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: BLAT Sandwich (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato)

Sundays with Sparky: BLAT Sandwich (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato)
If you’ve never put avocado on your BLT, I heartily recommend that you try.  You can even skip the mayo if you like (although Sparky prefers his with.) We also have a new way of cooking bacon: in water!  Adding a little water to the skillet helps the fat render out of the bacon, and... Read more »

The Wayback Machine: Cake. No Lie (Portal II Black Forest Cake)

The Wayback Machine: Cake. No Lie (Portal II Black Forest Cake)
Sparky and his Dad are avid gamers, if late adopters – they just worked their way through Portal. I’d first heard about this video game on one of my very favorite blogs, Epbot (from the creators of Cake Wrecks, another blog so well worth reading that it’s a book, too - and one of Sparky’s favorites!)... Read more »
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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 »

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 »
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The Wayback Machine: Sparky's Phenomenami Mac and Cheese

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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 »

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 »
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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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    QuipsTravails

    I believe any dish, even one that’s strange to you, communicates the care of the farmer, forager, market and cook who brought it to your plate. At my blog, Quips, Travails and Braised Oxtails I put on my explorer hat, roll up my sleeves (and sometimes the sleeves of innocent bystanders) and share my adventures in cooking, eating, and understanding our relationship to food. I also offer in-home cooking classes and parties for the culinarily challenged in the Chicago North Shore area.

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