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.  

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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.

XOXOXO  
Patrice

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.

Sunday Pizza

It's not like we're in a rut here or anything, but if Saturday morning is Dutch Baby, then Sunday night is pizza.  And if that's a rut, may I please stay in it forever.  So yeah, it's Sunday which makes me want to make pizza and so that's just what I did.  Three of them.  I made 3 pizzas for the two of us.  😁  This one is an Italian sausage and olive, then I made the required pepperoni and for the other one I used some leftover spinach artichoke dip and spread that over the crust, and then topped it with slices of fresh mozzarella and sprinkled on lots of ground white pepper.  There's no way to pick a favorite among them; we just can't wait to heat up the leftovers.

I think I mentioned this last time I talked about pizza, but I replaced my pizza stone in the oven with a pizza steel and dude, it is the best thing to happen to my pizza since we built the pizza oven.  Unfortunately, the weather doesn't always allow me to fire that up, so I have to rely on my oven through most of the winter.  I've got my pizza steel in the Aga and use the convection setting as high as it can go and it really does approximate the crisp crust I get in the pizza oven.  Yay!!

Saturday Morning Dutch Baby

Nothing says Saturday morning in the Circle B Kitchen like a fluffy, puffy Dutch baby.  It's definitely one of our favorite things to wake up to.  It slides right out of that cast iron pan onto a cutting board and then we slice it up and top it with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of powdered sugar.  I also love it with just a dollop of lemon curd or blackberry jam.

And thus begins our Christmas...

December 1st sort of marks the beginning of the Christmas season here in the Circle B Kitchen and this year we're going to get it all started by making eggnog.  Industrial strength.  I like to get this made as soon as possible because it just gets better the longer it sits.  Also, the sooner I get it made, the sooner we can start drinking, which, as it turns out, has become our default response to the state of affairs in our great country these days.  No time for despair, people, just get some eggnog made.

We're following up our eggnog indulgence with the annual persimmon cookie bake off.  It just isn't Christmas without one of Grandma Lockett's persimmon cookies.

It's Taco Tuesday!! Again!

Yes, It's taco Tuesday here once again and it's the best and only way that I can think of to get ourselves through a Tuesday.  Of course, any self-respecting Taco Tuesday would be remiss to even think of beginning without a happy hour of chips, salsa and guacamole. 

So, of course, this is how we roll around here.  I made a quart of salsa...

And then opened up the most perfect avocado (big sigh) and used it to make some killer guacamole.  Tacos have a way around here of setting things to rights.  Balance and order have been restored, even if it's just within the confines of our little place.  Tacos for President.

Moroccan Meatballs

I'm not even sure what to say when I think I just experienced the most perfect meatball.  Ever.  I will not mince words here... I'm way big into meatballs and have made many of them in my day. Countless variations on the theme of ground meat mixed with egg, binder, seasonings, and I have enjoyed them all.  But today I think I may have eaten the grand mac daddy of meatballs.  I'll be posting this one soon.  I can't wait for you to taste these.

Garbanzo Extravanganza!

I'm in full on garbanzo mode today, people.  I pulled out some dried chickpeas this morning, soaked them, cooked them and then made this incredible sauce with them.  Sooooo good.

I love this pasta called mafalda, but it's so hard to find but it's what I imagined putting under this sauce.  I had some lasagna sheets so I cooked up about 10 of them and and then cut them into pieces and they were so good with this sauce.  Pretty close to mafalda!

This was a test for a post I'm working on and once I work out a few kinks, I'll have the recipe for you.  Without the parmesan, it's totally vegan.  It's creamy and tasty without cream and I think you're going to like this one.  Stay tuned!

It's Pie Day!!

It's Thanksgiving Eve which means it's Pie Day in the Circle B Kitchen!  yay!!  I'm making 3 different kinds of pie this year, starting with a traditional pumpkin pie.  Except for its size.  The puppy is coming in at 12" in diameter.  With 32 people to feed, you can't have enough pie.  My daughter-in-law, the pastry queen is making 2 different kinds of apple pie.  I've got the pie crust made...

And the filling (1 1/2) times my regular recipe filled the shell perfectly.  It's ready for the oven. Next up, I'm making a brown sugar pie!

Enormous pumpkin pie is done.

But I forgot to mention that before I even started pie-making, I got some rolls made and they're rising nicely.  Maybe another hour before they go into the oven.  There's one more giant pan of them that didn't get into the photo.  Hope we'll have enough.

Brown sugar pie is ready for the oven, but it's going to have to get in line.  One of the pans of rolls is ready for the oven and rolls wait for no one!

First pan of rolls came out of the oven...

Brown sugar pie made it into the oven.  Got a graham cracker crust made for my pumpkin cream cheese pie...

Cream cheese pumpkin pie is waiting its turn for the oven.  Right now there are 3 pans of rolls in there.

Brown Sugar upon its exit from the oven...

T-Minus 2 days...

We're ratcheting up the workload today.  Only 2 more days until Thanksgiving so no time to dawdle!  Today's list includes cooking one of the turkeys (I'll post all of that over on the main page of the blog), make the gravy, the brussels sprouts and kale dish and get the corn pudding made up.  So here's the 911 on the brussels sprouts...

Firstly, you can either buy your brussels sprouts shredded, or buy them whole and use the slicing blade on your food processor to get them to that state.  This makes quick work of that job!!  2-3 minutes tops!

Then I cooked some bacon and set the fat aside, but left 3 tablespoons of it in the pan.  To that I added half of the shallots and sauteed them until soft.  

Then I threw in half of the brussels sprouts and sauteed those for about 5 minutes.  

Then in went the half of the kale that I had already blanched, shocked in ice water and drained.  I sauteed this for another 5 minutes and then emptied the pan into a bowl and repeated the process with the rest of the kale, shallots and brussels sprouts.

Then I crumbled in most of the bacon, holding back a few pieces that I'll use to decorate the top.  I then stirred in some balsamic vinegar and put the whole shebang into the baking dish which was covered with foil.  I'll just throw it in the oven to heat through right before dinner.  Done!

Working on the corn pudding... more to follow....

Alrighty then!  Corn pudding is done and this is the largest corn pudding I've ever made.  Might be the largest one in all of history.  This casserole dish is the size of a small VW, so maybe you get the idea.  We'll hopefully have enough.

Roasting (and mashing) some SweetTaters

Got all of the grocery shopping finished up today and there are now two beautiful turkeys stashed away in the fridge, resting peacefully until roasting day.

But while I have a minute (or 120), I'm going to get the sweet potatoes roasted up.  I just wrap them in foil (two per pouch) and bake them for 2 hours at 300 degrees.  I wasn't even planning on doing sweet potatoes, but walking through Whole Foods I got this craving for some mashed sweet potatoes so after these are roasted, I'll skin them and mash them up with maybe a little maple syrup, browned butter and some thyme.  I'll let you know.  Creme fraiche would be nice in there too.

And I can't even tell you how good these came out.  If you like mashed sweet potatoes, you've gotta do this.  After your potatoes come out of the oven and they cool just a bit, the peels will slide right off.  Put the sweet potatoes into a stand mixer with the whip attachment and add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 6 tablespoons of melted butter, the leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme and 1/2 cup of creme fraiche.  Whip until everything's combined and your sweet potatoes are all whippy and you won't even believe how good.  I'm going to wish I made a lot more of these.  I'll post an official recipe in just a bit.

Smashing Some Taters!

We've got about 15 lbs of taters to peel and smash so it's awfully nice to get some help in the kitchen!  Five down, 10 to go!!!

Ella tried her best to be helpful but no, sorry, we weren't going to need the oven today.  

All 15 lbs eventually got peeled and cooked and then run through the ricer.  

Butter, salt and milk were stirred through and geez, I hope we'll have enough...

And so it begins...

Today the Thanksgiving cooking begins in earnest and I've already got a couple things finished and stashed away.  Firstly, I got the cranberry sauce done because that will keep in the fridge for like 30 years. And when it comes to cranberry sauce, I'm a purist.  When it comes to most of this meal, I have to admit to being a purist.  My cranberries must taste like cranberries, just cranberries, with just the right amount of sweet/tart balance.  So I start with a simple syrup that is equal parts water and sugar which I bring to a boil and to which is then added 1 package of cranberries that have been rinsed.

Bring this to a boil and then just let it simmer, uncovered, until the cranberries are cooked down.  I like to still have whole ones mixed in with the ones that are falling apart.  The longer you cook them the more the cranberries will cook down and the thicker they will get.  

So yeah, basically just follow the recipe on the back of the package.  Cranberries, done.

I also made some candied pecans that are going to top one of my pumpkin pies...

...in which pecans are mixed with light corn syrup (I use Lyle's Golden Syrup which is from cane sugar rather than corn), sugar, salt and pepper...

... and then baked until caramelized and ever so yummy.  You'll find my recipe HERE.

And then there's the stuffing...  I've made the croutons for stuffing eleven different ways, but when I found this stuffing from Boudin Bakery at Costco, game over.  I mean this beats all, in my book.

So I made 3 kinds of stuffing for this year.  This here one is a traditional stuffing with the onions, celery, herbs, etc.

This one is the traditional stuffing with cranberries, apples and bacon.

And this one is a cornbread stuffing with sage, thyme and my Tuscan Herb Salt.

For all of them I used homemade chicken stock and the aromas in my kitchen are pretty dang amazing right now.  Of course, they all need to get baked yet, but that won't happen until next Wednesday or Thursday morning.  Here's a link to my stuffing with cranberries, apples and bacon.