Tomato Windfall!!


I have found myself happily in possession of 8 lbs of beautiful roma tomatoes.  Just not sure how I want to use them.  Tomato sauce?  Salsa?  Tomato paste?  Marinara?  For now, they look beautiful on the table.  Tomorrow I will decide their fate.

And so it was decided... tomato paste!


I weighed out 7 lbs of those beautiful romas, cut them up, cooked them down, ran them through the food mill and produced two sheet pans of tomato sauce...


...which then got cooked down in the oven for 4 hours until a beautiful tomato paste was created.  I then took the paste and place it into 5 5-oz jars and pressure canned them and from all of those lovely, fresh tomatoes, this is what I ended up with.  Best tomato paste ever...


Mulberry Jam!

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We do love our mulberries here at the Circle B Kitchen.  They begin to ripen in June and our trees keep bearing through July.  We collect as many as we can and during those months we make cobblers and tarts and whatever else we're inspired to use them in.  What we don't use right away get frozen and at summer's end, they get turned into jam, which is what happened today.  

I love seeing jars of mulberry jam sitting on the pantry shelves, knowing we're stocked up for the winter.  I did leave one bag of mulberries in the freezer just in case we need just one more cobbler.  You never know...

Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Pie!


Contrary to what it might seem like on this blog, we don't eat a lot of dessert around here.  Maybe once or twice a month I'll throw something together for us, not including recipes that I'm testing for the blog.  But today I decided to surprise The Husband with one of his favorite desserts... this oatmeal raisin cookie pie.  It's one of my favorites too.  It's a cinch to thrown together and with all of the whole oats in it, it's not something we feel terribly bad about eating. I may have gone a little heavy with the icing this time ūüôą but it is dessert afterall.  Here's the recipe!

Peeeeetza Night!

It's been a busy weekend in the Circle B Kitchen, working on several new recipes for the blog which should appear shortly.  We've got an awesome pita bread in the works and of course, pita chips will make an appearance.  Also been testing some new recipes for chicken shawarma that I hope to have to you before too long and a killer moroccan chicken too.  Also working on a new hummus recipe.  We've been eating well here!

But last Sunday I made a batch of pizza dough with the intention of making pizza this week.  I didn't get around to it until last night which meant that dough sat in the fridge for a whole week! 

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It's not unusual for me to keep dough for several days, but that's the first time I pushed it to a whole week and as you can see, it came out great.  Man, that was some good pizza!  The moral of the story is go ahead and make your dough (here's our recipe) and stash it in the fridge.  You've got a whole week to decide when your pizza night will be!! 

Chicken Teriyaki Noodle Bowls

Sunday night dinner around here is more often than not something Asian-inspired.  Tonight's menu was no exception and we dined happily on these chicken teriyaki noodle bowls.  I used our recipe for salmon teriyaki bowls and subbed in chicken breasts for the salmon.

The chicken breasts were marinated in some of the teriyaki sauce and then pan seared and sliced over the noodles.  Happy diners all around!

Friday Night Enfrijoladas!

I've decided that there's no photo that I could possibly take that would express to you the deliciousness of a perfectly-made enfrijolada.  I've been thinking about these all day and  couldn't wait to get them made for tonight's dinner.  Oh, and yes, every Friday night is Mexican.  Every.  Friday. Night.  And this has to be one of our favorite Friday night meals.  Not even kidding.  Get them made... you will be so happy you did.

The Best Grilled Brats

Our son-in-law makes all kinds of sausages and every year he fills our freezer with incredibly delicious summer sausages and brats.  I've had trouble in the past getting the most out of grilling those brats until I came across this recipe from Kenji Lopez-Alt on SeriousEats.

I'm not even kidding how good these were.  If you're into brats and you love to grill them, you HAVE to try this recipe.  It's a total game-changer.  Next time I do this I'll take some photos. The recipe may seem fussy, but it's totally not.  Kenji tends to reduce his recipes to a science which has its plusses and minuses.  Here it's a total plus.  Try it... you won't ever go back.

Fresh King Salmon with Asian Noodles

We're here in the Western Headquarters of the Circle B Kitchen, which means we're breathing the fresh air of the California Central Coast.  And enjoying fresh king salmon right from the sea.  

Tonight I grilled some of that fresh salmon and sauteeed some fresh snap peas and mixed it all together with some rice noodles and our all-purpose Asian Sauce.  The whole shebang gets topped with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

We're digging on it and happier than I can even tell you.

Grown-up Dinner

We've had two of the grandsons (10 and 13) here for the past week while their parents have been away on business.  It's tradition here in these parts that grandkids, when left in our care, get totally spoiled and call the shots when it comes to dinnertime.  Which means that for the past week we have dined on taquitos, quesadillas, chicken fingers, tacos and mac n cheese.

That's all fine and good; I mean, we all love kid food, right?  But after a week we're very, very ready to dine on something more, um, grown up.  Enter this salmon with couscous, brussels sprouts and cranberries.  I can't even tell you how good this tasted.  I mean, it's always one of our favorite meals, but tonight it tasted especially good.  

Prepping for St. Patrick's Day

I've long been wanting to share with you my recipe for corned beef and cabbage, but have never quite had it together in time to post before the big day.  But this year I was determined to get it made in time which means you all will be the lucky recipients of that recipe sometime in the next week.  In addition to the corned beef and all of the delicious veggies that go along with it, it is also tradition here to include cheesy beer scones on the menu.  They're ever such the perfect accompaniment.  Not sure why corned beef insists on looking quite so pink...

Teriyaki Salmon Ramen Bowls

Yes, it's Valentine's Day out there in the world, but life has conspired and decided that this day would be uber busy here and not so conducive to romantic celebrations.  Sometimes these things are not within our control.  Nevertheless, we will be celebrating.  Just not tonight.  


This busy day kept us going such that there was very little time to plan a meal.  But I had some leftover teriyaki sauce in the fridge from a batch I made last week and salmon in the freezer and ramen noodles in the pantry.  Blanched some broccoli and and dinner was ready in 20 minutes. If you haven't had the good fortune to try this yet, I highly recommend it.  You'll find the recipe here.  It turned out to be a perfect dinner that made us grateful for a well-stocked fridge.  We are planning a do-over and rest assured,Valentine's Day celebrations will be forthcoming.  

Lasagna for Two...

It's Meatless Monday here at the Circle B Kitchen, and it's also the day before Valentine's.  And as I mentioned in my Valentine's post, I was considering making lasagna for the big day, but in the end, decided on something else.  Which left me craving lasagna anyway.  So tonight I'm making a meatless version that I have very high hopes for.

First of all, it's a very cute lasagna for 2.  That photo makes it look huge, but it's only 6x8 inches.  It's a meatless spinach lasagna, but here's the deal... instead of ricotta or bechamel for the spinach layer, I used cauliflower puree (as in mac n cheese) that I loaded with parmesan and holy cow, was this ever amazing!!

So here's how it comes together...

A little marinara on the bottom of the pan and then lasagna noodles (please, none of those no boil ones).  I spread the spinach "bechamel" sauce on the noodles and then a layer of provolone cheese.  Another layer of noodles and then a little sauce and then lots of shredded mozzarella cheese.


Then I threw it in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes and what emerged was nothing less than lasagna nirvana.  Not even kidding.  This was one of the best lasagnas we've had in quite some time.

Baking day...

I'm doing a little recipe testing today... a version of beef stew that subs out the beef for chicken. It's a slow cooker recipe that I'm doing in the oven.  It smells divine and fingers crossed that it tastes as good as those aromas.  Photos may be forthcoming.

While the stew is cooking away, I decided to make some cookies.  The Husband's all-time favorite ever cookie is a simple oatmeal cookie with absolutely no add-ins.  I have to admit, it really is a wondrous little cookie.

So I baked him up a bunch but saved back a little of the dough, added chocolate chips and made a few for myself.  I did notice, however, that they're a bit misshapen and it may be time to invest in a cookie scoop.  Fortunately shape has no bearing on flavor and these taste just about perfect.

Christmas Eve!!

Christmas Eve usually finds me on the hustle bus cooking my rear end off trying to get it all done before the big day.  Not so much this year.  And why you may ask?  It's because I decided to do some actual planning this time around.  I would be feeling pretty taken with myself if it weren't for the fact that this is so easy and why the heck haven't I always done more cooking ahead?!

Anyway, this year I've been ever so clever and gotten most of the meal prepped in advance.  Over the past couple of days, I've made the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffed and rolled the turkey breasts and even made the gravy.  Today I've prepped and blanched the green beans.  I also made our sausage and cheese breakfast casserole that I'll just bake off in the morning.  A little later today I'll make the cinnamon rolls.  

For Christmas Eve this year we've decided to spend a quiet evening just the two of us.  The family had their annual gift exchange party last night and tomorrow will be a full on day of partying, eating and cooking, so we opted for a quiet one tonight.  I'm making one of my very all-time favorite things... linguini with clams.  I've got bread rising and will make a salad to go along with it.  Photos may be ensue.

Photos are becoming available.  Christmas Eve dinner begins with a salad of mixed greens, clementines, toasted almonds, avocado, feta cheese and pomegranate seeds. 

Linguini and clams...

I made some bread to accompany our dinner and we're eatin' happy.  Hope you are too.

I wish you all a very happy, merry, wondrous Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus, and/or whatever holidays you're celebrating.  As always, I also hope your day includes lots of very good eats.


Getting a Jump on Christmas...

With only 3 cooking days left before Christmas, I'm getting a jump on things and making a few things before crunch time.  Today it's the mashed potatoes (done!) and the sweet potatoes.  Both are mashed which might seem redundant, but they couldn't be more different.  Noah (18-year old grandson) MUST have mash potatoes at Christmas, so I will oblige.  And I loved these mashed sweet potatoes so much at Thanksgiving, I must have the sequel.  

So the sweet potatoes are roasted and I'm going in to peel them and whip them up with some creme fraiche, maple syrup and fresh thyme.  Oh, and butter.  Yes, there will be butter.

So I ran into a little snag with my sweet potatoes... upon mashing them, they seemed watery and not as smooth and creamy as I was going for.  So I grabbed a couple of eggs and whipped them up with the sweet potatoes and put them in a baking dish and into a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Problem solved.  The eggs thickened them up a bit and the heat got rid of the excess moisture and we now have creamy, non-soggy sweet potatoes!  yay!

Since I've been a bit busy in the kitchen, dinner tonight is going to be pretty simple.  I threw some chopped garlic and shallots in a skillet with a little olive oil and sauteed those up.  Then I pureed some roasted red peppers, added those to the pan along with some crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, ground coriander and a whole lot of harissa.  This has simmering away and smells quite lovely.  then I poached some eggs.  When we're ready to eat, I'll set the eggs into the sauce, shakshuka-style and reheat everything.  Of course, you can't have shakshuka without bread....

So I grabbed a hunk of no-knead bread dough that's been in the fridge for a few days and baked that off.  Dinner's pretty much gonna fix itself tonight.

Saturday night Macaroni Bake

It's cold here.  Like -2 or something like that.  When it gets this cold, it's time to pull out the serious comfort food and sometimes all you need is a big pan full of baked macaroni, ground meat and lots of cheese.  And yes, it did the trick.  This is dangerous stuff, actually.  The kind of thing where your fork keeps going back in even after you tell it to stop.  Not really complaining though.

Monday in the Kitchen...

Had to make another batch of granola today.  There's nothing like the aromas of granola baking in the oven.  

Dinner tonight was one of our favorite meals... the one-pan chicken and sausage roast.  This is one of Nigella Lawson's recipes and we make it on a regular basis.  I didn't get any photos of it, but tonight I added red peppers to the pan and that will always be a part of our chicken roast in the future.

To go along with our chicken and sausage roast, I roasted a spaghetti squash and it was dynamite!  A little tip for you spaghetti squash fans... cut the squash across the equator, not lengthwise; you'll get longer strands that way.  I drizzled the inside with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and placed it on a foil-lined sheet pan and roasted it for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.  Soooo good!

Chicken Dinner!

Before we get to the chicken part of tonight's dinner, I'll start with our side dish.  I had a bunch of kale that I really wanted to use up and a few yukon gold potatoes, so I sliced up the potatoes and pan roasted those in a little olive oil.  Then I blanched the kale and added it to the pan along with some house seasoning salt and some red pepper flakes.  After the kale got cooked down just right and the potatoes were pretty much cooked through, I layered this in my cast iron skillet...

with some grated Gruyere cheese.  I'll bake that for about 20 minutes in the oven to get the cheese all melty and yum.

As for the chicken, I dredged it in some flour that I seasoned with house seasoning salt and then browned it in a little veg oil.  I'll throw this in the oven to finish cooking about the same time as the kale and potatoes and we'll be calling that dinner.  The end.

The verdict... the chicken was so yummy (sorry I didn't get a final photo after roasting), but we were both crazy in love with the kale and potatoes.  I wish I'd gotten a photo of it after it came out of the oven.  Man, this was some good stuff.