Author: Mike Vrobel

Road Trip: Brand The Barn with Certified Angus Beef

Road Trip! I was invited to the Brand The Barn event by my friends at Certified Angus Beef® Brand. For their 40th anniversary, they’ve been painting barns across the country. The last one was at Atterholt Farms, just down the road from me in Loudonville, Ohio. It sounded like a fun event…and a great lunch from Chefs Michael Ollier and Gavin Pinto – how could I pass it up? Just to make you drool a little…they had beef two ways for lunch. First was Beef, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches. Ribeye roast, slow-smoked to 110°F, chilled, thin-sliced, then seared on a flattop over an open fire. The beef was piled on a bun with tomato chutney and arugula.  Even better were boneless beef short ribs, smoked, then cooked sous vide for 36 hours until tender. Then they were sprinkled with rub, then grilled over a wood fire until crusty on the outside. Oh, my. Thanks again to my friends at Certified Angus Beef for inviting me down to Loudonville – it was a fun time! This …

A red plate of bright yellow risotto Milanese sprinkled with grated cheese, with a napkin, spoon, and instant pot in the background

Instant Pot Risotto Milanese (Risotto alla Milanese)

Instant Pot Risotto Milanese When I say “Italy,” what starch pops into your head? Pasta, of course. But, as I found out on my trip to Venice, Italy is much more diverse than the “pizza, pasta, and meatballs” I grew up with. Northern Italy is all about rice. Milan, in Northwest Italy, is famous for fashion – it’s from Milan, dahling – and for bright yellow Risotto alla Milanese, rice colored with a pinch of saffron, the world’s most expensive spice. Saffron is made of the stigmas of the saffron crocus flower, three tiny threads in the center of the bulb. These threads must be harvested by hand, and roughly 5,000 flowers yield one ounce of dried saffron threads. The half-gram jar of Saffron I bought for this recipe cost $10. (That’s right – it’s even more expensive than movie theater popcorn.) How did Milan become famous for saffron risotto? Well, there’s a great story: The legend of Risotto alla Milanese In the 1600s, Mastro Valerio of Flanders led a team of workmen, creating stained …

PicOfTheWeek: Beans!

Beans in the Pot Beans ready for a quick soak. I’m quick-soaking the beans – pressure cooking for 1 minute, then letting them sit for 1 hour – to speed up the cooking time. These beans are the base for a minestrone soup, and the rest of the ingredients will overcook if I try to cook unsoaked beans. (Minestrone recipe coming soon…)

Pressure Cooker Texas Red Chili | DadCooksDinner.com

Throwback Thursday: Top 10 Pressure Cooker Chili Recipes

Pressure Cooker Texas Red Chili I can feel it in the evening, smell it in the air. I see it in the trees – a few, on the edges, are turning from green to brilliant orange. Fall is here. Fall is chili time – the crisp weather is perfect for a spicy stew. It’s also when I host my annual ChiliFest at work, asking everyone to bring in a pot of their favorite chili. Most of my co-workers bring in a slow cooker of chili; years ago, I switched from all-day simmering to pressure cooking, so I bring my Instant Pots. The crowd favorite is my Texas Red chili, but I almost always make a second pot so I can try out a new recipe. Here are my top 10 favorite chilies: Everything in the pot Top 10 Chili Recipes Pressure Cooker Texas Red Chili – DadCooksDinnerPressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans – DadCooksDinnerPressure Cooker Chili Verde (Green Pork Chili) – DadCooksDinnerPressure Cooker 15 Bean Chili – DadCooksDinnerPressure Cooker Pork Chili with Beans – …

Throwback Thursday: Smash those beans

Smashing pressure cooked beans Tuesday’s Instant Pot Pinto Beans recipe always leaves me with leftovers. Now, I know some people are anti-leftover, but hear me out – leftover beans in the freezer are a fantastic thing. I freeze leftover beans in 2-cup containers, sized to substitute for canned beans. Homemade beans taste so much better than canned beans, even after freezing. Especially the bean broth – the liquid in a can of beans is not great, and I usually rinse it off before cooking. Homemade bean broth is amazing, adding extra depth and flavor to recipes. But, what do I do with the freezer beans? If I’m in a hurry, I’ll thaw them in the microwave and serve them as another batch of brothy beans. But, if I have a little time – and I don’t need much time – I’ll use them in my refried beans recipe, going straight to step 2 and frying the beans: Throwback Recipe: Pressure Cooker Refried Pinto Beans Pressure Cooker Refried Pinto Beans Recipe: Pressure Cooker Refried Pinto Beans …

A pile of pork carnitas on shredded lettuce, piled on a tortilla, on an aqua plate

Instant Pot Carnitas

Instant Pot Carnitas Carnitas are Mexican pork candy. Cubes of pork shoulder, simmered until tender, and then fried in their own rendered pork fat. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, I’ve tried Instant Pot Carnitas many times, but the results were not what I wanted…until now. The problem was, I kept trying to make this a one-pot meal, and fry the pork cubes in the Instant Pot by simmering off the liquid. There were two problems. First, the pork would always burn on the bottom of the pot, no matter how carefully I watched it. Second, pressure cooker pots (like the Instant Pot) are not that wide – at best, I could fit 2 pounds of pork in a single layer on the bottom. That’s not enough to satisfy my hungry crowd of kids. My breakthrough was giving up on the authentic, one-pot approach. Mexican kitchens cook carnitas in wide, shallow pots, so there’s plenty of room to fry the pork. Me? I brought out my frypan, and use vegetable oil or lard …

Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub | DadCooksDinner.com

Throwback Thursday: Chicken Under Pressure

Can’t talk now. Busy. Gotta run. Work, work, work. We had a software upgrade over the long weekend, and I’ve been working 12 to 18 hour days ever since. What do I do when I work late and have to squeeze in dinner before another scheduled install at 8:30 PM? I give in to the dark side…of the chicken. Instant Pot Chicken Legs, here we come. Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub Recipe: Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub Recipe here: Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub – [DadCooksDinner] An update to the recipe: I use Penzeys Sunny Paris Seasoning instead of the Italian Seasoning. Any herb blend will work, but I’m in love with Sunny Paris. They hooked me with a free sample; I’ve gone through three more full-sized jars since then. Sunny Paris goes with chicken, pork, and vegetables – Especially vegetables. If there’s a Penzeys near you, try a jar. You won’t be disappointed. What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below. Related Posts …

Rotisserie Grilling cookbooks now available on Walmart eBooks

Big news in the eBook world: Walmart teamed up with Kobo to make the Walmart eBook store! Walmart and…Kobo? Who’s that? In the US, Amazon is the elephant in the eBookstore, with the vast majority of the market. Outside the US, Toronto-based Kobo is giving Amazon a run for their money, making them a close second in global eBook sales. Kobo is a subsidiary of Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce giant. Rakuten also owns OverDrive, which most libraries use to loan out eBooks. In other words, Kobo has some eBook muscle. Walmart and Kobo are a fascinating pairing that could give Amazon serious competition. Kobo has a reputation for well-made e-readers as well as the usual reader apps for iOS or Android, and a vast eBook selection to rival Amazon’s Kindle store. Walmart is…Walmart. You may have heard of them?  As an eBook author, I love the idea of e-readers promoted in every Walmart in the country. That means, at least indirectly, my books are now sold in Walmart! As an eBook reader, I like the …