Calzone madness

6 Apr

So I was chatting with a friend, and being a foodie, the topic turned to food.  My friend mentioned that his daughter made calzones for dinner, and that they were darn good.  Well that seed sure took root, and a few days later, I knew that even though I have never attempted this dish, I was going to jump in and try it.   After all, I gotta showcase my culinary talents for my teenagers in common ways, and not always show off my sheesheefoofoolala side!  But when you are getting ready to steal…eeerrrr, I mean borrow someone’s dinner idea, where does one start?

I began my calzone journey by grilling my friend for information.  How was their calzone cooked?  What was it filled with?  How did it taste?  Then I headed to the internet to not only look at recipes, but to look at pictures of calzones.  After all, you want to know what the dang thing is supposed to look like, don’t you?  I learned  quite a bit from this research.  I also took a peek into some of my cookbooks.  Being a foodie, I have loads of cookbooks and love any excuse to sit on the couch with a glass of wine to do “research” by paging through some of my wonderful cookbooks.  I was looking for not only calzones, but for inspiration of other combined Italian flavors.  I wanted to knock this one out of the ball park!

I looked at dough recipes, italian cheese combinations, sauces, and assembling procedures for pastries.   I also looked at recipes for other Italian dishes.  I tried to get my head into this dish!  After looking at a bunch of calzone recipes, I then proceeded to do what I always do.  Take a recipe and change it!  When cooking, which procedurally is almost opposite of baking, a recipe can be tinkered with.  This is how I make my recipes unique and all mine.  A recipe is simply a jumping off point.  A canvas.  Somewhere for creativity to make that first brush stroke.  Then the fun begins!

I had picked up my basic ingredients and fresh vegetables ahead of time for my big calzone experiment.  I decided to take a bit of a shortcut with my calzone  and I used store bought dough.  There are a couple of stores in my area that have fresh dough in the deli section, and I had picked some up along with my other ingredients.  Then it was off to the races.  I took ricotta cheese, and threw in some shredded parmesan and mozzarella cheese as well.  I added salt, pepper, and some basil and parsley.  Some of the recipes I looked at included a beaten egg, so I tossed that in too.  Then I got my vegetables ready to use with my cheese filling, much like pizza toppings.  It was time to roll!

I had mushrooms and bell peppers.  (I had roasted to bell peppers prior to assembling my calzones, and cut them into strips).  I rolled out my dough, then added the cheese mixture and mushrooms.  I made a second one, and added roasted pepper strips to my cheese.  The creativity was burning, and I was in a happy calzone frenzy.  I folded the dough over, crimped the edges, and gave them a fancy fork tine border.  I decided to add an egg wash to make the calzones shiny and pretty.  Then into the oven they went.  And we waited…

Success!  The calzones were delish!  Since I always try to make sauces in bulk, I had pulled some of my famous marinara sauce out of the freezer, warmed it up, and we dipped away!    Much to my surprise, when I began looking at recipes, I learned that calzones don’t have sauce in them.  The marinara sauce is for dipping, and I must say, that was a whole lot more fun!  My children loved them.   Will I make them again?  You bet…because we all want to be rock stars to our children, and one way to get there is with good food!  PS- look for my Calzone recipe on my recipe page!

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