Good stuff, all of it. The meal was largely inspired by the book that I got the Greek for Christmas: Molly Stevens' All About Roasting. While I had been a little worried that he wouldn't like the book, it turned out that it was his favorite gift out of the things I had gotten for him. Not only does it include a lot of good recipes (and what, dare I ask, is more manly than roasting meat in the kitchen?), but it also explains the science of roasting. I should have known that if you throw science into the mix, it's instantly going to be a winner.
We had the roasted apple and nut mix for breakfast with leftover gingerbread. If you have a crazy amount of apples and nuts (the combination of my collection of pine nuts with the Greek's was truly a sight to behold. My guess is that we'll be eating pesto until we're well into our 50s), this is a good way to use them. Whether eaten alone or with ice cream (the apples reappeared for dessert in the evening), the softly spiced and tender apple-nut mixture is a nice way to add a fruity touch to any meal. I was envisioning adding them to my morning oatmeal, or thinking about how nicely they would taste with some Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. Needless to say, the possibilities are endlessly tempting.
And for dinner, it was all about the beets we had bought on our way back from Monterey. While I had had my eye on the recipe for Beets with Pistachio Butter (really, it was all about the pistachio butter) from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian for months, I managed to forget to buy beets every time I went to the grocery store. But somehow Christmas seemed the right time. The nice thing about roasting beets is that you wrap them in foil, put them in the oven at 400 degrees F and, in an hour or so, they'll be done--soft and ready to eat. The only high maintenance thing about this recipe is the pistachio nut butter--a mixture of freshly ground pistachios, garlic and canola oil. But it's worth it; what you'll be left with is truly worthy of a holiday feast and the best of both worlds: vegetables roasted to tender perfection and a salty, creamy nut butter.
It may be too late for me to impact your own holiday feast, but, even if you don't get around to it until after the New Year, I hope these recipes make it onto your tables sometime soon.
Merry Christmas! Happy holidays! Eat well and be safe!