Tag Archives: olive oil

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.

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Monthly Review: April 2013

I feel like April went by in a flash, where did it go?  Fortunately, it looks like spring is (finally) upon DC, and I’m looking forward to some warmer weather!  Check out what photos I have capture on my iPhone this month!

Interested what we did in the past?
2013: January February March
2012: May June July August November December

Monthly Review: April 2013 1

After running the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in DC, I needed some new shoes.  For running apparel, one of the best places to go in DC (or Virginia) is Pacers.  After trying out a bunch I chose these Mizuno‘s- they’re probably a little flashier than I prefer, but fantastic to run in!  What races are others running?  Any favorites one’s you’ve done before?

While training for a full or half marathon it’s important to get some delicious food, here are some suggestions for great fueling: Garlic Hummus, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Fall Granola, Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole.

Monthly Review: April 2013 2

Spring days are the best for exploring new neighborhoods and restaurants.  Which is exactly what we did when we stopped by Union Market’s Rappahannock Oyster Bar– check out what we ate in our blog post recap!  I also mentioned Union Market in the March review, see what I got then!

Monthly Review: April 2013 3

I had a great Sunday night dinner party with some DC bloggers (Anne, Ericka, Sarah, Sarah, Amy).  Sarah, of Why Food Works, wanted to spread the word about her new business in DC, and we got to see how her dinner parties work.  Definitely check out the post-  Why Food Works: A Dinner Party, and call Sarah to book a fun Friday night activity!

Monthly Review: April 2013 4

This month was busy for our new house, we had a housewarming with our friends, a brunch housewarming with Sam’s family, and both of our families came to check out the new digs!  It was a little hard to choose recipes for people to snack and nibble on (so many choices)!  Here are some links to what we made for our visitors: Herbed Almonds, Cream Cheese and Arugula Baguette Bites, Mediterranean Turkey Balls with Herbed Yogurt Sauce, Creamy Ranch Dressing, Lemon Bars, lox and cream cheese, Smokey Quiche, No-Bake Coconut “Cheesecake”, vegetables, fruit.  What are your favorite go-to ideas when you host parties?

Monthly Review: April 2013 5

Thanks to some expert advice from Emily, we tried making a pizza on the grill!  So delicious- would anyone be interested in a post on how to do it?  What are your favorite pizzas?  Some of our creations include: Apple & Smoked Cheese on Whole Wheat and Mushroom & Broccoli Pizza.  The one in the photo above is actually a “clean out your fridge” pizza.

Monthly Review: April 2013 6

When my parents were visiting DC, we took a day trip to Annapolis.  As we wandered through the cute city, we stumbled upon Seasons.  It’s an olive oil and vinegar taproom- a way to sample delicious oils and vinegars.  After trying out some, we each bough a couple to try out in our salads!

Monthly Review: April 2013 7

Coincidentally, salads have been taking over our Food Matters Project posts!  But they are all so delicious!  Check out the Bulgur Wheat Mango Salad with Avocado (above) or the Spinach Cobb Salad with Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette.  Or see what other recipes we’ve made from the Food Matters Project.

Monthly Review: April 2013 8

I went to Nashville, Tennessee this past weekend to run the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon.  Thanks to a great Food & Wine article and from Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil, we got some great food recommendations.  I’ll be doing a post about the delicious meals soon.

Monthly Review: April 2013 9

Lastly, while at the expo- we got to hear Kara Goucher speak and take a photo with her!  It was really exciting for all of us.  The girls running weekend turned out great, even though we had some crummy weather.  Thanks for an awesome time: Becky, Beth, Cassie, Katie, Katie, Lianne, and Sarah!  (two of these ladies are bloggers, so definitely check their blogs out for more Nashville fun)

Spicy Veggie Lentil Curry

Being a food blogger does have some perks, one of them is trying out new products I might not otherwise get my hands on.  After noticing that we had bought some habañeros and other spicy peppers at the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market, Plato’s Olive Oil contacted us to see if we would be interested in trying out one of their infused olive oils.

Of course Sam, the spice lover of this household, wanted to give this a try.  He’s even been thinking about making some of his own!  So we waited patiently for our olive oil to arrive.

Plato’s Olive Oil is a family owed company based in California.  The owner was looking for an olive oil infused with spicy flavors, and wasn’t able to find any- so he began experimenting!  The original, and the product which was sent us, is their habañero-infused olive oil, which comes from the Napa region in California.

To give it a try, I decided to make some lentil curry- and thought that the extra spice from Plato’s olive oil would be a perfect kick.  And I was not disappointed, the olive oil gave this dish the extra spice it needed!

But there is no way around it, and many food bloggers and photographers can agree, brown food is so difficult to photograph!  But sometimes- in this case a spicy veggie curry- it’s so delicious, I wish it’d look a bit nicer to show off it’s tastiness.

Veggie Lentil Curry
Adapted from: SweetSugarBean

2 tbsp Plato’s Habanero-Infused olive oil (or regular olive oil)
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 small carrots, chopped
1 inch ginger, shredded
2 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
3 tbsp spicy curry paste
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 14.5 oz light coconut milk
2 cups uncooked lentils
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 head of cauliflower
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat up the olive oil in a large pot.  Once heated, add the onions and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes, or until they become translucent.  Then add in the garlic, carrots, ginger and jalapeños.  Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Next add in the curry paste, cayenne pepper, cumin and coriander.  Allow to cook for about a minute, then add in the tomatoes, coconut milk and lentils.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Then lower to a simmer, and cook until the beans are done (about 40 minutes).

Once the lentils are cooked, add in the chickpeas, cauliflower and peas.  Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Finally, stir in the cilantro and serve.

Disclosure: I received a bottle of Plato’s Habanero-Infused Olive Oil to try, but did not receive additional compensation for this post, or was under any obligation to blog about it.

Food Matters Project #28: Lemon Cornmeal Cake

A little late here with my Food Matters Project post, but better than never, right?  And this is a good one to keep in your back pocket, a quick dessert- perfect to make before friends stop by for a mid-week dinner.

This weeks host is Jen, of Prairiesummers.  She chose Mark Bittman’s Apricot Polenta Cake.  Check out her version, and what everyone else made here.

I was very excited to make this since I’ve been saving a very similar recipe from A Meandering Mango.  When I was making this, I decided to take a little from both recipes and make my own version.  Mine tasted very similar to a lemon bar, refreshing and light.

This cake is a perfect way to celebrate a little milestone in our house!  This past weekend we visited Philadelphia, and ran the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon!  It was Sam’s first half, and he had fun doing it!  I’m very proud, and excited that there will be another race in the near future!

Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg. 560) & A Meandering Mango

3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
juice & zest of 1 lemon
juice & zest of 1 lime
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white all-purpose flour
1/2 apple, slices*
2-3 fresh figs, finely chopped*

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Spray your baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (or use butter or olive oil).

In a stand mixer whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes, until fluffy and creamy.  Slowly add in the olive oil, lemon and lime juices, lemon and lime zest, and vanilla extract.  Lightly whisk the ingredients together.

In a small pot, mix together the cornmeal and salt.  Then whisk in the water, until it is lump-free.  Set the pot over medium heat, whisk frequently and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, and cook until the water is absorbed.  Then set aside and allow to cool.

Stir in the flour and cornmeal mixture into the mixing bowl with eggs and sugar.  Stir well, then pour into the sprayed baking dish.

Arrange the apples and figs on top of the cake.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the cake.  Allow to cool about 15 minutes before cutting it.

*Other alternatives for toppings or frosting: fresh berries, fruit soaked in liquor or honey, ground nuts or coconut, powdered sugar or a honey drizzle!  Be creative, and let me know what worked!

Food Matters Project #25: Greek Panzanella

I was a little excited about this weeks Food Matters Project.  The chosen recipe was great to put my own spin on it, and a way to enjoy fresh vegetables from the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market!

This weeks host is Megan, from Art by Megan.  From Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, she chose Greek Nacho’s with Feta Drizzle.  Check out her post, or other participants interpretations.  Find the original recipe on page 75 in the Food Matters Cookbook.

I’ve been craving a panzanella salad, which tends to be a summer salad that incorporates bread and tomatoes.  So why not make a greek version of a panzanella?  Last year I had saved a recipe (more of a guide) on how to put one together from Aggie’s Kitchen and have been wanting to make it since.  This was a fairly large salad (bigger dinner and leftovers), so I hope you all have large serving bowls!

Greek Panzanella
Adapted from: Aggie’s Kitchen

3 pitas, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cucumbers, chopped
1 bell pepper (we had green), chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup kalamata olives, halved
6 oz feta, crumbled or cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a large bowl, gently toss the pita bread cubes, garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil and sesame seeds.  Add this mixture to a hot non-stick skillet and toast for about 10 minutes.  The bread should be lightly brown, but not burnt.

Once the bread pieces are cooked, add them to a large salad bowl.  Then, add in tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, kalamata olives, feta, salt, pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Gently toss all of the ingredients to combine.