Friday, March 25, 2011

RECIPE: Simple Pepperoni Calzone

This calzone is easy enough to throw together in 30 minutes and you'll be a hero in your kitchen! Once you crack it open you smell the metled cheese, the yummy herbs that add such flavor and, and... you want to make this!

This post is to celebrate having my camera back! For the last 5 months I've been using an "old camera" (a semi-broken, duct-taped together older camera)... but I keep it around for posterity sake. It was my first digital camera ... and it inhabits a soft spot in my heart.

THAT SAID, I'm once again getting used to this camera and feel the need to apologize for some of the blurryness (even though it's only in a picture or two). Pardon me, just getting reacquainted after 5 months...

However, my camera issues didn't keep me from being a hero in the kitchen tonight!

Here's where I started: prepared pizza dough, some dried herbs, crumbled bacon, pepperoni, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses and some garlic-infused olive oil.

But first preheat your oven... to 425 degrees F.

Mix together the cheeses, herbs, bacon and a pinch of red pepper flakes (not pictured here). Toss in the crumbled bacon.

Roll out the prepared pizza dough to about 12-14 inches (on a lightly floured surface).

Note on the pizza dough: I bought it at Trader Joe's, already prepared. It's sold in the refrigerated section (near the cheeses). And they sell both "plain" and "whole wheat". Tonight we went with the plain...

Pile the filling on one half of the dough (spreading it out evenly), top with pepperoni, leaving at least an inch of dough at the edge of the crust.

Drizzle with some of the garlic-infused olive oil and pull the other half of the dough over the filling.

Crimp the edges together and curl the dough under slightly.

Transfer calzone to a broiler pan and drizzle/brush on a little more garlic-infused olive oil.

Bake in a 425 degrees F oven, on a rack positioned in the middle of the oven, until it puffs up nicely and browns (about 18-20 minutes).

Remove from broiler pan with a pizza peel and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. And it doesn't hurt to grate some fresh parmesan over the top... right?!

Cut it into a few pieces and serve up... but more than that, ENJOY!

You'll be the hero too!

Simple Calzone
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup ricotta
½ cup bacon, crumbled
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Red pepper flakes, pinch
handful of pepperoni (about 18-20 slices)
1 store bought pizza dough
2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F; position rack in middle of oven. Toss together mozzarella cheese, ricotta, herbs, bacon and red pepper flakes. Unroll dough onto a lightly-floured flat surface. Roll dough out to at least 12-14 inch diameter. Mound filling on one half of dough; leaving 1 inch of dough around the edge. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil and top with pepperoni. Fold dough over and crimp dough together; fold edges of dough under to create soft edge.

Transfer calzone to broiler pan or pizza stone. Bake until dough puffs and browns slightly, about 20 minutes. Brush with other tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil. Transfer to a pizza peel (or cutting board) and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before cutting into 4 pieces and serving.

NOTE TO SELF: Next time I make this use meatballs inside of this! Yum!!!

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Step 1 to homemade Limoncello

Have YOU ever had limoncello? I first enjoyed this after a meal at a ristorante in a back-alley in Florence, Italy. The aperitif is said to clean the palate and leave the belly warm as you stroll through the streets at night...

Yes, it's THAT romantic. And ever since then I've had a small bottle of Villa Massa limoncello in my freezer.

So, let's try making it at home...

Here is where I started after researching dozens of recipes...

Step 1:

- Combine 750 ml bottle of vodka and 750 ml bottle of Everclear (tasteless grain alcohol) in a container with a lid, at least the size of a gallon.
- Add rinds from 15 large organic lemons (unwaxed, scrubbed clean with a vegetable brush). You will want to use the lemons with thick, bright skin that are mostly free of flaws/nicks.

Using a swivel peeler is the best (it will peel off just the skin)... but if you don't have one of those you can use a knife. Just make sure to skim the white off the back of the skin with a knife...

Note on peeling lemons... if you are using a knife you will most likely need to remove the white pith on the back of it. You don't want any of that white pith - it makes the drink bitter.

So, just keep peeling those lemons... one by one. And add the rinds to the alcohol. Below are the rinds from one lemon.

(It was at about this moment that I realized I needed a larger container. Hence, the different container in the next few pics.)

Yes, this is a labor of love... and believe me, it's very worth it! Keep peeling...

And of course, once you've peeled the lemons you will want to juice them. I poured mine into ice cube trays and threw them in the freezer. Summer's a comin'...

Where do I go from here?
What are the next steps?
How long does this process take?

Once I add the Everclear (tomorrow), I will transfer the fluids to a larger container (with a tight lid) and set it aside in a cool/dark place. Every two weeks I will gently stir the mixture. After 5-6 weeks I will test the lemon rinds.

How to test the rinds? Remove a rind and bend it in half... if it snaps apart like a crisp potato chip then it's time to move to the next step. The lemon rinds will impart a most beautiful flavor without sourness or bitterness ... just enough tartness to make it fabulous!

But it's a slow process. So what's the next step? After these 30-40 days there will be another 30-40 days in the process. Like I said, it's a labor of love. I can't wait to try this during the summer...

Follow along with me?

Stay tuned... you won't regret it...

AND, I'm also making this with grapefruit...

Can't wait... I can't wait!

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

RECIPE: Southwest Dressing from a certain (unnamed) Brewhouse

Let it be known:
1) I searched high and low for this recipe online.
2) I couldn't find it online.
3) I frequented this Brewhouse's establishment a number of times and will continue to do so happily.
4) I fully understand that I probably should not have this recipe.
5) I am not being paid by anyone to share this secret.

And yet I will refrain from releasing the name of the locale. But they brew beer (and root beer) and make deep dish pizzas and some really good cookies for dessert... and they just opened a joint here in town. They serve this sauce with a few of their dishes (southwest spring rolls and fish tacos, for instance) ... and I just knew I had to figure out how to make this so I could enjoy it at home.

I ate at their location several times... going back over and over again just to taste the dressing (oh yeah, and to enjoy it on their fish tacos).

And then I just had to ask. And I finally found someone to share the ingredients of their recipe. (Thank you, my unnamed friend at this unnamed Brewhouse.)

But leading up to that moment I made my own versions of this sauce at home... at least 5 times. And each time I made it I got farther and farther away from the actual ingredients.

Here's how simple it is...

4 easy ingredients: prepared "ranch dressing", chili powder, ground cumin and cayenne pepper.

I used about 2/3 cup ranch dressing, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper. (But you can add more cayenne if you like things spicy.)

Give it a whisk and serve with just about anything... it can be used on fish tacos, chicken quesadillas, taco salads, a southwest burger... use your imagination.

You can thank me later...

Dear Legal Dept at unnamed Brewhouse... I apologize in advance if this should have remained some sort of secret. I couldnt' help myself. Your product is so good... I just had to share it.

Can you blame me?!

enjoy your time in the kitchen...


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