Thursday, February 26, 2015

Muffeletta Sandwich
Serves 4
The sandwich, which originated in New Orleans, is named after the round, crusty Sicilian loaf.  While variety of ingredients can go into making the olive salad (the recipe we use was created by mom after a trip to New Orleans), this is one sandwich which should never be served hot. 


 olive salad:

1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
½ cup drained Kalamata olives, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 celery stalk, chopped
½ cup peperoncini, drained and chopped
¼ cup marinated cocktail onions, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
Coarse Kosher salt
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup olive oil


8 ounces thinly sliced Genoa salami
8 ounces of pepperoni
8 ounces thinly sliced cooked ham
8 ounces sliced mortadella
8 ounces sliced Swiss cheese
8 ounces sliced provolone cheese

4  muffeletta loaves or 7-inch, round Italian bread, sliced in half horizontally and with some of the excess bread hollowed out of the top to make room for the olive salad

*while these are the traditional meats and amounts you can use any cold cuts and amounts of your preference.

olive salad:

1.  In a medium bowl, mix together the olives, garlic, capers, celery, peperoncini, cocktail onions, celery seed, oregano, basil, vinegar, olive oil.   Correct seasoning with black pepper and salt.

2.  Transfer the mixture into a covered glass jar (or other covered, nonreactive container), if needed, pour in more oil to cover the mixture, and refrigerate at least overnight.

sandwich construction:

1.  To assemble the sandwich, layer 'bottom half' of each loaf with ¼ of meats and cheeses. Top the meats and cheeses on each “bottom half” with ¼ of the olive salad and place 'top half' on each loaf. 

2.  To serve immediately cut each sandwich in half to make them easier to manage, or wrap tightly in butcher paper and refrigerate for a few hours; allowing the flavours to mingle and the olive salad to soak into the bread and when ready to serve unwrap each sandwich and cut each in half to make them easier to manage.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Jo's Great Texas Red Chili

Jo’s Great Texas Red Chili
Makes about 3½ quarts
                                                                            Prep time:   20 minutes
                                                                            Cook time:  3 hours  
                                                                            Total time:  3 hours 20 minutes


¼ pound suet, finely chopped
6 lbs. of lean beef, coarsely cubed into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup chili powder (about 4½ ounces)
2 tablespoons crushed cumin seeds or ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground oregano
2 tablespoons salt
1 to 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts beef stock or canned beef broth
½ cup masa harina or cornmeal
½ cup cold water


1.  Fry suet in a stock pot or kettle until crisp.
2,  Brown the beef, about 1 lb. at a time, remove each lb. as it browns.

3.  When all beef is browned, return it to the pot.  Add all the seasonings and the beef stock.  Cover and simmer for 1½ - 2 hours.  Skim off any fat that rises to the surface.

4.  Combine masa harina or cornmeal with the cold water and stir the mixture into the chili.  Insure that the water/corn meal mixture is thoroughly incorporated into the chili. 

5.  Simmer for 30 minutes more until Chile thickens.

Serve the chili accompanied by tortillas, chopped onion and cheddar cheese.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with Chili Garlic Mayo
serves 6

                                                                                                                Prep time:  20 minutes
                                                                                                                Cook time:  20 minutes
                                                                                                                Total time: 40 minutes


1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 1 pound
1 cup AP flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup vegetable oil

Chili Garlic Mayo:

6 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons Asian Chili Garlic Sauce (Rooster sauce)

6 King’s Hawaiian Hamburger Buns

suggested toppings:
shredded lettuce
thinly sliced radishes
thinly sliced tomato

prepare the chicken breast:

1.  Slice the chicken breast in half or thirds, depending on the thickness of the breast.
2. One at a time, place each breast in a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag and pound each slice to about ¼-inch thick scallopini.
3.  Cut the scallopini into 6 smaller, bun sized scallopini.

bread and fry the chicken scallopini:

1.  Place the breadcrumbs, cheese and cayenne onto a plate and mix together to evenly distribute all the ingredients.  Place the beaten egg into another and the flour in a third.
2.  Set up a breading station by place the plates in the following order; first the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture.
3. Bread each scallopini by first dredging it in the flour, then into the egg, and finally into the breadcrumb mixture placing the breaded scallopini onto a holding plate.
4.  Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and, when the pan is hot, place the oil in it.  When the reaches the ripple state add two or three of the bread scallopini into the oil, do not over crowd, and fry until nicely browned on both sides, turning as necessary.
5.  As the scallopini brown, place onto a plate covered with a paper towel to drain off any excess oil.

prepare the Chili Garlic Mayo:

Place the mayonnaise and chili garlic sauce in a small container and mix together.


Place one scallopini on the lower half of each bun spread some of the Chili Garlic Mayo on each scallopini and top, if desired, with one of the suggested toppings or toppings of your choice.

Monday, February 16, 2015


(Beet and Red Cabbage Soup)
Serves 4 to 6

                                                                             Prep Time:   40 minutes
                                                                             Cook Time: 1 hour
                                                                             Total Time:  1 hour 40 minutes


3 lbs. red beets, tops remove, scrubbed thoroughly
64 ounces beef broth plus 24 ounces of water
1 large yellow onions, peeled and chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
3 cups red cabbage, shredded
3 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
¼ cup honey

sour cream as an accompaniment

prepare the beets:

1.  Place beets in a LARGE pot and add beef broth and cold water to cover the beets to 3 or 4 times their height.  The larger the pot the less the chance of the beet liquid boiling over and dying your clothes and stove top red.  

2.  Bring the liquid to a rolling boil and boil the beets until they are cooked (tender).  About 15-25 minutes.  

3.  When the beets are cooked remove them from the cooking liquid ( RETAIN THE COOKING LIQUID, this will become the beet broth).   Allow the beets to cool and, when cooled enough to handle comfortably, peel the beets and julienne them (this is a messy job so be prepared!).

bring it all together:

1.  Strain the cooking liquid through several layers of cheesecloth into a container.  Clean the pot (or use another pot) to remove any grit that may have settled out of the cooking beets.  Pour the cooking liquid into the pot and bring it to a boil.

2.  Add the onions, julienned beets, shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, salt, red wine vinegar, honey and salt.  After a few minutes, taste and correct seasoning adding additional salt, vinegar or honey to 

3.  Lower heat to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  


Serve hot with sour cream on the side for diners to dollop into the soup.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mushroom and Madeira Crostini
makes 6 crostini

6 1-inch thick slices of Italian bread
2 or 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon butter
6 to 8 medium sized mushrooms, sliced
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon of thyme, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1/4 cup Madeira wine

toast the bread:
1.   Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2.  Brush both sides of each slice of bread with some of the olive oil and place on a cookie.    Place cookie sheet in oven and toast bread until the side up begins to brown and becomes crispy.

3.  Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and rub the crusty side of each slice of  bread with the peeled garlic and turn each slice with over.

4.  Continue toasting the bread until this side of the bread begins to  brown and becomes crispy.  Remove the cookie sheet from the oven.

sauté the mushrooms:

1.  Heat butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  When the butter is completely melted and the mushrooms and sauté, unmolested until the mushroom slices begin to soften and brown slightly.

2.  Sprinkle with salt and a few grindings of freshly ground black pepper.  Add the minced garlic and thyme and continue sautéing for 1 or 2 minutes.

3.  Add the chicken broth and Madeira wine, raise the heat under the pan to high and reduce the liquid by half and is thickened.

bring it all together:

Spoon some of the mushrooms and liquid over each of the toasted slices of bread and serve immediately.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Zuppa di Pasta e Fagoli

Zuppa di Pasta e Fagoli
(Italian White Bean Soup)
serves 8
In my family Pasta e Fagoli comes in two varieties, the one I grew up with which more resembles a macaroni sauced with a thick, starchy bean sauce and this version which is an actual soup.
                                                                                      Prep time: 20 minutes
                                                                                      Cook time: 40 minutes
                                                                                      Total time: 1 hour


                                  ¾ to 1 cup Maccheroncelli or Ditalini pasta (small tube shaped macaroni)

                                  1 tablespoon bacon grease
                                  1/4-cup extra-virgin olive oil
                                  2 carrots, finely diced, about 1/4-inch
                                  1 onion, finely diced, about 1/4-inch
                                  2 ribs of celery, finely diced, about 1/4-inch
                                  1 - 15 1/2 ounce cans of cannellini beans, including liquid
                                  2 15 ½ ounces of chicken broth
                                  2 cloves garlic, micro-planed
                                  2-tablespoons parsley leaves, finely chopped
                                  1 bay leaf
                                  1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
                                  Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

                                  grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
                                  crusty Italian or French bread


1.  In a large pasta pot bring a large volume of salted water to a rapid boil over high heat.  When the water comes to a rolling boil toss in the pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente.  

2.  While the pasta is cooking and in a separate 3 quart pot (large enough to accommodate both the pasta and the beans and sauce you are preparing), heat the bacon grease and oil over medium heat. Add the diced carrot, diced onion, diced celery, the garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, and cook over medium heat until the vegetables become tender, do not allow the onions to brown.

3.  When the vegetables become tender, add the beans and their liquid and the drained, al dente pasta to the pot while gently stirring to evenly distribute both.  Fill the empty bean can with the chicken broth and stir the broth around so it can absorb any of the thick cannellini liquid clinging to the inside of the cans. Add the chicken broth and the bay leaf, lower the heat to simmer and simmer the Pasta e Fagoli, covered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

4.   Adjust seasoning with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.  


Serve immediately either "family style" in one large bowl OR divided evenly among warmed, individual soup bowls and accompanied by additional extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese,  red pepper flakes, and crusty Italian or French bread. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Neapolitan Calzone

Neapolitan Calzone
serves 2 
                                                                              Prep time:  1 hour  5 minutes
                                                                Bake time:  8 minutes
                                                                              Total time:  1 hour 13 minutes


Pizza Dough:

                    11 ounces (about 2 cups) bread flour, plus additional for work surface
                           .16 ounces active dry yeast (1 ¼ tsp)
                          .16 ounces Kosher or sea salt (1 tsp)
                          7 ounces warm (105 ° F) water
                          .2 ounces honey (2 tbsp)
                          1 ounces extra-virgin olive oil (2 tbsp)

note: to make more than one pizza the bakers ratio is: flour=100%, water=67%, honey=2%, yeast=1.5%, salt=1.5%, and olive oil= 5% or simply multiply the ingredients by the number of pizzas you want to make


  7 ounces Ricotta cheese
                                          5 2-inch x 1/2 inch thick slices fresh Mozzarella
                                      2 tablespoons shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
                         4 or 5 3 1/4-inch slices imported salami
                               4 or 5 3 1/4-inch slices imported pepperoni
           8 large basil leaves, divided use

           3  or 4 tablespoons tomato sauce


Pizza Dough:

1.  In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the flour, yeast and salt and whisk these ingredients until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.  Combine the warm water, honey and oil in a measuring cup and turn on the mixer, fitted with dough hooks, to low and add the liquid. 

2.  As the dough begins coming together raise the speed to high and continue mixing (kneading) until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and forms a rough ball around the mixing hook and there isn’t any dry flour visible (scrap the sides of the bowl to move flour into the path of the hooks as needed).  If the dough doesn’t come together, add additional water (if the dough appears too dry) or flour (if the dough appears too wet) 1 tablespoon at a time until it does.

3.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured, flat work surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky (add flour gradually as needed to reach the slightly tacky state) adding a little flour if it is too sticky, about 5 minutes.

4.  Lightly oil a large mixing bowl with about 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil the ball on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours* .

*note: if you are making multiple pizzas, after the dough has doubled in size divide the dough into equal sized portions for immediate use or place each portion in its own resealable bag for maturing. 


1.  Place an appropriately sized pizza stone on the top shelf of your oven and pre-heat the oven to 550° F or as high as your oven will go, to attain the highest temperature allow the oven to preheat for at least 1 hour.

2.  Place the risen dough ball on a flat, lightly floured work surface and flatten it into a disk, then with your fingertips  and palms, press the disk into a thinner disk of dough approximately 10 to 14-inches round and 1/8-inch thick by stretching and rotating the disk [don’t worry if the pizza isn't perfectly round ].   

3.  Distribute some flour or corn meal over the surface of a pizza peel (this will act as “ball bearings” and allow the dough round to move easily over the surface of the peel).

4.  Spread the Ricotta in a strip about 14-inches long and about 3 1/2-inches wide below the center line of the disk, follow this by distributing the mozzarella slices across this strip, then distribute the Parmigiano on top of that followed by the salami slices and the pepperoni slices and finally evenly distribute 5 of the basil leaves.

5.  Fold the top half of the disk over the lower half and then with a pizza cutter or sharp knife trim the dough, leaving about a 1-inch border, so that the remaining dough forms a half moon shape.   Now fold the excess dough (the 1-inch border) over itself pressing it to seal.

6.  Carefully transport the half-moon shaped calzone to the corn meal covered peel (for ease of sliding the calzone onto the stone place it close to the far edge of the peel).  Spoon the tomato sauce onto the top of the calzone (take care not to get any of the sauce on the peel as this will cause the calzone to stick to the peel and make it difficult to slide it onto the stone).  Lastly,  pierce the top of the calzone 3 or 4 times and distribute the remaining basil leaves on top of the calzone.

7.  Slide the calzone off the peel onto the stone and bake for about 7 to 8 minutes until the dough is fully cooked and the crust  appears slightly chard.


Slice the calzone in half and serve half to each dinner.

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