Author: Mike Vrobel

Throwback Thursday: No, Not That! Anything but Beets!

I feared beets. I have a vague taste memory: cloyingly sweet sauce, crumbly texture, and a hint of mud. I must have had canned beets, and it did NOT go well, but I can’t dredge up any actual memories other than that sickly sweet taste. My wife is a big beet fan and begged me to try them. No way. I draw the line here. Beets on one side, everything else on the other. Beets made my stomach do barrel rolls. As I got into cooking, I couldn’t escape. Colorful beet salads, roasted beet side dishes, traditional beet soups. I held out. Then I focused on local, seasonal produce, and a regular shopper at my farmers market. In the summer, Ohio’s farms overwhelmed us with their variety. In the winter? My local vegetables are all about storing root vegetables and hearty greens. Sure, I love carrots and potatoes…but every week? By the time February rolls in, cold and bleak, I’m desperate for something new. That’s when the beets got me. I picked up a bunch and brought …

On The Road: Travel Day

  Thirty-three thousand feet above the North Atlantic, thirty minutes west of Dingle, Ireland. Heading home. I hear an opera carrying along the canal. The sleek prow of a gondola glides into view, carrying a singing soprano and her accordionist. A middle-aged couple holds hands in the plush seat in the back, enjoying their own private Venetian concert. Except it’s not private. The gondolier eases his boat along, under the bridge at my feet. The soprano is a pro; she times her finish for the bridge, using the echo to amplify her last note. It hangs in the air for a second, then applause fills the void, from the gondola and all around me on the bridge. The narrow bridge. That I stopped in the middle of, blocking traffic. Whoops. I look around, ready to excuse myself to everyone…but they’re too busy clapping to notice my apology. I wasn’t the only one enchanted by the melody. I’m not ready to go home – there’s so much more to do, so much more to see, I’ve …

Tortelli class in Verona, Italy

On the road again: Tortelli in Verona, Italy

Sorry this post is late; I think I lost a day to travel somewhere. That, or I’m actually relaxing on my vacation – a food writing workshop in Verona, Italy. Today was a tortelli making class in a local restaurant. The staff showed us how, then stood back to let us try. We did OK – we are a bunch of food writers, after all. But we were not the pros. They roll and fold with flair, smooth and effortless. Posting will be a little sparse for the next week or so, until I get home. After that, I apologize in advance for all the “Well, when I was in Italy…” stories.

Measuring Ramekins |

PicOfTheWeek: Measuring Ramekins

I’m (still) testing pressure cooker crème brûlée/caramel/flan recipes, and had to figure out how much my ramekins can hold…so testing came to a halt, and measuring started. (The ramekin in the pic is 4 ounces, from this colorful set.) I found that most “standard” ramekins are 6 ounces, and small ones are 4 ounces…but that is measured all the way up to the brim. In actual use, where you have to worry about spills, they hold about an ounce less – 5 ounces vs 3 ounces.

Fagor America is Closing

Fagor America will be shutting down operations after its parent company in Spain announced it would close, HomeWorld Business has learned. In a letter from Fagor to its retail customers that was obtained by HomeWorld Business, company officials wrote, “Fagor America will be affected by this cessation and we anticipate the company will be closing in the next couple of months.” Fagor America to Shut Down Operations [] I’ve used Fagor pressure cookers for years, and I’m sad to see them go. I switched from Fagor cookers to Instant Pot a while back, but I do still have a couple of Fagor Lux cookers in my collection. They were a good alternative to the Instant Pot, and I always like to see good competition in a market – it keeps the companies from getting complacent. (Not that Instant Pot seems complacent, mind you – they keep coming up with new ideas and new cookers – but I don’t want them to feel too comfortable and take their foot off the gas.) I can’t recommend Fagor …

Pressure Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage with carrots

Throwback Thursday: Corned Beef for St. Patrick’s Day

I’m St. Patrick’s Day traditionalist. Give me corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, and a pint of Guinness. That’s all I need. I fine-tuned my Pressure Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe last year; the trick of slicing it into 4 smaller roasts makes it cook evenly – and much faster – than cooking the whole slab of beef at once. Instead of a new recipe, have an old Irish blessing: May the blessings of the day be the blessings you need the most, and may the most you wish for be the least you get. Here’s a link to the recipe: Pressure Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Your favorite Irish blessings? Leave them in the comments section below. Related Posts My other Pressure Cooker Recipes Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe to DadCooksDinner via email and share this post with your friends. Want to contribute directly? Donate to my Tip Jar, or buy something from through the links …

Nothing is certain except…2017

The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it’s just sort of a tired feeling. ― Paula Poundstone The good news about writing a successful food blog? It provides a little side income. The bad news about writing a successful food blog? Side income makes taxes complicated. No new post today – I’m busy bookkeeping, sorting documents, and entering info into TurboTax. (I’m one of those weirdos who enjoys doing their own taxes.) Someday the blog may make enough to get someone to do my taxes. But for now, I have a hard time paying for something I can do myself. I’ll see everyone next week with a new recipe!

Pork roasts in a large pot, sprinkled with carrots and onions

PicOfTheWeek: Pork Roasts for a Party

The extended family is coming dinner after my daughter’s Youth Philharmonic concert this afternoon. I need to feed sixteen people, and also be at the concert all afternoon. We’ll get home from the concert with the crowd right on our heels. I don’t want to spend all my time rushing around in the kitchen, so I’m setting up as much of the work ahead of time as possible. My Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder recipe is the key. I tripled the recipe in my massive Le Creuset Dutch Oven, which I affectionately call “Big Blue”. It will roast in the oven all afternoon; we’ll be home around 5:00 PM, and the main course will be waiting for us. At that point, I: Take the lid off the pot to brown the roasts Slide a sheet pan of new potatoes into to the oven Toss a salad Set out some chips. Then I’m done. I can grab a tasty beverage and spend my time talking with the family, not worrying about dinner.