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Duck Breast with Blackberry Pinot Noir Sauce

To satisfy your sweet tooth check out the dessert recipes we have for you below. But before you indulge, it is important to have some appetizer and dinner recipes your family and friends will enjoy. Merry Christmas!

CREAM CHEESE CHRISTMAS PACKAGE

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 2 or more hours
Serves: many

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp dried dill
1 scallion
1 small red bell pepper; cut in very small pieces

Place cream cheese in a bowl and mix in the garlic powder and dried dill. Pack the mixture into a rectangular container lined with plastic wrap (you can place it back in the cream cheese box). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Place the unwrapped block of cheese on a plate and push the red pepper pieces into the cheese. Tie the green part of the scallion around the cheese as if tying up a package. Serve with your favorite crackers.

CRANBERRY NUT MIX

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Makes: 7 cups

1-1/2 cups cranberries, dried and sweetened
2 cups sunflower seeds, raw
1-1/2 cups pine nuts
1 cup pumpkin seeds, raw
1 cup raisins

Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine well with a wooden spoon. Serve in festive bowls.

CITRUS AMBROSIA SALAD

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 3 minutes
Serves: 8

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 jar (1-1/2lb) refrigerated citrus segments in juice
2 limes, or more to taste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 bags (6 oz) mixed baby greens or spring mix

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Place coconut flakes in a single layer on a baking dish. Toast 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Check after 2 minutes as coconut can easily burn.

Drain citrus segments, reserving 2 Tbsp juice in a large bowl. Grate 1/2 tsp of lime peel and squeeze 3 Tbsp juice; add to citrus juice in bowl. Whisk in salt and pepper. In a thin steady stream, whisk in oil until blended.

Add greens to dressing; toss to coat. Arrange dressed greens on 8 salad plates. Top with citrus segments and coconut flakes.

Hint: Unsweetened coconut flakes are available in many supermarkets. You can substitute sweetened flaked coconut, but the final dish will taste much sweeter.

DUCK BREAST WITH BLACKBERRY PINOT NOIR SAUCE

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 8

4 lb duck beasts, cut in 8 equal portions
6 oz fresh blackberries*
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup Pinot noir wine
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Sear duck breasts on both sides in a dry pan over medium heat. Put seared breasts in baking dish and cook in oven until juices run clear, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of breasts. Duck is best served medium rare to medium.

Sauce: Purée blackberries and pass through sieve to remove seeds. Mix wine into blackberries. Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in flour; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add blackberries and wine mixture, stirring until well blended. Add ginger and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until thickened.

To serve: Place duck beasts on 8 warmed plates and serve with sauce.

Hint: *Frozen or canned blackberries may be used, but make sure they are well drained.

SPICED SMASHED SWEET POTATOES

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Cooling time: 45 minutes
Serves: 10

5 large sweet potatoes
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Pierce each sweet potato in several places with a fork. Place directly on the oven rack and roast until soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer to a cutting board; let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Slip off the skins and cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch slices; transfer to a large bowl. Add butter. Smash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher or fork until fluffy but some lumps remain. Add maple syrup, chili powder, ground cumin, ginger, salt and pepper; stir to combine.

CARIBBEAN CHOCOLATE AND NUT TORTE

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Cooling time: 45 minutes
Refrigerate: overnight
Serves: 10

3/4 cup almonds
3/4 cup hazelnuts
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 egg whites, room temperature
Pinch salt
1/3 superfine sugar
2 oz chopped glacéed apricots
3-1/2 oz chopped glacéed figs
3-1/2 oz chopped dried dates

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan and line with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor, place almonds, hazelnuts, and chocolate and process until fine. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until almost stiff. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture forms a meringue. Stir in one-third of the chocolate and nut mixture and one-third of the fruit. Fold through the remaining chocolate and fruit.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cake to cool in the oven with the door ajar. When cooled, turn out and wrap in plastic wrap and foil and refrigerate over night before serving.

DOUBLE CHOCOLAE BUNDT CAKE

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Cooling time: 15
Serves: 8 -10

1 pkg brownie mix
Eggs, Water, Canola Oil (check pkg for quantities)
6 oz chocolate chips
Garnish: Bottled raspberry sauce and whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bundt pan with cooking spray. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for cake-like brownies, add about 2/3 cup chocolate chips (reserve remaining chips for garnish.) Bake in bundt pan until top starts to crack. Cool and invert on plate. Decorate individual serving plates with streaks of raspberry sauce, place slice of cake (which should be hot and gooey) in center. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Capt. Jan Robinson holds certificates from the Culinary Institute of America, The Ritz Cooking School, and the Cordon Bleu. Her Ship to Shore Cookbook Collection is available at your local marine or bookstore. Or visit www.shiptoshoreINC.com email: CapJan@aol.com or call 1-800-338-6072 and mention All at Sea to receive a discount.

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