The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Christmas Spirit

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . in our new home. We spent the day decorating the house. My husband and friend strung lights all over the outside while I found places inside the house for the myriad of ceramic Christmas decorations my nana has made over the years: choir boys and girls, Santa punch bowl, reindeer and sleigh candy dish, and two (count them!) nativity sets.

I love pulling out the Christmas stuff every year. It's gotten even more fun since I became the holder of the family Christmas paraphernalia when my parents moved into their motorhome and no longer have room to keep it all. So in addition to the flotsam I've collected in my travels and years as an adult, I get to pull out construction paper stars that are covered in glitter my little brother made in 1984. Or I get to pull out the three ornaments that document my first Christmas and then hang them next to the one that documents my son's. Most of the ornaments and decorations have a history, and in that, they are infinitely precious.

Further, my son is the absolutely perfect age to enjoy Christmas. He finally gets that presents and lights and ornaments and stockings and baby Jesus are all way exciting, but he has none of the annoying sense of entitlement that so many kids have. He is way stoked to get a present but doesn't' think he deserves it. He is amazed at the tiniest light as well as the most extravagant nativity we have.

After the last stocking (also made by my nana) was hung by the chimney with care, I decided that we needed some protein in our diet. So I made lamb. And because my nana figures so prominently in the house as the maker of most of the decorations, I made lamb according to her recipe. Even if you don't like lamb, this recipe will change your mind.

Nana's Really Good Lamb

Lamb, chops or a rack
olive oil
garlic, minced
rosemary, chopped
Italian style bread crumbs (or make your own with bread crumbs, ground oregano, paprika, ground sage, ground thyme, salt, pepper and anything else that you think might make the bread crumbs taste good)
sea salt

Take a rack of lamb or some lamb chops and lightly coat them in oil. Then rub the garlic and rosemary all over them. Then lightly (and I mean lightly) dust them with bread crumbs and put a little sea salt on them. Bake at 425F for about 25 minutes if a rack and you want it medium rare. For the chops, go a bit longer. Just check after 30 minutes to see if it's to your taste.

I usually pair the lamb with sweet potatoes (butter and salt) and a veggie. Since I need to kill off CSA stuff (got a shipment yesterday), I did carrots and made a salad of lettuce, celery, avocado, radish, tomato, cucumber.

And because you are dying to know, here's the latest shipment:

10 carrots
7 radishes
3 beets
5 apples
10 small oranges
butternut squash
8 tomatoes
2 lettuce

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