Year Six of DadCooksDinner


A little voice inside my head said: “Don’t look back. You can never look back.”
Don Henley, Boys of Summer
On August 20th 2008, I posted for the first time, wondering if anyone would ever read what I wrote. Here I am, six years and 844 posts later, with another year of DadCooksDinner behind me. Let's look back at the highlights of Year Six, shall we?

Road Trip!

I was a wandering blogger this year. I learned about Mole at the Seasons of my Heart cooking school in Oaxaca, Mexico. I studied up on duck at Blogger Duck University at Maple Leaf Farms. I toured the Weber Grill factory in Palatine, Illinois. And I went on the Meaty Chicago tour and did a book signing at the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual convention in Chicago. Where am I off to next? I’m meeting Pam Anderson, my kitchen inspiration, at her Big Harvest Potluck at the end of September. I can’t wait!

Top Five New Recipes

Here are five most popular recipes from the last year. (Last year means: Published in August 2013 or later. Popular means: most page views.)

1. Pressure Cooker Senate Bean Soup


2. Cast Iron Roast Butterflied Chicken


3. Rotisserie Prime Rib Roast, Reverse Seared


4. Sous Vide Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Herb Pan Sauce


5. Fresh Tomato Gazpacho (in a Vitamix)

Top Five Pictures

I’ve been working on the blog’s photography over the last year. I bought a new camera, learned how to process RAW files in Adobe Lightroom, and practiced using off camera flash. It was rocky at first, but now it feels like my photography is improving. There is always so much more to learn…

1. Cedar Plank Grilled Ribeye with Peppers and Onions


2. Pressure Cooker Shrimp Étouffée


3. Grilled Asparagus and Prosciutto Wraps


4. Rotisserie Fresh Ham with Injection Brine


5. Grilled Chicago Char Dogs


Most Important

The most important thing I’ve learned over six years of blogging: I wouldn’t be here, writing my little heart out, if you weren’t interested. Back when I started, I assumed I would blog for myself, and maybe some family members (hi, dad!). I was thrilled to find out that you’re out there, enjoying my writing. Thank you for reading!

What do you think?

What was your favorite recipe from the last year? Leave them in the comments section below.

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PicOfTheWeek: Showing off Rotisserie Chicken


PicOfTheWeek: Showing off a rotisserie chicken before dinner. (And...boy, do I need a shave...)

Recipe here: Rotisserie Chicken with Knob Creek Maple Glaze

Cooking Dinner Every Night Is a Chore


It’s easy to cook celebration meals. They’re fun! Working on a leisurely Sunday dinner, a cookout in the back yard with friends, or a holiday feast - these all remind me how much I love to cook.

Weeknight meals? Every night? They’re a chore. Most weeknight dinners are about “have to”, not “want to”. After a long day at work…after basketball practice, violin lessons, and swimming…when everyone is tired, cranky, and hungry…or the kids want to go play with friends, and think dinner only gets in the way…

Please Support the Grill Canopy Kickstarter


The Grill Canopy is a KickStarter campaign for a better grill cover. Easy on, easy off, rests in a bracket that attaches to the side of your grill when it's not in use.

Even better? It was designed by Canadians. I trust them design a cover that will work in the dead of winter. I hate wrestling with my frozen grill cover, trying to pry it off the grill.

Looking for a great cover for your grill? Please support the Grill Canopy Kickstarter [Kickstarter.com]. They have seven days left in their campaign. I want one of these covers. No, I NEED one of these grill covers.

FCC note: I am not being compensated in any way for this post - I want this KickStarter to succeed. I want one, now!

Pan Grilled New Potatoes


I love roasted new potatoes, creamy on the inside, with browned, crisp edges. Summer is new potato time, when they start to show up at the farmers’ market and in my CSA box. I already have the grill lit - it is summer after all - so I like to pan-roast new potatoes on my grill.

My CSA started sharing new potatoes this week, finally. This has been a bummer of a summer for my CSA’s farmers. Pouring rain, a July that couldn’t get out of the 70°s…everything is behind this year.

Halved new potatoes are perfect for pan grilling, small enough to finish cooking in the time it takes for the cut side to brown. I toss the potatoes with salt, pepper, olive oil, and fresh herbs. Then I preheat the grill pan over direct heat, slide it over indirect heat, and pour the new potatoes onto the pan, flipping them all cut side down. I close the lid, and thirty minutes or so later, my potatoes are ready to serve.

Move beyond the big hunk of meat on the grill. Look to the sides as well!
OK, that sounded a lot more heroic in my head.

Recipe: Pan Grilled New Potatoes