For our anniversary, we couldn’t decide what to do. We figured we’d eat at home, so I decided to make something a little out of the ordinary. I made two different kinds of calzones, and they were both pretty delicious.
The meaty version was a Philly Cheese Steak Calzone. I grilled a strip steak, sliced it up thinly, sauteed onion and green peppers and topped it all off with provolone cheese.
The veggie version was spinach, cheese and mushroom. I sauteed the spinach with some garlic and squeezed it dry. Then I mixed the spinach with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. These ingredients alone would be perfect, but I added some sauteed mushrooms.
I tried a new recipe for dough, and I liked it a lot. It rose well and was incredibly easy to roll out and make the calzones. The only issue we had was that we had to break out the steak knives to cut through the bottom of the calzone. Other than that, the dough had a good chew and good flavor.
I doubled the dough recipe and only baked 6 calzones for dinner and for leftovers this weekend. I made the other 6 dough balls into calzones and froze them to thaw out and eat later. It is so nice to have homemade meals in the freezer. As long as you can remember to put them in the fridge the morning before you plan to enjoy them, kitchen time is cut to a minimum….as is clean up!
The recipe for the dough came from My Kitchen Cafe. It is a French dinner roll recipe used as calzone dough, so I will probably try it for rolls at some point. You make the dough as you would for the rolls, but divide the dough into about 6 pieces after the first rise for the calzones.
Now, on to the cake. I had planned for us to eat my Daring Bakers July dessert for our anniversary. But when Ben got home from work he had a lovely pink box with him that contained this beautiful cake!
It was such a great surprise. The cake was made by Cara Linn Cakes in Amarillo. I took a cake decorating class from her a few months ago. She is a great teacher, and is incredibly talented. I am so pleased to have someone like her in Amarillo. If you are a fan of the Food Network challenges, then you may have seen Alisa Strauss on a few of the cake challenges. Cara interned for her in New York, before opening her own store. If you’re not impressed by this, you should be!
The cake not only looked beautiful, it tasted even better. The cake itself was a dense vanilla that was sweet and delicious, but not a fake sweet like cake mixes and most bakery cakes. The buttercream was strawberry, that had actual pieces of strawberry in it. Yum. The fondant that covers the cake is unique in that it looks smooth and beautiful and it tastes good! Cara changed my opinion of fondant.
If you are in need of a cake, cupcakes, or other sweet treats, please call Cara. She was a huge help to my husband when he ordered the cake and she does an incredible job. The cake classes are well worth your time and money. I had such a fun time and I learned a lot. You also get to take your cake creation home!
Read on for the calzone recipes.
Calzone Dough (French Bread Rolls)
From My Kitchen Cafe
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes OR mix with the bread dough hook on your mixer for about 8 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down, turn out onto a floured surface and divide into 6 equally sized pieces. Place on a cookie sheet, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Roll each piece out into an 8-10 inch diameter circle. Place desired fillings onto half of the circle, leaving an edge. Fold over and pinch edges to seal.
- Bake according to recipe instructions.
Philly Cheese Steak Calzone
- 16 ounces deli roast beef, thinly sliced OR one strip steak, grilled and thinly sliced
- 1 medium yellow onions, cut in half and sliced into thin half moons
- 1 green peppers, sliced thinly
- 8 ounces provolone cheese, grated or thinly sliced
- 1 recipe calzone dough
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring now and then, until the onions begin to become translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the peppers and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender and most of the liquid has cooked off, about another 3-5 minutes.
- Toss in the roast beef and cook until the beef is warmed through (if there is still a lot of liquid left in the skillet from adding the roast beef, either drain the liquid or cook until the liquid evaporates). Take the skillet off the heat.
- Put meat mixture in center of each dough round, top with cheese, fold over, press together and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
Spinach, Mushroom and Cheese Calzones
Courtesy of Tyler Florence, Food Network
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound baby spinach, washed and dried
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- Salt and pepper
- 15 ounces ricotta (low fat is fine)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 egg
- 1 recipe calzone dough
- In a saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add the spinach, season, and continue to cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a colander and squeeze out the excess liquid. If necessary, drain the ricotta in a sieve to remove excess moisture also. Calzone filling should be fairly dry.
- Saute mushrooms in a bit of olive oil until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Combine spinach, cheeses, egg, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. If you don’t have a stone, simply grease a baking pan. Roll or spread the dough discs into 10-inch circles, leave the dough slightly thick so that the filling will not ooze out.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup of the filling onto 1 side of the dough round, then top with some of the mushrooms. Be careful not to over-stuff the calzone.
- Fold dough over to enclose the filling and form a large turnover. Roll up the edges with your fingers to close tightly and prevent leaking.
- Cut a few slashes in the top to allow steam to escape during baking and brush with egg wash if desired. Repeat with remaining rounds.
- Sprinkle a pizza peel (or prepared baking pan) with cornmeal and carefully transfer the calzones to the oven.
- Bake directly on pizza stone for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.