School breaks can get a little lonely around here; everyone else is still working, and I haven't established strong social ties to the community at my program yet. Plus, on top of everything else, I'm a terrible hermit. My breaks are centered on long lists of things I want to get done in order to be a happy, well-rounded, and satisfied person for the next three months in which there will be no time for creative expression, gardening, or home repairs - and while it makes me rather productive and satisifed with life in general while in grad school (I recently received an email from the president of a graduate student body in my field that described our education as "the horror of graduate school"; I not only disagree with the sentiment but also am rather taken aback by such negative language!), it does leave me rather lonely at times.
I've found that putting time and consideration into the small rituals of the day is a good way to remind myself that this time off is a luxury, even if I'm alone. It seems to help put things in proper perspective. So, one day, I cooked the last of the salmon raviolis (recipe below), and served it up with leftover salad (greens, half a plum, sliced, and a small handful of toasted walnuts tossed in a dressing of equal parts walnut oil and mirin, with a bit of dried thyme, and salt and pepper) and some leftover beets (tossed in a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, with grated lemon zest) topped with a bit of chevre we had in the fridge. And nice big glass of water. I put on some Bach (performed by the lovely Lara St. John) and lingered long over lunch and Stoker's Dracula.
And life is good again. Yes, I know, I'm easy to please.
1 package fresh pasta sheets, or about 40 wonton wrappers (I bought fresh lasagne noodles and cut them to the size I wanted; no measuring really necessary)
approximately 6 oz. salmon fillet, skinned, boned, and chopped
1/6 c. creme fraiche or sour cream
2 (heaping) Tbl ricotta (I used part-skim)
1/4-1/2 tsp wasabi powder (I used a heaping 1/4 tsp, but wish I had used more.)
1 Tbl chopped fresh dill
mix filling ingredients together. Place a bit of filling on a square of pasta or wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in the cold water and wet the edges of the square. Wet the edges of another square and press over the first. The water will make these edges sticky/gluey so that they will seal together better. Try not to trap too much air between the sheets, but avoid pressing down on the filling and making it ooze out between the layers. Press gently with the tines of a fork to help further "seal" edges, being careful not to press too hard and punch holes in the pasta.
I placed all of my raviolis on a baking sheet that I'd lightly coated with a dusting of semolina flour. I cooked some of them right away (6-8 minutes in boiling water on the stove), but the rest I put in the fridge. The fridge helps to dehydrate them a bit, which I find make them hold up better when they cook, so it's actually my preferred approach to refrigerate them for 8-12 hours before cooking, if possible.
The original recipe served these in a cream sauce, but I like them better (and it's easier on my stomach) served with a light drizzling of olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper.