Roasted Red Pepper and Kalimata Olive Calzone

Homemade pizza is a treat.  Whether we choose a tomato based sauce or a brushing of olive oil before layering on our choice of cheese, meats, olives, or roasted vegetables, the result is a simple and delicious.  Add a green salad, and dinner is on the table.  The same goes for making calzone, except the dough is folded over filling on one side, making a plump sandwich.  Making my own dough is not difficult, but I have discovered a good time saver. At HEB I found small packages of Il Fornaio frozen dough, each enough for one 12 inch pizza or large calzone. I keep a few in my freezer. If you can’t find these in your supermarket and don’t want to make your own dough,  I have found that most pizza restaurants are happy to sell you a one pound bag of dough!  They may be curious…but they don’t mind.

 Roasted Red Pepper and Kalimata Olive Calzone

1 package Il Fornaio frozen pizza dough, or enough homemade dough for one 12″pizza

1 16 oz. package grated mozzarella cheese

3 ounces Pancetta, browned (you can use bacon if you prefer)

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 jar roasted red peppers

1/2 cup pitted Kalimata olives

1 Tablespoon fresh basil, shredded.

Olive oil and sea salt

Remove frozen pizza dough from freezer and place in refrigerator to thaw, overnight or for several hours.  When ready to prepare, set it out 20 minutes before rolling it out. Preheat oven to 425. Cook pancetta until browned and crispy.  On a floured surface, roll the dough to a 12 inch circle.  Transfer to baking sheet.  On bottom half of dough circle, spread grated cheese, leaving about an inch from the edge of dough.  Take out enough strips of roasted pepper to cover top of cheese, pat dry with a paper towel, then lay them on top of mozzarella.  Scatter the pancetta, olives and basil on top. Spread tomato paste on top half of dough, then fold top half over, making a semicircle.Crimp edges together with fingers.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake about 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.  Makes 4 large slices, cut across.

Green Gathering

These days we often talk about picking up something for dinner or “grabbing” take out. How infinitely more satisfying to gather! I love cutting greens from my tiny Winter garden, gathering them in a bunch to bring inside, rinse, cut and saute into a delicious side for roasted chicken or grilled fish. In this photo, our mustard greens and collards thrive. The small broccoli plants in the bottom picture are just beginning to put out enough florets for snipping to add to stir fry. did you know that broccoli greens are also good to eat?  Here is one of my favorite mustard recipes. By the way, I grew up in East Texas during a time when a pot of greens meant they were boiled to death with some bits of fat bacon. I ate them reluctantly, and was well into adulthood before I realized I loved them when they were not cooked past recognition. Try this, you just might like them as much as I do.

Mustard Greens with Toasted Mustard Seeds

If you have a garden, you can gather just as much as you need for a meal. If you are purchasing from a market, you will probably wind up with a rather large bunch of greens. Don’t worry, they cook down to a much reduced volume even with brief sautéing, and you can use leftovers in many ways.

Mustard Greens

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Olive oil

1/4 cup whole mustard seeds

Sea Salt

Rinse mustard leaves, pat dry, and trim lower stems. Stack the leaves and coarsely shred with a sharp knife.  In a 10 inch iron skillet, scatter mustard seed and toast until they begin to pop.  Carefully add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and minced garlic, stirring for about 2 minutes.  Add mustard greens, tossing to coat until they are wilted.  Add a splash or 2 of your choice of vinegar.  We like balsamic or apple cider vinegar.  Sherry vinegar is milder and also very good.  Use tongs to serve. 

Skillet-Baked Eggs with Spinach, Yogurt, and Chili Oil

Yesterday I made this for our breakfast.  It is so good that the recipe will go straight to our favorites for any meal.  It could be a terrific addition to brunch, a satisfying and nutritious lunch or supper.  I adapted this from a recipe featured in Bon Appetit which can be found at   My version substitutes 1/2 small onion for leeks and cayenne pepper for the Turkish chili powder. 

Skillet Baked Eggs with Yogurt and Chili Butter

2/3 cup plain Greek style yogurt

2 garlic clove, halved

Sea salt

2 Tbsp. butter, divided

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2  small onion, chopped

4 chopped green onions

10 cups fresh spinach, about 10 oz.  Do not use baby spinach

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

4 large eggs

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

Mix yogurt, garlic and a pinch of salt and set aside.  Set oven to 300 degrees.  Melt 1 Tablespoon butter with oil in large iron skillet, add onions and cook until soft.  Add spinach and lemon juice, sprinkle with salt.  Cook, turning frequently until spinach is wilted.  Spoon off any liquid that has cooked out of spinach.  Make 4 nests in the spinach and break one egg into each.  Bake until egg whites are set, around 15 minutes.

Melt remaining 1 Tablespoon butter in small pan over low heat, add cayenne and a pinch of salt and cook until butter starts to foam and brown at bottom of pan.  Add oregano, stir. Remove garlic from yogurt, and spoon yogurt over eggs and spinach.  Drizzle each serving with the spicy butter.  


Cranberry Crisp

One of my favorite fall and winter dishes is an adaptation of one found in an old church cookbook from the 80’s which was given to us at Christmastime by family friends.  In that cookbook, this dish was included in the Salad section  and titled Hot Cranberry Salad.  I am not so sure about calling it a salad, but it is wonderful as an addition to meals with pork or roasted turkey.  My favorite use, however is as a dessert, served warm and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with cinnamon or nutmeg.  This year we found a new favorite Haagen Dazs ice cream…Let me assure you Cranberry Pumpkin Spice ice cream on top of this is amazing!  

Cranberry Crisp

1 pound fresh cranberries

3 cups chopped apples, unpeeled

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 stick butter

1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

Combine cranberries, apples, and sugar in large baking dish which has been lightly buttered. In a small saucepan, mix butter, flour, and brown sugar until butter melts.  Add oatmeal, mix well and spread this mixture over cranberries and apples.

 Bake at 375 degrees  in a shallow baking pan for about an hour, or as shown, in individual baking dishes for 45 minutes, until browned and bubbly.  It is beautiful served in these Le Creuset pear ramekins.