Friday, September 18, 2015

Spice Basil Cookies

The Wondermill and Wondermix.  My new favorite Mixer.  I love it.

      Recently I was hired on to be the National Spokes Person for the Wondermill Company.  It's so far has been a great experience.  In the process of becoming a spokes person for this amazing company,  I am also writing a new cookbook for  the Wondermill and Wondermix.  I love doing cookbooks.  It's the process of creating new recipes that I enjoy.  Researching recipes and ingredients are one of the best things of life.  The next best thing is tasting the recipes when there are finally right.  So over the next couple of months I will be posting teasers for the new book.   Oh,  did I tell you it's a dual cookbook, meaning it will have a great recipe on one page and on the next page it will have the gluten free version.  How cool is that.  

     This recipe was inspired by my dear friend Nathan Botts.  We cook together when we can find the time and we enjoy each others knowledge of foods.  We combine what we both know and love and create some really great dishes.  Recently I was over at his home with his family cooking Indian Food.  It was amazing.  I love the profound and deep flavors of India.  India's spices make the taste buds dance with excitement.   Nathan created a great cookie that night.  I really have to give him credit for this recipe.  The only complaint I had was the use of white flour in the recipe.    I really don't like white flour cookies.  I ate my share I have to admit even though they were white flour,  that is a true testament to how good they were. 

     As soon as I could I made the recipe,  actually Nathan cooks like me,  no recipes.  So I created a recipe and this time I used my Wonderflour blend.  Wow,  what was good before was absolutely one of the best cookies I have eaten.  I love cookies and this is now one of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  

This is the finished cookie.  So pretty.  It is almost like a really over the top Ginger Snap.  

Fresh Chopped Basil is one of the key ingredients.

I place the eggs and basil in the Wondermix Blender to chop the Basil.  

Garam Masala  is a wonderful blend of spices.  Penzey's always comes to the rescue.

Wonderflour is a blend of whole grain Spelt, Brown Rice, and Pearled Barley
I mix the whole grains up in equal portions in a large bowl and grind them on the 
finest setting in the Wondermill.  Just so you know,  the name of the Wonderflour came way
before I worked for them and before they started calling thier products Wonder.  I 
used the name because it is a wonderful flour.  It just works out great that we combined forces.
Wonderflour made in the Wondermill.

Scoop the dough out on parchment paper. 

I love parchment paper.  It allows me to pull them off the cookie sheet
to cook quickly so I can bake some more.

Nothing like fresh baked cookies

Basil Spice Cookies 
Big Batch
1 lb. butter
2 cups sugar or coconut sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped basil  (place eggs and basil in blender and pulse until chopped)
1 tablespoon vanilla
9 cups fresh ground Wonderflour

Place soft butter  and sugars in mixer bowl with cookie paddles.  Place eggs and basil in the blender and mix until basil is chopped.  Pour into the better and sugar mixture.  Whip  again.  Using dough hooks,   add salt, garam masala,  and soda with flour.  Mix well and add chips and or nuts if desired.  
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 13 minutes or until light brown.  Do not over bake,  cookies are better slightly undercooked and cooled to remain soft.  

Makes about 6 dozen.  Dough can be made and kept in the refrigerator for quick cooking.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Deep Fried Sour Cream Potatoes

     I love potatoes.  They are wonderful and you can do anything with a potato.  Years ago there was this restaurant I worked at in Chandler.  It was great,  they had the best food and they served this amazing augratin potato topped with bread crumbs and served in a oven proof baking dish.  There was sour cream and onion and it was baked to perfection.   Later I was doing a consultant job and remember those amazing potatoes, but wanted to do something off the charts.  So I created this recipe for deep fried sour cream augratin potatoes.  They were well received,  baking them was wonderful, but breaded and deep fried put them over the top.

     Recently I was doing and  I found the old recipe and revived it.  Everyone loved them.  So here is the recipe,  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Deep Fried Sour Cream Augratin Potatoes


8 oz. cream cheese
2 ½ cups sour cream
1 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cups grated romaine cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1  tablespoons white pepper
1 tablespoons garlic powder
1  tablespoons salt
1/2 cup whole grain flour
4 pounds peeled and diced baked potatoes

Whip cream cheese and sour cream together.  Add rest of ingredients—mix well and add potatoes.  Mix well and scoop into ball.  Roll in cracker crumbs.   Deep fry in hot oil.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Oat Pan Butter Bread

    Nothing smells better in the world then fresh baked bread.  I love baking and bread is my favorite thing to bake.  I love sharing what I bake.  People don't often get fresh baked bread these days and it is really a treat when you show up with a fresh baked loaf of bread.
     With today's mixers and grinders, bread making has never been faster or easier with better results.  I am old enough to remember bread before mixers.  I personally love the Wondermix, by Wondermill.  It is the best mixer ever.  White bread was amazing, but I don't ever remember receiving a loaf of whole wheat bread that I really liked,  most had a brick like texture and were dry and crumbly.   
      My moms white bread on the other hand was amazing.  Bread straight from heaven.  We loved it and I don't think a single piece ever went to waste.  Bread in those days was sliced and served every meal with butter,  really, not butter,  I hate to admit it was margarine.  That was all we could afford and actually I loved it at the time.  It was all we knew.  And I cannot remember eating store bought bread ever,   Mom baked every Monday.   When I look back I am amazed at all she got done.  All the bottling and canning, cooking and baking, and working.   She was amazing.  Because of her I have a deep love for fresh baked bread and hardly a week goes by that I haven't baked, at least once, often more.  
     Whole grain breads are easy and light.   With the mixers we have today there is no excuse for not baking and when we bake we should always try to add a whole grain.  It adds to the flavor and nutrition of the breads.  Fresh baked breads could be a foundation for health in your home.  

     This recipes is simple and yet with the butter, not margarine on the top, it is distinct and lovely.  The picture show the steps, and the recipe is posted at the bottom of the blog.  

The bread is in the loaf pans waiting to be baked.

A slice in the top of the bread before it rises creates a place to place butter and adds to the beauty of the end loaf.

I add an good amount of butter in the slit to allow the flavor to melt into the bread.

As the dough rises the  butter starts to melt and the cut gets wider and wider.

You can see the flaky texture the butter gives the loaf and the unique texture the slit gives the loaf,  

3 cups hot water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
3 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour
5 to 7 cups natural white flour,  Wheat Montana's
2 tablespoons Saf instant yeast

Place hot water in your mixer, add oats, sugar, butter, salt,  and whole wheat flour.  Place yeast on top of flour and turn on mixer.  Add white flour until dough cleans the sides of the bowl.  Knead for six minutes.  Divide into loaves and place in pans to rise.  Slit top and fill with butter.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven at 350 degrees until done,  about 25 to 30 minutes.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Fig Season is Here~Spiced Figs

Spiced figs in powdered sugar. 

I love fig season.  My fig tree doesn't produce much, but the good things if you know someone with a fig tree they are usually thrilled to share.  My friends is loaded and I have taken at least 8 gallons of figs and still you cannot tell.  

A few years ago I was in California doing an in home party.  The hostess treated me with the most wonderful fig I had ever eaten.  My mouth watered for ever thinking about them.  The Process was long, so I never did them until Thermador put a steam oven in my kitchen.  I did the figs,  they are not a good as Marsha's, but they are good and I make them every year now.  It still is a little work, and this time I tried my regular oven out to see just how they would work.  It was good.  Steam is still better, but the figs are amazing.  They are spiced figs.  The recipe is below.   The pictures just show the process.  If you can get figs, it is worth the time and effort it takes to make these.  Really not much hands on time.   Most of the time is cooking and drying.   

  I pick the figs and wash them really well.   This is a three gallon bucket.  Picking them can be sticky and maybe gloves are a good idea.  They get sticky and the white sap can irritate the skin.

This is the spicy syrup that I pour over them to cook them.  It sweetens the figs and adds spice to them.

After the figs are washed I place them in a deep baking pan.  You want a deep one because of all the moisture in them.

 I pour the sauce over the figs.  About 4 cups for each pan.

 These are the figs after I have cooked them for 4 hours in a 220 degree oven.  They are flavorful and moist.

I remove them from the sauce and place them on a pan.  The next step is to dehydrate in a 140 degree oven or dehydrator.  This goes on for about 12 hours or until they are dryer.  Not totally dry, just dryer.

Save the syrup.  You can use it  for jam or cook it down for an amazing syrup.

This is what they look like after 12 hours.  Still moist, but not juicy.  The next step is to flatten them and toss them in sugar.

Tossed in sugar.  I flatten them in the sugar with my thumb.   I then place them on parchment layered and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  They keep for months and I think just get better and better.

Most good things in life take time and a little effort.  But it is always worth it.  I love food and the never ending adventure it can be.  Enjoy your adventure.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Spiced Figs

2 to 3 gallons fresh cleaned figs,  cut steam off.
5 cups sugar, honey, or agave or all three mixed.
3 cups water
1 large vanilla bean,  cut
1 tablespoon fennel or anise seed. whole
Star anise,  whole, chopped coarsely
6 Cardamon pods, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Star Anise
10 drops citrus oil
(You can use whatever spices you want, some don't like the licorice taste, so use something you like,  I change it around from pepper corns to nutmeg, be creative).

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to boil.  Place over figs in large deep pans.  Place in over and cook at 210 degrees for 4 to 6 hours.  Remove and place in large bowl, figs and liquid.  Let cool overnight or longer.  It just gets more flavor.  Remove from liquid and place figs on large flat pans and dehydrate for 12 or more hours.  You want moist, but not juicy.  Enjoy.  Chef Brad

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Third Sunday Dinner Report June 2015

     Summer time and the living is easy,  I love summer, but having said that Arizona is hot and 5:00 in the afternoon it is at it's hottest, so dinner is hard and hot and my group has gotten so big that we don't fit into the house any more.  So for June and July we have adapted to the heat and changed it up.  There is a lesson hear.  Be flexible,  being flexible allows for growth and lifts the stress.  Last summer we decided to do the same thing and it was wonderful.  So now we have a new tradition,  we do a Summer Ice Cream and Cookie Social.  Perfect and we start at 7:00,  it's still hot out side, but my yard is almost all shaded.  And this summer we added a musical performance.  
     Who does not love Cookies, Ice Cream and some great music.  Perfect for hot summer Sundays.  I had a great time and so did everyone else.  Actually this third Sunday was Fathers day, so I expected a smaller group.  It was great,  I believe in being consistent, so I still move on no matter what is the day.  

      Oh, I had a phone call from the Mission President's Wife and she had a large, extra large bag of potatoes, it was so thoughtful of her, so I decided that French Fries was in line for the day.  And it was great,  everyone loves Ice Cream and French Fries.  The funny thing was all the memories that came up from everyone there around eating ice cream and French Fries.  My favorite Ice Cream place years ago was Swensons, we would go there and eat fries and Ice Cream,  it was heavenly.  Funny how the simplest things can bring up such sweet memories.  

    Now we have some great new memories of Ice Cream, French Fries, and some really great music. 
The music was really the highlight.  We have a very gifted singer, Melissa Solomon,  who sings in the Arizona Opera perform for us.  And Nathan Botts, a very gifted musician played the key board for her.  It was fabulous.  Can't wait until next month.   

     Here is the months reviews in pictures,  enjoy the adventure.  

All set up to make fries.  

I love kitchen Gadgets,  this one is my favorite.  It chops, slices, and so much more. 

French Fries do better if you soak them in salt water first.  And it keeps them from turning brown.  It also allows you to be ahead of the came.  This is a three gallon bucket.  Filled up.

Fry Central.  I do it out side.  My camp burner and dutch oven work great.  It keeps the mess out side and the heat out side with all the heat.  The huge BTU burner also gets the oil really hot.
Thrifty Ice Cream is the best.  Chocolate Mist Chip and Strawberry Cheese Cake.  

Everyone enjoys the outside.

I love this family.  It has been a great thing to watch this family grow and become part of our  community.
I think we all need to feel part of something. 

Just kicking back.

I love our neighbors.  All of them.  This family has become a great part of our neighborhood.
Good neighbors are great.  

Brothers, great men, thank you for your friendship. 

This dear woman is from Sweden,  and her daughter is our Opera Singer.

Dear sweet women.  Neighbors and dear friends.

Don't Know if this works or not, but I tried to capture this on film.  

Nothing like a backyard concert.  

This young girl loves to sing.  She performed for us after the program.  Next month she is on the program.  Her mother ran home to get her when she heard we were having a concert.

Third Sunday Dinner's can be what ever you want them to be.   From dinner to ice cream and French Fries, and concerts.  Let your imagination and needs create your Tradition.  I love my tradition and I love the memories I have made over the past few years.  Enjoy your adventure,  I am loving mine.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Monday, June 15, 2015

Third Sunday Dinner Report~May and June 2015

Time goes so fast and here we are in June getting ready for another Third Sunday Dinner and I have not even posted for April and May.  Please forgive me.  It has been a couple of crazy months, a whole other story coming soon called "The Gluten Free Scandal".   Any way here it is, late but full of fun and food.  Enjoy and thank your for reading.  

April and May are great months for eating out.  In fact this May we had record cool weather in Arizona.  It was amazing.  

In April we did a tostada bar.  Beans are cheap and tortillas are even cheaper.  So that is what we did.  It was so much fun.  We fried hundreds of tortillas and ate two roaster pans full of beans.  I also baked wheat free whole grain white chocolate basil brownies.  Wow, I had forgotten how good they are.  No food left over and lots of happy memories.

In May, sorry no pictures, we did pasta and fresh baked rosemary flat bread in the outdoor pizza oven.  I showed the boys what to do and I left.  May was really fun,  we had some special guest come and it happened to fall on my birthday.  What a great way to spend my birthday.   It was so fun.  So we had the Mesa Mission President and his darling wife come to dinner.  They are amazing and everyone loved meeting them and feeling of their great spirits.  President and Sister Jenkins enjoyed the evening and I think we enjoyed them more.  What great people to give up three years of their lives to serve the Lord and all the young men and women they preside over.  What a huge responsibility and how amazing they took time out to come to dinner.  It was great.   

We also has Marvin Goldstien and Vanessa Joy show up and give up a quick mini concert.  It was magical and so much fun.  I love Marvin and Vanessa.  We will be doing a class together at BYU Education Week in August.  This will be our third year of teaching together.  They are so talented and so willing to share what they do with others.  I adore them both and felt honored to have them in my home again.  

June and July we change it up a little.  We do a Cookie and Ice Cream Social later in the evening.   It's so hot and my house will not accommodate all the people that come inside so we have to do it out.  At seven o'clock it is somewhat cooler and the Ice Cream helps make it feel even cooler.  It will be great.  We are adding a Back Yard concert to the event to make it funner.  

Enjoy the pictures and I hope you are having success in doing Third Sunday Like Events in your home.  Remember the power that comes when we open up our hearts and homes to others.  This is where true Christian Fellowship can really happen.   Enjoy your journey and adventures in life.  
Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Now that's a pot of beans.  Actually we did two of these and there were not leftovers.  I did blend them to turn them into
re fried beans.  Beans are cheap and oh so healthy for you.  

Pans of Basil Brownies.  I love these.  I make them and cut them into inch squares.  I pile them up on platters and everyone enjoys them.

  Nothing quit like fried corn tortillas.  I love them and they make great tostadas.  I cannot buy the ones already done.  They are expensive and taste off.  

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     I keep thinking the great things the youth learn each month when they volunteer to come and help me.  Actually they do most of the work.  I love them and their willingness to serve the help out.  No complaints, no problems, just happy faces and fun.  I love the youth.

This young lady comes early every month and pulls it all together for me.  She adds all the last minute touches and is always happy and willing to do whatever,  even if it is something she has never done before.  Amazing how willing the youth are to serve.

Happy Faces make it a great day. 

All the food spread out.  It went so fast I almost didn't get a picture.  

I love the young couples that come.  Life can be hard when you are just starting out.
Being with others that love you can sure make a difference.  

More happy eaters.  

I love the Mormon Missionaries.   You dont' have to be Mormon to appreciate the dedication and
devotion of these young men.  Giving up two years of their lives to serve others.  Thank you boys for all you do.

I really enjoy getting to know my neighbors.

This sweet family just joined the Church.  

When I think of the great things that are in store for them I just smile and
thank the Lord for opportunity to know them and maybe in some small way
help them find greater joy and happiness in their journey.

One of my best friends.  This man is amazingly talented in so many ways.  I love him.

So fun to see everyone enjoying the day.

Marvin is goofy and so much fun.  Vanessa classes up the act.

This man and his darling wife have been good friend for 25 years.  We have been
in the same neighborhood for that long.  He is our current Bishop and I adore them in every way.
I feel honored when he comes to dinner.  He is so busy.

Thank you President and Sister Jenkins for honoring us by coming to dinner.
We could all feel the love you have and the joy you feel in serving the Lord.

Thank you both for such sweet memories.  I will treasure the memory of your
happy birthday song to me.  Love you both.