Introduction

Introduction
Hello, ChicagoNow readers! Welcome to Quips, Travails and Braised Oxtails – I’m very glad to make your acquaintance! I’m a food enthusiast…and an easily bored household engineer, or whatever the most professional-sounding euphemism for housewife is these days. People tell me I have too much free time, so I fill that with culinary experiments I... Read more »

Sundays with Sparky: Flaming S'more Cake

Sundays with Sparky: Flaming S'more Cake
This cake was sparked by a Portuguese cooking video: somehow I fell down an internet rabbit hole and landed on Bolo de Bolacha Maria (Maria cookie cake.) It’s described as Portugese Tiramisu, but since it is made with digestive biscuits, the first thing that came to mind were s’mores. I immediately began thinking about how to... Read more »

The Wayback Machine: @Bronxzooscobra Cake

The Wayback Machine: @Bronxzooscobra Cake
From way, way back in 2011, we bring you our most famous post ever: I don’t know if you followed the escape of the Bronx Zoo Cobra and its subsequent capture…but Sparky and I followed the cobra’s alleged Twitter Stream closely. We all have our favorite cobra tweets – Sparky’s is @BronxZoosCobra “Indiana Jones, why... Read more »
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Sundays with Sparky: Israeli Salad with Pasta and Feta

Sundays with Sparky: Israeli Salad with Pasta and Feta
This is one of those posts where a picture is worth 1,000 words, so I’ll just give you the ingredients and you can follow Sparky as he puts them together. Tomatoes Cucumbers (we like the Persian seedless kind) Shallot Parsley Salt Olive Oil Wine Vinegar Cooked Orzo pasta (about 1/4 cup per person) Feta cheese... Read more »

The Wayback Machine: Sparky's Phenomenami Mac and Cheese

Thumbnail image for 'The Wayback Machine: Sparky's Phenomenami Mac and Cheese'
The video that started it all: Sparky’s own recipe for mac and cheese.  Hard to believe how long ago that was, and how tiny he was!

Sundays With Sparky: Lemongrass Tofu Bánh Mi (Caramelized Tofu Hoagies)

Sundays With Sparky: Lemongrass Tofu Bánh Mi (Caramelized Tofu Hoagies)
Yes, yes, I know. Tofu is for other people: people who grew up with it, or people who put health before flavor, right? WRONG! I have to admit, I never liked tofu, even was a bit afraid of it… until Sparky ordered it at a local restaurant. I learned a lot from that dish, mainly... Read more »
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The Wayback Machine: Campfire Apple Muffins in Oranges

A while back, we went on a short car-camping trip to Blue Mounds, WI (an excellent campground which I highly recommend, if you’re in the area)  I particularly enjoy the challenge of cooking over an open fire, which is easy enough to do when you’re grilling meats and vegetables, or toasting marshmallows, but a bit... Read more »

Sundays with Sparky: Salted Mizuna and Nukazuke-style Pickled Turnips

Sundays with Sparky: Salted Mizuna and Nukazuke-style Pickled Turnips
One of the best parts of summer is that I’ve got friends with an overabundance of produce – and this post is brought to you by a particularly generous friend who has a CSA. The haul included significantly more than just turnips, onions, and Mizuna, so I thought some kind of preservation might be in... Read more »

The Wayback Machine: Ice Cream Cones, or Love and Burnt Fingers

The Wayback Machine: Ice Cream Cones, or Love and Burnt Fingers
Yes, this is a story of love, and also a story of the sometimes unpleasantly surprising elements of a recipe. Eventually, this is a story of redemption. You see, at our Winter Farmer’s Market, Sparky had discovered Sweet Collective‘s Ruth and Phil’s ice cream – so, along with our popcorn and hardneck garlic, we came home... Read more »
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Sundays with Sparky: Baked Crab Rangoon

Sundays with Sparky: Baked Crab Rangoon
Crab Rangoon are one of those quirky American recipes that we file under “exotic.”  I’m sure that was the intent of the infamous Trader Vic’s, where the recipe seems to have originated. They claimed the appetizer was based on a Burmese recipe (hence the name Rangoon, really Yangon – a former capitol of Myanmar, whose... Read more »

The Wayback Machine: Slightly Faster Boston Baked Beans

The Wayback Machine: Slightly Faster Boston Baked Beans
As I’m sure I’ve said before, sometimes a recipe will pop up in the most unexpected possible place!  Sparky – who has an insatiable sweet tooth – had asked if I would teach him to make Baked Beans from scratch, and so I trolled the internet in search of acceptably healthy recipes.  I happened upon... Read more »