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Winter Market in Cuyahoga Valley 2010-2011

The Countryside Farmers Market in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has switched to their winter schedule, starting this weekend.  Time to stock up on local produce for Thanksgiving! The market will be held at Old Trail School this year, right next to their usual Howe Meadow site.  The market will be open on Saturday mornings, from 9AM to Noon. *If you don’t live in Northeastern Ohio, make sure to find your own local farmers market.  Yes, they usually run through the winter! The schedule is: November 20 December 11 December 18 January 22 February 5 February 19 March 12 March 26 April 9 April 23 Here’s the address: Countryside Farmers’ Market at Old Trail School 2315 Ira Road Akron, OH 44333 (330) 666-1118 More information is available at their website: Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy View Larger Map Related posts: My list of Ethnic and Gourmet stores near Akron, Ohio. *Enjoyed this post?  Want to help out DadCooksDinner?  Subscribe using your RSS reader or by Email, recommend DadCooksDinner to your friends, or buy something from Amazon.com through the …

Grilled Fajitas

Fajitas. The recipe that put a Mexican restaurant in every strip mall in America.* Really, Fajitas are Tex-mex, a blend of styles born from the Norteno border of Mexico and the Southwestern border of the US, where the cooking doesn’t let a little thing like a line on a map stop it.The holy trinity of Tex-mex cooking: Fajitas, Margaritas, and tortilla chips with salsa. I’m getting hungry just typing this. I learned a fascinating fajita marinade from Robb Walsh in The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook. There are two surprise ingredients in the marinade, that don’t sound very Mexican – Pineapple and Soy Sauce. Soy sauce is full of umami, which I’ve talked about before; it adds extra beefiness to the steak. Pineapple juice is the really interesting part – it contains an enzyme, bromelain, which is proteolytic (that is, it breaks down protein).* I had to double check that sentence with my wife, the chemist. Pineapple juice tenderizes the tough cuts of meat that are used in fajitas; skirt steak (fajita, in Spanish)*, flank steak, …

Road Trip: BayLobsters Fish Market

Update 2015-12-31: BayLobsters Fish Market is closed.   For my Four Fish Week posts, I needed to find a good fish market.  I can find decent seafood at my local megamart, but when I want the best, I go to a fish market. I’ve been meaning to check out BayLobsters Fish Market in Twinsburg, and reading about sustainable seafood in Four Fish gave me the push I needed to make the trip. I knew I was in the right place as soon as I opened the door. The briny, slightly sweet smell of high quality fish greeted me as I entered the store. That is my first test for a fish market – does it smell right? BayLobster sure does. The display case of fish is a work of art – whole fish and sides of fish, carefully arranged to show how beautiful they are. And, the place was hopping – it is clambake season and they were doing a brisk business. There was a steady stream of customers during the Friday lunch that I …

Grilled Barramundi with Avocado Orange Salsa

Barramundi is another example of a good farmed fish. They are native to waters from Southeast Asia through Australia. Barramundi are particularly prized in Australia and Thailand, both as a sport fish and a favorite for eating. They can survive in a wide range of salt levels; some live in the ocean, others in inland lakes and rivers. In the United States, barramundi is farmed in closed inland systems to protect against escapees and pollution. *Barry Eastabrook wrote about how good Barramundi is for fish farming in an article last week. Today, I’m going to share a recipe for grilled barramundi. Grilled fish is a sticky situation. I mean that literally – fish will stick to your grill like it was spot-welded if you are not careful. There are four keys to keep fish from sticking: 1. Preheat your grill: It has to be as hot as you can get it. For charcoal this is easy; once the coals are ready the grill is ready. But for gas grills, you have to preheat for at …

Review: Four Fish by Paul Greenberg

Last year, I shared my personal philosophy towards fish in my Sustainable Seafood post. I just finished reading a book that helped expand my knowledge about fish, and the challenges we have ahead of us. Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg is an entertaining, sobering, in-depth, and practical look at fish and sustainability. Mr. Greenberg focuses on the four fish that predominate in the modern fish market: Salmon, Tuna, Bass and Cod. He shows how fishing for each of these species has advanced across human history, and the problems and successes we have had with their sustainability. Don’t be fooled by this summary – the book isn’t just history and environmentalism. Mr. Greenberg approaches fish from his viewpoint as an enthusiastic amateur fisherman. Four fish is a fascinating view of today’s world of fishing, with stories of the people who catch and farm our fish. And, as a fisherman, Mr. Greenberg feels he has to catch these fish himself, and his personal fish tales are some of the best …

Giveaway: Perfect One-Dish Dinners

Maggy Keet, Pam Anderson’s daughter and one of the three cooks behind ThreeManyCooks.com was kind enough to send me a copy of Perfect One-Dish Dinners. Since I already bought a copy, we’re having a giveaway! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment in this post on my blog with your favorite one dish meal. What makes a one-dish meal? It’s something that I can serve with a salad on the side and not think I’m missing something.For me, one dish meals start with Chili. And usually end there, because once I start thinking about Chili, I have to make it. The Fine Print:One entry per person, and please make sure there is some way I can get in touch with you through the comment. (In other words…no anonymous comments, unless you identify yourself in the text of the comment.) The comment has to be in this post on DadCooksDinner.com; emails, entries on my Facebook page, and postcards sent by carrier pigeon will not be considered for the drawing. Only entries from North America will be …

Salmon Salad Bites with Sushi Flavors

Here is a recipe I tested from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners. This is an appetizer that Pam published on ThreeManyCooks.com as Poor Man’s Sushi. I can only imagine the internet perfectionists that it brought out of the woodwork: But this isn’t sushi! It doesn’t have raw fish in it! And…sushi means the sweet vinegar rice in Japanese, and there is no rice in it! OK, OK, that might have been me when I first saw it. But Pam had never led me wrong in the past, and I already had most of the ingredients in my pantry. So I tried it out. What I found is a remarkable appetizer. They’re homemade, make good use of pantry ingredients, and can be thrown together in almost no time. It’s not really sushi, but you get the flavors of sushi on a bite sized nibble – a hit of wasabi, pickled ginger, fish, all on a crunchy rice cracker. They are the perfect appetizer for an Asian themed party…if your guests aren’t food purists who will lecture you on …

Refried Pinto Beans

Earlier this week, I said that brothy beans are my favorite side dish with a Mexican meal. My kids love Diane’s homemade tortillas above all other foods, so we have a lot of Mexican meals at my house. The kids’ top 5 favorite foods of all time:1. Tortillas2. White Rice3. Pizza4. Chicken Lettuce Wraps5. Brats(Oh, and of course, Banquet Chicken Nuggets. Oh, the shame. But when we’re trying to get the kids fed for the babysitter so we can go out to a real, grown-up dinner, compromises have to be made…) Even though I love them, with how often we eat tortillas, brothy beans can get repetitive. For something different, I make refried beans using leftover brothy beans from my freezer. With some help from my food processor I can quickly get refried beans on the table. And…the kids will sometimes eat them. Timmy, my youngest, is turning into a beanivore. That’s a word, right? Well, it is, if you’ve watched Timmy eating beans. I had to do a sales job to convince him that these …

In the Media: On TV again!

If you live in Northeastern Ohio, set your Tivos on Stun! I’ll be on Good Company Today on WKYC Channel 3 Cleveland. My appearance is Thursday, September 9th, sometime between 10AM and 11AM. I will be in a “Meet the blogger” segment, sponsored by Cleveland MomsLikeMe, talking about weeknight dinners for busy parents. Please tune in! *If you can take the excitement of watching me live on television, that is.

Pico De Gallo Salsa (Fresh Tomato Salsa)

Pico de gallo, made with fresh, ripe, summer tomatoes, is my favorite salsa. It is a perfect combination of raw ingredients: sweet, juicy tomato combined with sharp, biting raw onion and hot, spicy peppers.Pico de gallo means “rooster’s beak” in Spanish, referring to the heat of the peppers. This is not a recipe to make out of season; the key to the recipe is fresh summer tomatoes. I wait, saving this salsa for late summer and early fall, when the peppers and tomatoes are fresh from the garden. This is also not a recipe to make if you doubt your knife skills. Cutting tomatoes into a fine dice, as required by this recipe, isn’t easy. The thick skin, combined with the soft interior of the tomatoes, results in an ingredient that keeps moving with the knife instead of being cut by it. Serrated tomato knives are OK, but tend to be kind of small; I prefer to use my serrated bread knife, or if it is particularly sharp, my chef’s knife. Is it worth it? …

Interviewed by Dishin’ in the Kitchen

DadCooksDinner media blitz week continues! Mac Ledesma at Dishin’ in the Kitchen does podcast interviews with home cooks.  We talked last week, and the interview was just published: Chatting in the Kitchen with Mike Vrobel of DadCooksDinner [DishinInTheKitchen.com]   I just listened to the opening bit; I’m saving the rest of it for my drive into work. My voice sounds strange to me when I hear it, like it does to most people. I can’t believe my voice is that gravelly. *I sound like a blues singer with a pack-a-day habit.  All I need is a cool nickname – “Grease Fire” Vrobel?  And, as the Simpsons said, a reason to sing the blues for someone with no real problems. Mac had a hard time ending the interview – once I get on a roll about cooking, it’s hard to get me to stop.  Luckily, she’s a good editor – she cut my ramblings down to 15 minutes. Go listen to my thoughts on meal planning, steak cook offs, and dry brining chicken.  Or subscribe to the Dishin in the …

Cooking Demo: Meet me at the Seville Farm Market, August 21st, 2010

Cooking Demo at the Seville Farm Market: August 21st, 2010 I’m doing a cooking demonstration at the Seville farmers market next Saturday, August 21st, from 9:00AM to Noon. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello! I am looking forward to checking out the Seville market – I’ve never been to it before.  Back in my bicycling days, I used to ride through Seville fairly often, and I loved the farms in the countryside.  Now I get to eat what they grow! I will be there at the same time as their Zucchini Smackdown contest.  My theme is, well, zucchini. It seemed like the right thing to do.  I’ll be making Zucchini and Summer Squash Salad and grilling some zucchini skewers (recipe coming next week.)  I have to check out the vendors at the market to see what else I’ll be able to cook. As I always say, part of the fun of cooking from a farmers market is finding out what’s available that week. [Update: The Zucchini Smackdown contest is open to …

Road Trip: A Best Fixture/A Best Kitchen Restaurant Supply

View Larger Map A Best Fixture (aka A Best Kitchen at AKitchen.com) is a restaurant supply store in Akron that is open to the public. Looking for basic, professional quality, inexpensive cookware? Start here, or at your local restaurant supply store. By professional quality, I don’t mean high end. This is the real stuff, tools used in every professional kitchen from school cafeterias to local restaurants. For some reason, you can’t buy them at most stores that sell housewares. Or, houseware stores sell them for ridiculous prices. I don’t want flimsy, nonstick “cookie pans”. I want professional strength aluminum half-sheet pans that won’t buckle if I put something heavier than a cookie on them. I want my bowls to be stainless steel and shallow, not plastic, or glass, or “non-skid” with a handle and pouring lip. Or having some other so-called improvement to the design. Of a bowl. And, really, when you’re flipping hamburgers on the grill, you want the same spatula that a professional would use, not one of those “grill spatulas” that include …

Green Bean Stir-Fry

The beans are coming! The beans are coming! It’s green bean season at my CSA. Pretty soon, maybe even by the time you’re reading this, I’ll have all you can pick green beans. Have I mentioned that Diane loves green beans before? Yes? Well, this time of year is heaven for her. Normally, she feels a little competition with our CSA. Diane is proud of her garden, and wants to make sure that I’m cooking HER vegetables first, before the CSA veggies. But not when it’s green bean season. That’s the one time of year she is 100% behind the CSA. She’ll take the kids to Crown Point for the you-pick-em beans. My first thought when I see a new vegetable at the CSA is “stir fry it!”. Beans aren’t new, but the idea still stands. I love the wave of fresh green beans…at first.  After a month or so, I get a little bored. When I get tired of steam-sauteed beans, or grilled beans, or pickled beans…my stir fry technique is waiting to make them interesting …

Kale Chips

I’ve mentioned The real omnivore’s dilemma before – what do you do with all the kale in your CSA? The last time I asked that question, I got a response from reader Maria in an email, saying: You make kale chips, of course! Kale chips are a food blogosphere sensation – everyone has done them.I mean everyone: Other versions are here, here, here, and here.…and here, here and here.  I’ll stop now, you get the point. Normally, I don’t know what to do with all the kale in my CSA; now I was impatient, waiting to get some.  It arrived, and finally I could try the recipe.It just didn’t seem right, after calling it the CSA box dilemma, to go buy some kale from the grocery store. I found out why they are such a sensation – they’re fiendishly addictive. They come out crispy and salty; the roasting gives them a sweet taste at first, and a little bitter bite at the end. They’re so crisp that my first thought was “how am I going …

Cooking Demo: Meet me at the Market, June 24th 2010

Cooking Demo at the Market: June 5 2010 I’m doing a grilling demonstration at the Stan Hywett farmers market next Thursday, June 24th, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello! I am a huge fan of the Countryside Conservancy farmers markets, and I had a great time doing the demo a few weeks ago at the Saturday morning market in the Cuyahoga Valley, and I am looking forward to checking out the market at Stan Hywett – I’ve never been to it before. My theme is “Grilling the Farmers Market”.  I have to check out the vendors at the market, to see what I’ll be able to cook, but I know I’ll be doing grilled garlic toast, and a few other vegetables.  Part of the fun of cooking from a farmers market is finding out what’s available that week. Information about the Stan Hywett farmers market: CVCountryside.org View Larger Map I hope to see you there!

Review of Planet Barbecue by Steven Raichlen (with Giveaway!)

Review (and giveaway!) of Planet Barbecue by Steven Raichlen *See the bottom of the review for the giveaway information Planet Barbecue is an all-new, globe spanning cookbook from Steven Raichlen. It follows the format of his other “big” books, Barbecue Bible, How to Grill, and BBQ USA. It is a monster of a book. Stephen leaves no stone unturned in his worldwide search for recipes. *He has said that he is going to step away from grilling books for a while; he thinks he has covered the topic in depth, and wants to try something new. I thought the same thing…two books ago. Stephen keeps finding new places to explore, and sniffing out new grilling recipes. So, here’s my personal plea. Stephen! Don’t go! We still need you! This book is stuffed with inspiration for a griller looking for something new to try. I’ve got two dozen recipes tabbed for future use…and that’s only because I ran out of tabs. I’ve already tried out some of these recipes; I was inspired by his section on …

Cooking Demo: Meet me at the Market, June 5th 2010

Cooking Demo at the Market: June 5 2010 I’m doing a grilling demonstration at the Howe Meadow farmers market in the Cuyahoga Valley next Saturday, June 5th, from 9:00 AM to Noon. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello! I’m a big fan of the farmers market in the Cuyahoga Valley – I’ve been dragging my family there on Saturday mornings since Ben (my 9 year old) was small enough to fit in a Baby Bjorn. I asked if they had any openings for cooking demos.  Beth Knorr, who runs the market said “sure – when are you available?” *I’m excited, and nervous, and it’s still a week away.  My theme is “Grilling the Farmers Market”.  I will be cooking rotisserie chicken (from Brunty Farms), butterflied leg of lamb (from Great American Lamb), asparagus (hopefully, if it’s still available next week), grilled garlic toast, and a few other vegetables (I won’t know what is available until I get there…part of the fun of a farmer’s market!) If you can’t make it Saturday, …

Review: BBQ 25 by Adam Perry Lang

Review (and giveaway!) of BBQ 25 by Adam Perry Lang*See the bottom of the review for the giveaway information BBQ 25 is Adam Perry Lang’s (hereafter, APL) take on essential grilling recipes. He set out to perfect the 25 recipes people cook the most when they grill. The book is a fascinating look at the techniques a professional chef uses to build layers of flavor into his barbecue. I was expecting BBQ 25 to be a simplified version of Serious Barbecue, APL’s previous book, and a magnum opus on grilling. BBQ 25, with its 25 essential recipes theme, sounded like a book you give to a beginner. Oh boy, was I wrong about that. It is Serious Barbecue distilled to its essence, but not simplified. APL has a set of basic techniques he uses: marinate or brine, then season, then grill (while basting with butter and a herb brush), then glaze with sauce, then cut on a cutting board seasoned with board dressing.*When I grill, I have a two step process; marinate or brine or pre-salt, …

Farmers Market: Saturday in the Cuyahoga Valley

Spring is officially here! The weekly Countryside Farmers Market in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park starts this weekend. It runs every Saturday from 9AM to Noon, from May 15th through the end of October. *If you don’t live in Northeastern Ohio, make sure to find your own local farmers market. I have some exciting news: I’ll be doing cooking demos at the market this summer! I’ll be at the Howe Road market on June 5th, and at the Stan Hywett market on June 24th. I hope to see you there! I won’t be able to make it to this weekend’s market; my son has a conflicting soccer game. And, since I’m the coach…I have to be there. I’m sure I’ll see you all at the market at some point this summer! Here’s the address: Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow 4040 Riverview Road Peninsula, OH More information is available at their website: Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy View Larger Map Related posts: My list of Ethnic and Gourmet stores near Akron, Ohio.

Steam Sauteed Pearl Onions and Mushrooms

It’s winter, and it feels like I haven’t seen the sun for weeks. It’s time for rich, hearty stews. Before I get to Beef Burgundy, I have to show you this recipe for sauteed Pearl Onions and Mushrooms. Julia Child’s classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” convinced me that pearl onions and mushrooms shouldn’t be cooked as part of the stew. She makes the onions and mushrooms separately from her beef burgundy, and adds them in at the very end of cooking. As a result, the onions and mushrooms have their own distinctive tastes to add to the stew, adding another layer of complexity on top of the beef an the wine sauce. If you add them at the beginning, they give their flavors up to the sauce, and you lose the complexity that elevates beef burgundy above an average stew. *I like a lot of onions in my beef burgundy, probably more than most people would eat. I serve them separately so I can load myself up, while still making a beef burgundy …

Winter Farmer’s Market in the Cuyahoga Valley

Would you like to give your cooking a mid-winter shot of inspiration?  Find your local winter farmer’s market. My CSA from Crown Point doesn’t run during the winter.  I needed a fix of locally grown produce and locally raised meat.  The Cuyahoga Valley Conservancy, the organization behind the Howe Road farmer’s market in the summer, moves the market indoors for the winter. It is in the Happy Days Lodge in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and it runs one Saturday a month from November through April. I was impressed with the variety of food available for a market in the middle of winter.  Obviously, since this is Northeastern Ohio, we don’t have a wide range of produce, but the storage vegetables were out in abundance.  I couldn’t believe all the different, locally grown meats that were available.  Beef, pork, lamb, buffalo, chicken, duck…and those were just the ones I saw; someone might have been hiding in a corner that I didn’t get to. They even have a “bank machine” at the front desk of the lodge …