Food/Cooking


I made sausage calzones for dinner last night. And yes, I added extra garlic. However, in my attempt to get dinner on the table quickly (for some reason, neither Patrick nor I had lunch), I completely left out a very important ingredient – mozzarella cheese! Ricotta cheese? Check. Parmesan cheese? Check. Mozzarella cheese? Doh! Thankfully I caught this error 5 minutes into the baking process. With a little skillful calzone surgery, I added the mozzarella and all was right with the world (and our calzones). They were delicious and I highly recommend the following recipe by Rachael Ray (Shh…don’t tell Patrick, because he can’t stand her!):

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 pounds raw Italian sweet sausage, casing removed
  • A drizzle olive oil
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • A handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • A handful grated Parmigiano, plus extra, for knots
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated or a couple pinches of ground
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 2 (10-ounce) tubes prepared pizza dough
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Garlic oil (1 or 2 cloves chopped and heated in 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 cups tomato, marinara or pizza sauce for dipping or Five Minute Spicy Marinara, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Brown sausage in a small skillet in a drizzle of olive oil. Transfer the cooked crumbled sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Combine sausage with ricotta, parsley, garlic, Parmigiano, nutmeg, pepper, and pimento. Roll out doughs and halve cross-wise. Place a dough rectangle on a nonstick cookie sheet. Use 1/2 cup mozzarella on half of each dough rectangle and pile a mound of filling on half of the total area. Fold dough over and pinch edges to seal. The result is a rectangular turnover.

For half-moon shaped calzones, trim excess dough. Roll dough bits into strips, tie in knots and brush with garlic oil and cheese. Garlic knots are fun to dip at the table.

Bake calzones 15 minutes or until golden all over. Serve calzones with warm tomato, marinara, or pizza sauce for dipping.

Cook’s Note: For an additional time saver, 2 packages precooked sausage crumbles, 8 ounces each, may be substituted for raw Italian sausage used in the above recipe.

Five Minute Spicy Marinara:

  • 2 tablespoons (two turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (32 ounce) can chunky style crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian dried seasoning
  • 1 handful Italian parsley leaves, chopped

Add olive oil to medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add garlic and crushed pepper to the heated olive oil; when pepper snaps and garlic sizzles, stir in crushed tomatoes. Season sauce with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook for five minutes and stir in parsley. Serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Griffin has been eating a lot lately. He doesn’t want “baby” food anymore (pureed foods, although applesauce and pureed pears are still OK). I keep telling people he really loves “real people” food, but then I realize that this makes him sound like he’s not a real person. What I mean to say is that he wants to only eat big people food. Last night he ate a cheese quesadilla. Last week he had some tilapia and green beans. He also likes grilled cheese (with provolone cheese!), papaya, and mango. And once, when he went to Sam’s Club with a group from day care, he had a sample of Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Griffin’s a real person. He’s also quite the exotic eater.

I’m supposed to be working right now, but I seem to have lost all motivation sometime around, oh, let’s say…9 AM. I will have to do some work this evening, but this totally makes me not care.

The stuffed cookies didn’t quite turn out the way I expected. They still taste quite good, but the dough was really sticky and the cookies spread out on the cookie sheet and formed one giant cookie. I was disappointed because I’ve always been quite the baker (ask anyone who has had my cheesecakes). I wonder what went wrong – I double checked the recipe and I did everything according to the directions.

Seriously, this might be the first time something like this has happened (aside form that time in high school when I made cookies that included molasses and they turned into these hard Frisbee-like disks).

I’ve intended to bake these insanely yummy looking chocolate chip cookies for a long time. They’re not just regular chocolate chip cookies – they’re stuffed cookies. Yes, that means that they are chocolate chip cookies that are stuffed with even more chocolate. I bought this book more than a month ago, but haven’t had the time to make them:

As I type this, I have the butter coming to room temperature. I hope they turn out as good as they sound (and look, although I haven’t been able to find a picture of them online). I’ll post as soon as I eat one…

The other day, Marie asked me for the recipe for the mini chocolate cakes I baked for Patrick for Valentine’s Day. So, here’s the recipe…my only advice is to be VERY careful when you invert the cakes onto a dish. The first one I did broke apart and the chocolate oozed right out…

Molten Chocolate Cakes (Kraft Foods)

4 squares BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Butter four 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflé dishes. Place on baking sheet.
MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min. or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar until well blended. Blend in eggs and egg yolks with wire whisk. Stir in flour. Divide batter among prepared custard cups.
BAKE 13 to 14 min. or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 min. Carefully run small knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto dessert dishes. Serve immediately, topped with whipped topping.

I rarely get cravings for specific foods, but when I do, I just can’t get it out of my head. Sure, I often have “a taste” for something, but an actual craving, where my mouth waters thinking about it…rarely.

I am craving chocolate cake. Layered chocolate cake. With chocolate frosting in between those layers.

Of course, this has to happen on the day I decide to give up sweets until our vacation. We’re heading to the beach in a couple of weeks and I am having that “bathing suit panic” – like holy moly, I need to put one of those on pretty soon. I’m not a dieter, but I am aware that I haven’t been eating very well lately. Gone are the days when I would cook healthy dinners. We’ve gone out to eat one too many times (and I ate like crazy on my weekend visit back home). So, just a few little tweaks here and there and I should be OK.

But I really, really want some cake…

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