Toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a small, heavy pan over medium heat. When the fennel turns light brown, work quickly. Turn on the exhaust fan, add the red pepper flakes, and toss, toss, toss, always under the fan. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool. Put in a blender with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend until the spices are evenly ground. If you have a small spice mill or a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind only the fennel, coriander, pepper, and chile flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Chef's Note: Toasting freshens spices, releases their oils, and makes them more fragrant, as well as adding a new dimension of flavor. Keep the spice mix in a glass jar in a cool, dry place, or freeze. Taste your chili powder and, if spicy and hot, cut back the amount. California chiles are almost sweet, not hot.
Yield: about 1 cup
In a 1-quart non-reactive saucepan, over medium high heat, reduce the tangerine juice to about 3/4 cup. Add the lemon juice. Remove from the heat and strain with a fine sieve.
Return to saucepan, and reduce until the mixture bubbles and has a syrup-like consistency. You should have about 1/4 cup. Remove from the heat and strain again. Let cool to room temperature. Add the olive oil and salt. Refrigerate for up to 1 1/2 weeks.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place beets in a baking pan, drizzle with the oil, and season with salt. Cover with foil. Bake for about 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a knife.
When cool enough to handle, peel them, slice thinly into round, and place in a dish.
Remove wedge of blue cheese from the freezer. Using a microplane grater, grate the desired amount over the top of the beets. Garnish with almonds as desired.
Blanch 1 cup almonds in boiling water, until the skins peel off.
In an oven-proof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter, and add the peeled almonds. Sprinkle with Napa-style spice rub, and toss to coat. Place skillet in the oven and bake for about 6 to 7 minutes, or until light brown.