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Pleasant Hill Grain Blog

Helping you achieve your culinary dreams.

New Cookbooks & Zucchini Quick Bread with Mint

What can be a better way to start your morning than with a cup of coffee while flipping the pages of a new cookbook in search for some interesting recipe? I don’t know about you, but I get excited when my new books arrive in the mail. There is something special about opening the package and sensing the smell of pages just out of print. Usually, I don’t open my books right away, I save them for the right moment. When I get some free quiet time, I pour myself a cup of tea or coffee, I sit down and start slowly going through my cookbook, page by page, reading, enjoying photography, choosing my next project in the kitchen. I love to give cookbooks as a gift for winter holidays or birthdays. Sharing a favorite book with my friends is always a pleasure. Sometimes I add cookies or bread baked using recipes from the cookbook I am gifting and wrap them in cheerful paper with ribbon.

If you enjoy cookbooks as much as I do, I highly recommend adding “Ancient Grains for Modern Meals” by Maria Speck to your collection.

You can find a great selection of cookbooks here.

Posted: November 9, 2018
Recipe by: Yelena Strokin
Source: "Ancient Grains for Modern Meals" by Maria Speck
With the richness of whole wheat flour, texture of chopped pecans, and flavor of fresh mint and raisins, this zucchini quick bread is particularly healthful and tasty! It's a great bread to serve your family for breakfast or snack!
Active Time
30 minutes
Total Time
1 hour and 30 minutes
Serves
4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. loosely packed grated zucchini (about 2 small ones)
  • 1/2 c. loosely packed chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 c. golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. coarsely chopped toasted pecans, plus some halves for garnish

Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  2. 2. In a bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, and salt. In a separate medium bowl combine the zucchini, mint, lemon zest and lemon juice.
  3. 3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the eggs until blended. Add the olive oil and brown sugar then beat until the mixture becomes thick and foamy, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. 4. Add the buttermilk and beat just until combined. Then add the melted butter and vanilla extract and also beat just until combined. Add the zucchini mixture and flour mixture, mix until just blended. Do not over-mix.
  5. 5. Using a rubber spatula fold the nuts (Original recipe in the book calls for walnuts, I used pecans). Gently press 4-5 pecan halves across the top.
  6. 6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. It should be no more than two-thirds full. Bake until the loaf is dark golden brown and dry to the touch and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, 55 to 60 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
  7. 7. Let the bread rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into thick slices to serve.

Author's Notes:

Storage Tip: Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature overnight or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Images:

Sweet Zucchini Bread with Mint
Sweet Zucchini Bread with Mint
Sweet Zucchini Bread with Mint
Sweet Zucchini Bread with Mint
Sweet Zucchini Bread with Mint

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Yelena Strokin

Originally from Russia, Yelena traveled the world as a journalist, experiencing other cultures and capturing their essence through photography and cooking. Yelena's food blog "Cooking Melangery" is a medley of her favorites pastimes – cooking, photography and finding inspiration from nature and her life experiences.

Making Homemade Pasta with Durum Flour

Making a homemade pasta is about the satisfying pleasure of working with your hands, using simple tools and a wooden board to create traditional and creative flavors and shapes of fresh pasta to share with your family and friends. My wish is that you’ll have a lot of fun learning about pasta and enjoy the pleasure of pasta making for years to come!
You can experiment with colors and flavors by adding different ingredients to your dough: spinach, beets, pumpkin, even squid ink. I prefer to cook and puree my own vegetables, but I often use pre-prepared roasted pepper. The added flavor, texture, and brilliant color of vegetables make pasta truly unique.
Homemade beet pasta with meatballs and cheese

Here’s a recipe for handmade pasta using freshly milled whole grain durum wheat and semolina. Enjoy!

Posted: November 24, 2018
Recipe by: Yelena Strokin
Source: Cooking Melangery
Making your own pasta is a satisfying way to work with your hands to create something beautiful and delicious from ingredients that you choose. You can grind your own durum flour or other grain for extra freshness and nutrition.
Active Time
1 hour
Total Time
1 hour and 30 minutes
Serves
6

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 lb. whole durum flour
  • 1/4 semolina
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-4 tbsp. tepid water

Directions:

  1. 1. In the large bowl mix together all tree flours. In the middle of the mixture pour the eggs, egg yolk and water. Using a fork, begin to incorporate the flour with eggs and water. When mixing is done transfer the dough to a work surface, preferably a wooden board.
  2. 2. Dust the board lightly with flour and begin to knead the dough. Continue kneading the dough for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth. Cover the dough with a bowl or damp cloth, or wrap it in plastic and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling.
  3. 3. Rolling the dough out by hand using a wooden rolling pin makes a wonderful product with a texture. However, this method requires patience, practice, and strength. I love using a hand-cranked pasta sheeter to thin the dough, I feel it is an easier way of rolling out pasta dough.
  4. 4. When your dough had plenty of rest divide it into 4 sections, keeping all but one covered to prevent the pasta from forming a skin. Using your finger, flatten out the dough. Then trying a different setting on your machine roll the dough until is thin enough for your desired pasta. Slice the pasta using machine attachment. Repeat the same process with other tree sections of the dough.
  5. 5. When drying pasta, try do not let the cut pasta strips touch, or they will stick together.

Images:

Homemade Durum Pasta
Homemade Durum Pasta
Homemade Durum Pasta
Homemade Durum Pasta
Homemade Durum Pasta

PHG Products:

Pleasant Hill Grain products I used for this recipe...


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Yelena Strokin

Originally from Russia, Yelena traveled the world as a journalist, experiencing other cultures and capturing their essence through photography and cooking. Yelena's food blog "Cooking Melangery" is a medley of her favorites pastimes – cooking, photography and finding inspiration from nature and her life experiences.

Cinnamon Rolls

These homemade cinnamon rolls will melt in your mouth! What’s more fun than baking a fresh batch of rolls on a cold winter evening?

Posted: December 6, 2016
Recipe by: Granny Smith
Source: The Bread Baker's Apprentice Book
Cinnamon rolls from a vacuum sealed tube just can't compare to these homemade rolls! This recipe is easy to adapt to your taste by adding dried fruit, chopped nuts, a cream cheese frosting or powdered sugar glaze. Did you know that in Kansas it's a custom to cover cinnamon rolls in chili? 
Active Time
45 minutes
Total Time
2 hours and 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Cinnamon Rolls

  • 6-1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5-1/2 tbsp. shortening, butter, or margarine at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract or 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3-1/2 c. bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1-1/4 c. whole milk or room temperature buttermilk
  • (May also substitute 3 tbsp. powdered milk mixed with 1 c. of water)
  • 1/2 c. cinnamon sugar

White Fondant Icing

  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon or orange extract
  • 6 tbsp. to 1/2 c. warm milk

Directions:

  1. 1. Cream sugar, salt, and shortening. If you are using powdered milk, add the milk powder now, but add the water with the flour and yeast (in step 3).
  2. 2. Whip in egg and lemon until smooth.
  3. 3. Add flour, yeast, and milk. Mix until dough forms a ball.
  4. 4. Mix with a dough hook for 10 minutes or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water to get to this texture.
  5. 5. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer dough to this bowl and roll it around so it is evenly coated in oil. The dough should be around 77 °F to 81°F. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
  6. 6. Ferment at room temperature for about 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
  7. 7. Mist counter with spray oil, put dough on counter.
  8. 8. Roll dough into a rectangle about 14” x 12” and about 2/3 inch thick.
  9. 9. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the entire rectangle and roll into a log, creating a cinnamon sugar spiral.
  10. 10. Cut into 8-14 even-sized pieces, depending on how thick you want the rolls.
  11. 11. Line 1 to 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and place the rolls on the paper so that they are not touching and are at least 1/2 inch apart.
  12. 12. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes until the rolls double in size.
  13. 13. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack on the middle level.
  14. 14. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
  15. 15. Cool for at least 10 minutes, then streak with fondant glaze. Remove buns from pan and place on cooling rack.

Fondant Glaze

  1. 1. Sift powdered sugar into bowl.
  2. 2. Briskly whisk in the rest of the ingredients, adding the milk carefully so the icing does not become runny. Consistency should be like a thick paste.

Author's Notes:

If you prefer the caramel taste of sticky buns, we have a variation of this recipe that makes excellent sticky buns.

Images:

Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls

PHG Products:

Pleasant Hill Grain products I used for this recipe...


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Pumpkin Spice Latte with Homemade Almond Milk

Almond milk has a  nutty flavor and creamy texture that’s similar to regular milk, which is why it’s become a popular choice for vegans, people who are dairy intolerant and those who just want to cut down on their dairy intake. Once you see how easy it is to make, you may never drink store-bought again!

Almond milk is made by blending almonds with water and then pressing the mixture to remove the pulp. The 1.25-gallon Tabletop Fruit Press is a great tool for pressing the liquid from the almond pulp.

To start the process raw almonds need to be soaked overnight. The longer you soak the almonds, the creamier the milk will be! Soaking also allows the nuts to release nutrients and help with digestion.

A great way to use homemade almond milk is to make a warm and foamy fall inspired drink, like a pumpkin spice latte! Isn’t it just the perfect beverage for this time of the year? It’s made with simple ingredients, perfectly spiced and tastes like a piece of pumpkin pie. This simple beverage will  get you through the long cold months! See the recipe below.

almond milk pumpkin spice latte

Posted: November 29, 2018
Recipe by: Natalia Wrobel Katz
This Pumpkin Spice Latte is made with freshly pressed almond milk! It’s easy to make, dairy-free and delicious!
Active Time
10 minutes
Total Time
2 hours
Serves
2

Ingredients:

Almond Milk

  • 1 c. raw almonds, soaked in a water overnight
  • 3 c. water
  • pinch of sea salt

Pumpkin Spice Latte

  • 1-1/2 c. homemade almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 2-3 tbsp. agave syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 1 c. hot brewed black coffee
  • cinnamon to sprinkle

Directions:

Almond Milk

  1. 1. Place almonds in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. You can also soak almonds in very hot water for 1-2 hours. Rinse and drain well.
  2. 2. Put drained almonds in blender along with filtered water and sea salt. Blend on high speed for about one minute.
  3. 3. Place a mesh bag into the basket of your Tabletop Fruit Press.
  4. 4. Pour the almond mixture in.
  5. 5. Fold the top of the filled bag over and place the pressing plate on top. Turn the handle to apply pressure to the almond pulp, watching that the pressing plate doesn't tilt. Gradually apply pressure until the flow of milk stops. Save 1-1/2 c. for the pumpkin spice latte and refrigerate the rest.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

  1. 1. In a small saucepan, whisk together almond milk, pumpkin puree, agave syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla extract. Heat the mixture for about 5 minutes until hot, stirring often.
  2. 2. When the mixture is steaming hot, remove it from the heat. Whisk until frothy using a small whisk. You can also use a blender for an extra froth!
  3. 3. Pour the hot coffee between 2 mugs and then pour over the frothed pumpkin milk. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Images:

Pumpkin Spice Latte (Dairy-Free)
Pumpkin Spice Latte (Dairy-Free)
Pumpkin Spice Latte (Dairy-Free)
Pumpkin Spice Latte (Dairy-Free)
Pumpkin Spice Latte (Dairy-Free)

PHG Products:

Pleasant Hill Grain products I used for this recipe...


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Natalia Wrobel

Natalia’s blog "Natt Wrobel, Wholesome & Healthy Living," highlights a plant-based diet for eating what makes your body feel best. Originally from Poland, Natalia draws from her childhood as well as her world travels to influence the flavors of her cooking.

Fish Tacos & Homemade Masa From Yellow Dent Corn

Great tacos require great tortillas, and I can assure you, once you try these Homemade Corn Tortillas made from real corn masa you won’t go back to store-bought ever again!

The first step to make fresh masa will be preparing nixtamal (corn that’s gone through the nixtamilzation process), which is really easy! It’s a simple process that’s beneficial in a few ways. Since the outer skin of corn kernels slip off, it makes the corn easier to grind and the soaking process helps our bodies absorb all the nutrients in corn which are normally inaccessible (mainly niacin). What’s more, nixtamalization creates that rich and amazing flavor distinct in masa, and it allows you to create a dough from ground corn. When mixing corn flour (or cornmeal) with water, a dough won’t form, you’ll just have a soupy corn flour mixture. By mixing masa with water, you’ll have a formable dough that can be made into all kinds of delicious recipes, including tortillas!

Making your own masa requires dried yellow dent corn, pickling lime (also called “cal”, which you can find it in any hispanic market or online) and a grain mill that can grind wet grain, such as the Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill with masa auger.

Wonder Junior grain mill

Start by rinsing the corn. Then, in a large non-reactive pot, mix together corn, water and pickling lime. Bring it to a boil, immediately turning down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, making sure the corn is always covered with the liquid. Cover the pan and let it soak overnight. After soaking the corn kernels will look like this:

nixtamalized corn

You’ll notice that the outer skin of the kernels slip off very easily. Drain and rinse the corn thoroughly under cool water and rub handfuls of the kernels between your palms allowing the outer layer to fall off. Don’t worry about getting every single one! Just make sure to keep rinsing until the water starts to run clear.

Then, place the strained corn in your grain mill and grind it all!

Wonder Junior Mill Corn Masa

Grindning nixtamal into corn masa

Once you’ve ground all the nixtamal, add salt and a little water until you can form the dough into a ball. Make tortillas by shaping the dough into small balls and pressing each of them flat. You will get the best results by using a tortilla press. Bake tortillas on a preheated griddle, cast iron or nonstick skillet, on each side for 1-2 minutes or until brown spots start to appear. Keep the tortillas warm by wrapping in a cloth or storing in a tortilla keeper.

homemade masa corn tortillas

Posted: November 16, 2018
Recipe by: PHG Kitchen
Source: Natt Wrobel
Simple fish tacos made with 3-Ingredient authentic corn tortillas prepared from the freshly made corn masa. You'll love this Mexican favorite!
Active Time
1 hour
Total Time
2 days
Serves
8-10

Ingredients:

Fresh Masa

  • 2 c. yellow dent corn
  • 2 tbsp. pickling lime
  • 6 c. water

Corn Tortillas

  • Masa made out of 2 c. of corn
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp to 1/4 cup warm water

Fish

  • 1-1/2 lb. mahi mahi, tilapia or cod
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Garnish

  • Sliced avocado
  • Diced onion
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Directions:

  1. 1. Pour 6 c. of water to a pan, add 2 tbsp. pickling lime and give it a stir. Add corn.
  2. 2. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Cover and let it sit overnight.
  3. 3. Rinse the corn thoroughly under cool water. Rub handfuls of the kernels between your palms. The outer layer of skin should fall off easily.
  4. 4. Put the strained corn in your grinder (The Wonder Junior Deluxe mill with the masa auger accessory and stainless steel burrs).
  5. 5. Now it's time to prepare tortillas. Add 1/2 tsp. of salt and start working with the dough to form a ball. Add 1 tbsp. of water at a time (In my case that's all I needed). Be careful not to add to much water!
  6. 6. Form small balls (around 10-12) and prepare your tortilla press. If you don't own one, place each ball in between parchment paper or plastic and place a heavy skillet or dish on top.
  7. 7. Heat up griddle, cast iron or non-stick skillet. Bake tortillas each side 1-2 minutes or until brown spots start to appear. Keep warm covered with a cloth.
  8. 8. To the same heated pan add 3 tbsp oil. Rub all the spices, salt and pepper on fish. Cook 3-5 minutes each side or until cooked through.
  9. 9. Cut in pieces.
  10. 10. Assemble tacos. Add fish, sliced avocado, diced onion, cilantro and squeeze of lime. Serve immediately.

Images:

Fresh corn tortilla fish tacos
Fresh corn tortilla fish tacos
Grinding corn for masa
Grinding corn for masa
Making masa with Wonder Junior Deluxe grinder
Making masa with Wonder Junior Deluxe grinder
Homemade corn tortillas made from masa
Homemade corn tortillas made from masa
Fish tacos with fresh tortillas
Fish tacos with fresh tortillas

PHG Products:

Pleasant Hill Grain products I used for this recipe...


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Natalia Wrobel

Natalia’s blog "Natt Wrobel, Wholesome & Healthy Living," highlights a plant-based diet for eating what makes your body feel best. Originally from Poland, Natalia draws from her childhood as well as her world travels to influence the flavors of her cooking.

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