Welcome to the Circle B Kitchen! 
We love that you're here and hope you'll browse the site and grab some recipes.  
The Circle B Kitchen has been blogging since September, 2009.  We have loads of recipes and thoughts on food to share in the coming weeks and months, so come back and check in often!  We love hearing from you and hope you'll leave a comment or shoot an email our way.  Whether you have questions about a recipe or the site in general, please let us know...    Contact me at      pberry@circle-B-kitchen.com


 Find a Circle B Kitchen Recipe 

And just in case you were wondering...

       

 

Our oldest daughter, Erin, has been riding, training and showing horses since she was a teenager.  She graduated from Colorado St. University with a degree in Equine Science and is now Financial and Administrative Manager for HETRA (Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Association), which provides therapy through horseback riding for children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors, head injuries, blindness, autism, and strokes.  For more information or to donate to this amazing cause, please visit http://www.hetra.org/ .

 

 

Saturday
Feb062016

Old Fashioned Cornbread with Homemade Honeybutter

 

I'm beginning to think that nostalgia is an actual flavor.  I mean, don't most people describe their favorite comfort foods in terms of childhood memories or Grandma's recipe or Mom's whatever? Things that taste nostalgic have very profound effects on our tastebuds, and if that isn't a scientific fact, I think it should be.  

So today I am sharing with you my corn bread recipe that has very strong nostalgic overtones for me because it's the self-same cornbread that my Mom made for us way back in the 50's and 60's.  It's the cornbread that I made when the kids were little and it continues to be the cornbread I make for the two of us. 

And we never tire of it  Probably because it tastes so nostalgic and homey and it's otherwise also just so very good.  But it's also because of honey.  Oh, and butter.

When I was growing up, cornbread was always slathered with lots of butter and gobs of honey and I still love it that way.  But more recently I've taken to combining them for a more subtle approach, but certainly no less delicious.  In fact, the Husband, who never puts honey OR butter on his cornbread (ever the purist) declared that honeybutter was decidedly now his cornbread condiment of choice.

But back to the cornbread... as most nostalgic and homey foods tend to be, this one is simple, uncomplicated and quite happy to be nothing fancier than just plain cornbread.  But as it turns out, that's quite enough to turn a bowl of soup or chili into the perfect meal, or make breakfast that much more delicious and satisfying.  Historically speaking, this one's been proven to deliver cornbread goodness every single time.

So how easy is it?  Well, no special mixers or tools needed, just 2 bowls, a whisk and a spoon.  

Mix the 4 dry ingredients in one bowl,

the 5 wet ingredients in the other bowl, combine them,

pour into the baking pan of choice

and in 30 minutes you will have cornbread.  Every time.  Nostalgia and reliability are pretty good friends.

And if you'd like a little honeybutter on that, then all you need is one little bowl, some softened butter and honey.  

Mix with a fork and place that on a piece of plastic, roll it up and refrigerate it until solid

and then slice.  

Or, you could just place your soft honey butter in a bowl and refrigerate it or just use it soft.  It'll melt even faster that way.

It's so nice to know that in this world where last week's new thing will be inconsequential next week, some things stay vital and relevant and not only stand the test of time, but even sort of transcend it. I'm glad we've had this chat, and if you'd like to keep it real and make some cornbread, here's the recipe...

Old Fashioned Cornbread with Homemade Honeybutter

Click here for a printable recipe

This is old timey simplicity at its finest, and cornbread done the way it’s been made in our family since the 1950’s.  It’s nothing fancy or tricky; just ever so good.  Serve with homemade honey butter (recipe below), if you like. 

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups corn meal
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½  tablespoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup whole milk 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

You will need an 9-inch cake pan or cast iron skillet that’s been greased or sprayed with cooking spray.   You could also use a 9-inch square baking pan.

Combine the first four ingredients (dry ingredients) in a medium bowl and whisk to fully incorporate. 

In a second bowl whisk together the last 5 ingredients (wet ingredients). 

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and then pour into the prepared baking pan. 

Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until slightly golden on top.  Let cool slightly before removing from the pan and cutting. 

Homemade Honey Butter 

For each ¼ cup of softened butter, you will need 1 tablespoon of honey.

Use a fork to stir the butter and honey together.  When completely combined, place on a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a log as you wrap it up.   Twist the ends of the plastic wrap to seal. 

Place this in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until it’s firm.  Slice as needed.  Alternately, you can just place your honeybutter in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Saturday
Jan302016

Farro Risotto with Sausage and Mushrooms

I've had this recipe sitting in my blog queue for a little while, not because I didn't think it was good enough to post, no sir, nothing could be further from the truth.  I was initially a little hesitant to offer up a recipe that asks you to stand at the stove and stir and tend to a dish that might take 30-40 minutes, but I've changed my mind.  Nope.  No longer feeling bad about that.   In fact, I'm going to strongly urge you to do so.  And the reason is that this is one of the most delicious risottos I've ever tasted.  Not even kidding.  

If you haven't cooked with farro before, man you've got a treat ahead.  It's one of the most delicious grains out there, in my humble opinion.  And in addition to being ever so scrumptious, it's also quite good for you.  In terms of nutrition, it's about the same as quinoa, only it has more calcium. Here's a little more about that.  Delicious and Nutritious is what we're all about here.  

Farro isn't new to the Circle B Kitchen.  We've used it to make this lovely caprese salad and we've also used it to make this Mediterranean Farro Bowl, both incredibly delicious ways to get your farro fix.

But this risotto has captured our hearts and tastebuds and is now on the list of the Circle B regular meal rotation.  Which, by the way, is so long now that we have trouble keeping track of our favorites.  There must be an app for that.

If you're already a big fan of farro, you've got to try it in this risotto.  If you've never cooked with it before, I heartily encourage you to nab a bag of the stuff, pull out a heavy pot and get to stirring. You'll be so glad you did.  Here's the recipe... 

Farro Risotto with Sausage and Mushrooms

Click here for a printable recipe

Farro has now replaced rice as our risotto ingredient of choice.  It’s unexpectedly hearty and flavorful and extremely delicious.  In spite of the 40-minute time frame outlined in the recipe, mine was done in 30 minutes, so begin tasting your farro at 30 minutes.  I made a few changes to the original recipe which I found on the Food52 website.  I didn’t have fresh mushrooms on hand, so I substituted them with some dried porcinis that I think added loads of flavor.  I also substituted spinach for the peas.  This is just so good with a fried or poached egg on top. 

Recipe Adapted from Food52

Serves 4 

2 tablespoons butter
3 links sausage, casings removed (I used turkey Italian sausage)
1 medium onion, diced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (I used ½ cup dried porcinis)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup farro
1/3 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups warm chicken or vegetable broth, or as needed
1/2 cup peas (I used ½ cup frozen, thawed spinach)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, to garnish
4 poached or fried eggs, for serving 

Prep:

1.  If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them in warm water while you prep the rest of your ingredients. Drain them and slice up the bigger pieces.  (If  using fresh mushrooms, wipe them clean with a paper towel and slice them.)

2.  Chop the garlic 

3.  If using frozen spinach, thaw it in the microwave and then squeeze out as much moisture as possible.  You should have about ½ cup. 

4.  Grate the parmesan cheese 

5.  Chop the parsley 

6.  Pour 3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth into a saucepan and keep warm over low heat. 

Directions: 

In a large pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the sausage, and cook until it begins to brown. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant. 

Add the farro and stir to combine. Deglaze the pan with white wine, and continuing to work over medium heat, stir constantly until the wine is almost completely reduced.   Add the bay leaf, and season the mixture with salt and pepper. 

Begin adding the stock, 1 ladleful at a time, stirring constantly until the farro has absorbed all the liquid, roughly 40 minutes (mine was done in 30 minutes).  It may take all three cups of broth (or more, or less). Taste the farro along the way. When it is nice and tender, it is finished. 

When the farro is tender, fold in the peas (or spinach) and Parmesan cheese. 

When the farro is about done cooking, either fry or poach one egg per person. 

Scoop the risotto onto four plates or pasta bowls, sprinkle with more cheese and top with one egg per each serving. Finish with salt, pepper, and chopped fresh parsley.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Saturday
Jan232016

One-Pan Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Here's one for all of us who are at times (or always) strapped for time and energy when dinner time rolls around.  I thought about putting this over on my Matters and Musings page because I've been doing a series there on quick and easy meals, but because there is actually a bit of chopping involved, I thought I'd keep it here on the main page.  But that doesn't mean it doesn't fall into that category because I'm here to tell you I've made this numerous times when I had neither much time and/or little ambition as the dinner hour approached, and this chicken and veggie roast came through to save the day.

 

Even without  prior planning, it doesn't take much effort to roughly chop whatever veggies you have in the fridge and some chicken thighs and douse it all in a little olive oil and lemon juice and whatever herbs you choose, throw it all on a sheet pan and roast for about 30 minutes and dinner's on. 

But with a little planning, much of the work can be done the night before or the morning of, so that just before dinner the hardest thing you'll have to do is preheat the oven.

The recipe comes to us by way of Laura Keogh and Ceci Marsh's cookbook, How to Feed A Family. I like their style.  I mean, we all want to be cooking (and eating) food that's not only good for you, but food that's simple, even rustic in its preparation, and yet super scrumptious.  

And that's what we have here, people.  Nothing flashy.  Nothing glitzy.  Just wholesome, honest, good for you food.  We like that around here.  You can certainly customize this to your own tastes. In addition to the chicken thighs (not breasts), I like to throw in a combination of zucchini, red pepper, red onion, little creamer potatoes and cherry tomatoes (or whatever tomatoes I have).  I also use my Tuscan Herb Salt to season the marinade.  But like I said, you can use whatever vegetables you've got handy and whatever combination of herbs and spices that suits the moment.  The only other thing you'll need is a rimmed sheet pan.  Oh, and an oven.  And about 30 minutes.  Here's the recipe...

One-Pan Chicken and Veggie Roast

Click here for a printable recipe

This is such an easy, rustic meal that can be thrown together when time and energy are at a minimum.  Feel free to customize the herbs and veggies to meet your own needs or the contents of your fridge.  You can do all of the prep work the night before and place it in a Ziploc bag or a bowl with the marinade and then just throw it all on a sheet pan and roast come dinner time.  

The recipe calls for a 30 minute roasting time, but I like to take it more towards 40 minutes.  This gives the chicken and veggies more time to develop caramlization and flavor, but the downside is less pan juice, although there's still enough to keep it moist.

Recipe adapted from How To Feed a Family

Yields: 4 servings

¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon Tuscan Herb Salt *
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 ½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 pound red creamer or Yukon gold potatoes, chunked
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 red onion, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
½ pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved 

*Or substitute the equivalent amount of dried rosemary, oregano and sage mixed with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and herbs, salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in a bowl (or Ziploc bag) and pour half of the oil mixture on top and mix to coat well.  Marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place the cut up veggies (except the tomatoes) on the sheet pan and pour the remaining oil mixture on top.  Mix together to coat the veggies, spreading them evenly and then add the chicken to the pan.  Drizzle with a little more olive oil and give everything another good sprinkle of salt and pepper and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the tomatoes over the top.  Return the pan to the oven and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is beginning to brown and the veggies are tender.  I like to serve this in shallow bowls with some crusty bread to sop up the pan juices.

Saturday
Jan162016

The Big Ben SlawSwissBurger

 

So in order for this post to make any sense at all (and then it probably still won't), you have to firstly sort of be into football and secondly maybe be a Steelers fan and then thirdly you have to say the name of this burger really fast all the while picturing a particular quarterback in black and gold.  But not those prisoner uniforms, please, never again with the yellow and black stripes.  

Yes, this is partly a post about my hope that Big Ben can once again overcome injury and haul his team into one more playoff game and possibly even another superbowl, and it's also peripherally about the level of weirdness that may reside in one who takes the time to invent a burger about it.  But as it turns out, this is mostly about what has become one of our favorite burgers to date... The SlawSwissBurger.

And you really don't have to care a twit about football or the Steelers to enjoy a SlawSwissBurger.  No sir, this burger is ready to stand for nothing more than just some really good eats.  Because what we have here is a burger stuffed with Gruyere cheese (a kind of Swiss, if you will), topped with two more slices of melted swiss cheese and a very tasty slaw that makes for one heckuva messy, scrumptious burger.  But they would also make outstandingly messy sliders for your football party.

I fully realize that SlawSwissBurger isn't actually all that close a reference to Rothlissburger, but I felt that a RawSwissBurger might not be quite as charming.  Or edible.  So here's the recipe...

The Big Ben SlawSwissBurger

Click here for a printable recipe 

These burgers are so cheese-y and messy and just ever so good.  I used a nice block of Gruyere cheese for the burger stuffing and sliced it into 2-inch squares, but if you can find already sliced Gruyere that's great or just use more of the sliced swiss cheese.  Also, I used Heinz chili sauce for the slaw mix which has so much more flavor than catsup, so I highly recommend you stick with the chili sauce.

Makes 3 burgers

1 1/4 lbs ground meat (I used ground turkey)
2 teaspoons Circle B Kitchen seasoning salt (or your favorite)
6 slices of swiss cheese
3 slices of Gruyere cheese (about 2 inches square, .5 oz each)
1 1/2 cups of our burger slaw (recipe follows)
3 burger buns

Burger Slaw
1 cup of shredded cabbage
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chili sauce (I used Heinz)
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

For the Burgers:
Sprinkle the burger meat with the seasoning salt, mix well and then divide it into 6 equal portions.  Form them into thin, flat patties and lay one piece of the Gruyere cheese on 3 of them.  Top those with the other 3 patties, pinching the sides of each to seal the cheese inside.  

For the slaw:
Combine the mayonnaise, chili sauce, pickle relish and Dijon mustard.  Place about a cup or a cup and a half of shredded cabbage in a separate bowl and then stir in enough of the mayo mixture to create a good sauce for the burger.  You made not need all of the sauce mixture, but it also makes a great dip for fries.

Oil your grill or grill pan and then heat it until it's starting to smoke.  Place your burgers on the grill and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side.  Top each burger with a slice of swiss cheese for the last 3 or 4 minutes of cooking.

While the burgers cook, warm the buns and place one slice of swiss cheese on the bottom half of each bun and top that with a little of the slaw mix.  Top that with your cooked burger and then a little more slaw mix.  Add the top bun and enjoy! 

Sunday
Jan102016

Enfrijoladas

 

Just a very few short days ago, I had never heard of an enfrijolada (en-free-ho-latha).  And this from a person who grew up eating all kinds of amazing Mexican foods in Southern California.  But an enfrijolada?  A little sleuthing on my part revealed that this is indeed a thing.  It's actually a very traditional Mexican dish that's often served at breakfast, but can be enjoyed any time of day owing to the simplicity of its preparation.  Of course, recipes abound for differing versions, and this is my take on one from Marcela Vallalodid (The Kitchen, Mexican Made Easy).  Here's a link to her recipe.

So in case you've never heard of them either, simply put, enfrijoladas are similar to an enchilada, folded, not rolled, stuffed with cheese, and sauced with the most delectable combination of refried beans (hence the frijol) and enchilada sauce.  That's my version, anyway, and I have to say that I may have just rocked these right out of the park.  Oh my.  Enfrijoladas are now a favorite in the Circle B Kitchen and have joined our regular menu rotation.  The Husband is already asking when we're having them again.  Soon.  That's all I have to say.  Very, very soon.

As I mentioned, there a lots of ways to make enfrijoladas, most of them beginning with long-simmered pinto beans and then adding onions and garlic and peppers and tomatoes and then blending it all together to make this incredibly wondrous sauce.

But as I watched Ms. Vallalodid blend up her beans and salsa, two thoughts went scrambling through my mind, the first being, aren't we just basically talking about refried beans here?  And the second thought was, wouldn't a deep, rich, delicious enchilada sauce impart more flavor than a cup of leftover salsa?  And I had to answer myself in the affirmative on both accounts.

Now, you guys know that I would rather cook up a pot of long-simmered pinto beans than just about anything else in this life.  But on this day I let my creative impulses guide me to the pantry and a can of organic refried beans.  And by creative impulses, I mostly mean laziness.  Along with the refried beans, I grabbed a jar of some of my homemade enchilada sauce and some chicken stock and set about to create the enfrijolada sauce that was simmering away in my mind.

But before I go further, I have to just say that this is something I rarely ever do. I always try and make a recipe first at least somewhat the way it was written, so that I have a good sense of what it's supposed to be before I completely dissassemble and remake it.  So I'm thinking that right from the start here I'm going to give myself a few demerits for not having even tried the original.  Not cool.  But to be fair, I've made more than a few pots of pinto beans in my day and more salsa than you even want to know about and so, in my defense, I'm going to re-frame this narrative as a story in which I save myself a lot of time and beans.  It's a story where I just cut to the chase and give you one heckuva tasty enfrijolada.  I hope you're OK with that.

So after a bit of testing and tasting, this awesomely delicious sauce came together, pretty much exactly the way I had hoped.  And after giving it a bit of a simmer, I got down to the business of assemblage.

Which we begin by dipping a corn tortilla into that warm sauce, giving it a couple of dunks so it's softened up a bit.

Then lay that in your baking dish

Top it with some grated jack cheese

Fold it over

Repeat


Then top with a little more sauce and more grated cheese

Broil until the cheese melts and then sprinkle with a little cilantro and green onion...

Serve with chips (or not)

Or put an egg on it (so good!!!)

Alrighty then, people.  Now we all know what an enfrijolada is and we know how easy they are to make and all that's left is the tasting; the best part of all.  Here's the recipe...

Enfrijoladas

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from Marcela Vallalodid 

I took a few liberties with Ms. Vallalodid's recipe, but I think the results speak for themselves.  The only caveat here is that the enchilada sauce you choose will make a huge difference in the flavors of the final dish.  Homemade, is of course, an awesome choice, and I've given you a link to my recipe. Other than that, choose wisely.  Hatch makes a decent sauce and I'm sure there are others out there.  You can add some chipotle in adobo sauce or ground cayenne to give it more of a kick, if you like.  You probably won't need the whole cup of chicken stock; only use as much as you need to create a smooth, pourable sauce.  It should be a little thicker than a traditional enchilada sauce.  The original recipe called for baking the enfrijoladas for 15 to 20 minutes, but I found that the tortillas got a bit soggy with this method but they fared much better with a semi-brief blitz under the broiler. 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 can refried beans 
1 cup enchilada sauce (here's my recipe)
1 cup chicken stock (*)
salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo sauce (optional)
8 corn tortillas
3 or more cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 green onions, sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Optional for serving: salsa, sliced avocado, Mexican crema (or sour cream), chopped or sliced red onions
 

(*) Use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version

You will need a 9x13 baking pan.  If they don't all fit in your pan, you can either overlap them a little or use another pan. 

Prep:

Grate the jack cheese

slice the green onions

chop the cilantro

Prep your toppings for serving 

Combine the enchilada sauce, refried beans and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock in a 10-inch skillet or chefs pan.  Stir over medium heat until the beans have blended into the sauce.  If it seems too thick, add a little more stock.  Taste for salt and pepper and add a little chipotle in adobo sauce or ground cayenne if you'd like it spicier.  Let the sauce simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to develop the flavors. 

Working with one tortilla at a time, use a pair of tongs to dip it into the sauce just long enough to soften it a little.  Place the tortilla in the baking dish, top with grated jack cheese, fold in half, and continue with the remaining tortillas.   

Preheat the broiler. 

Pour a little more of the sauce over the enfrijoladas and top them with more of the grated jack cheese.

Place them under the broiler (about 6 inches from the heat) and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Let cool about 5 minutes before serving with toppings of your choice.

 Click here to ask a question or leave a comment