Tag Archives: mint

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!

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Indian Chicken Curry Wrap

My apologies (once again) for not posting as often.  It’s just that busy time of the year- and with the beautiful weather outside, it’s hard to make yourself stay in the kitchen!  Last year at this time we were preparing for our amazing European Adventure (Kraków, Vienna and Munich), this year we’re getting ready for our wedding!

At times like these I try to find recipes which are really simple and don’t take too much time to prepare.  With the extra time we can sneak in a run, some extra time with friends, or watch our favorite football games!

For this recipe I used leftover chicken, making it a whole new dish with curry flavors.  This is perfect for a lunch or dinner, feel free to add some sides!

Indian Chicken Curry Wrap
Adapted From: Cooking Light (June 2011)

1 1/4 lb coooked chicken, shredded or cubed
5 nectarines, chopped
1 mango, peeled & chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup chopped green onions
1 inch ginger, peeled & grated
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
juice of 1 lime
lettuce or arugula
tortillas or wraps

In a large bowl, combine: chicken, nectarines, mango, red onion, green onions, ginger, garlic, cilantro, mint and jalapeño.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt, salt, pepper, curry powder, chili powder, and lime juice.  Add the dressing to the chicken mixture.  Then stir everything together.

Add a handful of lettuce or arugula onto a tortilla, then add in the chicken curry mixture.  Roll the tortilla, and enjoy!

Food Matters Project #24: Asian Vegetable Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Can you believe that the Food Matters Project has been going on for over 6 months?  Yikes, how time flies when you’re trying out delicious recipes!  If you haven’t been with us on this blog for that long, here’s a little recap:

The Food Matters Project is made up of a group of bloggers (there are so many of us) who are interested in making recipes from the Food Matter Cookbook by Mark Bittman.  Each week one blogger is the “host” and chooses a recipe- and we all make it.  The Food Matters Cookbook is very open to interpretation, therefore making it perfect for this project- all of you should check out what each blogger made.  See what recipes Fifth Floor Kitchen has made here.     

This weeks host is Alyssa, of Everyday Maven.  She had chosen Mark Bittman’s recipe for Summer Rolls in Peanut Sauce.  Check out Alyssa’s recipe for the tofu version, and other Food Matters Project participants recipes.  This was a fabulous choice since it involved no cooking- which is perfect in mid-August.


I’m sure you’ve all had these garden rolls at many Asian restaurants, and you’ll find that they are very easy to make.  I love the fresh ingredients, and wanted to replicate the refreshing and light taste.

Asian Vegetable Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 96), A Chow Life, & A Cozy Kitchen
Servings: 9 + a little extra peanut sauce

Peanut Sauce:
3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup roasted nuts
5 garlic cloves
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup water
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Asian Rolls:
rice paper sheets
2 carrots, peeled & julienned
1 cucumber, julienned
1 red pepper, julienned
1 jalapeño, julienned (optional)
20 sprigs of cilantro
2-3 leaves of mint

Add all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce into a food processor.  Process the ingredients until the sauce is smooth.  Pour into a bowl, it can be refrigerated for a couple of days.

To assemble the Asian Rolls fill a shallow, wide bowl with warm water.  Gently submerge each rice paper under water, keep it there for about 10 seconds- until the paper is soft.  Transfer the rice paper onto a slightly damp towel.  Working quickly, place the ingredients on the edge of the wrapper (a few julienned carrots, cucumbers and red pepper, a piece of jalapeño, 2 springs of cilantro, small piece of mint).  Fold the side in front of you over (away from you), turn in the sides, and then keep rolling away from you.  Repeat until you have used all of your ingredients.

Tabbouleh with Shredded Chicken

I apologize for the silence on the blog the last couple of days, but we’ve had a bit of an internet problem.  Yesterday we not only fixed the internet, but also our dishwasher.  Hard work, but someone has to do it, right?  The joys of home ownership!

Whenever there are many items on my to-do list, I try to make dishes that don’t require too much time, or work.  If I can use up extras from the fridge, that’s a double-bonus.

A couple of weeks ago I made pitas, but had lots of leftover dough.  I divided it into separate balls, and kept it in the freezer.  And when I had the right ingredients for some tabbouleh- I made a tasty, and fast, lunch!

Tabbouleh with Shredded Chicken
Adapted from: Cooking Light (March 2009)

Even if you don’t have any pitas, tabbouleh is great as a lunch salad- very refreshing and light.  I had leftover chicken, which I shredded and added to the salad, but feel free to omit it.  A great addition is some feta cheese sprinkled over the top!

1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
3/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup mint, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine the bulgur and the boiling water in a large bowl.  Cover the bowl and let it stand for 15 minutes.  Then fluff the bulgur with a fork, drain any extra water.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, mix well.

Squash Lentil Salad

This is a great salad for a quick and easy dinner.  Since it’s more savory when the squash is warm, and the greens don’t get soggy- this one is a make right before you eat.  It’s a good mix of a light salad, but filling with the squash and lentils.  Since there are plenty of squash to choose from, it should not be limited to butternut squash, feel free to try others. 

Squash-Lentil Salad
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen Blog

3/4 cup lentils
2 medium size butternut squash; peeled, seeded, cubed (1 inch)
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups spinach (or arugula)
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, thinly shredded

Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Toss the squash with 4 tbsp of oil, cumin, paprika, salt and red pepper flakes.  Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes; flip squash and roast for another 15 minutes.  When squash is tender, take it out of the oven and let it cool.

While the squash roasts, cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender (20-30 minutes).  After they are cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. 

Combine the lentils, squash, goat cheese and greens in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl mix mint, vinegar and 2 tbsp oil.  Add the dressing to the salad, season with extra salt if desired. Divide between 3-4 bowls, and lightly sprinkle each of them with Parmesan.