Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stephen C. O'Connell's Favorite Dish: clipping from my mother's files

I found the following recipe in my mother's files. It is attributed to Rita O'Connell, the then University of Florida President's first wife who pre-deceased him. President O'Connell later re-married and lived a very happy life in Tallahassee where he had served on the Florida Supreme Court. I am not sure where the yellowed clipping came from, but the type face indicates to me that the Gainesville Sun was the likely source.

My mother and Rita were very good friends and spent a lot of time in our living room discussing the intricacies of academic entertaining which Mrs. O'Connell had to master in short order when Steve became president of the university.

I have known a number of First Ladies of universities and Rita was my favorite. She was always very warm and gracious (as was Steve) and patient with my budding beard, long hair, and (of course) Roman sandals.

First Ladies of universities in those days were an extremely important part of the political life of a university and supervised innumerable social events at the President's House on campus. They were unpaid for their hard work, under-recognized, but integral to the workings of their spouse's administration.

To underscore that, when looking to post this recipe, I could find a picture of President O'Connell on-line, but did not find one of Mrs. O'Connell. These women deserve a vote of thanks by all members of the Gator Nation. Greater recognition of their contributions to campus life need to be given to these women.

The world is a better place for having Steve and Rita O'Connell be among us. I smile whenever I think of them.



Veal cutlets, 1 per serving
Fresh mushrooms
Spring onions
Frozen artichoke hearts
Salt and pepper
Sauterne cooking wine

Cut the veal into bite-sized pieces. Shake on salt, pepper, paprika, and flour. Brown the meat in a frying pan, using corn oil. Cook until tender.

Place in a casserole with chopped stems of fresh mushrooms and chopped spring onions, saving the chopped onion stems for the top. Add one-half cup water and one-half cup of sauterne wine, just enough to cover.

Cook the dish uncovered for about 45 minutes in a 350-375 degree oven.

Cut the thawed artichoke hearts and mushroom caps into quarters.

Add both to the top of the casserole along with the chopped onion stems. Spoon gravy over the top frequently for another 15-30 minutes. Serve warm.

Monday, October 25, 2010

from the Fresh from Florida blogger's e-mail per Rosemary

Florida Herbs: Rosemary
Laura | October 25, 2010 at 9:00 am | Tags: herbs, Nutrition, rosemary | Categories: Healthy Living | URL:

With the holiday seasons quickly approaching, special meals make them memorable. Sometimes the most memorable things we take with us are the smells from these beloved mealtimes as our favorite dishes are enjoyed. The smells we equate with these delectable dishes are usually due to the herbs corresponding with seasonal smorgasbords. To help your season and mine be more memorable than ever, I looked into some helpful herbs that will make any dinner table better.

Rosemary is a beautiful herb with bright evergreen foliage. The aroma is warm and peppery with a sense of pine. The taste is has a woody, balsamic aftertaste. Rosemary is commonly used with veal, chicken, pork and lamb, and it can be added to butter, salt or pepper. Veggies in need of a little butter can be spruced up with a little rosemary as well. Salads and olive oil also go well with the addition of rosemary. Many recipes recommend adding rosemary to soups and eggs. You can find rosemary chopped, whole and ground. Unlike some herbs, rosemary can be overused in cooking, because it does not diminish with cooking. Rosemary can also be used for potpourri, and linens can be dried in the sun spread over rosemary.

Some health applications we can enjoy from rosemary are: vitamins A, E, B6, and C, a-beta carotene, niacin, folate, magnesium, manganese, calcium, selenium, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, phosphorus and potassium. Rosemary improves circulation, stimulates your immune system, improves digestion, increases blood flow and can reduce asthma attacks. Pregnant women should be careful of this herb.

This is definitely an herb to add to your meals. I enjoy roasting veggies in the oven with this herb and find that it not only tastes remarkable but the aroma is enjoyable as well. Remember a little goes a long way with rosemary, so all you need is a little with any dish.

Friday, October 01, 2010


I grew up in Gainesville FL, but lived in Tuscaloosa from 6th grade through my sophomore year in high school. I consider both towns to be home.

Tuscaloosa is a lovely place where Southern hospitality still thrives. Here are some dining recommendations for those traveling north for Saturday's game between the Gators and the Tide.


15th Street Diner: reasonably priced Southern cooking. The best of down-home veggies etc. Great meat loaf.

The Waysider: Fabulous breakfast spot. Always very busy. Coach Bryant ate here a

The City Cafe (Northport): Like the Waysider, an iconic breakfast. Another Bryant haunt.

Nick's in the Sticks: Super beef filet...funky atmosphere...very tasty food and never chic

The Cotton Patch: on the road to Birmingham and is a Southern cooking landmark. I prefer 15th St. Diner myself.

Archibald's: A's is the best barbecue in T-town, bar none. They serve take out only from a block building in Northport. Not the easiest place to find. Follow the smoke.

Dreamland Barbecue: The original location is loved by many. Just ribs, white bread and sides. Very good, but should be over run by Tide and Gator fans alike.

The Cypress Inn: pricey but said to be good. They are located on the banks of the Black Warrior River and the ambience/view is great.

If you love American art: The Jack Warner Art collection is a must-see. It is located in the old offices of the Gulf States paper mill located near Lake Tuscaloosa.


Lots of chains, but good food is still available. For lunch: the Montgomery State Farmers' Market has an excellent country cooking buffet. For supper: Martin's fried chicken is revered all over the South. The Hank Williams museum is located in Montgomery for those who need to pay their respects while passing through town.

Between Montgomery and Tuscaloosa I recommend Jim's barbecue. The Twix and Tween in Centerville is not what it used to be, but they sell their sauce and I always buy a supply when passing by.

LAST TIPS: While Tide fans are the most fervent of sports fans, they are also very hospitable. Conduct yourself well and you will be rewarded with many kindnesses. Lots of yes ma'ms and yes sirs will serve you well. And, the evening meal is "supper." Lunch is "dinner."