It’s been a tough year. But you still gotta eat. And drink. Take some comfort from the people who love you—your fellow Wahoos.

As the COVID-19 pandemic flared up, many of us returned to our kitchens, coddling sourdough starters, baking breads of all kinds, and resurrecting old family recipes or favorite cookbooks filled with the kinds of foods that settle our minds and satisfy our bellies. Here’s what some of your fellow UVA alumni have been cooking.

Roasted Broccoli, Red Onion and Double Cheddar Galette

Roasted Broccoli, Red Onion and Double Cheddar Galette Photo by Adam Ewing; Cooking, baking and styling by Debi Shawcross


Cheddar pastry crust ingredients:
2 tablespoons cold sour cream or buttermilk 
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed 
1½ ounces coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese

Filling ingredients:
2 small broccoli heads (about 12 ounces total), cut into slices lengthwise, stem and all
1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch segments
2 garlic cloves, cut into thin slices
1½ tablespoons extra-
virgin olive oil
1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
¼ cup sour cream
5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1¼ cups)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon heavy cream, milk or water


To make the pastry crust, mix the sour cream into ¼ cup of cold water and refrigerate until needed. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cubed butter, and toss to coat. With a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until it’s the size of peas. Add the grated cheese, and mix to combine with a rubber spatula.

Drizzle the sour cream mixture a few tablespoons at a time over the flour-butter mixture, using a spatula to incorporate. Continue to add more water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough is hydrated but not sticky—when you squeeze the dough, it shouldn’t fall apart. If needed, add more water, a little bit at a time, until you reach this consistency.

Press the dough together, and form into a disk about 4 inches across and 1½ inches thick. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using, or ideally overnight. The dough can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

When ready to assemble the galette, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle and carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, red onion, garlic, olive oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Spread out onto a large, rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green and beginning to char at the edges but isn’t completely cooked through. Let cool.

Once the filling has cooled completely, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Spread the sour cream evenly over the dough, leaving a 1½-inch border all around. Sprinkle ¼ cup (1 ounce) of the cheddar on top. Arrange the filling over the sour cream in an even layer, making sure the red onion segments are lying flat and not sticking up, or they’ll burn. Top with ¾ cup of cheese and a few cracks of black pepper. Fold the edges up and over the vegetables, pleating at points to make a circle. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes (or 15 minutes in the freezer) to firm up the dough.

While the galette is chilling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, if it’s not already on. In a small bowl, combine the egg and heavy cream. When ready to bake, brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle all over with the remaining ¼ cup cheese and more black pepper. Bake until the galette is golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm.



Picadillo Photo by Adam Ewing; Cooking, baking and styling by Debi Shawcross


Meat and vegetable ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil or your preferred vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef (or you may use half beef and half pork, or even all turkey)
1 medium to large onion (typically yellow or Spanish onion is used), chopped 
1 large green or red bell pepper, chopped
1 to 2 large garlic cloves, smashed with ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

Spice-blend ingredients:
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon hot-smoked paprika or cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika (or for more conventional Cuban, substitute 1 teaspoon ground cumin)
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Wet-blend ingredients:
¾ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup dry white wine or cooking wine or sherry
⅓ cup green olives (stuffed with pimentos) and 1 tablespoon of brine
2 tablespoons nonpareil capers and 1 teaspoon of brine
⅓ cup currants or raisins (optional)


For the spice blend, bring all spice ingredients to a fine grind in a mortar and pestle (or in a small food processor). This brings out the essence of each of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
For the wet blend, pulse ingredients in a food processor to combine. Do not puree. Set aside.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan or skillet. Add and brown ground meat; crumble finely with a large wooden spoon (or sturdy silicon spatula). Once meat is cooked and finely crumbled, reduce heat to medium-low and add chopped onions, bell peppers and smashed/chopped garlic. Stir to combine. Add the spice blend to the meat mix, and stir. Add the wet blend to the meat mix, and stir. Simmer for a few minutes, and taste for salt and pepper. If a bit more sweetness is desired, you may sprinkle a bit of sugar over mix and stir to combine.

Serve over white rice with sides of salad, Cuban black beans and fried sweet plantains.


Fried Rice


3 tablespoons oil (canola/sunflower/vegetable)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 thumb (~1 tablespoon) ginger, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups rice, cooked and chilled
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Add-in options:
1 cup veggies, diced small (kale, corn, mushrooms, bok choy)
1 cup meat (ground pork, turkey or beef; sliced chicken; shrimp) or cubed tofu
Kimchi or Thai curry paste

Garnish options:
Sliced scallions
Toasted sesame seeds
Sichuan Chili Oil, chili flakes or any hot sauce


It is important to use chilled rice. Fresh-cooked rice will clump up and end up mushy instead of crispy. Use a very hot, large pan—a wok if you have it. Heat the oil over high heat until it just starts to smoke. Add the garlic and ginger, and briefly cook, but don’t let it burn. Push these to the side of the pan, and add the eggs, scramble briefly, and then mix in the ginger and garlic.

Add the raw ingredients (meat and vegetables), and cook, stirring regularly for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are cooked through. Mix the rice in thoroughly, drizzle in the soy sauce, and
cook for a couple more minutes, until the rice is hot and starts getting crispy. At the very end, drizzle in sesame oil and top with chopped scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and chili oil or hot sauce, if you like.


Roasted Chicken


3- to 3.5-pound chicken


Bring the chicken to room temperature; remove it from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat the chicken dry, and liberally season the cavity and skin with salt. Cook for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and check the internal temperature. It should measure 165 degrees. If it doesn’t, put the chicken back in the oven and check every 10 minutes. Once cooked, allow the chicken to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. Enjoy with your favorite seasonal veggies and roasted potatoes.


The Corner Pocket

Photo by Adam Ewing; Cooking, baking and styling by Debi Shawcross


1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon simple syrup
4 dashes of ginger bitters 
1½ to 2 ounces premium bourbon/whiskey 
1 large ice cube
1 ounce soda water or bitters and soda
Orange peel


Add the sugar cube or simple syrup into a rocks glass. Add 4 dashes of ginger bitters. Muddle or mash the sugar cube and bitters. Add the bourbon/whiskey. Fill with 1 large ice cube. Stir until ice cold. Fill to the brim with soda water or bitters and soda. Garnish with an orange peel.


Pão de Queijo

Pão de Queijo Photo by Adam Ewing; Cooking, baking and styling by Debi Shawcross


1 egg
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅔ cup milk
1½ cups tapioca flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup grated cheese (I use a combo of cheese ends left in my fridge, but it’s delicious with sharp cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, Gruyère—any gratable hard cheese, really. My favorite combo so far is ½ cup sharp white cheddar and ¼ cup Der scharfe Maxx Swiss.)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a mini muffin tin with butter or nonstick spray. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Pulse until ingredients are completely combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula as needed. Pour batter into muffin tins, filling each one a little over halfway. Bake for 20 minutes, until the tops of the buns are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve immediately while warm. In the unlikely event that you have some left over, pop them in the microwave for 15 seconds to rewarm. 

Makes 24