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Pleasant Hill Grain Blog

Helping you achieve your culinary dreams.

How sweet is your summer?

There are two benefits from baking with rice flour. Firstly it makes baked goods crisp and brown much more easily as it is such a fine flour. Secondly, it contains no gluten, a benefit for those with gluten intolerance. Brown rice flour can be a wheat flour replacement for gluten-free products and used as a source of whole grains for baked goods. Low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a very good source of manganese and is higher in vitamins and minerals than rice flour.

A variety of non-GMO bulk grains and seeds may be found here.

Enjoy this stunning dessert for a breakfast or mid-afternoon tea!

 

Posted: July 18, 2018
Recipe by: Yelena Strokin
Source: Cooking Melangery
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy berry tarts and galettes when berries are flooding the farmers' markets. If you can't find mulberries, let the berries you find in the market or in your garden determine what you'll bake tonight.
Active Time
30 minutes
Total Time
1 hour and 30 minutes
Serves
4

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1/4 c. potato starch
  • 3/4 c. brown rice flour
  • 1/4 c. quinoa flour
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp.) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1-2 tbsp. ice water

For the berry filling:

  • 3 c. assorted berries (mulberries, strawberries or berries of your choice)
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • powdered sugar to finish

Directions:

For the crust:

  1. 1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water, set aside. Place the flours, potato starch, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on the egg mixture and pulse until the dough just barely comes together. Turn the dough out onto a board, roll it into a ball, and form into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30-45 minutes.

To make the berry filling:

  1. 1. Toss together the berries, sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Set aside while the dough chills.

Prepare and bake the galette:

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 2. Roll the pastry into an 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to the baking sheet.
  3. 3. Place the mixed berries on the dough circle, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the berries. Chill the galette in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  4. 4. Bake the berry galette for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let the galette cool for 10-15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar then cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Author's Notes:

Serve warm with a vanilla ice cream.

Images:

Galette with Summer Berries
Galette with Summer Berries
Galette with Summer Berries
Galette with Summer Berries
Galette with Summer Berries
Galette with Summer Berries
Galette with Summer Berries
Galette with Summer Berries

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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.

Applesauce

Wondering what to do with all those ripe apples in the orchard? Try this delicious and easy applesauce recipe!

Posted: August 29, 2016
Applesauce is so easy to make, it tastes better when it's homemade, and cooking it will make your house smell like autumn! I especially like serving applesauce hot.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 apples (any variety but Jonagold, Jonathan and McIntosh are the best for sauce)
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tsp .lemon juice
  • Agave or cane sugar, to taste
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Nutmeg, to taste
  • Cloves, to taste
  • Allspice, to taste

Directions:

  1. 1. Cut small apples into quarters, and large apples into eighths. Remove stem and core.
  2. 2. Place apples into a large pot or slow cooker, and pour 1 c. water over the apples. Turn the heat to medium low and cover your pot.
  3. 3. Cook for 45 minutes, checking on the apples occasionally to make sure they have enough liquid to cook in. If the apples seem dry, add more water. Stir the apples a couple times.
  4. 4. Using a potato masher, mash any apple chunks that haven't cooked down yet.
  5. 5. Add lemon juice, sugar and spices. Stir to incorporate. Taste and add more sugar and spices as desired.
  6. 6. Continue to cook until you're happy with the consistency.
  7. 7. Cool and store in the fridge or freezer.

Author's Notes:

I like applesauce with peels in it, and I love saving time by leaving the peels on, but this recipe works just as well with peeled apples so you can make it that way if you prefer. For a super smooth consistency, trying blending the cooked apples in a blender or food processor. Applesauce could be canned and stored in your pantry.

Images:

Applesauce
Applesauce
Applesauce
Applesauce

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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

There’s nothing quite like homemade ice cream on a hot summer day!

Posted: July 3, 2016
Recipe by: Anita Hansen
Hands down, this is our family favorite when it comes to summertime yummy-ness! Add fresh strawberries on the side and oh-me-oh-my is it good!
Active Time
20 minutes
Total Time
12 hours
Yields
4 quarts

Ingredients:

  • 3-1/4 c granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • 7 c. Whole Milk
  • 5 Eggs, beaten
  • 2-3/4 c. Heavy Cream
  • 1-1/2 c. Half & Half

Directions:

Day 1

  1. 1. Freeze an empty Cuisinart ice cream maker canister in the deep freeze at least 24 hours prior to actually freezing your ice cream mixture.
  2. 2. To make the ice cream mixture, mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large stainless steel saucepan. (The BRK Alpha 6.3 Qt with Steel/Glass lid is perfect for cooking and chilling this mixture.)
  3. 3. Over medium heat, slowly stir in the milk, stirring constantly.
  4. 4. Very slowly, add the beaten eggs and continue to stir.
  5. 5. Reduce heat to low and cook until mixture thickens slightly.
  6. 6. Slowly add vanilla, half & half, and heavy cream.
  7. 7. Refrigerate, covered, for 12-24 hours in a stainless steel or glass container.

Day 2

  1. 1. Remove mixture from the refrigerator. Give the mixture a gentle stir.
  2. 2. Remove pre-frozen empty Cuisinart canister from the deep freeze and immediately place it in the Cuisinart ice cream maker motor base.
  3. 3. Insert the dasher and place the lid on top.
  4. 4. Turn the ice cream maker on.
  5. 5. Quickly pour the ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker's pre-frozen canister through the funnel in the lid.
  6. 6. Set a timer for 35 minutes and let the ice cream maker do its job.
  7. 7. When the timer goes off, turn off the ice cream maker and remove the lid and dasher.
  8. 8. Using a silicone spoonula scrape the ice cream off the dasher.
  9. 9. Serve in a pretty ice cream dish! Or, if you need to wait for serving time, use the silicone spoonula to scoop the ice cream out of the canister and into an airtight container. Store in your deep freeze until serving time.

Author's Notes:

Allowing the ice cream mixture to sit overnight in the fridge before freezing is the key to the rich deliciousness of this recipe. Be sure to follow this step! Cover the empty canister with a plastic bread bag or aluminum foil to keep the interior clean between uses. We store our empty canisters in the freezer full time during ice cream season! This recipe makes enough ice cream mixture for TWO 2 Qt. Cusinart Ice Cream canisters. I keep two canisters in our deep freeze so I can make the full recipe on one day. When we can't use that much ice cream all at once we wait a day or two and then freeze the remaining ice cream mixture for a new fresh batch. If you have only one canister you'll need to hand wash it and freeze it again for 24 hours before re-use. Be careful to use only silicone or plastic utensils inside the Cusinart canister as metal items can damage the interior.

Images:

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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Pleasant Hill Grain

Why use amaranth?

What are the benefits of amaranth?

First is the amino acid lysine. Most cereal grains, like wheat, are relatively low in this essential amino acid. Alternatively, amaranth is relatively rich in lysine, containing approximately twice as much as wheat on an ounce-for-ounce basis.

Next are the minerals calcium, iron, and magnesium. When it comes to minerals, amaranth is much more like Swiss chard than wheat! It contains about four times more calcium and twice as much iron and magnesium as wheat.

A variety of non-GMO bulk grains and seeds may be found here.

 

Posted: June 13, 2018
Recipe by: Yelena Strokin
Source: Cooking Melangery
I made this bread using amaranth for the first time and it came out wonderfully! It has a bit of an 'earthy' taste of 'the good old days', but at the same time sophisticated enough to be served with French cheese and red wine. The crumb is soft and moist with tiny seeds. We had it after lunch with a vanilla rum plum jam and it was a perfect combination.
Active Time
30 minutes
Total Time
3 hours
Serves
4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. amaranth seeds (whole grain amaranth)
  • 1 1/2 c. water + 1/3 c. warm water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. amaranth flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 tbsp. soft butter

Directions:

  1. 1. In a medium saucepan mix together amaranth seeds, a pinch of salt, and water (1 1/2 c.)
  2. 2. Bring water to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes on a low heat. Turn off the heat and let the mixture soak on the switched-off plate.
  3. 3. In a small bowl stir yeast and honey into warm water (1/3 c. cup) and put it aside for 15 minutes.
  4. 4. Mix the flours and salt in a bowl, make a mould and pour the yeast mixture in. Stir the flours and yeast together. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  5. 5. Stir milk and butter into cooked amaranth and add it to the dough. Using an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest until doubled in volume (about 1.5 hours).
  6. 6. Preheat the oven to 475°F.
  7. 7. On a lightly floured surface form the dough to a ball, then put it on a baking sheet. Let it rest for 10 minutes. For the decoration you can insert a drinking glass in the middle of the ball, then slash the loaf with a very sharp knife in a radial pattern eight times, then remove the glass.
  8. 8. Put the baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven, bake 10 minutes at 475°F, and then 35 minutes at 375°F.

Author's Notes:

Whole Grain Amaranth (ăm′ə-rănth′) is an ancient "grain". And being thousands of years old doesn't keep this "grain" from combining with other ingredients to create delicious flavorful loaves of bread.

Images:

Amaranth-Honey Bread
Amaranth-Honey Bread
Amaranth-Honey Bread
Amaranth-Honey Bread
Amaranth-Honey Bread

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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.

A Tasty Appetizer for Summer Dinner

Appetizers are purely for fun. Hors-d’oeuvres the French call them: “outside of the works.” They are likely to have a wicked lot of calories but most people have come to expect them with cocktails. The French picked up the habit of pre-dinner snacking from the Russians, who call such tidbits zakuski. Italians have their little plates of antipasto, while Scandinavians serve all manner of spicy, pickled things on a smorgasbord and make a complete meal of them.

Hot hors-d’oeuvres are always a treat. You may have to spend the last few minutes with them, but they are worth whatever confusion they create. Some, such as tiny cream puffs, turnovers, and meatballs can be completely cooked well in advance, then popped into the oven just before the first guests arrive. Do keep appetizers bite-size. Their function is to titillate the appetite, not satisfy it.

This recipe of Crab Cakes is a great example of an appetizer for a summer dinner, simply amazing!

Posted: May 12, 2018
Recipe by: Yelena Strokin
Source: Cooking Melangery
Never made crab cakes? No need to fear, they're a lot easier than you think. First of all, start with good quality crab meat. Using organic or a good quality mayonnaise is also key. Remember not to over mix your ingredients, and you'll need to use your hands. Have fun!
Active Time
1 hour
Total Time
1 hour
Serves
6

Ingredients:

For crab cakes:

  • ¼ c. finely diced red bell pepper
  • ¼ c. finely diced white or yellow onion
  • 1 lb. jumbo lump crab, carefully picked through for shells
  • ½ c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c. fresh sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • Olive oil for cooking

For Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce:

  • 2 small avocados
  • 1/2 c. sweet peas
  • 1/2 c. green onions, chopped
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/4 c. olive oil

Directions:

  1. 1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add the bell pepper and onion, sautéing for approximately 5 minutes, until soft. Cool at room temp temperature.
  2. 2. In a large bowl, add the bell pepper and onion mixture, crab, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, egg, lemon juice, pinch of cayenne, parsley, breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper. With a wooden spoon, mix until combined.
  3. 3. Form the crab mixture into 12 cakes.
  4. 4. Place a baking sheet in the middle of the oven and preheat to 250° F.
  5. 5. In the skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, pan-fry the crab cakes until golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes, then flip them and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Remove the crab cakes to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you continue with the rest.
  6. 6. To make a sauce: Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. 7. Serve crab cakes with the sauce and your favorite salad.

Images:

Crab Cakes with Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce
Crab Cakes with Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce
Crab Cakes with Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce
Crab Cakes with Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce
Crab Cakes with Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce
Crab Cakes with Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce
Crab Cakes with Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce
Crab Cakes with Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce
Crab Cakes with Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce
Crab Cakes with Sweet Pea & Avocado Sauce

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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.

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