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A Valentine's Feast

Italian Style

Chicken Marsala

  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

All-purpose flour, for dredging

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 ounces crimini or porcini mushrooms, stemmed and halved

1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them; pound with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don't fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.
  3. Lower the heat to medium, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat. Now, add the mushrooms and saute until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Caprese Salad

  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive: 20 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

2 cups balsamic vinegar

3 ripe tomatoes

12 ounces fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced

Large bunch fresh basil leaves

Olive oil, for drizzling

Large pinch kosher salt

Large pinch freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Measure the balsamic vinegar and pour into a saucepan. Bring it to a gentle boil over a low heat. Cook it until the balsamic vinegar has reduced to a nice thick glaze (but still pourable), about 15 minutes. Oh and one other thing, your house will stink. But it's a good kind of stink, it's a vinegary stink. Allow the reduction to cool to room temperature before you serve it.
  2. When you are ready to assemble the salad, cut the tomatoes into thick slices. Arrange them on a platter, alternating them with the mozzarella slices. Tuck the whole basil leaves in between the tomato and cheese slices.
  3. Drizzle on the gorgeous, almost black balsamic reduction. Then drizzle olive oil in a thin stream over the top. Finally, sprinkle on salt and pepper.
  4. You need this in your life. Make it today my friends.

Lemon Granita

  • Prep: 5 min
  • Cook: 2 hr 5 min
  • Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients

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6 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely-grated lemon zest

Directions 

  1. In a saucepan combine sugar with 1 1/2 cups water; bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove pan from heat, leave to cool, then refrigerate until cold. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Pour lemon syrup into a square metal cake pan and place in freezer. Freeze 2 hours in all, removing pan from freezer every 30 minutes, stirring and scraping with a metal fork until ice crystals break up. After 2 hours, granita will resemble snow. Scrape into 4 dessert goblets and serve with a spoon and a straw if desired.
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