All posts filed under: Ramblings

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.

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 …

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!

Throwback Thursday: Double-Wide Pork Chops

Revisiting my Grilled Double Cut Ribeye Pork Chops With Rosemary, Honey, and Lemon Glaze recipe… Late Winter is my least favorite time of the year. The excitement of the holidays is over, and my patience has run out. I am done with cold, gray days. I’m working on my previously mentioned list of Google Recipe Card fixes, and I come across this fantastic-looking double cut pork chop. My mind wanders: “It was 60°F yesterday…maybe I can grill tonight…” [Checks weather app] It is currently 47°F and raining. The forecast calls for mixed precipitation, with 1 to 3 inches of snow today, and heavy snow overnight, tapering off by morning. Tomorrow will be cloudy, with a high of 32°F. [Closes weather app in disgust] Mother Nature is taunting me, lifting my hopes of spring…so she could smash them to smithereens. I will not give in to Seasonal Affective Disorder! The forecast looks better over the weekend – cold (high of 37°F) and clear. Not gray and raining? Close enough. It’s time to light the grill and pretend …

Chicken drumsticks in an electric pressure cooker

Reader Survey: Pressure Cooking Frozen Chicken Drumsticks?

The most common question on my pressure cooker chicken legs and chicken drumsticks recipes: “My drumsticks are frozen. How much time should I add?” My answer is: I don’t know? Five extra minutes, maybe? That answer feels right, but I want to check it. I never cook my drumsticks from frozen. I’m cooking them either fresh or thawed. (I buy family packs of drumsticks. Straight out of the freezer I have a slab of chicken that won’t fit in the cooker. I have to thaw them enough to break them apart…and by that point I might as well leave them in the refrigerator overnight to thaw completely.) I go to the store to stock up on frozen drumsticks for testing. And…neither of my local grocery stores carries them. (They have individually frozen wings, and boneless skinless breasts, but no drumsticks and no legs.) I’m standing in the meat department, staring blankly at bags of frozen chicken wings. “What if I freeze them myself? No – no one would freeze individual drumsticks. They’re not asking about …

Butter Basting a Sous Vide Porterhouse |

Throwback Thursday: Butter Basted Sous Vide Porterhouse

I’m going on a bit of an “inside blogging” rant here. If you’re just interested in the recipe, here it is: Sous Vide Butter Basted Porterhouse (from the freezer, seared in a cast iron pan) On with the rant! I hate SEO. SEO is “search engine optimization” – in other words, adding things to my posts so Google understands them. I want to write for people, not search engines. And yet… If I want to write a food blog that anyone reads, I have to do SEO. According to my statistics, 75% of you found me through a Google search, so I need to keep The Algorithm happy. (If you stuck around after that original Google search, and are still following me, thank you!) You don’t see most of my SEO work – and neither do I. My recipe plugin takes care of most of it. You see a neatly formatted recipe; Google sees a list of tags: This is a recipe, this is a picture, this is a list of ingredients, and so on. Unfortunately, when …

Chili Collage - three different chilis

A Batch of Pressure Cooker Chili for the Big Game

An update to last year’s Top 5 Pressure Cooker Chilies (For the Super Bowl) To me, the Super Bowl means Chili.1 I may be a Food Blogger(TM), but my friends and family know me for my bowl of Texas Red, even though That’s Right, I’m not from Texas. I’m obliged to bring it to every family gathering…especially my brother’s annual Super Bowl party. A Showcase Bowl of Texas Red This is my show-off chili recipe for potlucks and get-togethers. Here in Ohio, it is still a rarity – I get funny looks for making chili out of hunks of meat, and that doesn’t have beans in it. Pressure Cooker Texas Red Chili If you want chili with big hunks of meat, but less expensive than an all-beef chili, try this one. It fills up the pot with less expensive pork shoulder, and lots of beans: Pressure Cooker Pork Chili with Beans Wimpy Chili (Not that there’s anything wrong with that) Now we get to the chili of my youth. In Northeastern Ohio, chili means ground …

Rancho Gordo Bean Club Box |

Things I Love: Bean Box

Life has been coming at me fast, so I don’t have a big cooking thought to share. Or even a medium-sized one. So, here’s something I love… “Did you get the a new bean box?” My bean-loving son It’s bean box day! I shout my love for pressure cooker beans from the rooftops. Beans are one of the reasons I became a pressure cooker convert; dried beans are so much better than canned, and pressure cooking is quick. I can use dried beans in my day-to-day cooking, without having to plan a day ahead. Rancho Gordo grows the best beans I’ve ever had. I heard about them on the Internet years ago, and could not get over the price…until my wife brought me back a few bags from a business trip to San Francisco. (Rancho Gordo is in the Ferry Market Building in downtown SF.) And, oh, my, what beans they were. Why are they so good? I think they are fresher than the beans I get in the store. (Even the organic beans from the …

Dad Cooks a Christmas Roast 2017

And he, he himself…the Grinch…carved the roast-beast! Dr. Seuss That’s all I want for Christmas – a roast beast. I’m cooking my rotisserie ribeye roast from last year; I plan to season and truss on Saturday the 23rd, then let it dry brine in the refrigerator until Christmas. We do the lap of Cleveland on Christmas day – up to see my family, then back home this year to host my in-laws. That means the timing is going to be tight. I need to put the roast on the grill as soon as we get home. (Doesn’t everyone grill on Christmas?) Yes, I’m playing weather roulette. December in Ohio is, shall we say…unpredictable? Sometimes we get a Christmas blizzard, Just to make the trip to the grill interesting. I found out (from my favorite food podcast) that turkey is the traditional Christmas roast in England.1 It’s a great idea for feeding a crowd, but like most Americans, I’m all turkeyed out from Thanksgiving. And in my family the traditional Christmas roast is beef. Like most …

Supporting Dad Cooks Dinner – 2017

I know you’re getting a lot of requests for support during the holidays…so here’s mine! Give me your money! I want to go full Scrooge McDuck, and swim around in a vault of gold coins! Bwahahaha! Ahem. Sorry. DadCooksDinner is a labor of love. I spent over 800 hours in 2017 working on it. Over the years, the blog has gone from making no money to making…some money. Not enough to quit the day job, but enough to make filing taxes a mess. (Even a popular food blog like mine is not the path to a Scrooge McDuck vault of gold coins.) As the blog grows, I try to be more professional (professionalish?). And I pick up more expenses. A test roast here, a pressure cooker accessory there, better blog hosting, a new theme…it all adds up. To help support DadCooksDinner, please consider contributing in one of the following ways: Holiday purchases through my links If you buy anything on Amazon after clicking through one of the Amazon links on this page, I get a …

Jar of Frozen Turkey Noodle Soup |

Frozen Assets for a Sick Day

Remember when I said that having a few jars of soup in the freezer made me feel good? A stomach bug is hitting us hard right now. (I won’t go into more detail – this is a food blog, after all.) I’m not up to writing today’s post, let alone making dinner. No one really wants dinner, either. I hit up my Frozen Assets and pulled out jars of Turkey Noodle soup from last week. (And a few jars of Turkey Broth for those of us with extra-sensitive stomachs.) Now I’m back in bed, finishing this little blurb. Next up – falling asleep while watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, my favorite sick day movie.

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