‘Cooking’ Posts

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found: fresh pasta

Friday, 2 January 2015



cooking: dry run for thanksgiving

Saturday, 25 October 2014

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posts that need stories

Cooking: Special Limeade

Friday, 25 July 2014



  • 1 part limeade
  • 1 part bubble water or club soda


  1. Mix ingredients, add ice, and serve.

cooking: juiciest hamburgers ever

Sunday, 22 June 2014


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt


  1. Shape the ground beef into three patties. Place the patties in a shallow dish.
  2. Combine the beer, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion salt, and pepper. Pour the marinade over the burgers. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Flip the burgers over and marinate for an additional 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  4. Place the patties on the hot grill and cook for 2 minutes before flipping them over. Cook the burgers to the desired degree of doneness, about 5 minutes per side for well done. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

(hat tip: allrecipies.com)

cooking: scrambled eggs

Thursday, 22 May 2014


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream


  1. Slice bacon in small pieces. Cook bacon over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, or until desired texture.
  2. Whisk eggs in small bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Pour eggs into pan and scramble over low heat.
  3. When eggs have set, stir in green onions and sour cream.
  4. Serve immediately.

(hat tip: anthony bourdain, anutritionisteats.com.)

cooking: irish soda bread

Saturday, 5 April 2014


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.

(hat tip: allrecipies.com.)

drink: battle of the bloody marys

Sunday, 26 January 2014


Over the last year, we’ve bounced back and forth between two bloody mary recipes.  The first is something that I cobbled together online, probably from some over-spiced Emril recipe (bam!)  The second is a recipe we just picked up from McGinty’s Pub in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Bastard Child of Emril Bloody Mary (serves four)

  • 2 tbsp. Horseradish
  • 2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Worchester Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. White Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Garlic, Diced
  • 1 bottle of the Bloody Mary mix of your choice.

McGinty’s Pub (single serving)

  • 1 tbsp. A-1 Sauce
  • 3 dashes of Tabasco Sauce
  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 3 0z. Guinness (yes, the beer)
  • 3-5 oz. of Bloody Mary mix, to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper

cooking: christmas tamales

Wednesday, 25 December 2013


for the first time in 38 years, there was something served in my house for christmas other than turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, green beans, boiled onions, and cranberry sauce.

this year we went latin american, with hatch green chile tamales, two types of black beans, queso fresco, and white rice. beans and rice were pretty basic, but making the tamales was a bit of a challenge…



Tuesday, 6 August 2013

after months of testing with a meticulous eye and a finely-tuned palatte, we’ve finally hit on the perfect mojito recipe.


  • 4 fresh mint sprigs
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
  • 3 ounces white rum
  • 2 ounces club soda, chilled


  1. Muddle the mint sprigs, the lime juice, and the simple syrup in glass measuring cup and press gently against the mint with the back of a spoon to release the oils. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Fill a 8 ounce glass with ice, and add an ounce of the refrigerated mixture and the 3 ounces of rum. Top with club soda and garnish with the remaining mint sprig.

parker’s famous margaritas

Sunday, 4 August 2013

in honor of ParkelleitheeFest 2013, we’ve got three drink recipes to get us through the next five days. the first is for pitcher of (appropriately named) parker’s famous margaritas:


  • 5 fluid ounces tequila
  • 3 fluid ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1 fluid ounce limeade
  • 3 fluid ounces triple sec
  • coarse sea salt (to taste)


  1. Measure the tequila, lime juice, limeade and triple sec into a cocktail shaker and add a generous scoop of ice. Cover and shake until the shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds.
  2. Fill each glass with ice. Strain equal amounts of the cocktail into the glasses to serve. Add sea salt to taste.

There is a talimo variation on the recipe, they call the “parker plus” — which includes adding a 2 ounces of Grand Marnier.

See Recipe on allrecipes.com:
parker’s famous margaritas

whisky smash

Saturday, 27 April 2013

currently far and away my wife’s favorite drink — first drank at founding farmers, here in washington, dc:


  • 3 oz. whisky
  • 1.5 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/4 lemon (or tablespoon of lemon juice)
  • 2-3 dashes of bitters
  • 5 mint leaves


Using a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, mash mint leaves, lemon half, and Simple Syrup in a 16-oz. mixing glass or a cocktail shaker 4–5 times just to release juices and oils. Add bourbon. Transfer to an Old Fashioned glass. Fill halfway with crushed ice, stir, then mound more crushed ice on top. Garnish with mint sprigs.

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cooking: popovers

Wednesday, 27 March 2013



  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 teaspoon for the pan
  • 4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 6-cup popover pan with the 1 teaspoon of butter.
  3. Combine the 1 tablespoon of butter, the flour, salt, eggs and milk in a food processor or blender and process for 30 seconds.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the cups of the popover pan, filling each one-third to one-half full.
  5. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes, taking care not to open the oven door.
  6. Remove the popovers to a cooling rack and pierce each one in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape. Serve warm.

From recipe by Alton Brown:


Sunday, 17 June 2012


making alton brown’s thin chocolate chip cookie recipe with sparklet.
See Slideshow of the Photos on Flickr:


2y 8m 5d

cooking: garlic pumpkin seeds

Sunday, 23 October 2011


the photo is from last year, but the recipe has become an annual tradition. in fact, the lady sparkler just said that she wanted to go out and buy another round of pumpkins just for the seeds.

Ingredients (per cup of pumpkin seeds)

  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Thoroughly wash the pumkin seeds.
  3. Cover seeds with oil, mix well.
  4. Spread oiled seeds in a single layer onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Sprinkle desired amount of salt and garlic on seeds.
  6. Place cookie sheet in preheated oven until dry and browned, usually 45 to 55 minutes. Stir and shake in 10 minute intervals to prevent clumping and burning.

cooking: guacamole

Friday, 22 July 2011


  • 2 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 clove garlic, minced

Finishing Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Put first group of ingredients in bowl. Mash.
  2. Top with finishing ingredients. Serve.

ring of fire chicken

Thursday, 23 June 2011

beside my on-going crush on nigella lawson, the best chef on tv is alton brown.

not only is he able explain nearly everything in the world of cooking in a way that makes sense (though the grape juice commercials are a bit of a stretch) i can watch him grill a whole chicken for 30 minutes, even though i honestly can’t imagine anything less edible than the notion of breaking up a chicken, picking it up by its ankle, and then gnawing on its thighbone.

that said, his recipe for ring of fire chicken is next to godliness in my book — even though i will happily use an (utterly verboten in alton brown’s world) pre-deboned breast of chicken.


cooking: taco seasoning

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

ran out of taco seasoning, and the lady sparkler is chanting “more tacos!”*

alton brown, with a few revisions, saves the day once more. (* = denotes event may not have actually happened.)


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (1 chili, 1 chipotle)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic


  1. add to 1 lb or meat. brown and serve.

frito pie

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

God only know why this is called a pie, but you can’t argue with it being good.

The traditional way to consume frito pie, according to our resident Texan, is to slit open a bag of fritos and pour in a cup or two of chili. To eat it any other way (eg. on a plate) is, according to the Dallas Morning News, “allowable but frankly lacks street cred.”

i’m fairly certain this chili recipe was based on something i got somewhere, but what you see here has been through (quite literally) a dozen different variations in search of perfection — so even if my memory was good enough to recall its origin, a citation would be wholly unwarranted.

you can tweak pretty much anything you like about the toppings (sour cream, onions, cheese) but don’t you dare add beans to the chili. seriously. my wife will hunt you down.

full recipe after the jump.



Thursday, 3 February 2011


we had a bolognese at the talimo’s a couple weeks back. it was excellent enough to try and reproduce exactly, but i have taken a bizarre (yet principled) stand against ground turkey in italian cooking, so i cobbled my own together — creating a kind og bastard child of Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali.

(i’m not going to be able to get that vision out of my head, like, ever.)

mine ended up a little dry, so keep the wine on hand — next time i’m probably going to add another 1/2 cup of white and red to the recipe so it doesn’t go bone dry after 2 hours of simmering.


macaroni and cheese (for adults)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

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thanksgiving dinner is a really big deal for the lady sparkler’s family.

everybody contributes a dish (or two) and each of the recipes are suitable for the pages of bon appetite or gourmet — wild rice with dried cranberries and chick peas, mexican Chayote with garlic, green beans with lemon zest and hand roasted pine nuts, a spiced pumpkin souffle.

for the first time since “i” became “we,” i joined the thanksgiving culinary arms race this year — with macaroni and cheese.

granted, it’s an adult version of mac and cheese — it uses gruyer and fontina instead of just cheddar, and uses both a tablespoon of mustard and a bit of red pepper to add a little kick.

i’m pleased to say that i held my own.

(i’ve tweaked the recipe each of the last four times i’ve made it, but it was originally based on alton brown’s baked macaroni and cheese.)

full recipe after the jump.


jalapeno-cheddar scones

Sunday, 31 October 2010


we’ve always been a biscuit family, but we just cribbed a jalapeno-cheddar scones recipe from the talimo’s and i’m not sure we’ll ever go back. full recipe after the jump.


chorizo and spinach tacos

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

this is based loosely on a breakfast taco that i love to get in texas. only, i’m not such a big fan of the egg — to i left that part out and made them dinner tacos instead. they’re super simple to make, but the result depends almost entirely on the quality of the ingredients.

more after the jump …


real “oreo” cookies

Monday, 16 August 2010

a good friend of mine from my early days at the Conservancy used to take people around on their first day with a plate of brownies, which (i have to admit) puts people in a pretty great state of mind to meet a new colleague.

i decided this weekend to resurrect the tradition — after tripping on a real “oreo” cookie recipe on foodnetwork.com.

great cookies. the only thing i’d change is that the two outer cookies (at 1/4 inch each) were waaaay too thick. when i make these again, i’m rolling out the dough to less than half that, so people can actually bite through without squirting out all the cream-filling.

oh, and turns out our new employee has an problem with gluten, so it was really more of a present for everyone else.

three-cheese mushroom and spinach calzone

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

made a three-cheese mushroom and spinach calzone from epicurious, and the recipe was just spot-on good. one small change — it says to use parmesan, fontina and ricotta cheeses, but i used romano, fontina and mozzarella instead (as i hate ricotta, and had just run out of parmesan).

the other thing to point out is the note in the recipe that you can usually stop by your local pizzeria and they will sell you fresh dough — it’s true, it works, and it makes the recipe overflow with awesomeness.