Chef Mario Barrone’s Roast Lamb with Rosemary and Juniper*


3 large garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
5 juniper berries
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 lbs. leg of lamb, butterflied (but in one piece)
1 cup dry red wine


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using a mortar, pound the garlic with the rosemary and juniper berries into a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 1/2 the paste over the inside of the lamb. Roll the lamb into a compact roast and tie at 1 1/2 inch intervals with butcher’s twine. Using a sharp paring knife, make twelve or more shallow slits all over the outside of the orast. With the tip of the knife, fill each slit with the remaining garlic-juniper paste.

  2. Set the lamb in a medium roasting pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Add the wine and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape up an browned bits in the pan. Continue to roast the lamb for about 10 minutes longer for medium-rare.

  3. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile pour the cooking juices into a small saucepan. Skim off excess fat and simmer over moderate heat until slightly reduced. Cut the string on the lamb and carve into thick slices. Serve with the pan juices.

Make ahead: The lamb can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting and proceed with Steps 2 and 3.

*This is a favorite of the hoity-toity chef who agreed to share it at the grand opening of Piper’s shop, Spice It Up!

Piper’s Chili*


1 lb. ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz.can of tomato sauce
2 tsp. chili powder (I usually add more for a spicier flavor)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp, oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 20-ounce can red kidney beans, drained.


  1. In 3-quart saucepan, brown meat. Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Continue cooking until vegetables are tender. Drain excess grease.

  2. Stir in remaining ingredients.

  3. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for approx. forty-five minutes.

*This is the recipe Piper used when she made it for Reba Mae’s son, Caleb, to thank him for installing a new battery in her car on his lunch break,

Chocolate Chess Pie*


1 1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter, melted, slightly cool.
3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 unbaked 9” pie shell


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Whisk sugar, cocoa, flour, and salt together. Pour the melted butter into the sugar and cocoa mixture. Beat on high speed. Add milk, eggs, and vanilla and beat on high speed for another 3-4 minutes to lighten

  3. Pour mixture into 9” unbaked pie shell. Bake for 35-45 minutes until set. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.

*Accounts vary on how this sweet, yummy Southern dessert originated. The most charming explanation I’ve found is that when a housewife was asked the name of the delicious dessert she’d served for dinner, she answered, “Jes’ pie.”