Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Calzones, Stew, Juice

Talk about comfort food! In the week before Thanksgiving, Daiku and I did some batch cooking, knowing that it would be good to take it easy since we planned on making quite a bit of food for the holiday itself.

First up, calzones. May I say how exciting it was to make these from scratch, because I often crave calzones, and to be able to have whole wheat ones with healthy vegan fillings made them even more satisfying.

For the dough, I used the whole wheat calzone dough from The Vegan Chef website. We made two different fillings:
  • marinara sauce with Gimme lean sausage
(for the sauce, we sauteed onions and garlic, crushed tomatoes, fennel seeds, oregano, basil, and balsamic vinegar and let it reduce a bit to thicken)
  • vegan ricotta and broccoli
(we just kind of invented a vegan ricotta recipe that came out really well: crush some extra firm tofu with the juice of one lemon, 1-2 TB miso to taste, and a bunch of powdered garlic and dried basil)

A weird photo of the calzones coming out of the oven. Mine were little and stout, while Daiku's were long, we don't know how that happened- we used the same-size dough!

Here is a cut-out view of the broccoli/ricotta calzones, with the extra marinara sauce for dipping. They were so good! I haven't found too many vegan cheeses that satisfied me, but this ricotta played its role in these calzones PERFECTLY. Daiku and I even mused that we could serve these to our dairy-loving families and they wouldn't even realize they were eating tofu.

Another big batch comfort food we made was the corn, bean, and pumpkin stew from Fatfree Vegan. This was how Timmy the pumpkin went to pumpkin heaven. (Click here to see a photo of Timmy.) This stew had a really unique flavor, because of all the assertive spices called for. Daiku loved it, and I did too, although it was a bit too smoky for me. I added some lemon juice or vinegar to the leftovers to balance that out a bit. Really comforting food!

Last week, Daiku came down with a weird cold-type thing. He was freezing even when it was really warm in the house and he was wearing a bunch of layers. I figured what better elixir to kick a cold than some fresh organic carrot and ginger juice?

I juiced him this giant glass, using 7 big carrots and a 1-inch piece of ginger. It was pretty good!

Now, a word about our juicer. After hearing me mention wanting it for a long time, my mother was nice enough to buy me a Jack LaLanne power juicer. I already had a juicer, but the infomercial made this one sound out of this world. According to them, you could drop whole fruits in the spout, and the juicer is so powerful that you would hardly get any pulp waste. This sounded good to me, because the amount of pulp that has to be thrown away after juicing always gave me a complex.

So I finally had a power juicer, I was so excited! But guess what? This juicer pretty much sucks. You can drop a whole apple in the spout, if it's an unusually small apple! And the pulp? Just as much as my old cheapo juicer! If you want a really powerful juicer, go for a professional model. If you don't want to spend that much, you can get just as good quality as the power juicer in a much less expensive model. What I'm trying to say is, they say it's commercial quality but it really isn't. Buyer beware.

However, I have come to terms with this juicer. One tip I learned from an online reviewer is to use a large ziplock back to catch the pulp. This way, I have the carrot pulp sitting in the freezer, ready to go into a spaghetti sauce, carrot cake, bread, or muffin. No more waste (and lost fiber!)



aTxVegn said...

Oooh, Bazu, you know I'm diggin those broccoli calzones! They look fabulous! So does the pumpkin soup.

Sorry Daiku has been sick. The juice looks very healing. I don't have a juicer, but that's a good tip about saving the pulp, esp. to make treats!

Anonymous said...

i wish Daiku feel better soon!. i never make calzones, im afraid to try them, but you are tempting me :) your looks amazing!

Anonymous said...

I'm drooling over your calzones! I haven't had them since going vegan but now I really want them. I just used up the last of my miso though so I'm going to have to wait until the next journey to the store!

Anonymous said...

I haven't had calzones in a long time either. Yours look great.

I'm sorry Daiku is feeling bad but I'm sure your juice made him feel better. I've seen the infomercial on that juicer too and it really does make you want to buy one -- thanks for the update on it.

Kati said...

Bazu, those calzones look perfect! I've never made my own, mainly because I always screw up yeasted dough, but I'm dying to try these. I especially want to make that vegan ricotta.

I also need to try some squash soup. I don't really like squash unless it's in a pie or other baked goodie, but I think mixing it up with some other veggies and seasonings would help me appreciate it more.

I have a Greenstar juicer that I am very pleased with (it was expensive, though). I had used a Juiceman juicer before I had this one and it is a completely different experience, so I know what you're talking about.

wheresmymind said... of these days I've gotta make a calzone!

Pixie said...

Mmmmm....calzones. I am totally craving one now. I think I found a good dinner idea for tomorrow night. I wish I had time to do this tonight. They look fabulous. Brocolli? That sounds so good. I love brocolli in my marinara. Yummy...

Urban Vegan said...

Mamma mia, I love calzones. It's fun to be a sculptor with dough and fillings.

Hope Daiku is feeling better thanks to your miracle juice. What kind of juicer would you recommend? (Not Jack LaLane's, obviously!)

Nikki said...

Yummy yummy! I LOVE calzones! I haven't had one in years. I used to work at a pizza joint in high school and my favorite calzone there was a pesto calzone that was filled with mozzarella, ricotta and enough pesto to feed a small family for a week. I should try that with some tofu ricotta, FYH and some homemade pesto.

bazu said...

U.V., to answer your question, I don't really have a juicer recommendation, since I'm stuck with the Power Juicer for now!

In fact, if any of you have juicer recommendations (or warnings) I'd love to hear them! Kati mentioned the Greenstar model, above, does anyone else have tips?

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I am really hungry and now all I want it a vegan calzone, which is quite problematic, of course, being at work.

Between yours and the ones on Squirrel's Vegan Kitchen, I need to get some dough making going on. I'm thinking tofu ricotta and broccoli like yours and a sauce/tvp, since I've always wanted to do tvp and sauce together..yum

Anonymous said...

hi - maybe we have the same boots, mine come in brown as well. :)
re yoga - a single class is 17 dollars, classes are 95 min long.
my most fave instructors are yogeswari, narayani, paisley, ruth, and liz. i can't say much about the other instructors. haven't taken any classes with them.
email me when you're here - maybe we can take a class together.

Chris said...

Oh, I love me some calzones. I just discovered some pizza sauce in the freezer too. Might have to break that out and make calzones again...

Dori said...

The calzones are beautiful! Thanks for the heads up on the juicer quality (or lack of it).

trac said...

I think I am going to make me some calzones this weekend. How did the craft fair go? We just weren't able to make it out there. I hope Daiku is feeling better - there is a lot of weird and nasty stuff going around (and not just the stuff originating at the local bbq institution! :-)) Lots of people are sick - so take care!

springsandwells said...

I think Musty would be so very happy if I made him calzones. In fact, I think we'd both be happy! He loves tomato sauce, and he loves starchy dinner. I like tofu and broccoli... All together it sounds like a perfect fit! Hoorah!
thanks for a good idea.

Emmy said...

Oh the calzones look incredible. Mmmmmmm! Wow, what a juice you made for Daiku. I hope he's feeling better. I don't have a juicer but I've always wanted one. I justuse the juicing attachments on my food processor to tide me over. Thanks for the heads up about juicers. Really useful info :)