Tag Archives: wedding

November 2012 Review

And we’re back with the monthly reviews on Fifth Floor Kitchen!  What photos did I capture on my iPhone this past month?

Interested in past months?  Check them out: May June July August

November Review 1

This was taken on our last day of our honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand.  Check out our posts about it here.

November Review 2

First week back from our honeymoon and we were excited for food from the farmer’s market!  We got: arugula, turnips, a pie pumpkin, apples, pears, sweet potatoes, cheese & eggs from the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market.

November Review 3

Don’t know what to eat for breakfast?  Check out this post on making Fall Granola– perfect to mix with yogurt or milk!

November Review 4

Sam and I visited our friend Beth in Baltimore.  We loved this place: Abbey Burger Bistro, make your own burger (and it’s got some good beers as well).

November Review 6

While in Baltimore we stopped by the Baltimore Farmer’s Market & Bazaar (check out the post about it here).  Sam pickled the cucumbers, and we enjoyed the spicy cheese & duck eggs.  But the honey butter is the best- have you had honey butter?  If not, you’re missing out!

November Review 5

My friend Alix and I got a chance to see Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen!  There were so many people at Politics & Prose to see her!  Checkout her cookbook and blog for some great recipes!

November Review 7

We have 2 cats who have really enjoyed getting wedding gifts.  Well, mostly the boxes that the gifts come in- Van Gogh loves to relax among the bubble wrap and paper!  One of the many gifts was a cookbook- and we tried this Shepherd’s Pie recipe!

November Reivew 8

Another Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market week!  The goodies were: bok choy, yogurt (to go with Fall Granola), broccoli, cheese, apples, pear and arugula!

November Review 9

Last May, when I attended Eat, Write, Retreat (check out my post about it) I met a lot of wonderful bloggers.  One of them was Olga (blog: Mango & Tomato; Twitter: @MangoTomato), we tried out the new DGS Delicatessen in Dupont Circle for lunch, and I had a delicious Salmon Pastrami Sandwich on a bagel.

November Review 10

As I mentioned, we had a low-key Thanksgiving.  After running the So Others Might Eat Turkey Trot 5K– Sam, myself and his brother went to Hill Country Barbecue for an all-you-can-eat dinner.  As always, Hill Country did not disappoint!  Although my favorite was the green bean casserole- it’s been so long since I’ve had it!

November Review 11

The past week’s Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market finds were: eggs, turnips, cheese, pears, eggs & meat sticks!

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Lamb Shepherd’s Pie in a Mason Jar

Two nights before our wedding we got a box with presents from our registry- it was one of the first ones, and I got really excited (it felt like an early Christmas!).  First, I pulled out a set of dessert plates I’ve been eying for some time, but there was also a cute cookbook which I didn’t have on my list.

As any food blogger would do, I flipped through the cookbook- Handheld Pies: Dozens of Pint-Sized Sweets & Savories by Sarah Billingsley & Rachel Wharton- and picked out my favorite recipes.  Immediately, I opened to the page with Shepherd’s Pie on it, and I knew this was going to be the first recipe I would make.  Since we still had a wedding, and a honeymoon I knew it’d be a couple of weeks- but the moment we came home this recipe was immediately on my “to cook” list!

Using mason jar’s was a great idea for this dish- it kept everything in equal servings, and it was so easy to store, heat up, and take to work.  The book suggested using smaller mason jars, but since I only had the medium size, this is what I used.  With nights getting colder, this is the perfect dish to wrap your hands around the mason jar to keep warm, and your tummy full!

Thank you Jen & Neil- this is a great addition to our cookbook collection!

Shepherd’s Pie in a Mason Jar
Adapted from: Handheld Pies: Dozens of Pint-Size Sweets & Savories

You can use lamb, beef or tofu crumbles- all would be great with this dish.  If there are other veggies you’d like to add in here, definitely do- we stuck with the traditional version the first time around.

3 russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & quartered
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled & finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup green peas
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

In a medium pot, add the potatoes and water (so it covers the potatoes) and bring the water to a boil.  Then reduce the heat to medium, and cover the pot.  Cook until the potatoes are tender, when pierced with a fork (about 20-30 minutes).

When the potatoes are cooked, drain them.  In a large bowl, mash them using a potato masher (or mixer).  Then add the milk, cheese, butter, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper- stir well.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Then add in the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, until the onions are translucent.  Next, add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the lamb and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon and stirring frequently until it is browned, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the vegetable broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Finally, add the peas, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper and stir well.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Place 6 medium-sized mason jars on a baking sheet.

First divide all of the meat mixture, then the mashed potatoes into all of the jars.  Place the jars and banking sheet on the top rack of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes (or until the potatoes turn golden).

The pies can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.  Reheat at 350ºF for 15 minutes.

We’re back!!!

There has been a lack of posts, and I do apologize.

Sam and I had our wedding a couple of weeks ago, and then we jetted off on our honeymoon.  The perfect 2 week vacation in Phuket, Thailand!

We still need a day or two to get into our groove, but I promise- we’ll be back up and cooking very soon!  And we’ve got lots of Thai food photos to share!  Yum!

Happy Voting Day!

Eggplant Greek Wraps

The weather has cooled off and we’ve been able to open our windows.  Not just during the night, but also throughout the day- enjoying the light crisp air. Fall is here.

If you have never experienced fall in Virginia, you’re missing out.  It’s a beautiful area for color changes on trees, sunny crisp weather- perfect for wine tastings or apple picking.  The beauty of it all definitely swayed us into choosing a fall wedding- great excuse to enjoy the scenery.

So with a wedding just around the corner, it’s a bit busy in this household.  Just last minute things, but it’s those little activities that turn out to take some extra time.  These days our lunches and dinners are simple- something that doesn’t require too much time or thinking.  But we would still like to eat healthy, enjoying the last of summer harvest and the start of fall flavors.  I love this time of the year- a perfect transition of my two favorite seasons.

This is a meal that you can take with you on a weekend picnic, or just a quick mid-week meal that you can enjoy.  Eggplant is fantastic with Mediterranean flavors- light, but filling.  Just grab a glass of wine and enjoy your surroundings- watch those colors change!

What is your favorite season, or time of the year?

Eggplant Greek Wraps
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times (June 2000)

1 eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup chopped tomatoes
30 kalamata olives, halved
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.  On a cookie sheet spread out the eggplant and 3 minced garlic cloves.  Then pour over the olive oil and sprinkle the dried basil, salt and pepper.  Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together.  Bake for about 30 minutes.

In a large bowl mix together: eggplant and garlic mixture, the additional 3 garlic cloves, tomatoes, kalamata olives, cucumber, red onion and parsley.  Stir all of the ingredients together.

Busy Weekend & a Blueberry Oat Crumble

I apologize for the lack of posts in the last week, but it’s been a busy weekend!  But don’t worry, this does not mean we have not been cooking or baking.

As you might have noticed, due to the craziness, there was no Food Matters Project post this week.  This weeks host was Margarita, from Let’s Cook and Be Friends, and she chose the Chocolate-Cherry Panini.  She’s wonderful about commenting on all posts- I always love hearing from her!  Although we didn’t make Mark Bittman’s recipe, definitely check out what the other bloggers did!

So this last weekend Sam and I were dog-sitting and cat-sitting!  It was a lot of fun hanging out with our furry friends:

Wayne was hanging out with us for almost 2 weeks while his parents were having fun at weddings.  He was trying to do some yoga moves with me, the Downward-Facing Dog was giving him some problems!

We also enjoyed a lovely weekend with Mia, her parents were also at a wedding!  (wedding season is upon us!) Can you tell she was eying something delicious on the table? (chips & salsa)

Our plan on Saturday was to make burgers and enjoy our friends porch in the lovely Capitol Hill neighborhood.  The weather was absolutely amazing, and I wanted something easy for dessert.  We still had leftover blueberries from my visit to Butler’s Orchard, and a crumble just had to be made!

I have very fond memories of blueberry picking with my parents.  I spent a couple of summers at Cedar Lodge, a horseback riding camp, eating s’mores.  The camp is located in Michigan, which is definitely a blueberry state!  At the end of every summer, when my parents picked me up, our next stop was one of the blueberry farms which you can find right off of I-94.  We always drove back with a couple of buckets of blueberries that we snacked on as we sat through the Chicago traffic!

Blueberry Oat Crumble
Adapted from: Bake Your Day

This dessert is also perfect for breakfast- especially when it’s a little cold!  It’s not just a summer dessert, but can always be made from frozen fruit (defrosted) throughout the year.  If you don’t have blueberries, definitely give this a try with any fruit that’s in season!

2 1/2 cup oats
2 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
3 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Meanwhile, grease a 9’x13′ baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine and stir oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.

In a small pan, over medium heat, melt the butter.  Once it’s melted, add the almond extract and vanilla, stir well.  Next, add the melted butter and canola oil into the large bowl of dry ingredients, stir well.  Lastly, gently fold in the blueberries.

Transfer the mixture into the greased baking pan.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.  Allow to cool completely before cutting.  It’s wonderful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!