Thursday, February 28, 2019


The Caesar Salad was created in the 1920s by Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant, and restauranteur. 

Lee's Kitchen Hints: To crisp up any limp lettuce, first soak the leaves in a bowl of lukewarm water for 5 minutes. This allows the cells (or pores) in the lettuce to soak up the water and become plump. Drain the lettuce and now soak in ice cold water for another 5 minutes. This allows the cells to close and the results will be crisp lettuce. Spin dry and place in a salad bowl. Any leftover lettuce can be refrigerated in a plastic baggie with a paper towel wrapped around the lettuce.

1 cup cubed (½-inch) crusty Italian bread
2 t olive oil

2 heads Romaine lettuce, torn or cut into bite-size pieces

2 large egg yolks
6 to 8 anchovy fillets 
2 cloves garlic
2 T champagne or white wine vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup avocado oil
2 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place pieces of bread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil.
Mix around on the baking sheet to coat cubes with some of the oil
Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir after 4 minutes.
Remove and transfer croutons to a plate and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the egg yolks, anchovy fillets, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, and Worcestershire sauce in a food processor or blender. 
Process until smooth.  Slowly add the oils and place in a bowl in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Place Romaine in a large salad bowl.

Drizzle some of the dressing over lettuce and toss to combine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the croutons, and toss again.

Divide between 2 to 4 salad plates and add some grated Parmigiano.

Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Serves 2 to 4

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


This is such a delicious and easy salad to make. Toss it all together in a bowl and serve.

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup black Cerignola or Kalamata olives, pitted
1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch chopped Italian parsley
1 small bunch chopped basil
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss all of the ingredients together in a salad bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


Sometimes I can't make up my mind if I want scallops or shrimp over pasta. I love sun-dried tomatoes in anything and this was a hit with my husband.

6 sea scallops
12 large shrimp peeled and deveined
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T avocado oil or light olive oil
1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
½ t red pepper flakes
1 cup clam nectar
1 cup cream or half-and-half
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Rinse scallops and shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel.
Season them generously with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook the scallops on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden.
Remove to a plate and set aside.
Cook the shrimp on each side for 2 minutes, until pink.
Remove to the plate with the scallops.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook about 1 minute.
Add the clam nectar, cream or half-and-half, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmigiano.
Stir to combine, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Return scallops and shrimp to skillet and gently stir to combine and simmer another minute.

Serve with pasta or with crusty bread and a green salad.

Serves 2 as a main course

Sunday, February 3, 2019


Everyone has heard of bagels and lox...well this is an Italian version of that breakfast or brunch entree.

4 oz package of thinly sliced brined salmon
Thinly sliced multi-grain bread
½ cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3 T minced red onion
3 T rinsed, drained, and minced capers
2 scallions, minced
Grated zest of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
Fresh chives or dill
Lemon slices or wedges for garnish

Toast bread in a toaster and then cut into finger-size sandwiches. Set aside on a cutting board.

In a bowl add the mascarpone and mix in the red onion, capers, scallions, zest, and lemon juice.
Spread on the bread slices, add a slice of salmon, garnish with chives or dill and serve with lemon slices or wedges.

Makes 9 finger sandwiches