March 8, 2020

Mint Julep by Jeff

Posted in Drinks tagged at 7:03 pm by Sheila OConnell

In need of a mint julep but lacking fresh mint, Jeff created this concoction to mimic the classic.  It works very well.

1 1/2 tsp simple syrup
4 strong dashes mint bitters
3 1/2 oz bourbon (“1792” works well)
1 tsp Bada Bing cherry juice
1 Bada Bing cherry

Add simple syrup and mint bitters to old-fashioned glass and stir vigorously. Add bourbon and cherry juice and stir to mix. Add a goodly amount of ice and stir until chilled. Add the cherry and start sipping.


June 6, 2019

Columbia 1905 Salad

Posted in Salads at 5:22 pm by Sheila OConnell

Based on a salad I had at the Columbia restaurant in Ybor City, Tampa.


Iceberg lettuce, chopped
Tomatoes, bite-size
Onion, cut into bite size slices or pieces
Green olives
Garlic, one clove, sliced
Olive oil, 3 tbsp
Lemon wedge
White wine vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese
Optional: ham and swiss cheese in small julienned slices

Slice garlic into 3 tbsp olive oil in a bowl. Let sit about 30 minutes or so.
Combine lettuce, tomato, onion and green olives in a salad bowl (Plus ham and swiss cheese if using.)
Pour about 2 tbsp olive oil over salad, holding back garlic slices. Toss with salad.
Shake some Worcestershire sauce over and toss.
Squeeze lemon over and toss.
Add salt and pepper and toss.
Taste the salad and adjust dressing ingredients as desired.
Grate parmesan cheese over and serve.

I don’t give amounts of anything because you can make it all to taste. For about 3 tbsp olive oil I would use about 2 tsp lemon juice. If you like it more vinegary you can mix a little white wine vinegar with the lemon juice.



November 25, 2018

Campari and Orange Cocktail

Posted in Drinks tagged at 6:46 pm by Sheila OConnell

For those who think they don’t like Campari: the orange juice and Cointreau in this cocktail balance the bitterness of the Campari quite nicely.  And the drink is a lovely peach sort of color.  A festive option for a small party!

2 – 4 oz orange juice
1 oz Campari
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz vodka
1 slice orange

Put orange juice, Campari, Cointreau and vokda in an old-fashioned glass and stir to mix.  Add ice and stir again. Push an orange slice down into the glass and serve.  If you want to taste the Campari more, increase it a little to about 1.25 oz, and you could decrease the vodka and Cointreau each to about .75 oz. I’ve discovered that I like to add a splash of club soda; gives it a nice hint of mineral.

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)
1/2 tsp sugar
Dash of Angostura bitters
Dash of Orange bitters if you have it
1 slice orange
1 maraschino cherry (I always use Bada Bing brand cherries)
1/2 tsp cherry juice
one large ice cube

Put 1/2 tsp sugar in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass (or other short fat glass). Add Angostura and orange 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.


Next page