J:

Welcome back and thanks for the trip report. You probably
should do something about how you import text files into your
mail program though. All your apostrophes came out as weird
characters.

What with the holidays, I only owe you two Sunday Dinner
reports. Here's the first.

This one was for AnnMarie's birthday and she didn't really have
a request, but I know she likes capers so I made spinach
ravioli with lemon-caper sauce. With it, I served salad,
chinese pea pods with tarragon, and mashed potatoes and yams
with roasted garlic.

Shall we begin?

Ravioli

I bought sheets of fresh spinach pasta at Lotsa Pasta, a local
pasta shop and restaurant. It's a really good place, that
happens to serve timpano -- inspired by the movie _Big Night_,
which you should go see, if you haven't already. I prepared
the spinach the same way I did for lasagna -- rinsed, steamed,
pressed, drained, chopped in the food processor. I added just
enough ricotta so that you could taste it, but the stuff was
still pretty much the same color as spinach. I salted and
peppered to taste. To stuff the ravioli:

Lay a sheet flat. Score it lightly every two inches with the
back of a knife -- north-south and east-west. Put a blob of
stuffing in the middle of each square. Paint a little water
along the lines and around the edged. Lay another sheet on
top. Press down between blobs and seal. Cut along seals.

I think I didn't put enough stuffing in each of mine. I used
about half a teaspoon but I think more would fit and they were
a little flat.

For the sauce, I used equal parts white wine and lemon juice --
about five lemons worth. I heated it on the stove in a pan and
added two tablespoons butter and a lot of capers, maybe four or
five tablespoons. I heated it to just boiling. Then I added
about a half cup non-fat sour cream. You could use more or
less; it only serves to thicken the sauce. You could also use
whipping cream instead, if your arteries can take it, but I
find the non-fat sour cream works real well as a thickener and
richener for cream sauces. I heated that to just boiling and
served it over the ravioi, which I boiled for about ten
minutes.

Salad

Regular stuff. For the dressing, Mom's dill dressing: 2/3 pint
(non-fat) sour cream, 1/3 pint (non-fat) mayonaise, juice of
one lemon, two garlic cloves, several tablespoons dried dill
weed (taste to figure out how much but if you let it sit over
night the dill gets stronger, so account for that). Put all
ingredients in a blender and puree. I also add a whole (cut in
8-10 chunks) peeled cucumber; my addition to the recipe.

Pea Pods

Steamed. Tossed with a little margerine and sprinkled with
dried tarragon. I actually found a recipe recently with more
ingredients that I'll try next time, but this was simple and
good.

Potatoes

Straight from "Bon Apetite"

8 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 lbs russets, peeled, 2 inch pieces
1 1/2 lbs red sweet potatoes, peeled, 2 inch pieces

1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 generous tsp minced fresh rosemary (1/2 tsp dried)
6 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan

Drizzle oil on garlic, bake at 350 for 25 minutes (or until
soft) in heatproof dish (not metal). Cool, peel, reserve oil.

Boil all potatoes in salted water 25 minutes (or until tender).
Drain, saving 1 cup of liquid.

Mash potatoes, milk, butter, rosemary, garlic, reserved oil.
Thin to desired consistency with reserved cooking liquid. Mix
in half the parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon
potatoes into 8x8x2 buttered glass baking dish. Sprinkle with
remaining cheese. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover. Let
stand at room temperature)

Bake at 350 uncovered until heated through and golden on top,
about 45 minutes.

I hope I didn't forget anything.

Talk to you soon,

Bruce