Tag Archives: summer

Food Matters Project Wrap-Up

This week is a wrap-up of the Food Matters Project.  It’s the final week of posting recipes from The Food Matters Cookbook.  Rather than another recipe, I’ve spent some time thinking of what I’ve learned doing this project, so here are some conclusions (in no particular order:

Mushrooms

1. My favorite and most memorable recipe: Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs & Blue Cheese.  I loved the blue cheese and fig combination in a pasta, and I can’t wait to try this again when figs are in season!

2. We finally learned how to make our own pizza.  Thanks to the post on whole wheat pizza, we’ve explored other toppings and new pizza crust recipes.  This has definitely been a staple in a our house a couple of times a month.

3. We made hummus from scratch.  Although it wasn’t my favorite recipe at that time, we’re recently added a Vitamix into our kitchen- can’t wait to try making it again!

4. Bruschetta comes in different varieties- it’s such a time saver when you’re hosting a dinner party!

5. Chimichurri is another awesome dish when you have friends over for dinner.  Quick, easy and delicious- what more could you ask for?!?

6. We tried anchovies for the first time, and they are delicious in a salad.  Don’t miss out!

7. My favorite dessert adventure was due to FMP- we made kumquat sorbet.  It was delicious, and I am now less intimidated to break out my ice cream maker.  Sorbets on the porch, during a DC summer, are a perfect way to wrap up the day.

8. Give cookbooks without photos a chance.  They encourage your cooking imagination and creativity- it was so much fun learning this for over a year.

This was a wonderful opportunity, and I’m so glad our blog continued to participate in this project (although sporadically).  The idea of eating less meat should be encouraged in more households, and I hope we spread Mark Bittman’s words a bit more.  Definitely play around with more foods, especially vegetables.  There are flavors and textures out there you may not have ever tasted, but don’t be afraid to try.

Start with what we’ve made before, there are a number of delicious dishes out there!  Or check out the other participants blogs to see what they’ve made!

Recipes We’ve Made via the Food Matters Project

Squash with Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Seasoned Popcorn
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese
Seared Bean Sprouts with Mushrooms
Hummus
Curry with Vegetables
Vegetable Coq au Vin
Vegetable & Bean Casserole
Cod in Spicy Rhubarb Sauce
Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza
Mostly Whole Wheat Bread
Asparagus & White Bean Soup
Black Bean & Corn Salsa
Bruschetta
Chicken in Green Salsa
Vegetable Burritos
Tomato, Leek & Brie Tart
Crunchy Fish Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce
Walnut Pâté Sandwich with Arugula & Pears
Beet Chips with Pistachio Dip
Fresh Corn Salsa
Chicken & Potatoes with Romesco Sauce
Asian Vegetable Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Greek Panzanella Salad
Veggie Stir Fry
Summer Tabbouleh Salad
Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey
Broccoli & Cherry Rice with Acorn Squash
Polenta with Mushrooms
Cardamom & Pistachio Pear Crisp
Lamb, Carrot & Turnip Stuffed Cabbage
Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce
Provencal Pasta Sauce with Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Dal with Lots of Vegetables
Central American Red Beans & Rice
Spinach Cobb Salad with Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette
Bulgur Wheat Mango Salad with Avocado
Spicy Grapefruit Scallops with Arugula
Kumquat & Orange Sorbet
Potato & Corn Fritters
Tomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked Mozzarella
Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers

Advertisements

Almond Orange Cake

One of my favorite things about the spring and summer is that everyone spends more time with friends.  I feel like summers are busy- travel, vacations, weddings, etc.  But it’s so much easier to venture out of your house (or your PJ’s) and have a drink or dinner with a friend when it’s still light out at 8pm.  With the dreaded cold weather behind us (90’s have started off the summer in DC), summer is in full swing.

As we mentioned previously, we recently bought a new house and the extra space allows us to entertain more.  It’s nice to have friends drop in for barbeque, pizza or dessert.  And when you want to throw something together in a hurry it’s always hard to find a quick dessert.  So I’ve done a little research (ahem: taste testing) for all of you, and I highly recommend this cake.

Almond Orange Cake 1

It’s not even a cake, it’s a delicious dessert that can be eaten after a meal, or a perfect breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee.  I made this over a month ago when I had some girlfriends over for a Mexican night, and I can still remember the moist and fluffy cake.  It was perfect the next morning, so it can easily be made the night before.

Almond Orange Cake 2

Almond Orange Cake
Adapted from: The Mexican Cookbook

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
juice from 1 large orange (about 4 tbsp)
10 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Add the almonds to the food processor, and puree them until they are a mealy mixture.

In a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar, until smooth and fluffy.  Then beat in the eggs, pureed almonds, almond extract, vanilla extract and orange juice.  Next stir in the flour and salt, mix until it’s incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter or spray  an 8-inch spring form.  Pour in the better, smooth the top of the surface.  Bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until it feels spongy when gently pressed.  Remove from the oven and let stand to cool.

Prior to serving, dust with powdered sugar.

Lebanese Salad with Pita Chips

Summer is the time to eat salads, when all the veggies (and fruits) are fresh and vibrant.  Usually, it’s also so hot that turning on the stove or oven is not what you’d like to do.  So there is always salad.

The only problem I have with salads is that they sometimes get boring.  So I’m always searching for a new flavor, a new component, or a new idea.  I’m sharing this salad with you since all of you might need some new inspiring ideas for salads, with summer in full swing!  Or if any of you have delicious ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Lebanese Salad with Pita Chips
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times (July/August 2012)

Salad
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups of chopped cucumbers
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 cups of whole grain pita chips, crumbled/broken

Vinaigrette
3 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp pomegranate juice (such as POM Wonderful)
2 tsp ground sumac
4 garlic cloves

4 oz crumbled feta

In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for a salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette.  Top the salad with the vinaigrette.

Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the top and serve.

Heat Wave: Shrimp Gazpacho

I’m not sure where everyone else is living, but here in DC we’ve had a couple of hot days.  The kind of hot that you just want to sit in an air conditioned room, eating and drinking cold foods.  I’ve got just the soup that will keep you cool when the heat wave gets to you!

I’ve mentioned previously that I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain.  While I was there over the summer, it was hot- so my señora made a gazpacho quite often to cool us down, and fill us up.  Although it wasn’t my favorite at first, I learned to love it and have eaten many bowls every since.  Check out other soups we’ve made that can be eaten cold: cucumber gazpacho, tomato soup with basil, and roasted vegetable soup.

Tomatoes are starting to pop up at the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market, so I’m taking advantage and buying some every week.  It’s really hard to resist all of the beautiful colors, and amazing taste!  The better tomatoes you use (ex: heirloom) the flavor will be more intense!

Need other meal ideas to keep you cool this summer?  Check these out: rum raisin ice cream, colorful slaw, tomatoes with basil & mozzarella, Sam’s summer pasta sauce, and the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market Summer Salad.

Shrimp Gazpacho
Fifth Floor Kitchen original
Serving: 4 large dinner (6 lunch/sides)

If you do have a grill in your home, I would utilize it and grill the veggies rather than roasting them in your oven (won’t get as hot!).  Also, feel free to change the number of each vegetable- if you prefer more corn, add it in, or don’t include it.  This is one of the reasons I love soups, so easy to change them to your taste!

5 tomatoes
3 corn on the cob
3 red bell peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
about 1 lb shrimp, peeled/cooked
2 tbsp chives, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

On a cookie sheet, spread out 3 tomatoes, corn on the cob (husks off) and the red bell peppers.  Once the oven is preheated, put the veggies into the oven for about 30 minutes.  Turn each of the vegetables over onto another side about every 10 minutes.  Once they are done, allow them to cool off.

Once everything has cooled, add the tomatoes to a food processor.  Then cut off an inch off of the point side of the corn, and set it down on a flat surface.  Grasp the stalk end holding it vertically over a cutting board, and carefully slice downward over the cob cutting off the kernels.  Then add the corn from 2 of the cobs into the food processor, add the other corn kernels to a big bowl.  Lastly, chop off the end of the pepper with the stem, and add the pepper to the food processor.  Processes all of the vegetables until they are pureed (to your liking of consistency), then pour everything into the big bowl with the corn kernels.

Chop the remaining 2 tomatoes and add them to the large bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil.  Then add in the onion, allow it to cook until it is translucent.  Add in the garlic and carrots, cook for another 5 minutes.  Finally, add in the veggie broth, and allow to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Allow the broth mixture to cool, then add it to the food processor.  Puree it until the consistency is smooth.  Add the liquid to the big bowl filled with the other ingredients.  Sprinkle in the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, mix well.  Lastly, add in the shrimp.

Place in the fridge and allow it to cool for at least an hour (although, the colder the better).

Once you’re ready to serve, ladle out the soup into bowls and garnish with chives.

Food Matters Project #15: Bruschetta

With summer just around the corner, I try to find recipes which are easy to make and can be enjoyed outside with friends.  Our condo porch is rather small, but we do like to have friends over on the roof of our building.  It’s nice to enjoy many evenings with a bottle of wine, some finger foods and great conversations.

This weeks Food Matters Project definitely gave me some more ideas!  Laura, from Chef Laura at Home chose this weeks recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  She chose Bruschetta, Rethought- Mark Bittman provided some new ideas for bruschetta.  This definitely allows us to be a little creative!  Laura made a Simple Bruschetta, if you’d like to check out other ideas look at the comments here.

Many of us imagine a tomato salad on a piece of bread when we think of bruschetta (which is on the menu of every Italian restaurant in the US).  Although that is one form of bruschetta, there is more to it than tomatoes.  It is an Italian antipasto with a variety of toppings, such as: red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cheese, cured meats or tomatoes.  One of these tops a piece of bread which was rubbed with garlic and olive oil.

On Saturday, Sam and I played tennis in the early afternoon and sat on our roof snacking and enjoying Pimm’s.  It was a wonderful afternoon- so relaxing!  We did not grill our bread since it was fresh out of the oven (recipe will follow later this week!).  This is a great meal to improvise to what you have on hand, or what you’re in the mood to make.

Green Bruschetta
Inspired from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 175)

I could not find fava beans in the grocery story, but had some lima beans in our freezer.  Edamame or peas would also work.

1 cup lima beans
3 tbsp pecorino cheese
1/2 cup lima bean cooking liquid
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a small saucepan, cook lima beans until they are well done.  Save some of the liquid while draining, and put them into a food processor.  Add the pecorino cheese and liquid, puree.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then add the asparagus.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes, then drain and cool with cold water.

Mix the pureed lima beans, asparagus and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper, stir well to combine all of the ingredients together.  Serve with some bread or crackers.


Mushroomy Bruschetta
Inspired by: A Couple Cooks

There is nothing tastier in life than onions, mushrooms and butter.  This was delicious.  I think we’ll try to remake this as a pasta sauce! 

2 tbsp butter
1/4 large onion, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
1 tbsp oregano, finely chopped
4 oz herbed goat cheese (ex: Vermont Creamery Herb Chèvre)
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Allow 1 tbsp of butter to melt in a saucepan.  Then add the onions, allow them to cook until translucent and slightly creamy.  Then add the garlic, cook for about 3 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms, 1 tbsp of butter, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook them until they are soft, about 5 minutes.  Then add in the goat cheese, stir until the cheese is part of the sauce.

Feel free to dip some bread into the sauce, and top your bread piece with the mushrooms.