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.



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.



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.



September 11, 2016

Roasted potatoes

Posted in Vegetables at 7:50 pm by Sheila OConnell

A classic recipe for those of us who love potatoes.

3 lb red potatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)

Wash the potatoes and peel partially (I like to leave some of the peel on, so I peel off just the eyes and any blemishes.)
Cut potatoes into chunks of about 1.5 inches diameter
Put potatoes onto large baking sheet in one layer.  It’s best if the chunks are not touching each other.
Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add garlic if using.
Stir all on the baking sheet and arrange back into layer.

Cook at 400 for about 45 minutes, using spatula to turn over every 15 minutes.  If they are cooking too fast, reduce heat to 375.




May 21, 2016

Yet Another Spinach Salad!

Posted in Salads, Vegetables at 6:22 pm by Sheila OConnell

I got this recipe from the Whole Foods app.  It is easy to prepare and delicious!  The recipe below serves 2 with dressing left over.

1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tbsp fruit vinegar (I used 1 tbsp fig balsamic and 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, which is what I had on hand)
1/2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 oz baby spinach (I remove the stems and tear into bite-size pieces, but you don’t have to do that)
1/2 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Dressing:  In a small bowl, whisk together the chopped shallot, brown sugar and vinegar.  Whisk in the olive oil.
Salad:  Put spinach, strawberries, almonds and goat cheese in a salad bowl.  Add about half of the dressing and toss well.  Serve immediately.

Reserve the remaining dressing for another day.

November 19, 2015

Black bean soup

Posted in Soups, Vegetables at 11:22 am by Sheila OConnell

The title is misleading because there are so many other things in this soup besides black beans. I created this by merging two different recipes. You could leave out just about any of the ingredients – except the black beans!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium size onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large or two small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups broth; can use chicken broth or vegetable broth (I like to use 2 cups of each kind)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp brandy or sherry, or 1/4 cup wine
salt and pepper (I use about 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
half of a fresh lime
sour cream (optional)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

In a large pot, saute diced onion in olive oil for about 3 minutes, then add minced garlic for about 30 seconds. Add diced sweet potato and toss in the oil. Add broth, bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until sweet potatoes are almost soft. Add beans, tomatoes, alcohol, salt, pepper and cumin and simmer until sweet potatoes are completely soft, about another 8 minutes. Puree the soup (CAREFULLY – IT’S HOT) in a couple of batches in a blender. I use a large bowl to put the first batch in while I puree the second batch, then dump all back into the pot. You don’t have to puree it completely, just to however smooth you might like it.  Turn heat on low and add the corn and red pepper flakes. Simmer 1 – 2 minutes or so until and all is heated. Squeeze in the juice from half a lime and stir.

Serve in bowls and let people add their own chopped fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

December 29, 2014

Cranberry Spinach Salad

Posted in Salads, Vegetables at 3:58 pm by Sheila OConnell

We had this at a Hanukkah party, loved it, and made it a few days later for Christmas.  It looks festive and is very tasty!

1 tbsp butter
3/4 cup almonds, slivered
1 lb spinach, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp minced onion
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use Wesson canola oil for this)

In a dry saucepan, toast sesame seeds over medium heat 3 – 5 minutes or until browned.  Remove from pan and put on foil to cool.
Melt butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and put on another sheet of foil to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil.
Toss spinach with dressing, using enough dressing to coat it liberally but not drown it.
Add the cranberries and almonds to the spinach and toss lightly.


June 26, 2014

Cabbage Apple Slaw with Honey Dressing

Posted in Salads, Vegetables at 7:06 am by Sheila OConnell

This is somewhat similar to the recipe from Grandma, but cilantro, green onions, and honey-based dressing give it a very different twist.  I used cabbage and cilantro from my garden!

2 cups shredded cabbage
1 apple, chopped or cut into matchstick pieces
1 carrot, grated coarsely
2 green onions, sliced thin to use all of the white and a little of the green
cilantro, about 1 tbsp fresh, chopped

For dressing:
2 tbsp oil (I use Wesson for this)
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper
dash of cayenne pepper

Mix dressing ingredients together in a jar and shake well.
Mix vegetable together in a bowl.
Pour some dressing over and mix until coated.  Use enough dressing to give a zingy taste, but not enough to drown it.


February 23, 2014

Sauteed Swiss Chard

Posted in Vegetables at 6:56 pm by Sheila OConnell

This is so good you won’t believe it.  Dad was skeptical but he loved it.

1 bunch swiss chard
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Wash chard leaves.
Trim chard stems about 2 inches from where the leaves begin.
Separate stems from leaves.
Chop leaves and stems but keep separate.
Saute onion and garlic for about 30 seconds in olive oil and butter.
Add chopped chard stems and white wine to pan and simmer about 5 minutes.
Add chopped chard leaves to pan and simmer about 3 minutes or until soft.
Transfer with a slotted spoon to serving bowl.
Sprinkle some salt over and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

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