Thursday, September 6, 2018



This sandwich makes a delicious dinner accompanied with a salad or soup. There is enough left over for another couple of dinners or lunches. The entire house had the amazing aroma of that chuck roast slowly cooking in my oven for hours.

2 T extra-light olive oil, divided
2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
½ to 4 lb chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups beef broth
1 T liquid beef bouillon concentrate
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 T fresh oregano sprigs or freeze-dried
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
Provolone cheese, sliced
Golden peperoncini in a jar with juice
Buttered and toasted Italian hoagie rolls

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions, 
for about 20 minutes until caramelized; stirring often.
Remove and set aside in a bowl and cover.

Season the roast on both sides with salt and pepper.
To the same pot, add the other tablespoon of oil and brown the roast on both sides.

When brown, add the beef broth, beef concentrate, rosemary, oregano, garlic, and juice from the jar of peperoncini.
Cover with a lid and bake in a 275 degree F oven for 6 hours.

Remove from oven and carefully transfer roast to a cutting board.
Cut away the string on the roast and let cool a few minutes.

While roast is cooling, pour the beef broth from the pot through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Keep warm on the stove.

Using two forks, shred the beef completely and place in a medium saucepan and keep warm on the stove. Discard any fat still left on the roast.

To Assemble
Place a generous amount of shredded beef on the bottoms of the toasted rolls.
Add some of the caramelized onions.
Top with cheese and place under a broiler for just a couple of minutes; long enough to melt the cheese.
Top with a few peperoncini, trimmed of stems.
Serve with individual small bowls of the beef juice for dipping the sandwiches.

Serves 6 to 8

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


Capicola, capocollo, or coppa, is a traditional Italian cold-cut (salume) made from pork.

One recipe for pizza dough or already-prepared dough
One recipe for pizza sauce or store-bought pizza sauce

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
4 oz capicola him, thinly sliced
Oregano for sprinkling on top of pizza
2 t extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Lightly oil two pizza pans.
Preheat a pizza stone on middle rack of oven for 15 minutes.

Place a ball of dough onto the center of each pan. Use your hands to stretch, form, and flatten each ball of dough to a 10 or 12-inch round.

Spread a ladle of pizza sauce on the rolled-out pizza dough, leaving a border all around.
Sprinkle with a little Parmigiano cheese, 4 slices of the mozzarella cheese, and 4 slices of ham. Sprinkle with a little oregano.
Place pizza pan on the bottom rack of the oven and bake 5 minutes; then slide the pizza directly onto the heated stone and bake another 10 to 12 minutes.

Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and add a garnish of basil when finished baking.

Makes 2 12-inch pizzas or 4 personal size pizzas

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Chicken Paillard is pounded thin so that it cooks evenly. I prefer to grill mine on a grill pan and make a lemon dressing to drizzle over the bed of arugula and tomato salad and then a little over the chicken. This is a quick and delicious weeknight dinner.

2 boneless, chicken breast halves
Avocado oil

Lemon Dressing
1 t Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 T white wine vinegar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
Spring mix lettuce
Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Shaved Pecorino Romano cheese

Cut each chicken breast in half, crosswise. 
Arrange two pieces between two sheets of plastic wrap. 
Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken evenly to ¼ inch thick. 
Place on a platter and repeat with the rest of the chicken. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
Brush avocado oil on both sides of chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Grill chicken for about 4 minutes on each side.

Place salad ingredients in a large bowl, pour some of the dressing over and toss to combine.

Divide salad between two plates.
Add two chicken cutlets on top of each plate and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with the rest of the dressing.

Add a few shaved pieces of pecorino and serve. 

Serves 2

Monday, August 13, 2018


This is a delicious and simple recipe to make. You won't find it better in any restaurant. Buy the best and freshest mussels you can find which makes all the difference.

Lee's Kitchen Tips: 
Ask your fishmonger if your mussels are wild or cultivated. If they are wild, make sure they have beards attached. Do not remove beards until just before cooking. Removing the beards causes the mussels to slowly die. Wild mussels have a strong, more gamey taste. Cultivated mussels do not have any noticeable beards and have a more delicate taste. 

2 lbs fresh mussels, beards attached
2 T unsalted butter
2 T avocado oil
2 large shallots or 1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine or white vermouth
1 t fresh thyme leaves or ½ t dried thyme
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T chopped Italian parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving
Crusty Italian bread

Scrub the mussels with a brush under cold running water. 
Place in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large heavy pot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. 
Add shallots or onion and sauté for 5 minutes.                                                                  
Add garlic and sauté another minute. 
Add the thyme, and red pepper flakes.                                            
Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the wine and bring to a boil. 
Remove mussels from refrigerator and using "kitchen-only" pliers, remove beards.
Add mussels to the pot, cover, reduce heat and simmer until shells open, about 5 to 6 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels.
Ladle into a warm serving bowl or two smaller warm bowls and garnish with parsley.
Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread for dipping.

Serves 2

Thursday, August 9, 2018


Calabria is in the most southern region of Italy, forming the "toe" of the peninsula. They are known for their spicy Calabrese salami. This recipe is for 3 8-inch pizzas or 2 12-inch pizzas. I have a system where I bake two at a time, and I definitely use a timer. Make your dough about 30 to 36 hours before you want to serve the pizzas. The slow rise in the refrigerator gives the dough a more complex flavor and crispier crust.

Pizza Dough
¾ cup lukewarm water
1 t active dry yeast
2 cups unbleached bread flour 
t fine sea salt

Pour ¼ cup of the lukewarm water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough
hook. You can also do this in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
Sprinkle in yeast and let proof for 10 minutes, until the yeast is creamy and foaming.

With the mixer running, slowly add the flour alternating with the rest of the water and salt.
Continue to mix until a ball forms, about 10 minutes

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until dough is soft and not
Divide dough into 3 or 2 equal balls and place on a lightly oiled tray or small baking sheet. 
Lightly oil the tops of each ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 36 hours, if
You can also place each ball into a zip-lock plastic bag and refrigerate.

Remove from refrigerator and let the dough come to room temperature before shaping.
Form each ball of dough to an 8-inch round (for 3 pizzas) or 12-inch round (2 pizzas). 

Place on lightly oiled pizza pans.

Simple Pizza Sauce
1 T extra-light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press
1 (28-oz) can Italian peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, hand crushed
1 t fresh or freeze-dried oregano
1 t chopped fresh or freeze-dried basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and sauté the garlic for one minute.
Pour in the tomatoes and add the oregano and basil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Gently simmer 30 minutes.

Pizza Assembly
Simple Pizza Sauce
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 lb ball mozzarella, broken into pieces, or sliced
12 thin slices spicy Calabrese salami
Fresh basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
Preheat a pizza stone in middle rack of oven for 15 minutes. 
Alternatively, you can just bake pizzas on pizza pans.

Spread a ladle of tomato sauce on each pizza dough.
Sprinkle each with a tablespoon or two of Parmigiano cheese.
Add a few chunks of the mozzarella to each.
Add 4 to 6 slices of Calabrese salami to each.

Place one pizza pan on bottom rack and bake for 5 to 7 minutes.
Slide the crust directly onto the stone and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes.
In the meantime, place another pizza on the bottom rack after the first pizza has been
cooking on the stone for 5 to 7 minutes.
I do an assembly-line of pizzas this way, definitely using a timer.

Remove from oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Makes 2 to 3 pizzas


Castelvetrano olives, red grapes, Pecorino Romano cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese,
Prosciutto di Parma, Genoa salami, Calabrese salami, and Brown Turkey figs. . .a feast for the eyes and little bites for the stomach.