Wednesday, September 26, 2018


When in Italy, my favorite meal to order in a ristorante is Chicken Milanese. You will also see Veal Milanese on the menu. Serving it over a bed of arugula and fennel is a very popular entree in Positano, Italy.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
When frying any meat or vegetable, use an oil with a high smoke point, such as avocado oil, extra-light olive oil, peanut oil, or coconut oil. Save your good extra-virgin olive oil for salads and drizzling on finished dishes.

2 boneless chicken breasts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
A splash of water
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Zest of ½ lemon
Avocado or extra-light olive oil, for frying

Arugula, enough for 2 people
1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

Cut chicken breasts in half, lengthwise. 
Place chicken breast, one at a time, in a plastic resealable bag and lightly pound with a mallet or rolling pin to an even thinness. 
Set aside on a pizza pan or baking sheet and repeat with the other 3 pieces.
Season each chicken cutlet to taste with salt and pepper.

In a shallow bowl, add the flour and season with salt and pepper.
In a second shallow bowl, whisk the egg with the water.
In a third shallow bowl, mix together the dry breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, Parmigiano, and lemon zest.

Dredge each cutlet in flour, shaking off excess. 
Dip in egg to coat each side and then in the bread crumb mixture. 
Place coated cutlets back on the pizza pan or baking sheet.

In a large cast-iron skillet, pour enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet by about ¼ inch.
Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot.

Add 2 cutlets and cook until golden brown on each side, about 3 minutes per side.
Place on a clean pizza pan or baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while making the salad.

To Make Salad
Rinse arugula and fennel and spin dry.
Place in a large bowl and add the lemon juice and olive oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Place salad on a large platter or on individual plates.
Top with cutlets and add a couple of lemon wedges and serve.

Serves 2 

Saturday, September 22, 2018


We have popcorn almost every Saturday night and watch a movie. Our parents did the same when we were kids. I like flavoring popcorn with different spices, such as chili powder, Cajun seasonings, Old Bay seasoning, curry powder, and the recipe for Cacio e Pepe that is famous in Rome over spaghetti or bucatini. It works so well with popcorn too.

1 large bowl of popped popcorn
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 T unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, pressed
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan, add the olive oil and butter. Melt over medium heat and add the pressed garlic. Mix to combine and pour over popcorn in bowl.

Mix in the cheeses with your hands, and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

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 the pizza
2 t extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Lightly oil two pizza pans.

Preheat a pizza stone on the bottom 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 middle rack of the oven and bake 5 minutes; then slide the pizza directly onto the heated stone and bake another 10 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