Thursday, August 26, 2010

calzones n crafts

Hello friends!

I’m in training for Americorps this week (and it is going AWESOMELY thus far!). As such, I do not have the time or mental wherewithal to blog. So I’m going with some prefab ones I wrote earlier in the month when I had more free time! Updates to come!

So we had sausage, and we had peppers, but sausage and peppers has been done… and I was thinking ahead to busy nights (more stockpiling!). Going to cookinglight.com and putting in “sausage peppers” yielded me several bits of inspiration. The one I ultimately went with? Calzones.

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There’s this hole-in-the-wall Italian American place near us, and nothing in my childhood gave me more joy than going there and getting their spinach and artichoke calzone. Crikey it is good.

This was, however, my first time making them.

The CL recipe had a white flour crust and I knew I could do better than that. Furthermore, I was using pork sausage instead of chicken, and had less of it (but that’s okay since pork sausage has way more flavor) so anyway, ultimately I consulted several recipes (this at recessionipes and this at veganchef for crust, and this at Cooking Light on filling) and ultimately created my own.

Beginning with the crust- the original recipe told you to combine the ingredients for the crust in a food processor. But for the first step (yeast, water, and oil) I winced at the thought of a harsh metal blade going through delicate yeast. So I just kind of stirred them together.

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And then was like wait, durr, you have a dough attachment for your food processor! That soft plastic blade you’ve been ignoring all these years! And then I put that in and used it to mix in the flour and make the dough and wow- I am in love with the food processor dough attachment. The dough came together perfectly, effortlessly, and goo-free!

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While it did its thing, I got on the filling. I had more of that local pork sausage, but (no big surprise) for me a calzone filling is mostly about the veggies! In my case, scads of fresh local peppers, along with mushrooms and onions.

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Complete with browned pork sausage, arabiatta sauce, and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.

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I got my dough into proper calzone blobs…

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Set up my assembly station, where I rolled out and then stuffed my calzones one by one…

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And baked them in a steaming hot oven until the house smelled so good I couldn’t take it anymore.

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As for the rest of them- more freezer stockpiling! It’s always a good idea to put reheating directions with the food.

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Whole Wheat Sausage and Pepper Calzones

Inspired by this recipe at recessionipes and this recipe at veganchef, and this recipe at Cooking Light

Dough:
1 1/3 cup warm water
3 T olive oil
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt

Filling:
1  teaspoon  olive oil
9 oz pork sausage, casing removed, cut in ¼ inch slices
3  cups  thinly sliced red bell pepper (about 3)
1/2  cup  chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2  garlic cloves, minced
1 cup shredded 2% mozzarella cheese
1/2  cup  arrabiatta sauce (or whatever tomato sauce you have around)
2  tablespoons  grated fresh Parmesan cheese

In a food processor, place the warm water, olive oil, and yeast, and gently stir together. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes or until foamy. Add flour and salt, and process, using the dough hook, 1 minute or until the dough comes together to form a ball. Transfer the dough to a floured board and knead it for 5-7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, transfer the ball of dough to the bowl, and roll the dough around the inside of the bowl to coat. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave the dough to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

To make filling, heat 1 tsp oil on medium-high in a large nonstick skillet. Brown sausage to render fat, remove sausage and set in separate bowl. Remove all but 1 tsp fat. Add pepper, onion, garlic, and mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Cool mixture slightly. Add vegetables and remaining ingredients to sausage mixture; stir.

After dough has doubled in size, punch it down, and turn it back out onto the floured board. Knead a few times, place the bowl over the top of the dough, and rest for 20 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece of dough to a 6-inch circle. Place 1/8 of filling on one half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Brush a little water around the edge of each circle. Fold the dough over to enclose filling, crimp edges closed with your fingers, and then fold up the edges 1/2-inch. Transfer the calzones to a non-stick sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden. Allow the calzones to cool a few minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 Calzones

Any calzones you plan on eating later (not the night you make them) should be frozen prior to baking. Then when you’re ready to eat them, bake at 450 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Speaking of do-it-yourself types, I arrived home the other day to find the cutest package waiting for me:

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Background: my friend Edward’s mom is a great cook and an all-around crafty person (she runs a knitting site and is apparently a local celebrity as a result of it; I heard people in the church choir talking about her in reverential terms). I told her about my blog and now she is a fan! So cute.

The attached notes said:

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Followed by:

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And finally:

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I had shown her my moo.com business cards, which I got through my membership in foodbuzz, and I totally love. She had decided to get some for herself!

How cute is this?

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And her info, should you want to check out that legendary knitting site!

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As for the attached paper, it had yummy looking Oaxacan recipes I want to make ASAP!

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International readers- courgettes are zucchini, yes?

2 comments:

Unplanned Cooking said...

So great that you'll be a part of Americorps. Congrats! It's a great program.

From Here to There. In Purple. said...

i'm soo glad the training is going well! you deserve ntohing but the best :)