Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter, Traditions old and new.

Fresh Fruit is always welcome.  

      Easter, when I was growing up was all about the picnic and the basket filled with candy. I clearly remember the year that Easter Bunny quit coming and the picnics stopped.

     That morning my brothers and sister walked around the house the entire day wondering when the joke was going to be over. It was so depressing and sad. I think that year was a tough one, no baskets filled with candy and we didn't even do the picnic. We were devastated. Looking back now I realize it was one of those times when my parents were struggling in their marriage. Mom was on the phone all day and I have no idea where dad was. She was evidently thinking about other things.

       There has to be a better way to let go of traditions.  There was not even a word or explanation from my mother that day. It left a rough spot in my heart for years.

Nothing like fruit to make the meal great.

      We always, when we did the picnics, ate potato salad and fried chicken. We would always go for long drives to get to the picnic place. Even though it ended years ago I still have fond memories and can remember those days clearly.

     Things have changed. When my children were growing up we did the Easter Egg hunt with my wife's parents. What a joy that was. They would come over and hide the eggs over and over again. The children loved it. When they died that tradition ended. It just was not the same with out them,  and now the children are grown up, and out of the Easter Egg and Basket stage. Now for the moment it's all about family getting together to enjoy each other over great food.

      I am sure with grandchildren coming now we will be starting new traditions that will be fun and create fond memories for the grandchildren.

     Our breakfast tradition for Easter is Eggs Benedict. We love it and it has been a long tradition for my family. Easter is all about eggs, and Eggs Benedict is all about eggs. The Sauce and the poached eggs make it a very eggy dish.

     One of the reasons I enjoy the holiday's is that it gives us a chance to get together and strengthen family bonds. It is also a time when we take extra time to prepare those extra special foods, like Eggs Benedict. I love excuses to cook and get together. It's a wonderful time.

Fruit covered with a Hazelnut Cream Sauce
The Perfect Dessert for Easter Day

Hazelnut Cream Sauce Covered Fruit

1 pint sour cream or Greek Yogurt
1 cup brown sugar
Hazelnut non dairy creamer
Fresh Berries

Place fruit on a large platter or in a large bowl.   In small bowl place sour cream or yogurt.  Add brown sugar and whisk.  Start adding non dairy creamer until you have a heavy cream texture that can be poured.   Pour over fruit and enjoy.  

I do a lot of business meetings and special events. This recipe is alway without fail the hit of the party.  So simple, but oh so amazing. I love it.  Happy Easter.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's A Garden Party

Garden Expert Justin Rohner teaches all about edible gardening.

      I love any excuse to have a party, and a garden party is the best kinda party to have ever. In Arizona, the weather is great most of the year for garden parties. One of the reasons I decided to start having garden parties was to promote gardening, share gardening ideas, and just another reason to get people together that share the same love of growing and eating.

     I have had several in the past and more are coming this year.  Last fall I met, much to my delight, a wonderful young man named Justin Rohner. He is an edible gardening expert, among other things. We share the same passion of gardening, food, and people. We have had several parties together, and it has worked out so well we are planning more in the future. So far we have done them at his home and mine, but in the future we are thinking about branching out.

      One of the best things about a garden party is learning, and getting ideas from others that come. My garden just keeps getting better and better each time I attend a garden party.
And the fun thing is that gardens are an ever changing thing. That is one of the reasons Justin and I have decided to do our garden parties at least twice a year, so that those attending can see the progress.  Justin is a professional, while I am only a hobbie gardener. So I love it when he comes to my garden and expounds on the things that I have done by accident that are working. There is no order to my style of gardening, where as Justin's garden is orderly and done with reason. But the fun is how well each one works. That is the fun of garden parties to see what others are doing.


     I recently added a cover for my garden.  I got the idea from a dear friend that has his garden covered and I have found that the garden now lasts longer into the hot summer with the cover. And another benefit is that I don't have to worry to much about frost so I can plant a little earlier.

      I have grow boxes all over the yard.   have low ones and high ones.  Grow boxes are amazing and easy to maintain and keep weed free.

The Spread

      I used Banana leaves to decorate the food tables. They are green and add so much. The squares are leftover block windows from a remodel project.  Great way to lift the food up and add light and beauty to the tables.

     I made whole grain muffins for this garden party. Easy and can be made ahead.

     Fresh baked pumpkin bread, two grain salads, and a wonderful fruit topped with a hazelnut cream sauce.  That was the hit of the party.

     Lemon grass water and a fresh cherry lemonade.  Beverages are always fun.

     Of course I love the looks of complete satisfaction on the faces of those attending. These lovely girls are my nieces. My most loyal fans. I adore them.

     Notice how the grow boxes make a lovely backdrop for the tables in the yard. Some new friends that I just met at the Garden Party.

     I was surprised at all the men who came to the garden party. They had a wonderful time.  hat a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

    Justin and I have are planning more of these wonderful events. You can go to my website at and go to the calendar to see when the next Garden Party is. Remember that anytime you gather around food it's a party, add a garden setting and it becomes an experience. Our mission is to inspire you with the joys of gardening and good food. Both go hand in hand. 

 Hope to see you at the next Garden Party.  
Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Monday, March 18, 2013

March Third Sunday Dinner Report

The tables are set, ready and waiting for Third Sunday Dinner.

      The dough has been made. It's a black quinoa sourdough bread. It will be topped with olive oil, rosemary, and kosher salt. I think we baked about  25 of these. Nothing like fresh baked bread to make any meal experience amazing. Who doesn't love fresh baked bread?

      I always prepare some thing cooling to drink. They must have been thirsty this Sunday, we went through 10 gallons of fresh lemonade. I used fresh juice from my lemon trees. Very cost effective way to offer a cooling beverage for everyone.

       These two boys are my life savers for Third Sunday Dinner.  They are amazing. The Justin's, they come early and help set up and prepare the food. I am intent of training them. I let them make mistakes. Funny thing this month. I pulled a jar of mayo from the pantry and we made dressing. The younger Justin made the dressing. I tasted it and it was rancid. I had him taste it. He choked.   I told him it was rancid. He asked why I had him taste it when I knew it was bad. I explained it to him that he needed to know what rancid tasted like. He laughed, and now he knows what rancid tastes like.

Tossed Salad with mixed greens, toasted onions, and mozzarella cheese balls.

Dinner,  pasta with a oat groats and carrot meat sauce.  

     Waiting for dinner. They come anytime, from 4:30 on. We enjoy that. In fact if Tina, the lady in orange, isn't there early we start to worry.

     One reason I choose flat bread is that it is easy to do. I make the dough up before the event and with sour dough starter, it will stay alive for hours. Sour dough starter is amazing at how it keeps doughs alive. Just yeasted doughs die after continually punching down. When I add my starter to the dough, it is amazing what happens. I can punch and punch and it keeps on growing.

      This is a young newly wed couple. She is from Russia and we love her like our daughter, she grew up just down the street from us. His family moved into the neighborhood just 2 months after we had started Third Sunday Dinner over four years ago. It is not dinner if they are not there. His mom calls me up before to see what the menu is, and what she can bring. Their boys and mine are like brothers. I love that about life. Relationships like these are what makes life so enjoyable. And Third Sunday Dinner has strengthened the bond.
Doesn't he have a great smile.  

   My wonderful son-in-law and my granddaughter. We are starting her early on Third Sunday Dinner. She is adorable.

       Rosemary Flat Bread. I love breads. Baking is a wonderful thing to share with others. It is one of my favorite things to share. It always makes people happy.

It does not take long for the line to form.

Two Pizza Stones make it easy to do. The bread bakes in about 7 minutes.  The oven is 500 degrees. I bake it on parchment paper, which allows easy access, in and out of the oven. I can pre-roll the dough and place it on parchment and let it rise. It bakes quickly. 

A perfect day for dinner outside. I love this picture. It is the Bishop of my church fellowshipping.

Joy, oh joy, the backyard is filled. Everyone is having a great time and enjoying the day.

     Third Sunday Dinner is not always easy. This Sunday at the end of the day I was beat. I felt so tired and worn out. It had been a long day. For some reason this Sunday I was really tired. It seems to hit just after everyone was gone. The clean up was not bad, it had just been a long day. I cleaned up and went to bed. After going to the gym this morning I took a minute to look at the photos and it all came rushing in just why I do Third Sunday Dinner. I looked at the pictures and in an instant I felt so happy that we had done Third Sunday Dinner even though I was tired. The end result always without fail over shadows any effort that one might feel. When we gather to fellowship and renew bonds of friendship and love, it is always worth the effort. What is the end result? Life time memories of people we love and have shared a wonderful Sunday afternoon with. Always, without fail, the joy out weighs the work.    Have a great week.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Rosemary Flat Bread

     1 cup sourdough starter
     1 cup hot water
      1/2 cup cooked black quinoa
     1/4 cup oil
     1/4 cup sugar or Xagave
     1 tablespoon salt
     2 tablespoons yeast 
     4 cups Natural White flour 

Place all the ingredients, except flour in Bosch or mixer bowl.  Place half the flour in and place the yeast on top.  Turn mixer on and add more flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  In might not use all the flour and it might need more.  Let the mixer tell you.   Mix for 6 minutes and turn off mixer.  Remove from bowl and place in oiled bowl,  let rise.   Divide into 2 to 3 pieces and roll out into circles. Place on parchment paper.  Let rise.  Using fingers make holes in dough and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with rosemary and kosher salt.   Bake on hot pizza stone, 500 degrees. ( I sell a good one on my site). 


Friday, March 15, 2013

Third Sunday Dinner Time, March 2013

Perfect weather for dining outside.  I love this time of year.

     I love Third Sunday Dinner and can't wait each month until it comes. Last month was amazing. I really loved the Deep Fried French Toast. So good.

   My family and I  have been doing Third Sunday Dinners for over four years now. You would think we would get tired of doing it. But we don't,  we just love it more and more. It's not always easy, and sometimes we are beat from the week, but each Third Sunday comes and we end the day filled with joy.

     This Sunday I am going Italian. It's easy and everyone loves a good pasta dish. I am going to bake fresh Italian flat bread to go with the meal. Easy and amazing.

     The weather is perfect for dining outside. It makes it so much fun to have it out in the open. We have to enjoy the weather, summer comes to fast in Arizona.

     So I am getting out the large roaster and the pasta pots. Tomorrow I will cook a big pot of barley, it works great in pasta sauce and extends the meat. It helps cut the cost and makes a wonderful hearty red sauce. I have the yeast and flour and I have tons of fresh rosemary growing in the yard, for the flat bread. So I am ready for another wonderful Third Sunday Dinner.

Rosemary Flatbread

Rosemary Flat Bread is the perfect bread to fix for  large groups. It's fast and the house will smell great. I have two large pizza stones in my oven and each one of these bakes in about seven minutes.

The dough.

I can make the dough up ahead. I learned a trick. I use a sour dough starter in the dough. It allows me to make the dough ahead and the starter keeps the dough alive. Just yeast would over proof, and the dough would die.

   Tuesday I will post the recipes and everything that happened at this months Third Sunday Dinner. It is all about opening up our hearts and homes to those who need fellowship and love. I love what food can do and the power that comes when food and people unit.

     I hope your Sunday is as good as mine.  Have a great weekend.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Corned Beef and Cabbage made easy.

Nothing Like Pressured Corned Beef
    As a young man I was raised in Show Low Arizona. It was a tough place to grow up for me, with many hard memories and hard times. I was kind of different from the other kids in school and as you know children can be pretty tough to deal with. My family was struggling in many ways and I carried that to school, and I have to say my school years in Show Low were nothing short of pure hell.

     At a young age I did find refuge in work. I started working at a local coffee shop as a bus boy. Even though I was only 12 years old, the laws were a little different at the time. I found in work I was accepted and loved.   was a great worker and the waitresses loved me and treated me with kindness and they accepted me as I was. I loved the coffee shop, and I can say it was then my love for food and people truly began.  I worked there until I was 22 years old, leaving only to serve a mission.

The coffee shop was owned by a local family, who also owned a steak house across the street. It was a rebuild of a very old steak house that burned down when I was a little boy.  I always regretted not ever being able to see the inside of the old steak house. I do remember it was a huge event.  My mom was a waitress at the steak house at the time it burned down. It was an old pine building so when it burned it burned fast and hot. I worked at the new steak house for years. I advanced from bus boy to waiter, and everything else you can imagine. I washed dishes, cleaned up after drunks, clean rooms in the hotel, snuck into the pool late at night, and developed a great taste for good food.

      After my grandmother died I found in her cookbooks, an old Tour Guide Book from Ford Motor Company. It was from the 1950's and featured top places to eat around the country and the Old Steak house that had burned down was featured in the cookbook.  Oh by the way the steak house was called the Paint Pony. There were only 2 Arizona places featured in the cookbook. The Paint Pony and the Wig Wam resort in Phoenix.

      To my great pleasure there was a short story about the old Paint Pony telling the history and a short description of owners who were German immigrants. The featured dish at the Paint Pony Steak house was none other then Corned Beef and Cabbage. I always assumed the best corned beef came from Ireland, apparently Germany knows a thing or two as well.  In the 90's I did a short consulting job for the new now closed Paint Pony Steak House and reintroduced that old classic.  It was a great hit. Old favorites never go out of style for long.

                                                                                             Since that time I have dropped the cooking time using the pressure cooker. It still is wonderful and much easier to cook then the original  recipe.

      Classics, liked corned beef are treasures for sure. I think we would all be amazed if we traced all the roots to the favorite foods we eat.   am grateful for those who cooked before and left us with amazing recipes and ideas to continue our journey in discovering just now wonderful foods can be.
Enjoy and have a great day.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Chef Brad’s Corned Beef

6 Lbs Corned Beef Brisket
        2 cups hot water
½ tsp Oregano
½ tsp Rosemary
1 Whole Bay Leaves
2 Stalks Parsley, or Celery tops
2 Whole Garlic Buds
1 tbsp Dill Seed
1 Medium Onions Quartered
1/2 tsp ea. Nutmeg, Cinnamon, & Ground Cloves
1/2 Lemon Quartered
1 Oranges Quartered
1 Tbs. Liquid Woodsmoke Flavoring (optional)
1 Green Bell Pepper Quartered

Place  Brisket in large  Pressure Cooker and sear until brown.  Cover with hot water, add all other ingredients and pressure for 1½  to 2 hours.  Remove lid and let simmer.   To cook in oven place in large oven casserole or dutch oven pan and bake at 325 degrees for 4 to 5 hours.  Add 2 cups more water to oven cooking.  Use the juice in the pan to create the sauce to serve over the meal. 


1 head of red cabbage:  about 2 #
3 T melted butter or 4 slices chopped bacon
3 to 4 T finely chopped onion
2 thinly sliced apples
(1/8t caraway seeds)
1t salt
2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup cooked barley and black quinoa

Cut the cabbage into sections.  Remove the hard core, shred the cabbage and soak briefly in cold water.  If you are using bacon, cook over low heat until some fat is rendered out.  Sauté onions in butter or bacon fat and set aside.  Lift cabbage from the water, leaving it moist.  Place it in casserole, cover, and let it simmer 10 minutes.  Then add apples, caraway seeds, and vinegar, cooked barley and black quinoa..
Add sautéed onion and stir.  Cover pan and allow to rest.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pharaohs Grain, Kamut™

      I adore this amazing grain. It has an amazing history. Grown in ancient Egypt, it was found in the  Pyramids, around 1950 and brought to America and planted. After 2000 years in storage this ancient grain was brought back to life. We can thank the KamutCorporation for it being in existence today.  They rediscovered this amazing grain, and secured the international rights to grow it in order to keep the integrity of the grain in tact. Meaning that it is undefiled by man and is grown just as it was 2000 years ago in Egypt. I for one am so grateful for this amazing company that has made this grain available to us. It is grown in America and is fast becoming one of the most popular grains around.  

      I first discovered this grain in 1999. I was reading a cookbook, one of my hobbies, and in this book it talked about this amazing grain that made the best pancakes and waffles ever.  I ordered some that day and have used it non stop for the past 14 years or so. I adore it in pancakes and waffles. It is great in many baked goods. It has a almost buttery flavor and a richness not found in other grains. What a gift to have.

     My very favorite way to eat this grain is cooked whole and added to salads. It is amazing. My second favorite way to eat this grain is cracked for breakfast. Oh so buttery and wonderful for breakfast. It also makes a great side dish and can be used in chili in place of beans or with beans.  

Growing Kamut™

      It stores well. It was just fine after 2000 years in the right conditions. I have used it in many things and love the texture of the whole grain cooked up. It looks like a large piece of brown rice cooked. It cooks in about 25 to 30 minutes in a  pressure cooker on high. I do double water to grain with a dash of salt. It is a great grain to cook up and rinse off and store in the frig for future use.

Kamut ™ pancakes

     Pancakes have to be the best way to use Kamut.  I use all grain in pancakes, but none are as buttery and tasty as this grain. They even look buttery.  I simply grind up a large bucket and keep it on hand for baking. Packed with protein, 60% more then wheat, it makes perfect sense to use this grain. The gluten is low and most people with gluten allergies can handle the gluten in this grain. I think it has to do with the fact that it is not modified or changed at all.

     Whole grain pancakes are a great way to start the day off.  Filled with fiber and protein these pancakes won't weigh you down, but will leave you feeling satisfied and content.


6 whole eggs
1/4 cup oil
Kamut™ Cakes topped with fried eggs
1/4 cup Xagave
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups buttermilk
3 cups fresh ground Kamutflour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
In a large bowl add eggs, oil, Xagave,  vanilla, and buttermilk.   Whisk well and add flour and salt.  Whisk well and add baking powder,  whisk again and ladle onto a hot griddle.  

Serve with pure maple syrup or Xagave and fried eggs if desired.  

     Kamutis truly the grain of Pharaohs in ancient Egypt and the grain of smart health minded people today. I feel like royalty when I eat this grain.

Enjoy this amazing grain.  Chef Brad ~ America's Grain Guy

Friday, March 8, 2013

What do you do in the Winter Time? Bake Bread

My favorite ingredients for baking bread.  

The Compact Bosch is great for newlyweds, small families, and empty nesters.  

Bread mixing in the Bosch
     I love baking bread, and winter time is the ideal time for baking. It warms the home and heart.  s there anything that compares to the smell of fresh baking bread? Nothing that I know of.

      Recently I discovered the most wonderful flour for baking bread. For years I have used Wheat Montana's wheat  flours and natural white flour, in fact their flour and wheats are mentioned in many of my recipes. Natural white is a pure white flour, free from any chemicals and bromains. When I use white flour, and it is only when baking yeasted breads, Wheat Montana's Natural White is the best and only one I use now. I have used King Arthurs in the past, but now Wheat Montana is so available that it is the only one I use.  You can even find it at Wal Mart.

      So back to my discovery. I generally don't use red wheat for baking bread. I love the Prairie Gold hard white wheat and that is what I have used for years. So the discovery was when I was given a bag of Bronze Chief Flour from Wheat                          
The dough kneaded for six minutes.
                                                                   Montana. I was teaching a class and used the flour because that was all I had.  I was a little nervous using a flour that I have never used, especially when I was teaching a class. But having no choice ,I went ahead and baked the bread. Oh my, when the bread came out of the oven I was totally amazed, it was the prettiest bread I had baked in a long time. The people were delighted. I loved it.

     I thought it might have been a fluke, the weather, the humidity, etc. So when I got home the first thing I did was make a batch of bread at my house just to see if it was a fluke or not. It was amazing again. I have done it several times and have had a great experience each time.  The Bronze Chief is an amazing flour for baking. I use it,  and add just a small amount of the Natural White. Perfect bread every time.

The dough oiled and ready to divide.


   Here the dough has been mixed for six minutes in the Bosch mixer. I love the Bosch and have used one for years. It is amazing. The Bosch combined with Wheat Montana is a sure recipe for success. I always use oil on the counter after I knead the dough. More flour will make it stiff. This is eleven pounds of dough ready to divide into loaves.  

Dividing the dough.

      I use this wonderful stainless steel dough divider to divide the dough into weighed pieces. Depending on the size of the pan with determine how much dough you will put in the pan. I always weigh the dough to make sure it is the right amount. It makes all the loaves turn out the same. My favorite pan holds 2 pounds of dough. I have smaller pans that hold 10 oz. of dough, which is the perfect size to give away.

Weighing the dough.

     So I actually have a small kitchen scale I use to weigh the dough. Kitchen scales are a must to have in the kitchen. I cut and weigh the dough and put them on the oiled counter ready to form the loaf.

Forming the loaf.

      After the dough is weighed out, I form the dough into  loaves and put the dough in the appropriate size pan. The pans have been sprayed to keep the dough from sticking.


Letting the bread rise in the pans. 


         The dough is divided and placed in the pans. I was able to do 3 - 2 pound loaves and 8 - 10 oz. loaves.   Now I let the dough rise until double, this will take about 25 minutes.

The bread has risen.  Ready to bake.


      The dough is now risen double and ready to bake.  I always preheat the oven to 400 degrees to start. Once the bread is placed in the oven I drop the temp. to 325 degrees. The bread takes about 25 minutes to bake. The internal temp should be 180 degrees on the inside. I use a meat thermometer to check to make sure the bread is done. Simply place the thermometer in the end of the loaf when you think it might be about done.  If it is 180 degrees or more it is done. Under 180 degrees the bread will be doughy on the inside.

The bread is baked and out of the oven.


      The bread is done. Notice how each loaf is the same size, weighing the dough really works. Notice how the sides of the loaf are perfectly formed. Letting it rise and putting it in a hot oven does that.

Fresh Baked Bread,  Perfect every time with Wheat Montana Flour
Bronze Chief Fresh Baked Bread

8 cups hot water
1 cup oil
1 cup Xagave
2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup yeast
20 cups of Bronze Chief Flour  (That would be 5 pounds)
4 cups Natural White flour, about

In Bosch bowl, (do not try this recipe in a Kitchen Aid)  place hot water, oil, xagave, and salt.   Add Bronze Chief flour and place yeast on top.  Turn on mixer and start mixing.  Adding white flour just until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Knead for 6 minutes.   

     Making bread is fun and enjoyable. The secret to success is quality ingredients and the Bosch mixer.   I think every family in the world should experience fresh baked bread. It is a tradition that I love and hope my children carry on well after I am gone. What do you do in the Winter time? I hope you bake bread.

Enjoy  Chef Brad ~ America's Grain Guy