October 27, 2017

The Old-Fashioned

Posted in Drinks at 4:45 pm by Sheila OConnell

Adapted from a recipe of Kingsley Amis (favorite author, legendary drinker)

2 or 3 oz bourbon (Buffalo Trace is good for this)
1 tsp sugar
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 slice orange
1 maraschino cherry
1/2 tsp maraschino cherry juice
one large ice cube

Put 1 tsp sugar in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass (or other short fat glass). Saturate with 2 dashes Angostura bitters. Add a little hot water, maybe about 1 tsp, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the bourbon and cherry juice and stir furiously. Add the ice cube and stir about 30 seconds until well-chilled. Push the orange slice down into the glass and add the maraschino cherry.

Kingsley says, “You may supply drinking straws if it is that kind of party.”  (His original recipe also calls for 4 oz bourbon, yikes!)


October 9, 2017

Summer Farro Salad

Posted in Salads, Vegetables at 12:09 pm by Sheila OConnell

This is kind of like a pasta salad. The farro gives it a nice texture.

Olive oil for cooking
Small onion, finely chopped
2 cups farro, uncooked
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 large English cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 cup finely chopped basil (optional)
Salt and pepper

Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the farro and cook, stirring to coat each grain, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until farro is soft but still chewy in the center, about 15 minutes. (If there is more than a tablespoon or two of leftover stock, strain it out.)

Cool the farro to room temperature. Add the red wine vinegar and olive oil, and stir to combine. Fold in tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust vinegar and oil amounts to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


August 18, 2017

Persian Yogurt Cucumber Soup

Posted in Soups at 8:09 am by Sheila OConnell


  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried rose petals, crushed (optional)
  • 2 cups 2 percent plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and finely diced (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Ground sumac, for garnish (optional)


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the rose petals with cold water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain the petals and squeeze dry.

Step 3

In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the ice water. Stir in the raisins, cucumber, mint, dill, chives, walnuts and rose petals and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until very cold, about 1 hour. Serve the soup in shallow bowls, sprinkled with sumac.




June 7, 2017

Stir-fried Baby Bok Choy with Garlic

Posted in Vegetables at 6:12 am by Sheila OConnell

I tried to duplicate a dish that we enjoyed at Jacky’s Waterplace in Providence.  This is fairly close.


1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic (about 8 cloves)
2 pounds baby or Shanghai bok choy, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
A wok or a large non-stick skillet with a lid

Stir together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until cornstarch has dissolved.

Heat wok or large non-stick skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly. Pour peanut oil down side of wok, then swirl oil, tilting wok to coat side. Add garlic and stir-fry until pale golden, 5 to 10 seconds.

Add half of bok choy and stir-fry until leaves wilt, about 2 minutes, then add remaining bok choy and stir-fry until all leaves are bright green and limp, 2 to 3 minutes total.

Stir broth mixture, then pour into wok and stir-fry 15 seconds. Cover with lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in sesame oil, then transfer to a serving dish.



Pork Tenderloin

Posted in Pork and Veal at 6:04 am by Sheila OConnell

Basic but good, and quick to make.

Boneless pork tenderloin, flavored or not
1/2 – 1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 450.  Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof non-stick skillet.  Sear the pork on all sides until it is nicely browned, about ten minutes.

Wipe some of the excess oil from the skillet with a paper towel, carefully – it’s hot!  Insert a meat thermometer into the pork and place skillet with pork in the oven.

Roast until meat thermometer reaches 150, maybe 15 minutes, depends on the thickness of the pork.  Remove from oven and let rest about 5 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Optional:  After you remove the skillet from the oven, you can put the pork on a plate to rest and then add some butter to the skillet and sauté mushrooms to go over the pork slices.

Important note:  The most important thing about this recipe is to remember not to touch the skillet with your bare hands after it comes out of the oven!  Speaking from experience.



March 14, 2017

Asian-Style Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Posted in Pork and Veal at 6:14 pm by Sheila OConnell

Make an version of Chinese steamed pork buns at home!

4 lbs boneless pork butt roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp sriracha sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp dark sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 cloves garlic, put through a press
1 1/2 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
kimchi, spicy  (or you could substitute another pickled vegetable medley)
A sweet bun such as a Portuguese sweet roll (unless you can find authentic Chinese steam buns, maybe at an Asian grocery)
red onion, sliced thin

Mix all sauce ingredients, i.e., everything except the pork, kimchi, bun and onion, in a bowl until honey is incorporated. Put pork in slow cooker, then add sauce and stir well to completely coat all pieces. Cook on high for one hour, then cook on low for another 8 hours. (I was running out of time so I did an additional 7 hours, with the first 6 hours on low and the last hour on high.) Remove pork with a slotted spoon to a cutting board. Shred the pork by pulling the pieces apart with two forks. Pour sauce into a bowl. Put the pork back into the slow cooker and add back enough sauce to make it nicely moist.  Reserve the rest of the sauce.

Split the buns. Put some pork on a bun, add a little sauce if you like, then kimchi, then sliced onion.

March 13, 2017

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Posted in Vegetables at 10:53 am by Sheila OConnell

The title says it all.

1 large sweet potato
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
parchment paper

Peel the sweet potato and cut it into sticks that are about 3 inches long and 1/4 – 1/2 inch wide. Toss the sweet potato sticks in a bowl with the olive oil. Mix the spices together in a small bowl, then add to the sweet potato and toss. Heat a large tray in the oven at 400 until it is hot, then remove it and put a sheet of parchment paper on it. Distribute the sweet potato sticks evenly on the parchment paper so they are not touching each other. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, then flip the sticks over, then bake about another 10 minutes until they are getting brown on the edges and crispy.

The parchment paper is optional, but it helps make the sweet potatoes crispier.
The thinner the sticks, the crispier they will be. Also thinner cooks faster, so be careful not to burn them.
You can vary the amount of spice; I mixed up the spices in the amounts above but didn’t use all of the spice mixture, because it seemed like too much for one potato.


February 17, 2017

Pumpkin curry soup

Posted in Soups, Vegetables at 3:37 pm by Sheila OConnell

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 cups pumpkin puree (canned, or I guess you could use fresh if you really have nothing else to do with your time that day)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (sometimes I use 2 cups of each)
1 14-oz can coconut milk, stirred or whisked in a bowl until mostly smooth
Optional: a cup or two of cooked chopped chicken, if you have it around and want some extra protein

Garnishing options:
toasted pumpkin seeds
cilantro leaves
fresh lime juice
sour cream

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in curry, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and season with salt and pepper.

Stir in pumpkin puree and brown sugar.  Whisk in stock and bring to boil.  (If you are adding cooked chicken you can do it now.)  Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Add coconut milk and cook over low heat until warmed through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve in bowls and garnish with any or all of the above garnishing options.



January 3, 2017

Semester Abroad Cocktail

Posted in Drinks at 8:29 pm by Sheila OConnell

A pretty cocktail, variation on the Cape Codder.

1.5 ounces vodka
1.5 ounces cranberry juice
0.5 ounce sweet vermouth
2 or 3 dashes Angostura bitters
lime wedge

Add the vodka, cranberry juice, vermouth and bitters to an ice-filled Old-Fashioned glass.  Squeeze in the lime juice and add the lime wedge.  Stir gently and serve.


November 27, 2016

Roast Leg of Lamb

Posted in Beef, Uncategorized at 9:37 pm by Sheila OConnell

An easy recipe for butterflied (boneless) leg of lamb. The marinade is an odd collection of flavors but somehow they work well together. Add a little mint jelly as a condiment and you’ll be in heaven.

4-5 lb butterflied leg of lamb
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried rosemary
3 garlic cloves smashed & diced
1 small onion chopped fine
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Rosebud Farm Mint Jelly (from No Yorkshire via Whole Foods)

Prepare marinade by combining thyme, rosemary, garlic, onion, oil, vinegar, oj & mustard
Trim some of fat and membrane from lamb.
Salt and pepper.
Place lamb in baking dish or freezer bag with marinade. Coat lamb well
Cover or zip up and place in fridge for a few hours or overnight (turn lamb now & then)
Take out of fridge 30-45 minutes before cooking to take chill off
Preheat oven to 350, then cook for 50-70 minutes (140-150 degrees)
Take out and let stand 15-30 minutes.

Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes and vegetable of choice.
Don’t forget to serve the mint jelly – just a little dab will do ya.
Add a nice red wine and you’ll be so happy.

(Posted by dad)

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