Friday, July 7, 2017

Annual Cousins Day with Favorite Uncle "Chef" Brad

For a few years,  don't know how many,  I have posted about one of my very favorite events every summer.  That would be the Cousins Cooking Day.  My family is large, lots of family and a whole bunch of nieces and nephews.  One of my greatest joys has been to be a uncle.   I love all my nieces and nephews.  When they were all younger I bribed, begged, tickled, and brain washed them that my name was "Favorite Uncle Brad",  not Uncle Brad, but Favorite Uncle Brad.   It took years, but I finally convinced them that was my name.  It's been years and now the second generation has come along and I did such a great job with the first generation that there is no question with this generation that I am Favorite Uncle Brad.  Add inviting them each year to a cooking day and there is no doubt, I win.  

My nieces and nephews are amazing, but their children are outstanding.  Wow.  Each year I have the best time as I watch them work together with each other.  I am amazed at how well they get along and how well they support each other.  The older ones support and encourage the younger ones and they listen. 

Last year we had a cake competition.  It was an amazing event.  The cakes were fantastic and so creative.  Each year that we do this we try to do a culinary outing.  The outing is usually to  some place fun that they don't go to often, we  buy ingredients and have a cooking challenge.  This year it was a salsa competition.  I gave them the rules and guidelines and off we go to a local store to purchase all they might need.  This year we went to Pro Ranch Market in Mesa.  After we purchase everything we go back home and they do their thing and then they are judged and in the process I teach them ways to improve or do it different.  It's a great time to teach and inspire them. 

Since we were doing Salsa this year, I took them to one of my favorite markets.  Pro Ranch Market in Mesa, Az, the corner of Stapley and Southern.  Its a great store.  We walked in and to our amazement the manager Ariel took over.  He was amazing.  He actually went out of his way to accommodate our group.  When he found out what we were doing he dropped what he was doing and did everything in his power to make sure we have a great time.  Best customer service I have seen in a long time.  He was delightful and captured the children's complete attention. 

The children had an amazing time.   So did the adults, I love doing this every year.  One of my best activities every year for sure.  Watching them create and discover what they can do is amazing. 

Below is a small photo visual of what happened.  Enjoy 



Arriving at Pro Ranch Market.  The children are so excited.  They are in teams of four
and there are four teams.  They were able to plan before we arrived.  Now
they get to purchase what ever they need to create their salsa recipes. 
                                                                    


Wonderful Group of Nieces and Nephews

The manager took over and feed them all samples of guacamole.  Actually amazing guacamole.  


Shopping and sampling. 

The manager, Ariel, showing off his roasted green chilies.  Come to find out they roast
all different variety of chilies.  They are amazing they have them all the time.  

My new good friend,  Ariel.  

In line to pay for the food.  So many ingredients, so much fun ahead. 

The baskets are full of flavor.  From fruit to juice they have a plan. 

This was the highlight of the day.  Ariel gave us a great tour of just how tortillas are made.  Did you know
this location makes over ten thousand tortillas every day.  Amazing.  And they are great tortillas. 

Enjoying the tour.  Look at those faces.  They loved it. 

Teaching moments. 

This machine is amazing.   They put the fresh corn masa in it and it rolls out tortillas.  They start with dry corn and
finish with great tortillas. 

Of course Ariel knows that feeding a group is the best way to keep them happy. 

They loved the tortillas.  Fresh and hot 

Does anyone want more?  Of course. 

I love those happy faces. 

Of course if you go there you have to try the traditional "Aguas"  fresh fruit or nut
flavored waters.  Ariel and his staff let my group try the flavors before they choose
their own drink.   I loved the pistachio and the cantaloupe.  

Even the big kids loved the experience. 

Back at the house the competition begins.  These children are so intent on what they are doing.
I love this. 

Creating a fruit salsa.  They were so creative.

Another group in the back room whipping up a great salsa. 

This group was hard at it.  I Loved it.

Ok, four groups and each group without any help created four different salsa's.  Top left, Black bean and corn.  Top right fruit salsa, with a hint of cinnamon.  Was so cool.  Bottom left, a wonderful traditional salsa with fire hot crumbled doritos.
Bottom right, a sweet tomatillo salsa.   Honestly they were all four amazing.  Hard for the judges to judge because they were outstanding, each one different, but amazing.  

Enjoying relaxing after a hard fun morning.  We enjoyed the salsa on fresh cheese crisps.  

Chillin 

Next generation of Chef Brad Foodies

Another treasured year.  I love being an uncle, great uncle so much.  can't wait until next time.  
Once again I am amazed at the power of food and just how it can bring us together.  Every time I do an event like this I am reminded that we need to take more time cooking and spending time with those we love in the kitchen.  Cooking can bring out the best in us and creates memories that last forever.

Every year I learn more and more about how much fun can be.  I hope in your personal lives you are creating opportunities with friends and family to create great lasting fond food memories.

Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy









Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chef Brad's New Cookbook

"Changing the world one Grain at a time".



I have worked for a long time on putting together a new cookbook. Actually this cookbook is two in one.  Whole grain baking at it's best and Gluten Free like never before.  For most recipes in the book there are two versions.  Whole Grain and Gluten Free.  The recipes are back to back and easy to prepare.  

My main objective with this cookbook was to assist everyone who has a need for gluten free.  We might not be but we all know someone who is and we scramble when they come to make sure we have foods for them  So this cookbook works if you are not gluten free, if you are gluten free, or if you just like to bake.   I have covered all the bases.  

I wanted to create a really unique cookbook that offers gluten free foods that are whole grain and easy to prepare, not filled with white starches and sugar.   I was determined not to publish a cookbook unless the recipes were as good as I could get them making them healthy and tasty at the same time.  I feel I have accomplished both.  Of course when you use pure white flour and nothing but processed ingredients you will bet a different result then you will find with my whole grain recipes.  I am thrilled and hope you will too.  

One other feature that you will love in this book is the extra educational feature that I have added.  In this book you will find QR codes at the bottom of select recipes.  When you scan the recipe you will see a video of me teaching you how to do the recipe.  

The book comes out in July.  Over the next few weeks I will share photos of the book featuring the recipes in the book.  All the photos include polish pottery from my private collection.  I have formed a partner ship with Pottery Avenue.  They are offering all my followers a huge discount when you order from their site, www.PotteryAvenue.com,  just use the code chefbrad and get the discount.  

Below are a few photos of the food in the cookbook.  Actual baked and shot right away.   It was two weeks of very intense baking and photo shotting.  You can see there is not a lot of difference between gluten free and regular.  


Fresh baked bread.  Whole wheat, perfect bread.

Fresh baked Gluten Free Bread.  Actually one of the best gluten free breads ever.




Gluten free burger bunn.  Gluten free has never been better. 


Whole Grain Burger bunn 





Rosemary flat bread. 
Gluten free rosemary flat bread.   Texture is perfect. 


Sour dough cinnamon roll 




Gluten free cinnamon rolls.  

Please spread the word.  I really want this book to be a best seller.  I need your help in getting the word out.  It should be ready in July.  Make sure you are signed up for my news letter at www.chefbrad.com to get the facts.  

Chef Brad~America Grain Guy 





Saturday, April 22, 2017

Pressure Cooker Frittata



I love pressure cooking.  It's an amazing thing.  Every time I create a new recipe for the pressure cooker I am once again amazed at how well a pressure cooker cooks, brings out flavor, speeds up the time to cook, brings out flavors, allow us to cook every thing faster, better, and did I say brings out the flavors. 

I have to say that I have the same passion I have for pressures that I have for crock pots.  That is the debt of my passion.  As much as I love pressure cookers, I dislike crock pots.  For one Crock pot foods all taste the same.  The are mushy and horrible.   The flavor and nutrition leaves when foods are cooked for hours on end.   

The one thing and the reason we like crock pots is that we can put the food in and forget about it.  Come back later and the food is ready,  we love the convince so much that we don't care that the food is horrible.  At least most of the world fits that category.  Not me.  I don't own one and never will.   

On the other hand pressure cookers are amazing.  Today's electric ones are the best.   Pressure Cookers are Crock pots on steroids is what I call them.  They work circles around crock pots and have the convenience of putting the food in and walking away.  The difference is that the pressure cooker cooks quickly and keeps the food perfectly warm up to 12 hours.  Not slow cooking out the flavor or turning the food to mush,  it holds it in perfect form until you are ready to eat.   So you can cook dinner at noon and it will be perfect at 6:00. Never over cooked or mushy.  On the other hand have you ever forgotten to put the beans in or the roast on with a crock pot.  You are out of luck.  With a pressure cooker no problem, just toss in the food and in less then one hour dinner is ready,  cooked perfectly, quickly.  
Fagor is my personal favorite pressure cooker.




One of my favorite recipes in the pressure cooker is the frittata.  Normally a fritatta takes time.  About one hour or longer in the oven.  In the pressure cooker it can be done in 12 minutes.  Perfectly cooked and so flavorful. The Fagor is really special.  I have tried this recipe in other brands and in never comes out the same.   I love the large size of the pressure cooker.   It really heats up great and does great things.   I have used many brands of pressure cookers and so far this one is my favorite.

This recipe is good. Be sure and try it out.  Fast, easy, and tasty. 

Pressure Cooked Frittata 
The pressure cooker is amazing, from soups to meats and now egg dishes.  This dish is easy and so fast.  It can be done in minutes in the electric pressure cooker only.  This style of cooking is amazing and easy.  

1 small onion
2 to 3 small potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1/4 inch squares 
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup milk
12 eggs
2 cups spinach
3 tablespoons olive oil for potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper 
Turn on your pressure cooker to high pressure, 7 minutes.  Add onion and 3 tablespoons oil.  Sauté until onions are browned.  In separate pan on stove top, add oil and heat up.  Add potatoes.  Quick brown, do not cook until done, just quick brown.
In separate bowl whisk eggs, milk, cheese, spinach, and salt and pepper.  Place butter in pressure cooker with onions and add potatoes.  Dump egg mixture over potatoes and place lid on cooker and pressure for 7 minutes.  Enjoy.

If using the new Lux Fagor, just brown the potatoes in the pressure cooker. 









Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spring Time, Time for Rosemary Bread




Nothing like the taste of fresh baked bread.  Especially when topped with olive oil and fresh rosemary.  Fresh rosemary is one of my favorite herbs  I grow it all over the yard just to rub up against and smell.  It is one of natures finest herbs.  So versatile and so flavorful.  From chicken to bread, it should be a staple in your garden.  It is easy to grow and easy to use.  It's one of the few that really works well dried also.  I trim mine and dry it.  Stored in an airtight container it's magical.  
This dough is filled with kaniwah, a wonderful grain from South America.  It's related to the quinoa family, only smaller.  It gives the dough a wonderful look and adds to the flavor and texture.  

When I make a bread like this I like to let it rise double, using my fingers I make little wells to hold the oil.  I drizzle olive oil over the dough filing the holes.s  When it bakes the oil draws the essence of the rosemary into the bread.  The oil also added to the amazing texture of the bread.   I top it with fresh or dried rosemary,  both work well.  

The final touch to the bread is to top it with kosher salt.  you can see it on the top.  Table salt does not work the same.  I love the Redmond Kosher salt.  It's texture is perfect and it is a good for you salt.    I love this style of bread and it's my constant go to bread when I need something fast and wonderful.   Everyone likes this bread. And its great cold.






Focaccia
Sour dough kaniwah dough is perfect and can be used for pizza dough.

1 ½ cups hot water
1 cup sour dough starter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup whole grain Kaniwah 
2 cups fresh ground spelt
Natural white flour clean flour 
3 tablespoons yeast

Place all ingredients, except the  white flour, in Wondermix bowl.  Add yeast on top.  Turn on Mixer and add the  white flour till it cleans the sides of bowl. Mix for 6 minutes. Take out. Let rise till double.  Punch down, divide into two pieces and roll out.  Place on parchment paper.  Let rise.  Punch finger holes in dough.  Pour olive oil over dough, brush till covered.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and dried or fresh rosemary.  Bake on pizza stone at 500 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove and enjoy. 
 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Does the man in your life need help growing up?


THE MANKIND PROJECT
Helping Men Grow Up 


As some of you might know,  I am involved in the Mankind Project.  I occasionally hear things about the Mankind Project from others.  Most of the comments are great, but there are as in all things that occasional remark or comment that is negative in nature.  Most often they come from those who have no clue what they are talking about and indeed have never attended one of the weekends.

In the spring of 2016 I actually attended my first weekend experience.   They call the weekend experience "The New Warrior Training Adventure".  To tell the truth I was filled with fear and a lot of anxiety over the what would happen.  Especially with the word warrior.  That word alone worried me.  I am not that ruff macho competitive type man and I really worried about failing and making a fool of myself in front of everyone.   For good reasons they tend to be closed mouth about what actually goes on during the weekend so as an initiate I really had no clue what to expect, and in truth even if I were told everything it would not have prepared me for the experience I had.

The weekend starts on Friday night and goes to Sunday afternoon. It is 48 hours of amazing transformation.  Each and every moment is used to help one grow up and understand his role as a man in our society.   I have to say it was hard, the truth is hard things help us grow and come to understand who we really are.

I am a man of faith and have practiced my faith for years.  Some have the concern that MKP is a substitute for faith.  That it is or could be a replacement for my faith.  In all truth MKP serves to strengthen any man in what ever faith he practises.  MKP has helped me appreciate my faith in ways that I did not understand and in the process I have a greater faith and closer relationship with my God.  Each man is on a different path and MKP teaches men to be the best in their family, community, faith, career, and circle of friends and be the best in their path whatever it might be.

It is coming up on one year since I went on my first MKP experience.  It has been one of the best years of my life.  MKP has helped me face my greatest fears.  MKP has helped me to see my value more and helped me to see what I have to add and give to my community.

I have to say the greatest thing I have gained from my MKP experience is a greater sense of community with men.  I have learned that most men, no matter where they are in the journey seek and want deeper friendships with other men. Not just the pat on the back how's the weather, but deeper meaningful transparent friendships that actually push you to become a better man.  Friendships that hold you accountable for who you are and what you can become.  In the past year I have had the privilege of getting to know some of the best men I have ever known.  I love that these men are not afraid to tell help me to be better and it is not done in a judgmental way or in any way to make me feel shame.   My friendship with these men has deepened my life experience in so many ways, from learning how to be a better friend to accepting who I am and for the first time understanding my role as a man in the community, my family, and faith.

I personally think that the Mankind Project has something to offer everyman.  I heard once that the mission of MKP is to help men grow up.  I agree.  It has a way of helping men see who they really are and tapping into that potential.   It helps marriages, family relationships, work, play, and most important it does help men grow up.

Most men I have learned are struggling with something in their lives.  It can range from addictions to relationships,  from shame to pride.  A lot of men struggle with developing and keeping friendships that are meaningful.  No matter where we are on the path, men need help from other men to move forward and progress.  Some have their faiths, good marriages, strong families, and other support in their lives.  But no matter where you are on the journey, MKP can add to and enhance your experience like nothing else.

As I have said,  I am a man of faith.  I love my faith and am devoted to it.  My experience this past year has deepened my faith and has added to what I have already enjoyed.  In fact I have learned to appreciate and enjoy what I had already in a deeper sense.  I feel that my experience with MKP has been one of the greatest blessings I have had.

I encourage all men to take a look at MKP.  If you are looking for a place to belong and grow  and become better, MKP is just the place for you.  My life is richer and I am enjoying sharing the journey with brothers from all faiths, races, and places in life.   My heart and soul has been opened to what my responsible as a man is and just how sweet the journey can be when we surround ourselves with like minded men.

I hope to see you sometime on a weekend.

Brad

PS.  If you want to learn more about Mankind Project go to www.mkp.org or you can contact me at www.chefbrad.com

PSS.  They have New Warrior Training Adventures all over the country.  The next one I am staffing at is in Prescott Arizona in May 2017   I invite to you take a look and perhaps join me on the weekend.  We are accepting applications now.  Hurry,  only 32 men are allowed to attend this one. You can see the schedule of events at www.mkp.org    See you there.








Monday, February 27, 2017

Corn Bread Clinic



I love a good corn bread.  It is one of my favorite things to eat and make.  There are many different types of corn bread and many ways to bake it.  I love fresh ground pop corn kernels in my Wondermill ground to a perfect corn flour with any other grains I choose to use in my corn bread.   Corn bread does not even need white flour to be good.  I have made it with a large variety of flours with perfect success every time.  My mom made her corn bread in a cast iron skillet with a couple tablespoons of bacon drippings.  By far that is my favorite way.  The crispy outside and tender middle are heaven.

There are those corn breads that are like cake,  in fact they use cake mix in the recipe.  So sweet and cake like that everyone loves them.  I don't like the cake mix version, but I have developed a healthy wonderful cake like version that I love.  It was totally by accident that I created this recipes.  Often times I have learned that our apparent failures at the time can become our greatest success.  That is how this recipe came about.  Learning how to use coconut flour.  Coconut flour is dangerous if you don't understand just how absorbent it can be.  It sucks moisture like a large dry sponge.  But if you get that it can be great.  The first time I used it I added one cup to my corn bread and wow it was crazy.  Like a rock.  I just kept adding and adding buttermilk until finally I could get it to pour.  I was certain it would be a huge failure but I refused just toss it.  I went ahead and put it in a larger pan then planned on and baked it.  It was amazing.   Just like the sweet cake cornbread, only filled with goodness.

Did you know that popcorn kernels have 25% less starch then field corn, the kind they use to make cornmeal.  Popcorn meal makes a corn bread that is firmer and filled with flavor and texture.  It is higher in fiber and makes a better health choice.  Add a whole grain flour to that to replace the white flour and you actually have a great healthy cornbread leaving enough room for the butter and jam.  

Popcorn meal can be used anytime you need cornmeal.  It replaced it in all recipes.  I prefer to use it and the great thing is I always have popcorn in the pantry and if it does not pop anymore I don't throw it away,  I grind it into the perfect cornmeal.   

Corn breads can be fun and exciting.  You can add any thing from cheese to chilies to make a great bread.  Corn bread done the Chef Brad way is filled with nutrition and goodness.  

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




Corn --Old Fashioned Corn Bread
You don’t have to use bacon drippings,  but in the south it is a staple.  Butter works well, but bacon is amazing.  

Ingredients:
2 T. bacon drippings
2 cups popcorn, freshly ground
2 cups amaranth, freshly ground
½ cup sugar
1 t. salt
2 T. Rumfords baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
½ cup canola oil

Directions:
Place a large cast iron skillet on stove over high heat or in preheated 400 degree oven with the bacon drippings. Whisk all of the other ingredients together in a mixing bowl. When skillet is very hot, remove from heat or from oven and pour in the batter. Place in 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Corn --Old Fashioned Corn Bread  Healthy Version 

Ingredients:
2 T. coconut oil
2 cups popcorn, freshly ground
1/4 cup coconut flour
½ cup coconut sugar 
1 t. salt
2 T. Rumfords baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
½ cup good oil,  refined coconut oil works well or a good first pressed oil 

Directions:
Place a large cast iron skillet on stove over high heat or in preheated 400 degree oven with the coconut oil . Whisk all of the other ingredients together in a mixing bowl. When skillet is very hot, remove from heat or from oven and pour in the batter. Place in 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.


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