Warm Arugula with Mozzarella and Balsamic Vinaigrette
(makes 2 servings)
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
freshly ground pepper
8 ounces fresh arugula, leaves and tender stems, well washed and drained
3 tablespoons shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
In a large stainless steel mixing bowl, combine the shallots, garlic, thyme, parsley, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Whisk for 30 seconds. Season to taste with pepper.
Place the bowl on the stove over low heat. When the mixture begins to sizzle, add the arugula and mozzarella and using metal tongs, constantly stir the mixture (be careful to not bruise the leaves), until the cheese melts and the mixture is thoroughly combined. When the arugula is warm, remove from heat and divide onto 2 large plates.
Chicken with Fennel St. Tropez
1 medium fennel bulb, about 1 pound, trimmed
olive oil cooking spray
2 large plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
6 ounces pearl onions, peeled and cut in half
8 ounces white button mushrooms halved or quartered
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 bone-in chicken thighs, about 1 1/4 pounds total
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
fresh sprigs of thyme for garnish (optional)
Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise. Cut each half into 4 wedges.
Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with lid with the cooking spray. Add the tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, wine, orange zest, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.
Meanwhile, remove the skin and all visible fat from the chicken thighs. Rinse and pat dry. Arrange the chicken thighs and fennel on top of the tomato mixture, and sprinkle with thyme. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and fennel is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and vegetables to heated individual plates or to one large serving dish.
Increase heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the remaining sauce in the skillet has thickened, about 5 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. If using, garnish with parsley and sprigs of fresh thyme. Serve hot.
6 large ripe strawberries, preferably with long stems attached
3 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Rinse the berries and pat dry with paper towels.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips on 50% (medium) power for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until smooth (if not completely melted, microwave a few seconds longer). Or melt the chocolate according to package directions.
Holding a strawberry by the stem, dip into the chocolate to cover about half of the berry. Lay on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all strawberries are coated. Chill until set.
Arrange 3 strawberries on each dessert plate and serve.