All posts filed under: Thoughts

First Look at the 8 Quart Instant Pot IP-DUO80

Amazon Black Friday 8 Quart Instant Pot Sale

— FCC Notice: I am an Amazon affiliate. Any purchases you make through the Amazon links in this email give me a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting DadCooksDinner by buying through my Amazon links, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday! — In the US, Amazon has the Instant Pot Duo 8 Quart for only $81.99, down from $130. If you want a big pressure cooker, take advantage of this sale quickly – Amazon only runs the sale while they have stock, and in the past, they sell out by the early afternoon Eastern Time. Instant Pot Duo 8 Quart [] If you’re a Canadian reader, the Black Friday deal is the updated 6 Quart Instant Pot Duo Plus for CDN $89.99, down from CDN $150. Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Quart [] As always, any Amazon purchases through my Amazon links support DadCooksDinner – not just the Instant Pots. Thank you! Country-specific Amazon links: (USA) (Canada) (United Kingdom)

Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank

Giving Thanks 2017

I see skies of blue and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself what a wonderful world. – Louis Armstrong (by way of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole) Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! On this Thanksgiving, please consider a donation to fight hunger in my home town: Donate to the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank [] Thank you, and again, Happy Thanksgiving! Mike Vrobel November 2017

It’s A Wonderful Thanksgiving 2017

This post started as the last question in yesterday’s Thanksgiving Q&A, but I got on a roll…and it wound up being too long to fit. And…as always, I apologize in advance.   Thanksgiving is as much about logistics as it is about cooking. The menu is large, and the crowd is larger. Suddenly, the oven isn’t large enough, the stove doesn’t have enough burners, and there isn’t enough time to get everything done. (Even when I use my grills as second and third ovens.) Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd depends on planning, making things ahead, and not losing your head when chaos is swirling around you. So…how does a typical Thanksgiving look when I’m hosting the big dinner? Thanksgiving: Strategy vs. Tactics (vs. The Fog of War) Or, what happens when a plan meets the enemy – and the enemy is us. With apologies to Alton Brown. Romancing the Bird (A Good Eats Thanksgiving) inspired me and this post – but I didn’t realize that until after I finished writing. Monday: Dry brine the turkeys, put …

Grilled Turkey and Smoke Thermometer |

Thanksgiving Q&A 2017

I’m not cooking a turkey this year! I don’t know what to do with myself! Thanksgiving is at my parents’ house, and ever since dad retired, he has thrown himself into cooking. (Hi, Dad!) He’s looking forward to cooking the turkeys this year – and who am I to stand in his way? And, Dad definitely has the turkeys covered. He’s smoking one and cooking the other one on the rotisserie. We’ll have plenty of turkey. There is no need for me to bring another one. My contribution is a huge batch of mashed potatoes, and a slightly smaller batch of green beans. And being Dad’s sous chef when necessary on the big day. So…anyhow…This relaxing before Thanksgiving. It’s a good thing? I think? (He says, looking around nervously for something to dry brine.) This does leave me with plenty of time to answer blog questions. And boy, do I get questions. In the month before Thanksgiving, I’m part emergency hotline counsellor, part turkey intervention specialist. Here are some of my favorite questions I’ve been asked …

Pressure Cooker Giblet Gravy

Throwback Thursday: Pressure Cooker Giblet Gravy

Throwback Recipe Link: Pressure Cooker Turkey Giblet Gravy Pressure Cooker Giblet Gravy is one of my evergreen recipes. I pull it up every Thanksgiving. Or, should I say, about now – the week before Thanksgiving. One of my Thanksgiving Dinner strategies is making gravy ahead of time. Thanksgiving dinner is as much about logistics as it is cooking. I make this recipe early in the week of Thanksgiving – I take the giblets out of the bird when I dry brine it, then move on to making the gravy in my pressure cooker. It’s a relief to have the gravy ready to go a few days ahead of time – that makes for one less thing to juggle on the big day. Check out the recipe here: Pressure Cooker Turkey Giblet Gravy What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below. Related Posts Pressure Cooker Smashed Garlic Red Skin Potatoes Rotisserie Turkey with Basic Dry Brine (Hey, they’re not all pressure cooker recipes!) Bread Stuffing with Cranberries and Apples My …

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Canada and Uk Readers – Can You Help Me Out? (Amazon Affiliate Request)

FCC Notice: I am an Amazon Affiliate – anything you buy through my Amazon links will give me a small commission, at no extra cost to you. (You’ll see why I’m disclosing this in a minute…)   Hello! I apologize for this post in advance. (Not a good sign – I’m already apologizing in the first sentence.) If you are not from Canada or the UK, you can skip the rest of this post. I’ll have more recipes and food thoughts next time. All you’ll miss is the minutiae of a US based blogger trying to keep their Canadian and UK Amazon Affiliate accounts open. Still here? Great! Welcome, Canadians and Brits! (Or people who care about the nuts and bolts of food blogging!) The Big Ask Canadian and British readers – I need your help. Can you do me a huge favor and order something through my Amazon links to the Canadian store or the UK store? (And, let me know if the links actually take you to your local Amazon store?) …

A few of my pinch bowls |

Things I Love: Pinch Bowls

Get your %@#$ together with your @#$%$#@ing Meez -Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential Mis En Place – from the French “Everything in its place” – is how professional chefs think about their work. They have to have Mis En Place – shortened to Meez in the hustle of a restaurant kitchen. To serve hundreds of meals a night, everyone needs their prep work done, and to know exactly where it is at all times. “Get your Meez together”…usually punctuated with a few choice words…means that you’re not ready, that you’re falling behind. Meez is a great idea in home kitchens, too. Now, I don’t go as far as professional chefs. I’m only cooking a few dishes at once, and I can multitask my onion chopping while the meat browns, and make the salad dressing while the pasta boils – but I can feel the difference once I have everything prepped and ready to cook. Everything slows down, and all I have to do is cook. That’s when I can relax, and enjoy the process. (Unless I’m …

Throwback Tuesday: Nervous Pumpkin Chili

  Last week was my annual ChiliFest at work. I send out emails asking everyone to bring in chili and…they all do? Or, at least, so many people join in that we feed the whole first floor of our office, with plenty of leftovers. I’ve mentioned it before, but Chili is a great way to bring people together. I’ve tried to do potlucks at work before, and they did OK…but never great. But when I do a ChiliFest – that is, a potluck where I suggest people bring their favorite Chili – I get one of two responses: I make a pretty good chili. I’m in! I don’t make chili, but can I bring XYZ instead? (And my answer to “can I bring…” is always “Yes”, before they get to what it is they actually want to bring.) This is all the lead-in to today’s story. My friend Paul and his wife Chantal have known us for years. Chantal follows the blog (Hi, Chantal! Sorry to put you on the spot here!). Paul is a …

Rotisserie Grilling by Mike Vrobel

New Book Covers!

My new book covers are (finally) loaded for all editions on all stores! Whoo hoo! As my designer worked on my new blog theme, they asked if they could take a crack at my book covers as well. I think my old covers offended their design sensibilities. (Hey, I’m not a designer – those covers are what you get when you ask a computer guy to design something.) I jumped at the chance for them to clean them up, and love the new look: Now, the only thing that has changed is the covers – the interior is still the same, so don’t go out and buy a new copy. (Unless you’re me, in which case you bought one of each, just to have the new covers on my shelf.) [UPDATE: Sigh. The new cover is not showing on the paperback on Amazon yet. It is still working its way through their system. If you order the paperback now, you get the new cover…I’m pretty sure.]

The glass is half full |

What Can I Use Instead of Wine?

A question about my Pressure Cooker Beef Short Ribs recipe: Could I just leave the wine out if I don’t want to use alcohol or should I replace it with another liquid? If so, what is best? Some people can’t (or won’t) use alcohol in their cooking. I’m not one of them, but I understand where they’re coming from. I don’t want to get my guests blitzed by making beef stew, you know? I do use alcohol in my recipes, usually wine or beer. Sometimes hard cider, particularly with pork. I’m going to refer to “wine” from now on, because it is my go-to cooking alcohol, but everything I that follows applies to beer and cider as well. Also, this is pressure cooking specific – that’s what the original question was about – but the basic ideas apply to all types of cooking. Can I boil off all the alcohol? For my pressure cooker recipes, I always boil the wine for a minute before locking the lid, to simmer off some of the alcohol. Alcohol …

PicOfTheWeek: More Pasta

Ugh, what a day. Videos not working out, hard drive troubles, manufacturing defects on new equipment. One of those “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all” kind of days. Penne pasta post coming soon – when I can get at the pictures on my hard drive. I’ve got a backup, and a backup to the backup…but I may need a new drive to restore the backups. Grr. (Luckily, this picture was synced to iCloud, so I could post it from my iPad.)

Removing a refrigerated fat cap |

What if I Don’t Have a Fat Separator?

After last week’s talk about draining ground beef, I have a follow up fat question. Reader Lysandra asked about the fat separator step in my Pressure Cooker Pot Roast recipe: What can I do if I don’t have a Fat Separator? I have three suggestions…maybe four: How to remove fat if you don’t have a fat separator Skip the defatting step. Who’s got time to let fat settle? Dump everything in a serving bowl and go. I do this more often than I’d like to admit, especially on busy weeknights. Let the pot settle, then skim. This is the old school method. Fat is lighter than water, and if you let everything settle, fat floats to the top of the pot. Do what they do in professional kitchens – get out a big spoon and start skimming. (In professional kitchens that is a large part of the saucier’s job – skimming the fat off of their sauces as they simmer.) I can scoop out a lot of fat this way, but it takes patience and a …

Drain Ground Beef? Why? |

Do you drain ground beef? Why?!?

Q&A with a Commenter on my Quick Chili in an 8 Quart Pressure Cooker video: COMMENTER: I’m surprised you don’t drain your ground beef. DadCooksDinner: What? Why in the world would you do that? COMMENTER: To drain off the fat. After cooking. Everyone does it. If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you jump too? Every now and again I get asked “Why don’t you drain your ground beef?”. I was surprised the first few times I was asked. I had never heard of such a thing. Do I drain my ground beef? No! Why would I? Sure, it may get rid of some of the fat. But I want that fat in the recipe – fat is flavor. Speaking of flavor, I’m not just draining fat. I’m draining all the juices that escaped the meat – that’s even more flavor down the drain. If you worry about fat, buy leaner ground beef. “Ground Beef” is usually 70% lean, 30% fat. Maybe I could understand draining that. But, why not buy 80% lean ground chuck instead? …