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

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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/ .

 

 

Sunday
Jun262016

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad

It looks like Europe is coming apart at the seams (well, maybe just the Brits), the western half of the US is on fire, the eastern half is flooding, the experts are predicting a global stock market crash, the Presidential race and U.S. politics in general get weirder by the day, and apparently the Independence Day sequel sucks pretty badly. I believe we’re in desperate need of some good news, people  And I know you’re probably thinking I’m just the one to provide such a thing, but all I’ve got is some super delicious pasta salad.  But in desperate times, you take what you can get.

So in case you’re seeking the perfect side dish to serve alongside whatever you might be thinking of grilling this 4th of July, look no further.  The good news is that this salad is specifically designed to make you and your guests happy, and it may even be good enough to help you forget the craziness that is the world at the moment.

And really, what could be more American than pepperoni pizza?  Morphed into a pasta salad? Just American enough for a 4th of July barbecue in need of a delicious side show. And with that I wish you all a very happy and scrumptious 4th of July!  Here's the recipe...

P.S.  And then I inexplicably left the basil out of the photo, but don't forget to add it to your salad cuz it really is supposed to be in there.  Happy 4th!!

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad

Click here for a printable recipe

1 lb pasta (rotini, corkscrew, cavatappi, etc.)
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (not grated crumbles or powder)
1 (5 oz) bag mini pepperoni slices (I chopped up some turkey pepperoni)
1 (3.8 oz) can sliced black olives
12 oz fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes or to taste
2 Tablespoons finely sliced fresh basil

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, pour pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water. Cool and transfer to a large bowl and gently toss pasta with Italian dressing. Add Parmesan cheese, pepperoni, olives, mozzarella, red pepper flakes and basil. Toss until all ingredients are fully combined.

Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.   Before serving, taste and toss with more Italian dressing if you think it needs it. 

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Monday
Jun202016

Cheddar Onion Yeast Rolls

Holy cow, it's actually been 3 weeks since my last real life blog post, which seems like an eternity in the blogging world. And in spite of being embroiled in the all-consuming kitchen renovation and a week off to celebrate a very special 45th wedding anniversary, I couldn't help but sneak into the kitchen and make these yeast rolls.  A grand total of 5 times.  But they were worth every pound of flour and brick of cheddar cheese offered up in the cause.  Allow me to explain...

At some point in the midst of deciding on some stain colors for the kitchen paneling, I was sent to Lowe's to pick up a few more samples, and while I was waiting for the paint clerks to get everything mixed up (not even kidding about that), I found out just how much I missed cooking when I found myself unable to resist the cover photo of this Cast Iron Baking book.  

By that afternoon I had these rolls rising on the counter, but that's not even close to the end of this saga. Settle in and get comfy.  I'll do my best to be brief, but these rolls have a story to tell.

So, of course a few little red flags started waving as I assembled the dough.  The recipe called for 4 1/2 cups of flour, no small amount for a pan of dinner rolls, but trusting soul that I am, I soldiered on.  But when they then asked you to divide the dough into 13 (?) portions and place them in a 10-inch cast iron pan, I knew we had problems.  Firstly, the dough balls were the size of baseballs and trying to fit even half of them into a 10-inch pan was the height of ridiculousness.  And THEN it said to bake these giant balls for 10-12 minutes!  OK, then.  Houston, we have a problem.  Well, several actually.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that for these cheddar onions rolls there was a mere 1 cup of cheese, but get this... 1/2 cup of sugar.  

The resulting rolls had no cheddar presence, a bit of onion flavor and were quite sweet.  The Husband loved them, but I think he mostly loved the dough-y texture and the sweetness, but cheddar-onion rolls these were not.

A few days later I made them again, eliminating the sugar, dividing them into 24 rolls and upping the cheddar cheese a bit.  Better, but without the sugar, the dough was a bit dry.

Attempts #3 and 4 were all about getting the dough back to that pillowy softness without sugar, getting some cheddar flavor in there, adding some chives for even more oniony fun, and just generally trying to create the cheddar-onion roll that I was longing for.  Well, by this time it was the cheddar-onion roll that I was determined to make.

Somewhere between attempts 3 and 4, I emailed the publisher of the book and relayed my struggles with the recipe and I received a very nice email in return thanking me for the feedback and stating that they were going to take the recipe back into the kitchen and see what was going on.  

I don't know what they would then do about it as their version had already been published, but it was good to hear nonetheless.  And then she sent me some more of their books to review and they all look incredibly fun and promising.  There will be more about those in the future, I'm sure.

My 5th attempt at perfection created the cheddar onion rolls of my dreams.  The rolls that didn't want to be, but got made anyway.  A basket of these with a glass of wine, well... here's the recipe... 

Cheddar - Onion Yeast Rolls

Click here for a printable recipe

These are pretty special little dinner rolls.  Feel free to double the recipe - the leftovers make amazing little sandwich buns!  A word about salt, though.  If you'll be using a standard table salt, you will want to keep this to 1 teaspoon in the recipe.  If using a fine sea salt or Morton's Kosher salt, you can push it up to 1 1/2 teaspoons.  I use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt which is less salty, so I used 2 teaspoons.  

Recipe Adapted from Cast Iron Baking

Makes 1 dozen rolls
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/2 cup minced onion
1 cup warm milk (105 - 110 degrees), divided
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (1/2 pkg)
1/2 large egg
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (I like to use the large grater hole)
1 1/2  teaspoons salt (see headnote)
2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.  Add onions; cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.  No knead to clean the cast iron pan yet.

Place 1/2 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of a standing mixer and whisk in the yeast and sugar.  Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Beat an egg and add half of it to the yeast mixture along with the cheese, salt, cooked onion, chives, 1 tablespoon of oil and the remaining 1/2 cup of warm milk.  Mix until thoroughly combined and then slowly add the flour until a soft dough forms.  If the dough seems too wet, add a little more flour; if it's a little stiff, add a bit more milk.  The dough should feel heavy, be more on the tacky side, but not sticky.  Continue to knead for about 5 minutes.  Alternately, you can mix this in a large bowl and knead by hand.

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray.  Place the dough in the bowl, turning to grease the top.  Cover and let stand in a draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and divide into 12 pieces (each piece should weigh between 2 and 2.5 oz).  You can form these into smaller rolls and get 16 out of this dough easily.  Just use a larger cast iron pan.  Spray the cast iron pan with cooking spray, roll each piece into a ball and place it into the pan.  Cover and let stand until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grate some fresh Parmesan over the top of the rolls and bake until they are lightly browned, about 18-25 minutes, depending on the size of your rolls and the peculiarities of your oven.  Serve warm.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Friday
Jun102016

Bloggus Interruptus...

...which is the latin term for no new blog posts today, and is pretty much the way it's been for the past month around here.  Between the Circle B Kitchen renovations (photos now available on the photos tab) and then a trip to CA to introduce the newest member of the family (baby Ella) to the oldest, her 96-year old Great Grandma Phoebe, cooking, testing, researching and blogging has all but come to a screeching halt. 

And things aren't going to be picking up any time soon because this weekend The Husband and I are celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary!  And when I say celebrating, I mean we're taking a week off from life.  We may do some traveling, we may not.  We might get to some restaurants we've been dying to try, or we might not.  I might do some recreational cooking or I might not.  The point being, that we are surrounded here by indescribable summer beauty and an amazing new kitchen and we mean to take some time to enjoy it and celebrate the wonder of 45 years together.  

I will be back after this brief respite with what I hope will be a whole slew of new, fun and delicious things for you to make and share with your peeps.  In the meantime, you might amuse yourself and make your peeps quite happy by making a batch of these....

Raspberry-Nutella Cookie Bars

Wednesday
Jun012016

Ginger Banana Cake

To say life has been busy here is somewhat like saying eating cake is fun.  Both would be HUGE understatements, and yet totally related in that when life gets crazy, eating cake is even more fun and probably even necessary.  So to help us through the busy insanity of the last few weeks, I've made this cake a few times, primarily because we loved it so much, but also to try and figure out why.

I mean, it's a banana cake, which might seem a bit pedestrian at first glance, but I caution you in regards to making snap judgments pertaining to its deliciousness.  It's a bit difficult to describe how good this is, except to say it might be something sort of like if banana bread and gingerbread had some kind of mad romance, and after a few too many shots of rum, created a love child that turned out to be more cake than bread, bearing some family resemblance to a cake-like ancestor.  A lucky break for all involved; moist, melt-in-your-mouth scrumptiousness.

 You can taste the banana, but it's certainly not overly banana centric.  The first time I made this, The Husband had to guess a couple of times before he named banana as the main ingredient.  At the same time, the ginger isn't overly dominant either, which is surprising given that there is both fresh and dried ginger in the batter.  And then there's the rum.  I tripled the amount called for in the recipe because I just don't see the point of adding 1 tablespoon of rum and expecting it to have any influence on the outcome at all.  I mean, what's the point?  So I started with 3 tablespoons and may or may not have upped that to 1/4 cup in subsequent bakings.

The recipe comes to us via Joy the Baker, with a few liberties taken by yours truly.  The first being not trying to mix and bake this all in the same pan.  The beauty, no, the glory of this recipe is baking it in a cast iron pan, but I have no problem with dirtying a bowl or two in the process.  

But if you are somewhat allergic to dirty mixing bowls, you might want to give it a try.

The one thing I'm pondering for my next baking, which will perhaps be this weekend, is whether or not to add raisins.  For some reason, this cake seems to be quietly asking me to add them.  I might comply and see what we think.  It certainly doesn't need them.  We've sprinkled it with powder sugar and drizzled it with icing, we've eaten it plain and we've loved it every time.  Here's the recipe...

P.S.  Kitchen Renovations continue and I'm happy to report we're nearing the finish line.  Another week or so and I might have some photos for you!  Stay tuned!

Ginger Banana Cake

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

Cake or bread?  We say cake.  This is one beautifully moist and delicious cake that you'll be wanting to make over and over again.  It's perfect for breakfast, afternoon tea, snacking or whatever.

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed muscovado brown sugar (or dark brown sugar)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum (I used 3 tablespoons- or more)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Instructions: 

Butter or spray a 9 or 10-inch cast iron pan and set aside.

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter and combine it with the brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time and then whisk in the vanilla and rum. Add the mashed bananas, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger and stir to combine well.

In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt and then stir that into the brown sugar mixture and mix well.  

Pour the batter into the prepared cast iron pan and then place in the oven and bake for 18-25 minutes until mixture is dry on top, but still slightly soft in the center. I like to slightly under-bake this cake.  (Mine took the full 25 minutes to cook)

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar  or drizzle with icing if you'd like, and enjoy warm.

 Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Friday
May272016

From 30000 feet...

Seemed like a good idea to take a break from kitchen renovations to fly out to the Circle B Kitchen Western Headquarters on the Central Coast of California for a few days to introduce little baby Ella to the California branch of the family.  Ella and I are being accompanied by her parents and her very grown-up brother of 4 years.  

As I mentioned, we'll be here for a few days and then head on home, and if you're wondering what that might possibly have to do with posting a new recipe, the answer is absolutely nothing.  I mean literally.  Still nothing new to share with you from the kitchen, but I promise I'll be getting back in there shortly.  I mean it.  I miss cooking for you, so in the meantime I wish you an awesomely delicious Memorial weekend and lots of fun people to share it with.  

XOXOX,

Patrice