November 14, 2008

Vegetable Calzones

My son and I had a tiring morning/afternoon at a local park with amusement-type children's rides. All the fresh air, sunshine, and running around made us both come home and promptly conk out. Yawn. My son is still sleeping, but I realized that I needed to get up and get some sort of dinner plan together. It is so hard for me to get motivated after a nice leisurely nap. I did not think to thaw out any protein items, so we are going to have another vegetarian night at our house.
I went back through my friend Claire's vegetarian blog posts and found this recipe. It sounds pretty good, but I think I will tweak it some based on her comments. I will probably add some spices to the dough mixture, and make a filling based on what I have on hand. It should be fairly close. I will note all my changes in the 'results' section of my post after we eat. I need to wake up and get myself together, since the dough needs to rest for an hour. I better get crackin'!

Vegetable Calzones

3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup shredded mozzarella
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine the water and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and salt in a food processor. With the machine running, scrape the yeast mixture and the egg through the feed tube; pulse until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 1 minute.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray; put the dough in the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, combine the mozzarella, ricotta, tomatoes, bell pepper, scallions, basil, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray; set aside.

Punch down the dough. Sprinkle a work surface lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the surface and cut into 6 pieces. Knead each piece lightly, then with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each into a 6-inch circle. Mound one-sixth of the cheese mixture on half of each circle, then brush the edges lightly with water. Fold the dough over the filling; crimp the edges to seal. Transfer the calzones to the baking sheet; make three 1-inch slashes on top of each with a sharp knife. Bake until golden 20-23 minutes.

The Result:
I had some calzone issues. First, my dough did not rise. Ugh. It was more like a microwaved Hot Pocket instead of yummy, doughy, soft, pillowy calzones. It could also be compared to a chewy piece of unleavened bread or something. Definitely sad. Then, I did not cut the vent slats in the top of the calzones deep enough, so they closed back up. Do you know what closed vent slats mean????? I do...CALZONE BLOW-OUTS! All the filling was out on the pan, so when you cut into the middle, you got a puff of steam from the empty Hot Pocket shell. I took a picture of the pan, so you could witness the carnage for yourself.
The sauce flavor was really good. I used mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, diced tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Very tasty and satisfying. Unfortunately, the dough issues made these calzones not that great. I would be willing to try my hand at this again, with a different dough recipe.

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