Tag Archives: vegetable

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Green Apple

As summer is creeping back in, we’re looking for easier dinners.  You know, one’s that don’t require tons of steps, or a million dishes.  We want something that has lots of flavor, but is simple and tasty.   And since it’s still that transition between spring and summer, we figured it’s not overly hot just yet, and turning on an oven is doable.

One beautiful Sunday afternoon, as we were wanting a lighter dinner- so we threw together some bacon and brussels sprouts.  We paired it up with a focaccia bread, and we had an easy meal.  I had made the dough from scratch earlier in the day, but you can always use a fresh baguette, or make something else.

What’s everyone’s preference for summer meals?  Would love to hear some new ideas!

Balsamic Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Green Apple

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Green Apple
Fifth Floor Kitchen original

1 lb bacon
1 1/2 lb brussels sprouts
1 green apple, cored & chopped into 1 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1-3 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Cook the bacon strips in a hot skillet until they are crispy.  Allow the bacon to cool, then chop into smaller pieces.

Preheat the oven to 420ºF.

Then on a cookie sheet, spread out the brussels sprouts, cooked bacon, apple, salt, pepper, red pepper.  Over everything pour the cooled bacon fat.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are cooked to your liking (shorter time, they will cruchier).

Once the brussels sprouts are out out of the oven, divide it up on plates.  Then sprinkle a little (about a tsp) of balsamic over each plate.

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Creamy Winter Veg Soup

It’s the week before Christmas, and in light of what happened this past Friday in Connecticut I think everyone is slowing down and enjoying time with their loved ones.  I don’t really talk about politics on this blog, but I will mention that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the grieving families who have lost a loved one.

Whenever I feel melancholy or overwhelmed, I do like a warm bowl of soup.  It’s comforting, and a perfect way to end a cold winter day.  This one is extremely easy, and does not take too much time, or many ingredients to make.  As each of you hurry to get all of your Christmas shopping done, plan your holiday meals, and decorate your homes- also take the time to make some warm soup (such as this one!) and enjoy it with your family and friends.

Also, a note on the new bowls.  We received these as a wedding present (all different colors) from our friends- Ben & Brittany- from Anthropologie, a colorful bowl for a gloomy evening!

Winter Veg Soup

Creamy Winter Veg Soup
Fifth Floor Kitchen Original

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 leeks, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 bulb fennel, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
4-5 turnips, peeled & chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 large potatoes, cooked OR 3 cups mashed potatoes
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.  Then add in the onion, sauté them until they are translucent, for about 5 minutes.  Then add in the leeks, bulb fennel, turnips, salt and pepper.  Cook while stirring for about 10 minutes, or until the fennel is soft.  Then add in the potatoes, broth and water, cook for another 15 minutes.

Puree the soup using a blender.  Pour back into the large pot, cook for another 10 minutes, feel free to add more salt or pepper.

Ladle soup into bowl, sprinkle with parsley & enjoy with a slice of fresh bread!

Veggie Pancakes with Spicy Mayo Sauce

This week I went to visit my parents in Chicago, and while I was there I got to enjoy a wonderful thunderstorm.  While growing up in the Midwest, I definitely took thunderstorms for granted.  I don’t feel like the East Coast storms are as grand.  It was nice to watch the lightning and listen to the thunder as your falling asleep.

The gloomy weather has spilled into DC this Saturday.  Today has been dreary and surprisingly cool (for mid-July).  To not just waste a cool day sitting on the couch, I signed up for a composting workshop at Common Good City Farm.  The organization grows food, educates and assists low-income DC residents in meeting their food needs.  They have a lot of workshops, hours open for volunteering- you should all check it out!

Do any readers compost?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences and what has worked (or not worked).  What kind of composting system do you use?

But for a gloomy, cool day like today veggie pancakes are perfect.  These are not breakfast morning pancakes, rather they are full of vegetables!  Perfect for lunch, dinner or snack.  Once you make them, they can be eaten warm or cold- and they last a couple of days in the fridge.

These are full of flavor, but they went perfectly with the Spicy Mayo Sauce we used previously on fish tacos.

Veggie Pancakes
Adapted from: Vegeterian Times (June 2011)

2 medium potatoes, grated
2 medium carrots, grated
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

In a large kitchen towel (or paper towel), mix together the potatoes, carrots, zucchini, onion, and garlic.  Squeeze access liquid out of the vegetables.  Add the veggies into a large bowl, then add: flour, garlic, eggs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  With about 1/4 cup of the vegetable mixture, shape the vegetables into patties and lay them out on a flat surface.

In a skillet, heat up the olive oil.  Once it’s hot, place the vegetable patties 2 or 3 at a time on the skillet.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until it is lightly brown and crispy.  Then flip it over and cook it for another 3 minutes.

Serve with Sam’s Special Sauce (mayo & chipotle’s), which can be found here.

Spring Vegetable Tart

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, many of you have already ordered flowers or presents for their mothers.  But for those of you who might be making brunch for them, I’ve got the perfect dish.

A couple of weeks back I was strolling through the Penn Quarter Farmers Market when I saw these giant and gorgeous spring onions:

Spring onions are are bigger than green onions.  The bulb is more defined (very round), and the flavor is a little stronger.  While green onions are available year-round (you can even grow them in your window sill), spring onions are only available in the spring (now)- find them and cook them, you won’t be disappointed!  They can be added to salads, roasted whole, or simmered with meat.

Although Sam and I ate this for dinner, this dish is perfect at any brunch table- it can be a substitute for a frittata or quiche.  More vegetables and less cheese!

Spring Vegetable Tart
Adapted from: Cooking Light (April 2009)

Rather than cooking potatoes, use mashed potatoes if you have them available.  This tart can be whatever flavor you’d like to to be, some substitutes/additions can be: mushrooms, shallots, prosciutto or parsley.

1 1/2 lb potatoes (1 big, 1 small or about 3 cups mashed potatoes)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 of big onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 spring onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
4 cups chopped spinach
1/4 cup Half ‘n Half
1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded pecorino cheese

Place peeled potatoes in a pot full of water, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Drain, allow to cool slightly.  Puree potatoes in a food processor, or mash with a potato masher.  Add to a large bowl.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, allow to cook until it is translucent.  Then add the garlic, jalapeño and spring onion; cook for another 2 minutes.  Stir in lettuce and spinach, cook for a couple of minutes until the greens wilt, stirring frequently.

Turn off the heat and pour into the bowl with the potatoes.  Then add the half and half, fontina cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper.  Stir all of the ingredients together.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Coat an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray, then dust with breadcrumbs.  Add the potato mixture to the dish.  Bake for 25 minutes, until the top is slightly brown.  Remove from the oven, let stand for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with pecorino cheese before serving.

The first ever Fifth Floor Kitchen Giveaway winner is comment number 4- Virginia!  Her favorite kitchen appliance is the Kitchen Aid stand mixer- excellent choice!

Please send an email to: fifthfloorkitchen@gmail.com with your full name and mailing address.

Thank you to EVERYONE who entered the giveaway! Love getting comments & new readers!  Come back next week for another giveaway!

St. Patty’s Day Vegetable Pastries

Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone!  I hope all of you will be indulging in some green beer, corned beef and cabbage or yummy Guinness cupcakes!

This is an exciting weekend for us, we have friends visiting- so it’ll be a full house.  Also, a group of us are running the Rock ‘n Roll USA Half Marathon!  The weather couldn’t be any better for this race.  It’s unbelievable how warm it is, especially since it’s only March.

If you still need a recipe for a fun Irish dish, these pastries are delicious- especially for all of your vegetarian friends.  Today, locals in Ireland tend to gather in pubs for a pint (or two) and some simple home-cooked food.

St. Patty’s Day Vegetable Pastries
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times (March 2011)

I came across this recipe in last year’s magazine.  Although I didn’t make them then, I tried out this recipe this year.  You could change it up and add meat (ground beef or turkey) to these, swapping for the rutabaga or just making more dough since there will be more filling.  They are great appetizers, or just a side treat with a bowl of soup.  This made about 15 pastries, but it depends on how thick your dough will be.
 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp cold butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion (or 1/2 big one), chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 rutabaga, peeled & chopped
4 small potatoes, peeled & chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1/2 tsp thyme
1 egg
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a stand mixer, mix together flour and salt.  Then add in butter, 1 tbsp at a time.  Meanwhile, stir in the ice water.  Keep mixing until the mixture holds together.  Shape the dough into a ball or disk, and wrap it in parchment paper or plastic wrap.  Chill for 1 hour in the fridge.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in onion, celery and garlic, cook for about 5 minutes.  Then add in the rutabaga, potato, carrots and thyme.  Cook the ingredients for another 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.  Once they are cooked, pour the mixture into a food processor.  Process the veggies so they are smaller pieces, but not until they are pureed.  I held it down for about 3 seconds.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and mustard.  Then, add the mustard dressing, Gruyere cheese, salt and pepper to the vegetable mixture.  Stir all of the ingredients until the cheese has melted.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Coat the baking sheet with cooking spray.

Take a portion of the dough and roll it out on a flour surface (also remember to flour the rolling pin).  The dough should be between 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick.  Cut out 5-inch disks from the dough.  I had used a bowl, but you can use a pastry cutter or anything else you have on hand.  Continue to cut out the pastries until you are done with the dough.  Remember that you can use the remaining dough to add it to the bigger piece, so all of it used.

Place about 1-2 tbsp of filling onto one side of each dough.  Fold the other half of the dough to make a moon shape.  Press the edges of the dough together, you can crimp the edges with a fork.  Repeat with the remaining circles and filling.

Bake the pastries for about 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.  I did flip them over about halfway through, so both sides would have similar color.