Saturday, April 12, 2014

Red Quinoa Red Sauce

Is there anything like a nice red sauce.  My new neighbor, Kahty, gave me a taste of her sauce over the fence the other day and WOW,  it was all that I could think about for days.  So it pushed me into the kitchen to create.  Let me tell you right off, hers is amazing and just today she showed up at my house with a tub of her sauce.  I could not even wait until dinner,  I put the pot of water on to boil and within a few minutes I was feasting on her sauce.  But until today I had to do my own and it is great.  Fresh and tasty.  I do think Kathy would be pleased with my end result.   I like the visual of step by step instructions.  So join me now as I explain just how to make a great sauce.  And of course I added a grain to mine,  it ups the nutrition and flavor.  How could I not add a grain??

Everything Fresh and ready to go.

Fresh Egg Plants and herbs from my garden.

The Egg Plants are heirloom ones.  They are small, but tasty.

I used a jar of my bottled tomatoes with garlic.

To start I added some oil to a large enameled pan.

Chopped the fresh peppers.   Grow in my garden.

Onions and peppers sauted togethers.

Chopped bacon.

In the food processor I added the herbs and fresh swiss chard.

The jar of tomatoes.

It looks like salsa now.  This is added to the pot.

Peel the egg plants.

Chop them up.

This is the meat with uncooked red quinoa.
I brown the meat with the quinoa and than add it to the pot.

I love the Honeyville tomato powder.  It has a great
rich tomato taste.

A closer look at the red quinoa.  I love red quinoa.

Here is the sauce.   It simmers for a while and oh my, it turns out great.

Red Sauce Supreme

2 medium onions, chopped
4 sweet red pepper, chopped and seeded
4 slices bacon, chopped
small bunch rosemary, thyme, parsley, and marjoram
4 to 5 stalks of chard
Jar of stewed tomatoes and garlic
Garlic cloves, if not in tomatoes’
4 to 5 small egg plants, skinned and chopped
2 lbs. ground beef 
1 cup uncooked red quinoa
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup cooking sherry
1/2 cup tomato powder
4 to 5 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper

In large sauce pot saute bacon, onions,  and peppers in olive oil.    In separate pan sauté ground beef with red quinoa until done.  Set aside.  In food processor add herbs, chard, garlic, and tomatoes and chop.   Add cooking sherry to onion mixture and them add chopped egg plant.  Saute for a couple of minutes and add remaining ingredients.  Simmer for a couple of hours.  Serve over or tossed with pasta.  

Some dished take longer and require preparation,  I don't always cook dished that take time, but when I do I am always thrilled with the end result.  This sauce gets better the next day.   My family loves it, by the way I don't tell them about the egg plant.  They would not eat the sauce if they new.  Sneak nutrition does work.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Third Sunday Dinner Report March 2014

March is the perfect Month in Mesa Az.  The weather is perfect, with orange blossoms in bloom and flower everywhere.  I love March.

It just happened that I had three turkeys in my freezer that a good friend had donated in December.  So I thought it would be the perfect meal.  I decided to smoke them and do smoked turkey tacos.  Amazing.  Smoking meat is the best way.  I love my Traeger Smoker.  It is amazing and in my smoker I can fit three large turkeys.

My method for smoking turkeys is as follows.  I brine them in buckets of water.  I put in 1 cup of kosher salt and 2 cups of sugar.  I add Seasoning also.   When I am smoking meats,  I like to add mesquite seasoning.  They have a really good one at Costco.  Cover the turkeys in the brine and place in the cooler and brine overnight.  I remove them from the brine and rinse them well  These I stuffed with lemons,  I have a lot this time of year, and fresh herbs from my garden..  I warm up the smoker according to instructions and place the turkeys on the rack.  Now I have to say I don't do the quick method,  that would be smoke for a couple of hours and raise the temp and roast.  I do a long smoke,  about 14 hours.  It is worth the wait.  With this smoker, you just add the pellets and set the temp and leave it alone.  That is why I love my Traeger smoker.  I smoked them before them on Friday all day and placed them in the frig to cool.  I had my helpers on Sunday remove all the meat from the bones and we chopped it up small and placed the pans in the oven to warm.  Amazing is all I can say. We served about 300 tacos.

About that,  flour tortillas are great, but to make that many would be a nightmare and to buy them is out of the question.  So I opted for corn tortillas.  In Mesa we have some really great places to buy tortillas. Cheap and wonderful.  We cooked them on a cast iron griddle with a small amount of oil. The end result,  wonderful tacos that were inexpensive to make.

Third Sunday Dinners are a joy,  some work, but the joy always outweighs the amount of effort.  Here is a picture review of the day.  It is hard to take pictures some days because we are so busy with everything going on, but you will get the idea.  Enjoy.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

The back yard is set ready to go.

The boys.  They come early to help set up and do whatever
I need.  They are amazing and I think this experience will
have a life long impact on them. 

 For a side dish I place black beans and pearled barley in my large roaster to cook all day.   I seasoned them like Cuban Black Beans and let them cook.  They were great with the tacos.

This is Micah and William,  cooking tortillas.

Thomas cooking tortillas.  

Fresh baked gluten free cookie bars.

I love it when desserts like this show up.

The line up for dinner.

Look at all the great food.

Now that's a happy face.

 This picture is priceless to me.  This is my dearest friend Gail.  She is responsible for my grain adventure.   She got me hired years ago in a food storage place in Mesa Az.  That is where my love for grains started.  And I adore this woman.  She is a wonderful friend and I was so thrilled when she just showed up for Dinner.  You never know who will be coming to dinner.  That is the fun of it.
Happy faces eating and enjoying each other.

More happy faces.

I love the back yard filled with so many.  This is Rainy passing
out dessert.  

This is Jay,  another dear friend.  We became close at
Third Sunday Dinners.  He is an amazing man.

My newest adopted Grand baby.  Wow.

When the tables fill up they line up.  

Third Sunday Dinner is an amazing event.  Through it I have learned to love more and I have learned that when you open up your home great things happen,  no, not great things,  Miracles.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sourdough Buckwheat Hoagies

The dough rising in bowl.  Look at the great texture of the Buckwheat Flour

I love fresh baked bread and the other day I bought some hoagies at the store.  They were terrible.  Dry and tasteless.   But it did inspire me to get in the kitchen and bake some of my own.  I love buckwheat flour.  Did you know it is a perfect protein grain.  It has 9 essential amino acids and is high in fiber and I think off the charts in flavor.  Especially in breads, like hoagies, French breads, pizza dough, and my favorite,  pancakes.  I love the texture and the beauty of the grain added to doughs.  The flavor is so, how do I say it with out scaring you, so farmish.  I mean it reminds me of something from the farm,  fresh baked and rustic.     The flavor is deep and rich,  I love it.

I am always amazed at how easy breads are to make and how we just don't take the time to bake anymore.  Hands on time is minutes and the end result it worth the small amount of time spent to create breads that are wonderful.

A good friend of mine taught me that a fresh baked bread can take any meal from simple to a gourmet experience.  I believe.  Fresh baked bread is amazing and wonderful and even a sandwich on fresh baked bread can be a gourmet experience.  


I always measure the dough on a scale for the exact weight I need.  For these hoagies I measure the dough out into 7 oz.  balls after I have let the dough rise to double after mixing it in the mixer.

  After I have divided the dough into 7 oz. pieces I roll them out on a slightly floured surface.    I roll from the sides making it fat in the middle and thin on the sides.

I Place the rolled out hoagies on my French Bread Pans.   You can use jelly roll pans with parchment if you don't have the French Bread Pans.   Right before baking them after they have raised double I use a knife and score the buns.   

     I cover the dough to keep it warm.  It helps the dough rise faster.  

The end result, fresh baked hoagies.  They are so lovely.  And if you could smell them.   Oh my, wonderful in every way,  tender and packed with flavor.


   Baking bread is a wonderful experience.  I always feel great after I spend time in the kitchen baking bread.  Nothing can compare to the sense of accomplishment of baking and sharing it with others. 

    Remember,if you are not enjoying your baking experience,  you are doing something wrong.   Maybe it's time for a Chef Brad Class.  Go to for classes.  Enjoy your baking experience.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy


Sourdough Buckwheat Hoagies

1 cup sour dough starter   (available at
3 cups warm water
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons honey or Xagave
2 cup fresh ground buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons yeast
6 to 8  cups good quality white flour, 

Place the starter, water, oil, salt,  sweetener, buckwheat flour, half the  white flour, with yeast on top, in your mixer.  Turn on mixer and add more flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead for 6 minutes and place in an oiled bowl,  raise until double.   Cut the dough into 7 oz pieces and roll out into hoagies.     Rolling out from the sides leaving the middle fatter.  Place on parchment paper or French roll pan and let rise until double.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until done.    Enjoy

Monday, February 17, 2014

Third Sunday Dinner Report February 2014

Happy people eating and enjoying Mesa's wonderful weather.  
     Third Sunday Dinners are always the best.  I enjoy each and everyone and look forward to see who shows up.  We never know how many or who will come to dinner.  I love meeting new people and having new experiences each month.  The weather in Arizona is perfect. It was so wonderful having it outside in the back yard with perfect weather. Amazing.
     Each month my appreciation grows for the opportunities we have to invite people into our home and enjoy them and get to know them.  We have been doing these for over 5 years and it only gets better.
     When deciding what to cook I always try to do things that are easy and yes "cost effective".  The challenge is to be creative and still keep the budget low.  Pasta is a great way to keep the costs down. And there are so many different kinds of pasta and literally thousands of ways to cook it.  So this month pasta it was.  I created a really fun dish,  I have no idea what to call it, but it was great.  I cooked bowtie pasta and and placed it in pans and covered it with a whole grain white sauce.  On top of that I cooked shells and filled them with ricotta cheese and red quinoa.  I covered the shells with red sauce and cheese and baked it.  This dish was prepared on Saturday night so on Sunday I just placed it in the oven a couple of hours before to warm it up.

Bow Tie Pasta cooked and tossed
in olive oil  


Bow Tie Pasta, cooked and tossed in oil.

Shells stuffed with ricotta cheese
and red quinoa
Pasta and Shells topped with red
sauce and cheese.  

   I stuffed the Shells and put them on the pasta.  I covered them with red sauce and cheese.  Everyone thought it was lasagna.

This is the dough for the Rosemary Flat Bread.  Look at the Teff grain in it.  Added so much texture. 

Flat bread on the table ready to dress
with oil, herbs, and salt.  

        We rolled out and baked 13 breads.  Everyone loved it.  Who does not like fresh baked breads.  I had a pizza stone in the oven and each bread baked quickly.  It is a wonderful way to food a large group.

Tossed Salad

Sweet Chard from my garden with Red Quinoa
Freeze Dried Pinapples 

The Table starting to fill up.  

I love this....

The cute blond is my wife and a dear friend.

I am so happy to be here.

Enjoying the Day

Starting to fill up.  

Is it time for dessert yet.

Please don't take my picture.  

The happy couple.  Soon to me my next door neighbors.  I
am so excited.  How lucky for us.  

    Third Sunday Dinners are fun,  that fun and enjoyment always overshadow the work and efforts that come to it.  Each night after everyone is gone and I take a moment to reflect, I am always humbled and amazed at what just took place our home.  How is your Third Sunday Dinner's  coming. Please share with me and the other readers your adventures.   You can comment below.
Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy and Creator of the Third Sunday Dinner Movement.