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Festivus Hogswatch Solstice Christmachanukwansa 2008

12/24/08 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

The winter holidays are upon us, and it's time to cook and cook and cook. Of course, the holidays are all about people, but for me, only from the standpoint of them eating what I cook. :p


For Solstice, I made one of my favorite dishes, Maccheroni alla Chitarra con Abruzzo Polpettine, though I made it more of a ragù with the meatballs as the recipe says, veal shanks and pork baby back ribs. I made over three pounds of meatballs, as I'll be using them for Christmas supper as well. I served the veal shanks on Solstice, as that's what I like, and since it's also the day I turned 53, I figured what I like mattered. &#59;) Dad likes the pork ribs, so, that's what I'll serve on Christmas Day.

I hunt the solstice shrub on this day, traditionally, but this year I went the day before, as it rained on the Solstice. I brought it up to the living room on the Solstice and set it up to be decorated later.

Christmas Eve

Friends and relatives from around the Bay Area to Carmel decided not to brave the wet weather that we're having this year. Bunkey is still in Iraq, though this is his last year. Without the big appetites that I was expecting this year, we're not doing the traditional seven fishes this year, just four. :>> For four people. This year, we'll be having a soup of anchovies and white beans, Dad's making his tuna in marinara over spaghetti and I'm make a putanesca sauce to go with it. We're also having Chilean Sea Bass, brushed with olive oil and lemon, roasted in the oven and Shrimp Scampi. I'll be serving a latke type of side with those last made of four potatoes and two zucchinis, stripped in a mandolin (or the big holes in a cheese grater), squeezed dry, and mixed with two leeks, sliced thin and sautéed, and two eggs, patted into cakes and fried, then served with sour cream.

Part of the fun of Christmas Eve is decorating the solstice shrub and watching Hogswatch (the movie based upon the Terry Pratchett book, and my favorite winter holiday movie).

Christmas Day

Four people again will be eating on Christmas Day, so nothing too elaborate. Dad is making Italian Wedding or Holiday soup (chicken stock, spinach, teeny-tiny meatballs and cubes of parsley frittata), and I'll be making spinach & cheese ravioli with the meatballs and pork rig ragù from the Solstice and a roast chicken basted with a rosemary twig dipped in olive oil & garlic, served with Brussels Sprouts & Chestnuts, as I make for Thanksgiving.

Boxing Day

This year we're going to friends for a ham dinner on Boxing Day. I'm looking forward to eating and not cooking.

New Year's and Epiphany

Three more winter holidays are coming, and don't forget that the 12 days start too. New Year's Eve is often crab cioppino, New Year's Day is often baby back ribs in sauerkraut, ham hocks and hopping john, and other fine stuff. I'll blog about these holidays later.

That's all of that. Enjoy your holidays, whatever your beliefs, and may Peace be upon the land.

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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