Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hands on Dinner Party.



I love traveling and getting to know people.  One of my greatest adventures in life is doing hands on dinner parties in conjunction with Chef Brad Events.  They are so much fun.  This is how it works.  I plan the menu, print the menu, buy all the supplies, and organize each recipe in an area in the kitchen.

It's a lot of work and planning to make such an event happen, but it's worth every moment of preparation taken.

This process starts way before the quests arrive.  When they get there all is ready.  Stations set up for each recipes.   The fun begins.   Everyone goes to where they want to be in groups of 2 or more for each recipe, depending on what is required to execute the recipe.

This is when the fun begins.  Looks like total confusion, but in the confusion great things are happening.  Laughter and fun is the highlight of the event.  People getting to know others through the process of creating some really great food.  I love it with all my heart.  I love the creation that is going on and I love the feeling of community and togetherness that is happening.   It never has failed yet,  that perfect feeling of belonging and enjoyment that comes when many are gathered in a common cause,  especially the common cause of great food.

Couples Therapy.  They say a couple that cooks together stays together.
And they certainly look happy.   

Men love working with meat.  They are preparing lamb sliders. 

Taking a quick break.  

Lamb chops are amazing.  Marinated in olive oil and vinegar with spices.  Grilled just right. 

Now there is a spread to be enjoyed. 

Close up look at the Lamb. 

Wonderful cheese spread with fresh onions, mint, and  Zatar.  

Two of my favorite best friends now.  Amazing how spending three days in someones
home can change your life.  

Preparing the side dish.  

Passing around the pizza appetizer for everyone to sample 

Fresh fruit with nuts and a wonderful yogurt sauce.  

Making sure they are doing it right.  

Crab cakes and Chef Brad style street corn. 

The most important part of cooking is testing.  

Now that's a happy face.  I never know who I will be seeing at a  Chef Brad Event.  My dear cousin Janice showed up
at one and it was great.  We got to know each other a whole lot more.  She is amazing.
So,  "Life is all about Food".   Creating those wonderful memories are so important.  Food sets the stage for that to happen.  I am all about opening up your homes and your hearts and letting people in. It makes the journey so much better.

Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Challange


This blog was a fun experiment that I wanted to do comparing the Wondermix to the Kitchenaid Mixer.  Watch the video and read the blog.  So much fun.   I love my Wondermx even more, and I really didn't think that was possible.

https://youtu.be/ZD3GmppwS2M



Dough that is so silky soft. 

Nothing like fresh baked bread.  With a Wondermix your bread can look like this.  I promise.  

From one loaf to 6 large loaves the Wondermix can handle it.







So most of you know that I am an avid bread maker.  I have been making bread since I was a teenager  and that was a long time ago.  I learned how to make bread by hand and actually perfected making great bread by hand,  even my whole wheat bread was really great.

I have to confess that it was a 6 hour process from start to finish and when I baked bread I made sure I was going to be home for the better part of the day.  It is a process to say the least to make good bread by hand, especially 5 loaves at a time.  I had to mix it adding flour until I got the gluten somewhat worked up and the next process was letting it raise and punching it down and letting it raise and punching it down and finally forming it into loaves and letting it rise a third time before finally being able to bake it.   It was a long process to say the least, but I loved it and I loved the light bread that I made.

One of the reasons I decided that my bread turned out is that I always shared at least one loaf with someone.  That was my insurance policy and it always worked.  I made bread like that for years.  In fact I taught many to make bread.  I served a mission for the LDS church and I taught the women how to make bread by hand.  It was white bread, because whole wheat was not to be found on the island.  After my mission I continued to make homemade bread on a weekly basis.

I remember my first mixer,  I should say my wife's mixer, because she had one when we got married.  It was a Braun and made the worst bread ever.  Actually looking back it make great bricks, but those are hard to eat and a waste of time and money unless your building a brick bread  house.  She also had a grinder,  I hated it as much as I hated the Braun.   It was loud and messy and given the choice I made white bread so I would not have to grind.

I remember borrowing a Kitchen Aid and it was good for cookies, but did not make bread and I did burn out the motor making cookies, bread would have been impossible.  Especially the size of the batch I always made.

I remember my first real mixer.  It was an Ultralux mixer.  Expensive, but I was convinced I needed it. It was hard to use and soon I bought my first real mixer,  a Bosch.  I remember the woman explained that I could leave out the two risings I had been doing for a long time.  I was not convinced.  After all I had been making bread for years and I knew it had to rise three times to develop the gluten and make perfect bread.   I decided I would try the method she told me once just to prove I was right.  LOL.

I made bread and to my absolute astonishment it was the best bread I had ever made.  And I have to say with arrogance that my bread was good.  But with the machine it was the best ever.  I have never gone back when using my bread mixer to letting it rise three time.

I learned that in just over one hour I could mix and bake 5 to 7 loaves of bread from start to finish.  It changed my life forever, that first mixer I bought.  From mixing the dough to forming loaves and letting it rise, bread making became a new passion for me.

Every once in a while I tried using the Kitchen Aid over the years.  The kitchen aid does some things well, but bread making is not one of them.  Yes it will do it, but it takes more time and the end result is not like the bread I get from my Wondermix.  

I finally discovered why there is so much ugly bread on Pinterest.  Most of them are using the Kitchen Aid to knead the dough.

The purpose of this blog is not to slam the Kitchen Aid,  it has it's place, but not in the kitchen where bread making wants to happen.  It just cannot do what the Wondermix does.  Just to clarify,  my first real machine was the Bosch and it is a great machine,  I have a tender place in my heart for the Bosch, but I am always looking and searching for a better way, that is how I found the Bosch in the first place and my constant search for better led me to the Wondermix.  I adore this machine in every way.  If you own a Bosch,  no need to get rid of it, but if you own a Kitchen Aid and want to make bread, take a good look at the Wondermix.  It's amazing.

Back to the story.  Recently I just wanted to know how the Kitchen Aid stood up to the way I make bread.  So we got a Kitchen Aid, the big one.  The professional one and I did a side by side test.  It was an interesting thing.  I have to say that I was worried after all I have said about the Kitchen Aid that it just might work.   It almost did, almost in the fact that it did knead the dough, but the dough was tuff and heavy and the end result was heavy Pinterest Bread.

As I added flour, flour went everywhere and in the end I had to add up a pound more flour before it pulled away from the sides of the bowl.  The more flour added the dryer the bread.  That is the beauty of the Wondermix.  Less flour needed, lighter bread created.

It was a great exercise for me to do.  I noticed after while watching the Video that I didn't even have to pay attention to the Wondermix bread, good thing that was,  the Kitchen Aid took all my concentration.  Just keeping it from moving off the counter was a job.  In all fairness to the Kitchen Aid,  I think I might have turned it up to high,  but I did it on the same speed of the Wondermix.  And in the end it really doesn't matter the speed, it still took more flour the the end result was not at all the same.

The biggest difference was in the dough.   The Wondermix dough was silky and smooth.  The gluten was developed perfectly.  The Kitchen Aid dough was tuff and the gluten was not developed.  It would require two risings at least to make develop the gluten.  Adding more time to the process.

Something the video did not show was what really happened.  I was so concentrating on mixing the dough that I forgot to put in the yeast.   Actually something I have done before.  It's a simple fix with the Wondermix.  I realized that I had forgotten the yeast about one hour later when we were talking and I realize the dough had not risen yet.  For the Wondermix dough I simply just put the dough in the mixer and turned it on and added the yeast.  I let it mix for a minute and it was ready to form into loaves and let rise again to bake.   For  the Kitchen Aid,  I tried it and the dough was just to stiff.  I really felt I was going to burn out the motor.

One more comment.  I love how light the Wondermix is.  I was amazed that even at how heavy the Kitchen Aid is it still walked around the counter.  That I never expected.  The foot print of the Wondermix and it's light weight make it for sure a great machine to have in the kitchen.

So,  I will stand by my conviction.  The Wondermix is the ultimate bread making machine.  The Kitchen Aid is not a bad machine, but it does not do bread the way the Wondermix does.  In reality the Kitchen Aid dreams about doing all the Wondermix does.   And the Wondermix does all the Kitchen Aid does and so much more.

I love my Wondermix.  I love all it does and all it will do.  It's a wonderful machine made to last a life time and during your life it will save you time and in the process you will become an award winning bread maker, or at least a bread maker your family loves.

Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Grilled Peach Salsa, Summer Time Goodness


Summer time is for cooling foods that are refreshing and tasty.  I love salsa and I love grilling.  Combine the two and you get a great salsa.   Peaches are wonderful and so tasty.  Grilled just makes them better.  It brings out the flavor and the sweetness,  if your grilling on a smoker it is even better.   So much flavor that you just cannot quit eating it.  

This salsa is great served over grilled chicken or fish, wrapped in a fresh flour tortilla.  Or it is just great eaten with chips.  How ever you eat it, you will love the flavors.  



Grilling brings out the flavor of any vegetable or fruit.  






Look at the color of the peaches.  I love grilling them.  You can just grill peaches and serve them as a garnish with fresh grilled fish and meats.





You can use green onions also with the salsa, but I love red for this one.  It's really great with roasted peppers also.  From green chilies to jalapeños, the flavors are intense.










Grilled Peach Salsa
3 large ripe peaches, cup in half or sliced 
2 large tomatoes, cut in half 
1 red onion, cut in half
4 jalapeños, seeded and cut in half length wise
4 garlic cloves
1 bunch cilantro
2 teaspoons cumin seed, whole toasted
3 tablespoons olive oil  plus 2 more tablespoons
2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar (Fig works great) or lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Slice peaches, tomatoes in half, and onion.  Seed jalapeños and place in bowl with peaches, tomatoes,  garlic, and onion.  Toss in 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Place on grill and grill until desired doneness.  
Remove from grill and let cool.  Chop into small pieces  and place in bowl.  Add chopped cilantro, toasted cumin seeds, olive oil, vinegar,  and salt and pepper.   Toss well and enjoy.  

Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy



I love the look of the grilled peaches.  This is a really fresh wonderful salsa.  

Monday, May 30, 2016

Penzeys Spices ~ I Adore Them...


I love food that taste great.  Indeed all food should taste great.   There are many options out there for seasoning our foods and making our foods taste great.   And on the other hand there are a lot of options that leave our food tasting bland and flavorless.  

One of my personal missions in this life is to help people understand the importance of creating foods that taste great.  eI have learned a lot over the past years and one of them is that most of us use spices that are old and outdated.  Simple put they are flavorless.  

I have questioned many over the years about how old the spices they have in their kitchens are.  It has been very interesting to hear back from them.   Most everyone one I speak with confess that the spices they use to flavor their foods are old.  Not just a year old, but on many occasions many many years old.  Some have even confessed that they are using the same spices they purchased when they first got married and I am not kidding when I say for many it has been ten years and over, even some up to twenty or more years.  It is true,  we are a frugal people and hate to throw things away.

Here is how it goes.  We get these new recipes or we decide to cook with grains or healthy ingredients and our families don't like it.  I have found the real reason is not that they don't want healthy, they just want food that taste great.  If the first bite is WOW in the mouth, the battle is over.  If the first bite is BAD, the battle is just beginning.   They really don't care as long as it taste great. 

When I am out teaching the first thing I recommend is to clean out the spice cupboard and start over with fresh clean natural high quality seasonings.  I am sorry, but the ones found in the dollar store are there for a reason.  Usually when you buy quality it does cost more, but it last longer and saves you more money in the long run.  

A am guilty,  I had cafes and  hoarded my spices.  They were large containers and I was not going to throw them away.  I bought them and was not going to waste my money.   I have to confess some were over ten years old.  But still I persisted in using them.  

I happened to find Penzeys Spices from a recommendation from a friend.  I have to say it changed my life.  I came home tried them.  WOW,  I was totally converted to fresh new spices.   It really changed the game at my house.   I actually emptied out my entire cupboard, filling a dumpster, for real, with all my large old containers of herbs and spices.  I have never regretted doing that.  Penzeys Spices are amazing.  Packed with flavor and goodness.  Nothing artificial or chemical, no msg, just pure clean herbs and spices that make the taste buds dance with delight.  

I really should be on the payroll for them, but believe it or not they have never paid me anything to promote their products.  I just absolutely love them.  Yes there are other good companies out there and if you are using one of them be happy,  but if your not and your spices are old, maybe it's time you took an look at Penzeys Spices.  I have not found one thing there that I don't love.  

I often get asked what are my favorites so I took some pictures and hope you enjoy my personal favorites.  But truth be told, you will find ones you love.  Don't be afraid to try them.  The things I did when I started was to order the tiny bottles just to check it out.  I never do that anymore because I know I will use what ever I buy.  Many of them I purchase in a large bag because I use so much. 

What ever you do, you will love them.  Make sure you sign up for the catalog,  it's full of recipes and often coupons for something free.  Intact when they launch a new one usually they let you try it for free.  I love them and I know you will too.  

I have my personal favorites and although they do give you guidelines, be creative.  I always try new ones out in the same recipes for a variety of flavors and experiences.   Enjoy your culinary spice adventure.  And clean out your cupboard,  honestly it's the smarted move you will ever make in your kitchen.  You family will thank you when their mouths are tingling with new wonderful taste sensations.   Happy Spicing,  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy


Tuscan Sunset
 I have to say that Tuscan Sunset is number one on my list.  From pizza seasoning to just sautéing vegetables I love the fresh Italian flavor that comes from this blend.    It is so fresh tasting and smelling.  I buy this one in bulk because I use it so much.  I even bottle my tomatoes with it and even if I choose to use bottled sauce,  I add this to freshen it up.   It is a personal favorite and everyone that smells  it is instantly converted.

Sunny Paris, so fresh, I love it in eggs and anything light and fresh. 

If your a frozen pizza person this does spice it up.  I use it on my fresh baked pizza's.  It does amazing things.  Also great for garlic bread.




Northwoods,  wow,   its great in all things.  I love it for burgers.  It's great in meatloaf and meatballs.  I love it for bbq and ribs.  They have a Northwoods Fire that I love.  It has a little more spice, but I love it.

I love making my own sausage.  This one is perfect.  Just what we think a sausage should taste like.


This is my favorite egg seasoning.  It's great for sauteing vegetables and just putting on potatoes.  When you smell it your imagination comes to life.  Really,  it inspires you to new levels.  


This is the taste of Arizona.  I love it.  For great Mexican food, from rice to taco seasoning, you will adore this flavor.  


There is a big difference in Cocoa.  A few years ago I did a cooking class for children.  They got it.  We made chocolate cake with two chocolates,  They all voted with passion that Penzeys was the best.  They could not believe the flavor difference 




For sure you should know by now that all cinnamon is not created equal.  In fact most cinnamon is flavorless and devoid of passion.  Cinnamon should be full bodies and bright and full of flavor.  One of my complaints about cinnamon rolls is the lack of cinnamon flavor.  Why go to all that work and use a cheap cinnamon that does nothing for the roll.  Penzeys has many Cinnamon's but I really love their cinnamon that is a blend of a few.  



 Baking Spice is a must have in the kitchen.  From pancakes to muffins it's great.  I love the warmth of the flavor,  it reminds me of grandma's baking.  Full of flavor and warmth.
Chile will never be the same again.  They have a few different ones.  Chili 3000 is so flavorful and  inviting.  I love it and everyone that uses it loves it.

I love Paprika.  Smoked ones I have tried in the past and wondered what was so special about smoked.  And then I tried this one.  Wow,  it has the most dreamy smoked flavor and aroma.  It's outstanding.  I use it in sauces, soups, dinner rolls, and yes it's great on deviled eggs.  Takes them to a entire new level.  


Sweet ginger bits is a new product for them.  I love them.  I use them in cookies and muffins.  Perfect size and perfect taste. 




 I cannot say enough good about this product.  The absolute best flavor ever.  Peppery and sweet shallot all in one jar.  It is honestly the freshest most amazing flavor ever.  



I keep my pepper box full of this pepper blend.  Pepper corns with cardamon.  Wow, it's amazing.  Fresh and wonderful.


I hate bottled ranch dressing mix.  Filled with chemical and garbage, they taste like toxic waste.    But my family thinks they have to have buttermilk dressing.  I love this one.  So full of flavor.  I also love the Creamy Peppercorn dressing.  You will never used the bottled stuff again.























This is just a few of my favorites,  I would have to list everyone of them from the store.  I have a cupboard full of jars and I frequent Penzeys often to try new ones.  I have never been disappointed.
There are stores in most large cities, but they also have a great online store.    Have fun and discover just how great your food can taste.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Chef Brad Events, Have You Been?






If You have never been to one of my Chef Brad Events,  you have missed out.  They are inspiring, fun, and life changing.  In fact a Chef Brad Event will change your life forever.  That's a promise.  


Just what is a Chef Brad Event anyway? 

Its three to four days of me being in your home cooking, teaching, and inspiring you to achieve new heights in food and fun.  You open your home up to friends, family, and other interested persons for classes.    Usually I teach three classes each day from baking to pressure cooking,  soups and salads to desserts, and so much more, and the classes last about 2 hours each.  Usually I will teach one of the nights a Women's Group or Club at the beginning and always on Friday  we do a "Hand's on Dinner Party",  one of my personal favorite classes ever for anyone who wants a great culinary experience. 

Each class comes with recipes, lots of food to eat, and face to face interaction and instruction from me.   They are really inspiring and so much fun.  This is the type of teaching I love the best.  You can ask questions and it really is the perfect learning environment for those who attend.  

How does one get Chef Brad to come to their town or city?

It's really easy.  You can send an email to me at chef@chefbrad.com and I will send you information on just how easy it is to have me come and do a Chef Brad Event in your home and area.  Together we can find the perfect time and we will plan the classes that will fit the needs of your family, friends, and area.  

What is the Cost of a Chef Brad Event?

That is the best part, they are really affordable and packed with value for what you get.  Classes range from $40 to $75 per person.   The classes are priced according to what is being taught and the average class is $40 per person.   Classes include recipes, instruction, door prizes, and plenty of food and fun.  
Often when you attend a class your name is put in a drawing for a Grand Prize at the end of the Event.  That changes from Mills to Mixers and other valuable items.   I really work hard on keeping the class prices down and the best way we do that is to help fill them up.  Those of you who have been know that I never cut corners and my goal is to provide you with the best experience possible. 

Some of the ways I keep the cost down is I stay at the host families home.  (I am an easy house guest)  Also often I will drive there, but if it is far I do fly.  I cover the cost of travel, but for that to happen we need to have 100 to 150 persons sign up for classes.  This is pretty simple.  If I teach ten classes for the few days I am there we need 10 to 15 persons per class.  Pretty easy.  We do all we can to promote on our web site and through social media and we ask you to help also.  I can provide you will all the information you need to promote.  

What do you need to host an event in your home?

A kitchen always helps.  Room for 10 to 25 persons seated for instruction.  Functioning appliances, like oven and stove top.  I will go over a more detailed list as we move closer to the event.  It's pretty simple.  I always offer free classes for those who want to assist during the Event.  One person per class and two couples on the Friday night class.  This allows those that might not be able to budget the class and it gives the hostess and me help in prepping and clean up and the helper gets a free class.  Don't stress,  I have been doing this for a long time and it always works out great.  

The calendar fills up fast.  So if your interested don't waste anytime,  just let me know and we can start planning your Chef Brad Event.  


Below is a photo journey of a couple of Chef Brad Events.  It give you an idea of what happens and what to expect.  Enjoy  Chef Brad



We make some pretty great food, this is an Spanish Torte done in the pressure cooker.



A great place to come with friends.

So much to do.  So little time. 



She is so happy.  Inspired to bake bread.  It is as easy as it looks.  

More Bread.  Simple tricks like braiding the bread add flare to bread baking.


Rapt attention,  Even men love these classes. 


There is always a lot of discussions going on during an event. 

For me the best part is getting to know the families I stay with.  After a  few days
together we are family.  I love this part of what I do the most. 

My dear friend I met in Utah,  he moved to Oregon and we were able to hang out cooking all night.
Chef Brad Events bring people together.  

Great date night activity.  They made Kamut Risotto,  it was amazing. 

We go with the flow.  Eric has a commercial pizza oven in his garage so we put it to use.  So much fun.  We even did gluten free pizza. 

Hazelnut cashew fruit platter.  

Red quinoa salmon cakes.  

The pizza was amazing.  

I love teaching and this group loved learning.  

The winner of the Wondermix.  Pretty funny,  Her grandson last August had won
the Wondermill.  Now they have both.  

Don't they say a couple that cooks together stays together.  They sure look happy.

Men doing their favorite thing.  Making gourmet burgers. 

Everyone gets involved.  

Making the Flat Bread.  They sure had a great time. 

We do it all.  


One of the door prizes.  Don't laugh, my private reserve bacon drippings.  

I make vinegars and vanilla for door prizes.  You never know what to expect at a Chef Brad Event.  

Ok the down side is your kitchen is going to be a disaster for a few days.  LOL

A close look at some really great food from the pressure cooker.  

Getting ready for a large women's group meeting.

This group had a great time attending a Chef Brad Evening where they were taught
all about feeding their families and enjoying the process. 

Even the youth love it when Chef Brad comes to town.  Really I was so touched by their sweetness.  The one in yellow said her cheeks hurt from smiling.  It made my day.  

Happy times.  

They had a great date night.  And learned how to make hummus. 

Wow the street corn turned out great.  Happiness makes food better.

Waiting for dinner. Almost ready, but no hurry, enjoying the company. 

These burgers are going to be great.  

What!  Lamb for dinner.  Wow it looks great. 

So happy to be there.  It's fun when I get to meet the husbands and explain why I have cost them
some money this week. 

I don't know where you can go and get a meal like this anywhere. 

My mouth is watering. 

Couscous and Israeli Chicken 

The lamb was grilled to perfection. 

Finished, I cleaned my plate.  The End, but really the beginning.
Get ready for a life changing experience.  Odalisa has hosted me three times in her home
and looks forward to the next time.