Tag Archives: food matters

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

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!

Food Matters Project #3: Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

We’re onto our third recipe for the Food Matters Project.  I apologize for the delay, but we were out of town this weekend- and with no groceries in the fridge, it’s hard to make dinner!

Whenever I come back home, whether it’s from vacation, a work trip or just a weekend getaway, I always want something home cooked and fresh.  But it’s very difficult to have anything in the fridge if you were gone (since it’ll go bad).  Does anyone have great recipes which they make once they’re back from being out of town?  If so, I’d love to hear them (or have some links).

This week’s challenge was: Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut “Pesto”.  Mark Bittman gave some ideas on how to change up this pesto, which we did- although we also had some of our own ideas.  As he suggested, this does not only need to go onto pasta, feel free to pour it over vegetables, use it as a spread or an appetizer dip!

As with many recipes which we make, feel free to change out any ingredients which you like or don’t like, or have in your fridge or pantry.  For example, we used arugula- but spinach would be a great substitute.  Instead of pine nuts, use walnuts.  Or add some beans.  There are a million possibilities!

Heather has chosen this weeks recipe of Roasted Red Pepper Pesto.

If you’d like to see our previous Food Matters Project recipes, check them out here:
Seasoned Popcorn
Squash with Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Roasted Red Pesto
Inspired by: The Food Matters Cookbook

1 lbs dried fusilli pasta
1 16 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup kalamata olives, drained
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained
2 cups baby arugula
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 tbsp olive oil (you can use less or more, per your taste and texture)
salt (per your tastebuds)
pepper (per your tastebuds)
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Add dry pasta to liberally salted, boiling water.

In a skillet over medium heat, add garlic to 1 tbsp of heated olive oil and sweat for 1 minute, being careful not to burn.  Add mushrooms, pine nuts, pepper and crushed red pepper and saute until the mushrooms are soft.  Add arugula and saute another 1-2 minutes until wilted.

Transfer mushroom/arugula mixture, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, and grated cheese to a food processor.  Process mixture, slowly adding about 2 tablespoons olive oil until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then pour mixture over drained pasta and serve!

The Food Matters Project

I am very excited to announce that Fifth Floor Kitchen is teaming up with a group of bloggers in launching a new project.

Sarah had contacted us about participating in The Food Matters Project.  The idea behind this project is to try a new recipe (each week) from Mark Bittman’sThe Food Matters Cookbook.  If you’re a food blogger and would like to join this endeavor- contact her at thefoodmattersproject@gmail.com

Each week a different blogger will choose 1 recipe to cook, and all other bloggers will participate.  The Food Matters Cookbook is a wonderful since all of us can do interpretations of the recipes.  All of us will post- which will allow you to pick how you’d like to make a certain recipe (or give you some great ideas)!

The schedule of recipes can be found here.

More details about the Project can be found here.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact any of the food bloggers listed here.  The Food Matters Project Facebook page can be found here.

Look forward to the first round of recipes tomorrow!


These are the recipes we have made for the Food Matters Project:

1. Squash with Chipotle Dipping Sauce
2. Seasoned Popcorn
3. Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
4. Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese
5. Seared Bean Sprouts with Mushrooms
6. Hummus
7. Curry with Vegetables
8. Vegetable Coq au Vin
9. Vegetable & Bean Casserole
10. Cod in Spicy Rhubarb Sauce
11. Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza
12. Mostly Whole Wheat Bread
13. Asparagus & White Bean Soup
14. Black Bean & Corn Salsa
15. Bruschetta
16. Chicken in Green Salsa
17. Vegetable Burritos
18. Tomato, Leek & Brie Tart
19. Crunchy Fish Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce
20. Walnut Pâté Sandwich with Arugula & Pears
21. Beet Chips with Pistachio Dip
22. Fresh Corn Salsa
23. Chicken & Potatoes with Romesco Sauce
24. Asian Vegetable Rolls with Peanut Sauce
25. Greek Panzanella Salad
26. Veggie Stir Fry
27. Summer Tabbouleh Salad
28. Lemon Cornmeal Cake
29. Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey
30. Broccoli & Cherry Rice with Acorn Squash
31. Polenta with Mushrooms
32. Cardamom & Pistachio Pear Crisp
33. Lamb, Carrot & Turnip Stuffed Cabbage
34. Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce
35. Provencal Pasta Sauce with Whole Wheat Spaghetti
36. Dal with Lots of Vegetables
37. Central American Red Beans & Rice
38. Spinach Cobb Salad with Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette
39. Bulgur Wheat Mango Salad with Avocado
40. Spicy Grapefruit Scallops with Arugula
41. Kumquat & Orange Sorbet
42. Potato & Corn Fritters