Monday, February 13, 2017

Amaranth Sour Dough Dinner Rolls


Winter time is bread baking time.  It warms the home and the heart.  Nothing like the smell of fresh baked rolls and nothing, absolutely nothing like the taste of a warm roll out of the oven with butter and honey.  I love baking.  I love everything about it.   From the mixing the dough to letting it rise and the anticipation of fresh rolls right out of the oven.  The roll that just melts in your mouth.   

Amaranth is a wonderful grain from South America.  It is amazing.  It pops and has the best flavor, especially when added to doughs.   It is packed with perfect protein and fiber.  And wow, it makes the rolls so pretty.   

Adding Potatoes to any bread dough ups the game.  Potatoes make a bread tender and oh so flavorful.  Baking should be fun and enjoyable.  I always say that if your stressing making bread or rolls you are doing something wrong.  Enjoy the experience.  

Amaranth  Potato Sourdough Dinner Rolls
To start: 
In the early morning or the day before, remove the sourdough starter from the refrigerator and place one cup in a large bowl.  Add 2 cups flour, ¼ cup sugar, and 2 cups water, place in a warm spot and let set for 8 to 12 hours.
Next:
In your Wondermix bowl and place starter in bowl and add following ingredients adding half the flour and placing the yeast on top of the flour.  Add the feta cheese during the last minute of kneading.
4 cups hot water
2 pressured potatoes, riced 
1.5 cups feta cheese 
4 eggs, whole 
½ cup sugar
½ cup melted butter or oil
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups popped amaranth
3 tablespoons yeast
3  to 6 cups Flour, high gluten white flour
Turn on the mixer and add more flour until the dough just starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Remember, remember, the sticker the dough the lighter the roll.  Keep the dough sticky and mix for 6 minutes.   Remove from bowl after six minutes onto a oiled surface.  Form into rolls and place in jelly roll pan and let rise to double.  Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven at 350 degrees.  Meaning, place the raised rolls in a 400 degree oven and drop the temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.  Enjoy 
Variations:
To make whole grain dinner rolls, replace ¾ flour with fresh ground wheat flour, and add remaining  natural white flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  . 

Sour dough can be purchased at www.chefbrad.com  



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pressure Cooker Chicken



I love the pressure cooker.  I love how easy it can be and how fast food can be cooked and how great it taste.  After cooking with a pressure cooker I can never live with out it.  It is amazing.  Pressure cookers totally changed my life in so many ways.  

My earliest memories of a pressure cooker were of my mother calling us to turn it off.  Although her bedroom was right off the kitchen, she called us from her window to "hurry up and turn if off".  I didn't realize until much later in life she was terrified of the thing.  To this day the hissing sound of the older pressure cookers raises the hairs on the back of my neck.  I remember crawling on the floor and quickly turning off the gas stove and running as fast as I could from the kitchen.  We were all afraid of the beast.  It actually spit beans all over the kitchen once.  It was not a pretty site.  So as you can tell I grew up fearing them.  

About 20 years ago I started a job and one of the requirements was that I sell and cook with pressure cookers.   I was terrified, but once I started using the new and improved models, I fell in love with pressure cooking.   That was twenty years ago and since then pressure cookers have reached a whole new realm.  Safe and so easy to use.  I love them and actually own many and could not part with any one of them.  

My first experience with an electric pressure cooker was amazing.  A good friend wanted me to demo it in her shop.  I remember telling her that I could not demo something without trying it out first.  I picked it up and within a day I called her and told her she was never getting the cooker back and I would love to teach her class.  It was great.  I love the electric pressure cooker and can't imagine life without one, or more.  

Electric pressure cookers are like Cock pots on steroids.  I personally don't like or own a crock pot, but what most people like about them is that you can place the food in them and leave it alone.  No worries, no hassle.  But no flavor and no food if you forget.   The new electric pressure cookers allow you to put the food in and set the pressure and leave.  No worries, it cooks it fast and holds it warm until you are ready.  What is the difference?   The fact is that foods cooked in the pressure cooker quickly under pressure have more intensified flavors  and the quick cooking  retains the nutrition of the foods.  I think most crock pot foods taste the same.  

I love pressure cooking and I love the way foods turn out.  I firmly believe that a pressure cooker is essential to health and wellness in every life style.  Beans, legumes, and grains, which should be the foundation of our diets cook quickly and taste better when cooked in a pressure cooker.  Brown rice in 20 minutes that is fluffly and tasty.  

This recipe is one of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy it also.  
Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy
Changing the World One Grain at a Time 


Israeli Chicken
10 chicken thighs, skin removed , breaded in whole grain flour and peanut butter powder
( I use 1 cup fresh ground spelt flour, amaranth or brown rice for gluten free and 1/2 cup peanut butter powder)
1 28 oz. can whole roma tomatoes
1 jar pitted  kalamata olives, drained 
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon garlic granules or 3 minced garlic cloves
1 sweet onion, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 ½ cups baby carrots
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock  
Place olive oil in pressure cooker and sauté onion in oil.  Add  dredged chicken and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add tomatoes, crushing them in pieces, with juice, add oregano, garlic, vinegar, stock, and baby carrots.  Place lid on pressure cooker and pressure for 12 minutes on high.  Serve over cooked Israeli couscous or brown or red rice.  
Israeli Couscous
2 cups Israeli Couscous    3.5 cups water    ½ small onion    2 tablespoon oil
Place oil in medium sauce pan and add onion.  Sauté for 2 minutes, add couscous and cook stirring constantly until couscous is golden brown.  Add water, bring to boil and reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.  Turn off heat and let set before serving.   The left over is great in salads.  






Follow my Blog,  just click on the side panel to join.  I randomly choose a winner each month for a great prize.   This month it will be a my pressure cooker cookbook.  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Healthy Fast and Good



I really like foods that taste really great, but are simple to make.  To often we opt for easy and don't get the flavor and experience we should have.  I don't think we should sacrifice taste for ease.  We can have the best of both worlds.   

Foods should excite the taste buds and the imagination.  In today's busy world I am really tired of mediocre  foods that are not worth the effort to eat.   With little effort, we can have really great foods.  

I love using grains,  surprise,  they are so good for you and they taste really great.  Grains fill the stomach and add much needed fiber to our diets.  Fiber is essential for health and wellness.  Fiber keeps things moving in our bodies and aids the body is eliminating fats and toxins.    Grains also add minerals, vitamins, good oils, protein, and variety to your diet.  

One of my favorite things to do is to cook up a pot of grains and chill them down in the refrigerator for later use.  I can take the grain that has already been cooked and quickly make a really great meal.  From breakfast to dinner I can create amazing high fiber, great tasting foods that keep the body strong and fit.  

This recipe is so simple, but oh so good. 
Enjoy  
Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy 
Changing the World one grain at a time. 


Beefy Tomato Grain Bowl 
4 cups cooked grain
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes,  sliced in half
1/2 pound smoked tri tip, or smoked chicken, or smoke sausage, cut in small pieces
3 mild chilies, chopped and seeded
Olive oil


In large saute  pan,  add Olive oil.   Heat up oil and add cooked grain.   Add peppers and meat.  Saute and add tomatoes and cook until all is well.  Remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste.  





I cook my grains in the pressure cooker or in my Saratoga Jack Thermal Cooker.  Both items can be found at www.chefbrad.com.  

Follow my Blog,  just click on the side panel to join.  I randomly choose a winner each month for a great prize.   This month it will be a my pressure cooker cookbook.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cinnamon Roll Season



Nutella filled rolls with chocolate chips.


I love cinnamon rolls.  I love how they are one of the great foods that are loved by most people.  Cinnamon rolls are not healthy and I have to say I don't believe they should be.  A cinnamon roll should be drippy gooey and melt in your mouth buttery.  I have been asked before to make a healthy cinnamon roll and I have to say I always say "No".   If it's healthy it is not a cinnamon roll.  It's something else.  

My love of cinnamon rolls came from my mother, grand mother, and Aunt.  Although I have to say my moms really out did her mothers.  {Sorry Grannie}  My mothers were drippy goodness.  She always covered them with maple frosting to top of the buttery goodness.  

I remember once as a young man I was working in a local bakery.  I have to say his cinnamon rolls were dry,  they looked great, but they were really dry.  I, out of pure innocent goodness, one morning suggested to him how he could make them better.   Wow,  that was a mistake.  He was pretty mad.  And to this day his rolls are still dry.  

I try to listen and if someone makes a comment about my food, I listen and if it can be better I do something about it.  That is how my cinnamon rolls have revolved over the years.  Constantly listening and working on making them better.  

The trick my mother used and the baker would not do was my mother sprinkled water on her dough before rolling them up and cutting them up.  She also placed a small square of butter over the roll before baking.  It was great.  It makes them gooey good and buttery wonderful.  

A few years ago a friend wanted me to do cinnamon rolls for her daughters wedding reception.  I agreed, but was worried that my rolls were not good enough.   I called a good friend who is known for her rolls and asked her if I could attend her class.  It was great.  I love her rolls and we talked after and compared notes on what each of us did.  I learned from her and combined knowledge we created some amazing rolls.  Shauna used buttermilk in her dough and I used sour dough starter in mine.  We combined the two and wow,  amazing dough.  

It can always get better.  That is what I love about food.  There is always room for improvement.  It was not long after that I branched out from just cinnamon to filled rolls using the same dough.  From fig jam to nutella it is endless what you can do with a good dough recipe.  

It's that time of year when we love dripping goodness.  I wanted to share with you my recipe and I hope it brings joy to you.  If you feel it can be better let me know.  

Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy and Expert Cinnamon Roll Maker.   



Fresh baked goodness. 







These are topped with a heath bar cream cheese frosting. 

Nothing like a fresh baked warm roll. 

Lemon rolls topped with lemon glaze.





Cinnamon rolls

3 cups warm butter milk
1 cups Chef Brad’s sour dough starter
½  cup sugar
½ cube melted butter
1 tablespoons salt
3 eggs
5-8 cups Hi-Gluten White Flour (to begin with)
2 ½ tablespoons yeast

Place ingredients into your Wondermix with yeast on top of the flour.  Turn on the mixer, and add enough flour to clean the sides of the bowl. Mix for six minutes and than remove from bowl and place in oiled large bowl and let rise until double.  (Remember, a sticky dough makes the best rolls.)   Remove from bowl Divide into 4 equal pieces. placing one piece on rolling surface, roll dough out into a large semi circle..  Top with melted butter, than a cinnamon, and brown sugar mixture, sprinkle lightly with water.   Roll dough up starting from furthest away and roll towards you pulling the dough tight. When rolled tight, cut in half and than cut the halves in half and than cut each piece into 3 pieces.  You should end up with 12 rolls. Place rolls into pan sprayed with nonstick pan spray, leaving a small space in between each roll,  and let rise until double in size.  Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, then at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Do not over bake, this dries out the rolls.  

yield: 4-5 dozen
prep/cooking time: 2 hours

Options 
Nutella Nut Rolls
In place of cinnamon and sugar spread nutella over the dough and sprinkle with nuts.  Rolls as directed and cut and bake.  
Apricot Fruit Rolls
Spread apricot jam over dough and sprinkle with freeze dried peaches or apricots, roll as directed and bake. 
Fig Rolls 
Spread fig jam over the dough and roll and cut as directed.  


Maple Frosting

4 tablespoons melted butter
1 eight oz. package cream cheese, room temp.
1 tablespoon maple extract
Enough heavy cream to smooth frosting
8 cups powdered sugar
Whisk together in food processor until smooth and than spread on warm rolls

Hazel Nut Frosting 
4 tablespoons melted butter
Hazel nut non dairy creamer
Powdered sugar
Place in a bowl an whisk until creamy.  Drizzle over rolls. 

You can join this blog and receive notices when I post my signing in on the side bar. 
Thank you for your support.  

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Joy's of Baking Bread, This Gift that Keeps on Giving




When ever I think of fresh baked bread I think of my mother.  This picture is how I remember her most.  She was lovely.   Her birthday is in December.  This picture of my mother is my childhood mother.  Glamorous in every way.  She was classy.  Heads turned when she walked into a room  I was so proud of her.  Once I talked my friend in coming to see her.  I wanted to show off my mom.  It turned out that it was hair day and she showed up with her head in a towel.  I assured my friend she really was pretty.  

I have talked about her in my blog before.  She had a great influence on my life.  Especially when it comes to making bread.  In my younger most impressionable years she made bread every Monday.  Looking back on life that was one of the few comforts I really remember.  I felt loved and still the smell of  fresh baked bread makes me feel loved, comfortable, and welcome. 

One thing I have come to understand as I have gotten older is how the gift of making bread from my mother has blessed me in so many ways.  It is truly the gift from her that just keeps on giving.  Let me tell you,  her bread set a standard for me about just how good bread can and should be.  It was perfect and I am not just saying that, it was true.   She made her bread by hand using all white flour, sugar, Crisco, salt, and water.  It was amazing and made the best toast I have ever had.  I think it was the Crisco.   

I am certain that my mother never realized the gift of her baking bread would have such a profound effect on my life.  I know for certain that as she was kneading the bread by hand,  cleaning up the mess, waiting for it to rise and bake, that the thought never passed her mind that one day her gift that she was giving me would bless my life in so many ways and in the process bless thousands of others as I have shared my passion with them.   She just was doing what it took to get by without any thought of the future, just what mothers do every day.  

I have learned from this experience that the small and simple things we do make the biggest impact on others,  especially when it comes to what we do with foods.  Baking bread is magic.  It's gift keeps on giving for a life time.  



This picture is a great blessing to me.  My dear friend sent it to me.  I taught her how to make bread and she raised her family on fresh baked bread.
















That is a picture of me.  That happy face is the face of a child that loves his mom's fresh baked bread.


















There are so many breads to make.  My family loves this one.  Rosemary flat bread.  It brings great memories to them that I hope will last forever.













One of my greatest joys has been teaching others how to make bread.  And I have loved working with the Wondermix family.  They help me make dreams come true.  This sweet woman has a HUGE family and was so happy to get a Wondermix so she could give the gift of baking bread for her family.



















I love modern technology,  From baking bread by hand to using a Wondermix, times have changed.  My mother would have loved this mixer.  She spent hours doing her bread,  I can do what she did in just over one hour from start to finish and my bread is just as good as hers,  Ok, only when I use Crisco does it taste as good as hers.   But it is still great bread without Crisco,  I use butter now.  Baking bread is truly a wonderful gift to give those around us.  From the memories of receiving a fresh loaf,  to sitting down and cutting a hot loaf up and covering it with butter and jam.  Truly baking bread is the gift the never stops giving.  





Good Ole White Bread

6 cups hot water
1 cup sugar
1 cup Crisco
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup yeast, instant
About 18 cups white flour,  clean chemical free flour

In your Wondermix with the dough hook in place,  place hot water, sugar, Crisco, salt, and half the flour.  Place yeast on top of the flour and turn on mixer.    It will start to mix,  start adding flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  No matter what the recipe tells you stop adding flour when dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.  Knead for six minutes.  Remove from bowl and place on oiled counter.  Divide dough into 2 lb. loaves and place in loaf pans.  Let rise to double and place in and hot preheat 400 degree oven.  Drop heat to 350 and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until bread is done.  Bread is done when internal temperature reached 180 degrees.  This can be checked with an instant read thermometer.

Remove from pans.   Enjoy one loaf right away hot dripping with butter and jam.  Enjoy the rest with sandwiches, or toasted for breakfast or a snack.  

Enjoy
Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy
"Changing the world one grain at a time".


Please feel free to leave your comments below.  Just click on the pencil.

Monday, December 5, 2016

My New "Soap Box"

This man and his family have been long time friends formed from our mutual love of food.  His wife Dori Duncan is the unofficial president of the Chef Brad Fan Club.  Started 16 years ago.  

My nephew,  what memories I have of teaching him to cook.  He is a treasure and our
relationship has been blessed from our mutual love of food and time spent together preparing
great food.  

I get to meet the best people in the world.

I Love food.  I love teaching about good food. 


Great things happen when people gather to prepare food together,  even perfect
strangers become great friends. 

Everyone likes to cook and be part of the creating process.  

I eat grains and love sharing what I learn and know.  I love how they make me feel.  And I love what I do.

Life is all about food, friends, and family.  


Each year I seem to adopt a theme for the year.  This past year I spoke out openly about processed foods and the need to take them out of our diet.  I still stand firm on that.  Processed foods are slowly  destroying our health  and in the process killing America.  They cost us untold millions in medical cost and we spend billions on foods that we think are saving us time and money, but in truth, do neither.  We spend more time being sick and caring for those who suffer from the results of poor food choices then the time we could spend cooking foods from scratch using natural ingredients.  And as far as the cost goes we do not save money eating cheap processed foods.  In the long run we end up spending far more to eat poorly.

I still stand firm on that issue.  Processed foods are garbage.  They destroy health.  They are packed with sugar, fat, and salt.  The sugar, fat, and salt used are of the poorest quality and devoid of anything that our bodies need to be strong and healthy.  Americas are fatter and sicker then ever before in our history.  And guess what,  the solution can only come from within our own homes.  The food industry is not going to change until we stand up and demand better.

Processed food will still be my underlying platform this year, but the big issue this year is learning to take time to enjoy the good foods we should eat and learning to take joy in preparing those foods we eat.

We are far to busy in our lives if we just rush through the process of eating and preparing foods without taking time out to enjoy what is really happening or could happen if we took more thought and time about foods we allow into our lives and more time enjoying them with others.

Food is a powerful tool that if used in the proper way not only adds health and vitality to our bodies, but also can enrich our hearts and strengthen our relationships.   When we rush the process and go the easiest route possible we miss out on so much.

Time spent and grains eaten are going to be my platform this coming year.  The more I eat grains, the more I realize how good they are for our bodies and how great they taste.  They add fun and excitement to our lives like no others foods can except for maybe dark chocolate and really good ice cream.  When we eat great foods and take the time to enjoy them life changes for the better in all ways.

I love sharing food with others and some of my greatest  joys happen when I am sharing with others my passion for food.  I love hearing stories of how food changes lives.  I have the great blessing of traveling and meeting people all over the country.  As we break bread together and share the foods we prepare together life time friendships have been formed.  Food like no other force has that ability.

Join me this year as I share my world of grains and food with you.

I am America's Grain Guy and I am going to "Change the world, one grain at a time."


Enjoy the Journey~Chef Brad


Thursday, November 24, 2016

That Perfect Pork Roast




When the weather cools off I really enjoy slow roasting a great pork picnic roast.  Full of flavor and when cooked slowly so tender.  One thing I really enjoy is how it warms the house and the aroma leaves your mouth watering in anticipation for the end product.  The bargain is that this roast can be purchased on sale for $0.79 per pound.  That is a real bargain.  

I love doing a different kinds of roast,  from beef to lamb,  pork to more pork, and I enjoy many different ways of cooking them.  The pressure cooker is great,  I love the smoker, but sometimes I just really enjoy the good old fashioned way of slow roasting in the Oven.   Newer ovens have the convection roast setting and I love that.  My Thermador does a super job of roasting.  

For this roast I just slow roasted for 4 hours at about 275 degrees.  I cut the top with a sharp knife and drizzled with it balsamic vinegar and agave.   I sprinkled with well with a good seasoning and placed three chopped apples and 1 cup of dried figs, with on chopped onion.   It was great.  The pork slow roasted and in the process the apples and figs cooked to perfection.    After the roast was cooked to perfection I poured the apples, figs, onions, and drippings into the blender.  Blended it well and poured it over the roast before serving.  It was great.   

The only limited when it comes to cooking is our own imagination.  It is endless what we can do if we only use ours to create great things.  









The roast is seasoned and ready to bake.  Onions, apples, and figs with a drizzle of vinegar.  




The fat caramelized  and you can see the apples, figs, and onions did the same.  It's not burnt, 
just packed with flavor.   You could just serve the apples and figs on the side.



The sauce looks amazing.  And wow it was so good.  I did sweeten it up with a good drizzle of agave.



The best indication of something being good is just how much was left.  Nothing.  I love that. 
What was left I saved and the next day I placed the bone and extra in the pressure cooker with some beans and cooked it on high for 50 minutes.  Wow.  What great beans.  


Picnic Pork Roast

3 granny smith apples,  cut in chunks
1 cup dried figs
1 large onion,  chopped
1/4 cup maple balsamic vinegar 
2 tablespoons seasoning for pork  
Agave 

Place apples, figs, and onion in a large roasting pan.   Place the roast on top fat side up.  Score the fat.  Drizzle with balsamic and agave and sprinkle with seasoning.  Place in hot 275 degree oven and roast for 4 hours.  

Remove from oven and place roast in other pan and place drippings in blender and puree.  Place roast back in pan and top with sauce.  Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes.   Remove and enjoy.  

I served this with a red rice.