsp of butter, brown sugar and 1/4 tsp salt in a saute pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until everything is slightly caramelized.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Using a small knife, cut off the brussels sprout stems, then peel off leaves.  You can discard the middle of the sprout.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add the butter, olive oil and shallots.  Saute shallots for about 1 minute, then add the brussels sprouts, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Gently stir the brussels sprout leaves until they are slightly caramelized and the edges begin to brown.

Once cooked, mix the brussels sprout leaves with the candied nuts in a large bowl.  Then divide the greens and serve.

An Edible Mosaic Virtual Book Launch

A fellow blogger, Faith Gorsky of An Edible Mosaic, just had her first cookbook released!  With the release of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair, I’m excited to participate in her virtual book launch party, and share a recipe from her book!

About 2 years ago I came across Faith’s blog when searching for a Middle Eastern dish for my book club.  With her help I made the Beef & Rice Stuffed Zucchini, and the Golden Red Lentil Soup.  Since then, I have continued to read her blog and have had many opportunities to try out her recipes.  Many of them are inspired from when she lived and visited the Middle East right after she got married, and from her mother-in-law Sahar.

Faith’s book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, which focus mainly on dishes from the Levant.  Throughout the blog and in her book, Faith explains complicated dishes and approaches them in a modern way.  Her book is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble! (so if you’re looking for a good holiday gift, definitely check this one out!)

Head over to her blog to check out the virtual book launch party to see other bloggers who are participating!  She is also hosting a giveaway- be sure to check it out all of the items up for grabs!

Below is one of Faith’s recipes, which I’ve made a few small changes to, based on what I had on hand in my kitchen.   The original recipe is Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts.  This recipe is vegan, so it can easily be incorporated into a vegetarian meal, but will be just as delicious served with some beef, chicken, lamb or seafood.

Fifth Floor Kitchen Recipe Changes: When making this dish I used vegetable broth, rather than water, when cooking the rice to give it some extra flavor.  If you’ll be pairing this with beef/chicken/lamb then you can also use that specific broth as well.  Also, I did not have any raisins on hand, instead I used dried pomegranate seeds- it was a great variation!  Another tasty alternative would be dried cherries or cranberries.

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

Serves: 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric)

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
  4. Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

OPTIONAL Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.