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Byline: Natalie Haughton Food Editor

Christmas dinner is only a few days away - and if you haven't decided on the star of the meal, there's still time to consider the options and shop. Break out of the ham and turkey routine this year and celebrate with a gorgeous standing beef rib roast or a whole duckling (directions included here).

When it comes to a beef rib roast, buy one from the small end of the rib section as it will have less fat and more meat to the pound. You'll need a four-rib roast to serve eight to 10 diners. Keep the seasonings for the roast simple and let the roast stand for 20 minutes before carving. Serve slices with my favorite sour cream horseradish Dijon sauce (also good with filet mignon or steak) which goes together in a jiffy, oven baked potatoes and fresh or frozen green beans jazzed up with macadamia nuts, if desired. Individual Yorkshire Puddings baked in muffin cups are another possibility if you want to create a feast with English overtones.

If a whole roast duckling is your choice, figure that a 5-pound duck will make three to four servings (some say only two), so buy accordingly (duck tends to give off lots of fat). If two ducks won't fit in your oven, buy the parts favored by diners. Ducks can be purchased fresh or frozen.

Although there are three major duckling breeds available in this country - White Pekin, Muscovy and Moulard - the White Pekin, with its mild flavor and year-round availability, accounts for about 95 percent of U.S. consumption. Accompaniments for duck might include your favorite wild or white rice recipe (try zipping it up with fresh orange juice, grated orange peel and chopped pecans; or curry powder, chopped apples and mushrooms, and sun-dried cherries) along with an Old World Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage like my grandmother used to make. Other vegetable selections would be good as well.

For either entree choice, include a salad made with baby greens tossed with crumbled blue cheese, sliced ripe olives, mandarin orange segments and a balsamic vinaigrette. Or toss the greens with cut-up pears, crumbled blue cheese and toasted pecans or walnuts.

For dessert, offer a simple chocolate cake from Rozanne Gold, author of ``Christmas 1-2-3.'' It's similar to cakes with names like chocolate decadence or chocolate obsession, notes Gold, adding that it is heavenly when served with a scoop of her Candy Cane Ice Cream. To save time and for convenience, we'd suggest serving slices with store-bought peppermint or mint-chip ice cream or other flavors like coffee Heath Bar crunch or mocha-chip. Raspberry or orange sorbet would be excellent, too.


2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves, crushed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 (6- to 8-pound) beef rib roast (about ribs) small end (See Note)

Creamy Horseradish Dijon Sauce

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except roast and sauce. Press seasoning mixture evenly into surface of roast.

Place roast, fat-side up, in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part, not resting in fat or touching bone. Do not add water or cover. Roast in preheated 350-degree oven 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours for medium rare; 2 3/4 to 3 hours for medium doneness.

Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135 degrees F for medium rare; 150 degrees F for medium. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise approximately 10 degrees F to reach 145 degrees F for medium rare; 160 degrees F for medium.

Carve roast. Serve with Creamy Horseradish Dijon Sauce. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

CREAMY HORSERADISH DIJON SAUCE: In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups dairy sour cream, 2 to 3 tablespoons (OR more OR less to taste) prepared cream-style horseradish, 2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 1/4 teaspoon pepper or more to taste. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes about 2 cups.

NOTE: Beef rib roasts sold at supermarkets generally have chine (back) bones removed. If purchasing a roast at a butcher shop, ask the butcher to remove the chine bone so you can carve the roast between the rib bones.


1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 cup milk

2 eggs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a medium bowl, combine flour, chives, salt and thyme. In a separate bowl, beat together milk and eggs with wire whisk. Gradually add to flour mixture, beating until smooth. (Cover and refrigerate up to 1 hour before baking, if desired.)

Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon melted butter into each of 12 medium muffin cups, tipping pan to coat bottoms. Fill each muffin cup halfway with batter (about 3 tablespoons).

After removing roast, increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Bake puddings in 450-degree oven 15 to 18 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately with beef rib roast slices. Makes 12 individual Yorkshire puddings.


1 (5-pound) fresh OR frozen duckling, thawed if frozen

Salt and pepper

10 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Remove neck, liver and giblets from inside duckling. Trim off and discard any fat. Rinse and drain duckling. Pat dry with paper towels inside and out. Season inside cavity and skin with salt and pepper. Tie legs together with string.

Place duck, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow foil-lined roasting pan. Add 1/4 cup water to pan to prevent spattering. Prick duck skin all over with a fork, without puncturing meat. Roast duck in preheated 425-degree oven 20 minutes.

Remove duckling from oven. Rake skin numerous times with a sharp meat fork. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Return duck to oven. Continue to roast about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until internal temperature at thigh joint is 180 degrees F. While roasting, frequently baste duckling with juices from bottom of roasting pan.

While duckling is roasting, combine 10 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, honey and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until mixture starts to thicken. Stir constantly until mixture is very thick and reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Remove from heat; add remaining 2 teaspoons balsamic and red wine vinegar. Keep warm until duckling is cooked. (If glaze cools and becomes too thick, warm over low heat, stirring constantly.)

When duckling is cooked, remove from oven and dry skin with paper towels. Brush duckling with a thick coat of warm glaze; place in oven for 1 minute. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

VARIATION: Duck can also be roasted in a 350-degree oven about 2 1/2 hours (allow 25 to 30 minutes per pound), until internal temperature at leg joint reaches 180 degrees F or juices run clear. Coat duckling with Apricot Glaze during last 15 minutes of cooking time. Let duck rest 15 to 20 minutes before carving. For Apricot Glaze, combine 1/4 cup apricot preserves, 1 tablespoon apricot brandy OR Triple Sec and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional); mix well.


1 medium head red cabbage, shredded (about 7 cups)

2 small tart green apples, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar OR cider vinegar

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a 3-quart microwave-safe casserole with lid, combine all ingredients. Cover casserole with lid and cook in microwave oven on high power 10 minutes. Stir. Cook on high 5 to 8 minutes longer, until cabbage is tender. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.

NOTE: Recipe can be doubled or cooked on top of stove.

Adapted from ``365 Easy One Dish Meals,'' by Natalie Haughton.


2 pounds green string beans

6 ounces unsalted macadamia nuts

1/2 cup lemon olive oil

Rinse beans and pat dry. Trim ends. Using a small knife, cut in half lengthwise following the seam. Set aside. Chop nuts using a large chef's knife, then crush with bottom of a heavy glass or bottle. You want some small, distinct pieces and some finely ground pieces. Place nuts in a nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until toasted and golden brown. Keep warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook about 8 minutes, or until just tender, but still bright green. Drain immediately in a colander and dry thoroughly. Place hot beans in a warm bowl and toss with oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and scatter nuts on top. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

From ``Christmas 1-2-3: Three Ingredient Holiday Recipes,'' by Rozanne Gold.


1 pound best-quality milk chocolate

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

Line a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper or foil. Spray sides of pan including parchment or foil with nonstick cooking spray. Chop chocolate into pieces and cut butter into small chunks. Place butter and chocolate in top of a double boiler or in a bowl over simmering water. Melt, stirring frequently, until smooth. Keep warm.

In a warmed bowl, using an electric mixer, whip eggs together with a pinch of salt until mixture triples in volume, about 6 minutes. Fold chocolate mixture into whipped eggs with a flexible rubber spatula until completely incorporated. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven 22 minutes. (Center will still be a little soft.) Remove from oven. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. The center may ooze a little, which is wonderful. Serve warm (with whipped cream or peppermint ice cream) or refrigerate for up to 2 days and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 10 servings.

From ``Christmas 1-2-3: Three Ingredient Holiday Recipes,'' by Rozanne Gold.




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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Dec 22, 2002

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