3 Simple dishes for lovers

Arborio rice is cooked classic risotto-style with brandy Arborio rice is cooked classic risotto-style with brandy and broth, plus lobster meat, tarragon and a touch of cream. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

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LOBSTER RISOTTO FOR TWO

4 cups lower-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

8 ounces cooked, shelled lobster meat, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 shallot, finely chopped

½ cup Arborio rice

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3 tablespoons brandy

2 tablespoons cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1. Heat the broth in a small saucepan; keep at a very low simmer.

2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add the lobster and cook 2 minutes, until lightly coated with the butter. Remove the lobster from the pan and set aside.

3. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until somewhat softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the brandy and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed.

4. Add ½ cup of the warm broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the broth is nearly all absorbed. Continue cooking and adding ½ cup of the broth at a time, allowing it to be absorbed before the next addition, until the rice is creamy but still has some bite in the center, about 18 to 22 minutes. Stir in the lobster meat and cream and cook, stirring gently, until the lobster is heated through, about 2 minutes.

5. Stir in the tarragon, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 474 calories, 13 g fat, 7.1 g saturated fat, 32 g protein, 3 g fiber, 581 mg sodium

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DUCK BREASTS WITH CRANBERRY-PORT SAUCE

12 ounces boneless duck breast

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

1 finely minced shallot, about 2 tablespoons

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1 cup ruby port

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a small sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Use the tip of a sharp knife to score the skin of the duck breast in a crosshatch pattern, taking care not to cut the flesh. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Heat a skillet over medium high; add the duck, skin-side down, and cook until well browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook 1 minute. Pour the fat from the skillet, leaving a thin film on the surface.

4. Transfer duck, skin-side facing up, to the baking pan and roast in the center of the oven 9 minutes, until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 140 degrees for medium. Remove from the oven and drape to keep warm.

5. Heat the skillet over medium with only the thin film of duck fat remaining; add the shallot and cook, stirring, 2 minutes, or until soft. Add the port, sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil. Stir in cranberries and continue to boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream.

6. Cut duck breast diagonally across in very thin slices and fan on plates; spoon sauce and cranberries over the duck and sprinkle with parsley. Makes 2 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 470 calories, 18 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 29 g protein, 0 g fiber, 402 mg sodium

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LAMB CHOPS WITH ROSEMARY-BALSAMIC SAUCE

4 (4-ounce) loin lamb chops

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

½ cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped

¼ cup red wine

1/3 cup lower-sodium chicken or beef broth

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1. Season lamb with the salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the lamb and cook 3 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked just under desired degree of doneness. Transfer to plate and drape to keep warm.

2. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the skillet over medium high; add the onion, garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring, until the onion is somewhat softened, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil; cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and vinegar, bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thicker and reduced by about half.

3. Serve the sauce spooned over the chops. Makes 2 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 397 calories, 27 g fat, 5.5 g saturated fat, 27 g protein, 1 g fiber, 378 mg sodium

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