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Nov 14, 2008 12:52 PM

Tomorrow Night's dinner


Ravioli with Sweet Potatoes, Mustard Greens and Country Ham

Fresh Pork Leg with Maker's Mark Sauce
Savory Leek Bread Pudding

Green Salad Vinaigrette

Ginger Date Pudding Cakes with Rum Walnut Toffee Sauce

I have made a small crock of country ham and bourbon pate and have some duck rillettes a chunk of Italian Fontina for nibbling on before dinner. I am thinking about a champagne and pomegranate punch to go with that while we are getting last minute prep done instead of cocktails. Anyone have any other suggestions or should I go polish my punch bowl and ladle?

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  1. That sounds lovely Candy. Would love to know where your pate recipe is from. I have to say, though, that that punch doesn't really appeal to me with the wonderful 'nibbles' you have planned - I think they are too heavy for that kind of punch. What about some kind of bourbon based cocktail? I'm not too up on cocktails, or I'd make an actual suggestion for you. I'm doing a small Vietnamese dinner tomorrow night - trying out some new dishes, as well as those Ssam pork buns.

    Edit - I went and looked at Stitt's book as I recall their being some nice cocktails there, but nothing really hit me - unless you felt like doing mint juleps!

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      His Orange Thang is tasty. The Ham Pate is a snap.

      1 lb. cured country ham, trimmed of fat
      1/2 C. bourbon
      1/2 water
      2 sticks unsalted butter
      3 Tbs. bourbon

      Put the trimmed ham in a small oven safe pot, add water and bourbon. Cover and place in a 350F. oven for 25 mins. Drain and place in food processor and add butter and process until smooth. Add the 3 Tbs. bourbon mix quickly and let it stand covered 24 hours in the fridge. Bring to room temp before serving. Serve with toast points or a neutrally flavored cracker. That is it.

      The punch I was considering is here:

      The dessert is from The Sweet Spot by G. Ko. I think that was last month's dessert cookbook of the month.

      1. re: Candy

        Thanks for that recipe - I'm going to try it. Any particular ham that you like to use? I looked at that recipe, and it doesn't look like there is too much pomegranate in it ... and, yes, the Orange Thang sounded good too.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I use Broadbents. Their sausage is to die for too. Intensely porky, coarser than other commercially produced sausages, smoked and a bit spicy. Makes great cornbread sausage dressing. Of course I sell it too.

    2. That sounds wonderful. I'd thought champagne would go well with that, so I think the punch would be perfect. Is the ravioli stuffed with sweet potates, mustard greens and ham, or on the side of? If it's stuffed with it, how do you do it?

      17 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        the filling for the ravis is mashed sweets. They are served with the collards and country ham strips and a bit of the cooking liquid and some good parm. on top. The recipe is in Frank Stitt's Highlands Grill cookbook. As a first course I am planning on 4-5 ravis per person. If you e-mail me at I'll send you the recipe.

        1. re: Candy

          That's a clever idea--pairing the sweet potatoes with the ham and collard greens that way. Now you have me thinking of making sweet potato gnocchi, pan fried, with ham and greens. Your guests/friends are lucky--the menu sounds great and I'm sure you'll be putting in a lot of time to make it just right.

          1. re: chowser

            The finished sweet potato ravis. They were good. Would have been a bit better with homemade pasta but the person preparing them ran out of time. I'll make them again. We forgot to photo the dessert, too bad because that was a show stopper. Definitely a do again.

            1. re: Candy

              Those look beautifully light. I've never managed to get my ravioli that thin w/out falling apart. I did try to e-mail you but it was kicked back to me. But your menu has got me thinking of doing some version sweet potato pasta with ham and collard greens. Did you go with the punch? I'm thinking of that with Christmas dinner. I've been making cranberry simple syrup (very pretty w/ the cranberries floating) but want to do something different this year.

              1. re: chowser

                I bought a Norpro ravioli form from Wms-Sonoma and it works great. Try it and if you don't like it, it's easy to return items to them.

                1. re: walker

                  My problem is more in getting the dough thin enough w/our ripping. I've considered ravioli forms but they seem like one function items and I don't have space for many of those. I'll have to check out the Norpro, though--maybe something to put on my Christmas list.

                  1. re: chowser

                    This year I taught myself how to make pasta. Marcella Hazan's recipe calls for unbleached flour and eggs. I use half 00 and half unbleached, about 2 eggs per 1 1/2 cups flour, some salt - other recipes call for a bit of olive oil -- I usually add some. After kneading 10 minutes or so, I wrap in plastic wrap and leave on counter about an hour.

                    Recently I bought the pasta making attachment for Kitchenaid and I wish I'd done that long ago -- so nice. I watched some videos on internet on using it. I've done the thinnest setting for ravioli but think I might try next to thinnest next time. The form I bought I Sur La Tabla I returned because it was a bit wider than my sheets -- the Norpro works so much better. I know what you mean about space issues, but it's about as long as a ruler and about 4 inches wide. It costs a bit less than $25.

                    1. re: walker

                      I've seriously considered the pasta attachment for the kitchenaid. It would eliminate the need to have a third hand. I haven't used the half 00 flour for pasta but have been reading about it on the boards. I use the same ratio, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs and use a combination of semolina and unbleached, King Arthurs. I do it next to thinnest on my Atlas (I think it's 6) and it's fine for linguine type. I was impressed with how thin the one's in Candy's picture is but it makes sense that they used gyoza wrappers. The problem I'm running into is limiting the number of things I want--from pizza peel to pasta attachments.

                      1. re: chowser

                        I've been thinking about buying one too - I've never made fresh pasta .....

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          It is not tricky, it just takes patience. I used to make it all by hand with an antique pasta pin. Talk about work! About 30 years ago I got an Ampia at Macy's in Albany. I was in heaven. Atlas is more versatile but my little Ampia is still going strong. Luckily I have a large kitchen island and can make the clamp work on it. I did succumb to a KA pasta extruder...anyone want one cheap? I used it once and never bothered with it again. I'll buy my pasta tubes and the like.

                          1. re: Candy

                            Yes, I've read not to get the extruder; never really yearned for it. But, the 3 piece kitchenaid thing I got is really great. Mario Batali was using it on Oprah plus I've seen other videos on youtube, etc.

                            MMRuth -- it would have been easier for me if someone had been in my kitchen teaching me but I practiced and I did it. I mix it by hand since Marcella likes this best and then make sheets with pasta attachment for kitchenaid.(I got it from Amazon). I really no longer want my hand crank one -- crank kept falling out onto the wood floor.

                            Once, with a lot of effort, I made fresh spinach pasta sheets and I thought it was a bit slimy and no special flavor and I don't think I'd bother doing that again. I do think the fresh pasta lasagna is terrific and fresh fettucine with home made pesto is divine. I've read you can freeze the fresh uncooked pasta but I haven't tried that yet. Most recipes I've seen nix the semolina -- I just use a fine one to put the ravioli on to keep from sticking while drying out some.

                2. re: chowser

                  Sorry my error. it should have been What was used instead of conventional homemade pasta were commercially made gyoza wrappers, a great time saver. I have made pasts that thin, it takes my pasta machine to roll the pasts that thin.

                  1. re: Candy

                    I love using gyoza or won ton wrappers but assumed you'd only roll your own. I feel less guilty knowing that even you use some short cuts. :-) I've tried rolling my own pasta dough that thin but it rips as I put it together so I tend to go one setting thicker.

                    1. re: chowser

                      It just takes time and patience. After putting the dough together in my processor, I let it rest about an hour under a bowl. Then I start with my pasta rollers at the thickest setting and start rolling it through (I divide the dough into quarters and work with one quarter at a time) initially the dough will shred. Just be patient, Fold it up and give it another go or two. It will smooth out. Then go to the next setting and go through the whole thing again. keep repeating until you get to the thick/iness you want.

                      This dinner was a group effort and i told the person making the ravis to use her own discretion on how she wanted to do them. We all work, 3 of us in the kitchen shop. Sometimes time is a deciding factor. I've used the Gyoza wrappers many times. I think if is works go for it. There are not a lot of shortcuts I take but that is one of them. I really do enjoy making passta though but I have to plan a day around it, kind of like making your own puff pastry. I frequently opt to have Dufour in my freezer ready to use after defrosting. That really does take a day.

                      1. re: Candy

                        I think I need to let the dough rest longer. It's hard to plan a whole day around making pasta. When I make long pasta, I cut it so I don't have to deal w/ the long strands of dough (no longer than 18") and I never roll it to thin enough thickness that I can see through it because it rips. I need three hands (rolling, holding pasta on one side, and guiding it out on the other). What I want is an Italian grandmother to show me the right way to do it.

                        I like Dufours but it's expensive compared to Trader Joe's artisanal puff pastry with the same ingredients. I've never tried them side by side but I'm happy with the results when I use TJ's. I like the process of cooking but am time (and energy) constrained and do what I can.

                        1. re: chowser

                          The closest TJ's is an hour and a half away. getting Dufour takes me 10 mins tops. Whole Foods is about 2 hours. If there is something good i can get locally I'd rather keep my money in town.

                          1. re: Candy

                            We live in alternate universes.:-) I'd rather keep my money in town, at small vendors, but locally, TJ and Whole Foods (which is where I can get Dufours) are closer.