Monday, December 26, 2005

What a Happy Christmas That Was!

(With more than a Nod to William Blake)

And did those beets in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountain green?

photograph picture some dark satanic beets

And was the Lamb stew of God M & T
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the gougere divine
Shine forth upon our clouded rain-drenched Potrero hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic beets?

photograph picture some golden beets

Bring me my bowl of burning gold!
Bring me my meatballs of desire!
Bring me my roast beef! O clouds strudel, unfold!
Bring me my empanadas of fire!
I will not cease from each delicious bite,
Nor shall my sword spatula sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

photograph picture image golden beet salad with blood oranges and avocado recipe beet salad

Sam's Seasonal San Francisco Christmas Salad

Rub the skins of some ugly, evil-looking dark satanic beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a pan, covered with foil, in the oven until tender. This takes at least an hour, probably more. Leave beets to cool and then deskin. Refrigerate until chilled. At the same time make sure you have some blood oranges and ripe avocados on chill too. To assemble salad, shortly before serving, thinly slice beets and layer them on the bottom of a plate or bowl. Grate a bold serving of fresh horseradish over them. Next layer thinly sliced avocado on top, followed by supremed slices of blood orange. Crumble some of your favourite blue cheese over the top. Squeeze excess orange juice over the salad, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

photograph picture images christmas dinner for twenty 2005
Yesterday, we had a Christmas dinner for 20 at our friend Vinny's house. It was so much fun and a great mix of people who all brought scrumptious dishes to share. Gougere, freshly made ricotta, lamb stew with noodles, meatballs, empanadas, potato pie, strudel, roast beef, horseradish cream, salads, cheese, mashed celeriac, cheesecake, cookies galore and choux puffs filled with burnt caramel pot de creme. Secret Santa was followed by sessions of karaoke and rock guitar on the Play station. Outside it was so warm and raining so hard that I decide the best footwear for walking the one block to Vinny's house was nothing more than a pair of flip-flops. It wasn't a traditional Christmas, but it was certainly a good one.

PS. Becks & Posh is going to take an eight day break. Have a Happy New Year and see you in 2006.

PPS. A thought just crossed my mind: How come Arnie is against killing a goose for its liver, but will do nothing to save the life of an imprisoned human being?

Archive Alert! On this date in 2004: Home cured Gravadlax on Loft-cooked Potato Chips.

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What a Happy Christmas That Was!


  • At 26/12/05 13:09, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a wonderful spread. I shall miss you while you are away have a good time hope you get some snow.

  • At 26/12/05 13:22, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I hope you'll have fun in the snow!

    Thank you for making our Christmas perfect


  • At 26/12/05 14:01, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Snow! Cool! (Literally.)
    Sam, how do you get such wonderful photo collages? Is it a Picasa trick (because I can't use Picasa on my Mac)?
    I should think you and Fred will want to diet for a week after this weekend's repasts.

  • At 26/12/05 23:23, Blogger texmex said…

    Ouah pantagruelic... Famous it must have been.

  • At 27/12/05 08:00, Blogger Civic Center said…

    What a glamorous collage photo, and that's my lamb stew, in that square there!

    I also think you're forgetting about Christmas Day at Katja's some years back, which means you've spent 1/13th of your Christmas days on Earth with me.

    Have a lovely holiday before going back to George's dark, satanic mills (glad it did turn out to be Blake).

  • At 27/12/05 09:26, Blogger Guy said…

    Happy Christmas Fred N Sam!

    I hope your gravy runs smooth and rich for this coming year.


  • At 27/12/05 10:28, Blogger Rose said…

    what a great montage of pics! Your beet salad is a colorful inspiration!

    I've been seeing beets EVERYWHERE. I've had them in two different fab meals and keep seeing them appear in many a food blog reciepe. I think that is a good sign I must buy some immediately.

    Snow, eh? Enjoy all the fluffy good white stuff :-)

  • At 27/12/05 18:10, Blogger Mona said…

    Oh shoot. I missed you. What an incredibly pretty salad that is.
    If you get this, my family is taking me out to dinner before I fly out of SFO tomorrow on the red-eye back to NY. Was hoping to ask you for a good restaurant in the Italian area North Beach, or just a good Italian restaurant in general.
    Thanks !!

  • At 30/12/05 14:37, Blogger nika said…

    That pic of those delicate little beets makes me have a craving for them!

    (I am never just sorta in the mood for beets.. its either, let me eat 5 pounds of the lovely guys or I could not be bothered)

    As usual, your food pics are evocative.

    Have a great New Years!


  • At 1/1/06 11:35, Blogger Shauna said…

    Brilliant, Sam. I laughed out loud at the Blake rendition, not only for your clever substitutions, but also because it reminds me of Monty Python. That's always good.

    I hope you're having a restful holiday, somewhere in the snow. And great food, of course.

    Have a marvelous new year.

  • At 5/1/06 14:00, Blogger Molly said…

    Sam, I'm a bit slow in getting over here, but better late than never! And I can't resist piping up to tell you how absolutely beautiful that salad looks. Just gorgeous. I can't wait to try it myself. Thanks for the inspiration, and happy 2006 to you and Fred!

  • At 7/1/06 16:36, Blogger Sam said…

    thank you everyone - I think I might try and incorporate more poems onto my blog in 2006. I like a bit of rhyme, do I.

  • At 10/1/06 02:36, Blogger transiit said…

    Beets, shmeets.

    Any chances you can cough up the recipe for the lamb stew?

    I'll admit I am a lamb-junkie, and I appreciate the ideas when I can get them.


  • At 10/1/06 07:38, Blogger Sam said…

    I will ask the person who made the lamb stew if they are willing to share.
    I think they are on vacation right now.
    So it might be a while.

  • At 11/1/06 18:25, Blogger Civic Center said…

    Dear Sam and Transiit: The "Judith Ets-Hokin Home Chef" cookbook I got the recipe from is down at my sister's in San Luis Obispo, so I'll call and get it for you. It's an Italian stew that's simple and can be used with either lamb or beef. The secret ingredients are red wine vinegar and anchovies added to the liquid at the end. I don't know why, but they make a delicious dish edge into the sublime. The fresh sage, rosemary and garlic doesn't hurt either.

  • At 12/9/06 21:25, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Sam,

    It's Winter in Australia (well, early spring) so I am looking for beet recipes now. Are your beets yellow? I have never seen a yellow bettroot before?! Maybe we don't get them down here...

  • At 14/9/06 14:57, Blogger Sam said…

    we get them yellow, red, pink, and orange!


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