Saturday, October 12, 2013

Green with Envy

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I've been on a calzone-making kick for about six months.  When I discovered it was an easy way to get Roman to eat greens, calzone became part of my dinner rotation.  I love picking him up from school and hearing his excitement when I tell him what's for dinner.  

Calzone are also great for lunch, even at room temperature, when we're too busy playing outside in the beautiful Fall weather to come home. A woman at the park asked me where I had bought them, and when I replied I had made them, she acted like I was bragging (no judgement, but her own child was enjoying a Happy Meal). "This is what I do, I can teach you, if you want" I told her, playing it down.  There is a perception that making your own dough is hard.  Time consuming, maybe, but hard, not particularly.  It all depends on what you want to do with your time.

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Lately, I've been putting more energy into making things from scratch.  If you read labels, even when you think you're buying something "healthy," there are still a lot of additives, and usually I don't know what they are or why they are in there.  I love the control of preparing something myself, even if it means coming home an hour early from the park, or a few extra dishes to wash.  It's worth it to me.  And secretly, well, maybe part of me enjoys being called a show off.  There are worse things, for sure.

Healthy Green Calzone
Makes 6 large calzone.
I adapted this recipe from one my mother used to make.  She used ricotta and spinach, which is creamy and decadent.  Lately, I have been using 4% cottage cheese, and a trio of spinach, kale and broccoli.  It makes me a little giddy to see Roman gobble it up.  He loves to dip his in marinara or pasta sauce.

The dough:
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the yeast, water and honey in a large bowl.  Stir, then let it sit for 5 minutes.
Beat in salt and flours.  Use a wooden spoon until it is too thick to mix, then turn it out onto a floured countertop.  Knead until smooth, about 3 - 5 minutes.
Grease the same large bowl with olive oil.  Return the dough to the bowl and make turn the dough to coat it with olive oil.  Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Prepare the filling while the dough rises.

Punch the dough to deflate it and turn it out onto the floured countertop.  
Divide it into 6 equal parts and knead each part into a ball.  
Roll each ball into a circle about 1/8 inch thick.  Place 1/6 of the filling onto one side of the circle.  Bring the other side of the dough over the top of the filling and seal the edges, pressing down with the tines of a fork.  Prick the top with a fork to allow steam to release while cooking.  Place it on a greased baking tray.

Bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees and serve, with marinara or pasta sauce for dipping.


The filling:
1/2 a yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
3 cups of fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into tiny pieces (I did not use the stalk).
1 cup of kale, center stalk removed, finely chopped
1 cup 4% cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan

In a large pan, heat some olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes over medium heat.  Add the greens and 1/4 cup water and cover.  Cook until the greens wilt, then uncover the pan to evaporate the water.  Turn off the heat and add the cheeses.  


3 comments:

  1. Looks like a great recipe - I think it is going on the menu for this week - have been getting kale in the CSA box. We recently got a dough hook for our Kitchen Aid Mixer and that definitely helps making your own dough go quicker. Still homemade, but not quite as daunting. And don't worry - I would definitely have raised my eyebrows at the fast food! ;)

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  2. I agree, it is always better to prepare from scratch, even if it is not always possible. Although, it probably even is always possible, it really is just a matter of organizing one's time better or differently. This is actually a great vehicle for greens... thanks for the inspiration.

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  3. I love making things from scratch too! And is often so much easier than people imagine!

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