All posts filed under: Ramblings

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

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 …

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…)   [UPDATE 2017-11-26: Thank you to my Canadian and British readers! My affiliate accounts met the minimum sales numbers, and won’t be closed due to inactivity.] 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 …

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 …