Sunday, September 20, 2020


 Last time I talked about the wonderful cured meats at Roma Imports in Tucson. Today we are going to start with a recipe for chicken using their fabulous prosciutto and provolone cheese.




4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thinly to about 1/4 inch

2 cups arugula

12 thin slices provolone

8 slices prosciutto


Olive oil for sauting


Pound the chicken breasts so they are an even 1/4 inch, or simply buy the skinny ones prepared at your grocery store. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Spread 1/2 cup of arugula over each breast. Top with 3 slices of provolone. Roll chicken tightly the long way and wrap two slices of prosciutto around the rolled chicken breast overlapping the prosciutto so it sticks together. Prosciutto has a little stretch to it so you can pull it to cover the entire piece of chicken. No need to tie as the prosciutto holds together nicely. Place chicken seam side down in a shallow baking dish. This can be prepared in the morning. If you prepare ahead, bring to room temp before proceeding.

Place a medium skillet over high heat and heat 1 Tbsp. oil until nearly smoking. Saute one chicken breast at a time until prosciutto is nicely browned. The oil tends to splash up so watch your eyes. Add more oil if necessary as you brown all chicken breasts.

Once you have browned all 4 chicken breasts place back in shallow baking pan and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Thermometer should read 165. Slice chicken breasts in half to serve. 
I served with lightly steamed summer squash, asparagus and cauliflower rice. 

Next, I'm going to share an old classic recipe for chicken. No one seems completely sure where this dish originated; possibly London, Belgium or New York. Earliest mention I could find of it was 1914, but it gained popularity in the 40's through 1960. In New York it was often prepared tableside and flambeed as the grand finale. Supposedly it is named after the Roman Goddess Diana or Diane who was the Goddess of the Hunt, but there is also much disagreement on this. Originally it was made with venison and for many years, and often today, with steak. I am sure at New York's finest restaurants they would use steak, not chicken! A simple, luscious lemony sauce flavored with Dijon mustard, chives or scallions and a hint of brandy is what makes this dish so special.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
l/4 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. chopped chives or scallion tops
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Juice of 1/2 lemon (I used a bit more.)
2 Tbsp. brandy or cognac (I used E&J Grand Blue. Inexpensive and lovely brandy.)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chicken broth

Place chicken breast halves between sheets of plastic wrap. Pound slightly with mallet or rolling pin. You don't want them as thin as in the recipe above, but do want them to be an even thickness. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of chicken breasts. Heat 1 Tbsp. each of olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Cook chicken over high heat for 4 minutes per side. Do not overcook or they will dry out. You can always use a meat thermometer to make sure they are done. 165 is the desired temp. And remember they will continue to cook a bit more so if only at 160 degrees they are fine. Transfer to warm platter. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm while making sauce.
Reduce heat and to the pan you cooked the chicken in, add chives or green onions, lemon juice, brandy, parsley and mustard scraping up all chicken bits. Cook for a few seconds briskly whisking all ingredients. Whisk in chicken broth. Whisk in remaining butter and oil. Check seasoning. Original recipe did not call for it, but I needed to add 1/2 tsp. of salt to the sauce and a dash of white pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately. If you have not had this dish, once you do, you will see why it became 'Classic Continental Cuisine'! 





Sunday, September 13, 2020


 I recently visited Roma Imports in Tucson with my good friend, Les Jackson.
This market, located at 627 S. Vine in Tucson, is packed with the most wonderful selection of Italian meats, cheeses, homemade pastas, pizzas, sauces, olive oils, deli products, homemade bread, and much, much more! I felt transported directly to the heart of Tuscany.  Les and I spent 2 hours going over each and every item. We didn't want to miss a thing. And when we finally finished our shopping we bought take-out to go and had a fabulous Italian lunch. Because of COVID they are no longer serving meals in-store, but Candra, our ever-helpful sales lady said they hope to again soon.

The meat counter at Roma's! And here is Candra with carefully wrapped Proscuitto. She was very knowledgeable of their meats and generous by offering samples of the various salumi's and other meats.
I bought several different types of salumi, proscuitto from Parma and one of my all-time favorites--Mortadella. It also happens to be my friend Steve Vis's favorite, too so I picked some up for him. I had a recipe in mind that Steve made for an elegant dinner party he and his wife, Deb hosted several years ago. The pork he served made a huge impression on me--complex, rich flavors, moist and tender. Steve shared the recipe and the story of how he came to know it. Over 20 years ago he took a cooking class with his good friend, Don Brewer when they were living on Bainbridge Island in Washington state. The class was taught by Judy Keen, 
a local teacher, and she got the recipe from Epicurious. The recipe is still on their website this many years later so I guess I was not the only one who fell in love.

And here is Steve eating upside-down biscotti that he just took out of the oven. Both Steve and Debby are excellent cooks and bakers and they love to entertain! Steve also is a very funny fellow!
And now on to the recipe...


2 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns (I used heaping rounded tablespoons.)
3 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
5 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened (I was generous with the butter, too.)

1 pork loin, about 3 1/2 - 4 lbs.
3 Tbsp. black truffle butter, softened (I did not scrimp here either!)
1/2 lb. thinly sliced Mortadella

4 lb. small Yukon gold potatoes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. freshly chopped rosemary
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

For the sauce:
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. black truffle butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 
Coarsely crush peppercorns and salt with mortar and pestle, then add garlic and mash until a paste forms. Stir in 2 Tbsp. softened butter.
The original Epicurious recipe has a fairly elaborate description of butterflying the pork loin. What I did was simply place the pork on a cutting board and using my sharpest knife cut the pork in half without cutting all the way through so the pork opens like a book.
Using a meat pounder or rolling pin, pound the pork until it is about 1/2 inch thickness. Spread 1 Tbsp. truffle butter over the interior of the pork. Then place half of the mortadella slices onto the pork slightly overlapping pieces. Spread another tablespoon of truffle butter over the mortadella. Top with the remaining mortadella slices and another tablespoon of black truffle butter.  Starting from the long side gently, but tightly roll the pork. You may have to push the mortadella in so it remains inside the roll. Tie with kitchen string. Rub roast all over with the peppercorn garlic butter.

Place fat side up on an oiled rack in a roasting pan. At this point I covered with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for the day. Bring to room temp before roasting.

Roast for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.

While pork is roasting, peel and halve potatoes. Parboil potatoes for about 5 minutes until they start to soften. Drain in a colander and then toss with oil, rosemary, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and black pepper. 

Remove pork from oven and reduce oven temp to 325 degrees. Add potatoes to roasting pan, turning them in pan juices to coat, then add pork and roast pork with potatoes until thermometer registers 155 on the pork, about 30-35 more minutes. The Epicurious recipe calls for roasting pork and potatoes for another 45-55 minutes. Check temp on pork at 30 minutes in. If it registers 155-160 it is definitely done. USDA says pork loin should be at least 145 degrees. The sauce really brings this dish together, but you do not want to over cook the pork. Transfer pork to a platter and let rest 15-20 minutes.

Increase oven temp to 450 and remove rack from roasting pan. Spread potatoes out in pan and roast in middle of oven, stirring every 5 minutes until potatoes are golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.

Make the sauce:
The recipe calls for skimming off as much fat as possible from pan juices. Pork these days is so lean that the only fat in this dish is from the butter and truffle butter so I did no skimming. Straddle the roasting pan across 2 burners. Since I used my beautiful ceramic roasting pan from Poland I made the sauce in the oven, rather than stove-top. Add the chicken broth and de-glaze pan by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, about 1 minute. This worked fine in the oven. Stir together water and cornstarch getting out as many lumps as possible and then add to the broth mixture, whisking for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in one more tablespoon of black truffle butter. 

Cut string off the pork and serve with sauce and potatoes.
I have more recipes to share using 
Roma Imports beautiful products.
Deli counter at Roma Imports. 
By noon when we arrived bread nearly gone!

Until next time, live, love, laugh and COOK!