Book Review: Man Made Meals by Steven Raichlen


I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Steven’s new cookbook, Man Made Meals. (Subtitle: The Essential Cookbook for Guys. Perfect for me, right?)

I have to tell you up front - this review is biased. Steven Raichlen is a major influence on my cooking. His Barbecue Bible series of cookbooks are essential references for grilling, and How To Grill is the first book I recommend to novice grillers. I even used his Beer Can Chicken cookbook as a model for my own Rotisserie Grilling cookbook. I owe Steven a debt of gratitude. Even though we’ve only met once, at a book signing, he taught me a lot of what I know about cooking.


PicOfTheWeek: Rotisserie BBQ Chicken


What are you cooking for Labor Day? Me? I have chicken ready for the rotisserie.

(Pictured: my Rotisserie Barbecued Chicken with Espresso Chipotle BBQ Sauce)

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

Pressure Cooker Mexican Pork Stew With Summer Vegetables


I learned about the “Three Sisters” - corn, squash, and beans - on my trip to Oaxaca earlier this year. These three crops were the basis of pre-Hispanic Mexican agriculture. They work together as they grow, providing nutrients, shelter, and protection to each other. More important, they are a balanced diet when they are eaten together.

Of course, my thought was: “Squash, corn, beans…that sounds like my CSA box in August. I can use up zucchini in a Mexican meal?”

Technically, Mexican squash are not the same thing as zucchini. But they are a close relative. Hey, any excuse to use up zucchini in August.

Now, you might think, “A stew? In summer? I’ll save the hearty eating for the winter.” OK. OK. Wait. You can make this recipe in the middle of winter, with frozen corn, canned tomatoes, out of season green beans, and zucchini flown in from the southern hemisphere. And it will be good. But, trust me - you want to try this stew at the height of summer, with sweet corn, ripe tomatoes, and fresh zucchini. This is not a heavy, hearty stew. This is a bright, sweet stew, that shows off summer’s bounty.
And, thanks to the pressure cooker, it’s quick and doesn’t heat up the kitchen. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, that’s OK, a traditional version of the recipe is in the notes.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Mexican Pork Stew With Summer Vegetables

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