Hello, Friends! This has been a whirlwind week- I can’t even believe how quickly it went by. I guess that since the snow finally started to melt, it was time to get down to business! I welcomed two new clients this week, and I’m super excited about bringing fresh, delicious foods into their homes and helping to ease their workloads. I also made a new connection with Cook’s Warehouse- a store I totally love and a crew that completely impressed me with their warmth and good nature. Before I knew it, it was time to hop on a plane to see my mama in sunny Florida. Well, it rained a little bit today, but I wore flip flops and a sundress all day, and it was 78 degrees and sunny at 5:00. I’ll take it!
I’ve been truly embracing the warm weather, boardwalk pizza and tonight’s masterpiece of beef bourguignon, butternut squash risotto, and roasted broccoli. I did bring my camera- but no camera cord… so you’ll have to wait for the pictures of that deliciousness. And while I should be sleeping (like Adam and my mom are) so I’ll be bright eyed and bushy tailed tomorrow morning for our Farmer’s Market, biker beach expedition, I am thinking about food, and wanting to share with you!
Last I wrote, I was just freshly freed from the snowpocalypse. After being snowed in for so long, I was elated to restock my kitchen with fresh herbs, citrus, onions, garlic, and peppers- my basic building blocks for cooking.
I couldn’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get into the kitchen. I had the pressing urge to make a giant pot of tomato sauce- the kind with tons of beautiful veggies giving it richness and depth.
Somehow, cooking something that full of love made me feel all recovered from the snow week. And this sauce found its way into a calzone that would make an Italian nonna proud, I think. Well, I know it would have made my Bubbie and my Memere proud!
As I’ve mentioned before, my husband worked in pizza shops for many years. It’s one of my favorite fringe benefits of marrying that man! Yes, he’s super kind and funny and great lookin’- but this man can also sling pizza dough like those experts in the contests who throw it over their heads!
So one day, it all started like this…with flour, yeast, and water. So simple.
And became 4 beautiful, almost perfectly round pizza doughs. (Forgive me, the dough slinging photos are at home.) We used one right away to make a white pizza, and froze the other three doughs to create a base to an amazingly authentic, chewy- crusted, Italian wonder of a meal any night of the week.
This particular night, we decided to make a big calzone, full of fresh spinach, chicken sausage, a mix of basil, oregano, and parsley, and provolone cheese- for some nice bite.
I love the hot chicken sausage from our Farmer’s Market. It’s totally inexpensive- you can get three links for just over $2. It has way fewer calories and grams of fat than traditional pork sausage does, and it pairs perfectly with fresh basil.
I browned them in a pan and then sliced them into rounds. Another option would be removing the casing and cooking the ground sausage as you would cook ground beef.
Next, we pressed out the dough to accommodate our toppings and loaded her up.
And then I ladled on some of my sauce that had been simmering for a few hours.
And then, we closed her up and Adam did a simple little twist to tie up her loose ends, which seems like a pizza guy trick to me.
Into the hot oven and onto a pizza stone- which really does make a difference in the texture of your crust- she went until she was golden brown.
Yesssss!!! My mouth is watering just looking back at that photo. Mmm.
And this calzone stood on her own two feet. No sides- just straight up calzone goodness. The crust had just the right amount of chew- crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside- like a real New York bagel. (If you are EVER in New York City, you must go to Murray’s Bagels. Best. Bagel. Ever. Then you’ll know what I’m talking about here.) The simplicity of the fresh spinach, the slightly spicy, robust sausage, and the sharp creaminess of the provolone played so nicely with the subtly sweet, herbacious, veggie-packed, garlic boasting tomato sauce. Love and happiness.
The sauce bubbled on the stove all afternoon, sending amazing smells into the neighborhood, and the 500 degree oven warmed up our kitchen on a cold night.
So I hope you’re keeping warm too- by location or by cooking up a storm in your own kitchen.
I’ll say hi to the ocean for you.