Friends with Food: How to impress your parents

What: Impressive calzones

How much? The dough uses ingredients that should be lying around; it’ll cost you maybe $20 max for the fillings

Why? Because when push comes to shove, you just want a basic recipe that looks really impressive

Way back in September, we started the year off with a recipe titled “How To Impress Your Roommates.” It was a simple, summery pasta recipe to start the year off right. Over the year, we strived to inspire you to hang out in the kitchen more often, and to try your hand at a variety of recipes.

We thought it would be nice to end the 2008-2009 year with a recipe that will impress some real live adults (as opposed to us students who may or may not be avoiding our real life decisions right now). This summer you will probably, at some point, end up in the house of an adult – be it your parents’, partner’s parents’ or your crazy aunt Betty ‘s– and when that happens, here is a fun recipe that will show off your culinary expertise, or at least pretend. So when your dad throws his hands up and says, “Let’s just order pizza,” you can come right back with, “How about we whip up some calzones!” Bam!

We picked fillings that were dressed to impress, but you can always tone it down or add your own style to these simple pocket pizzas.


Impressive Calzones

• 3 ½ cups white flour

• ½ cup whole wheat flour

• 2 cups warm water

• 2 tbsp yeast

(quick rise is preferable)

• 1 tsp salt

• 1 tsp brown sugar

• 2-4 large onions sliced

• 3 tbsp brown sugar

• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

• 1 cup sliced mushrooms

• 1 cup spinach

• 1-2 cups olive oil

• 2 cloves garlic crushed

• ¼ cup dried oregano

• 1 container of feta (crushed)

Mix the yeast and warm water in a bowl with the salt and brown sugar. Let this sit for at least 5 minutes while you measure the flour into another bowl – 2 ½ cups white and ½ cups whole wheat.

Make sure the yeast has dissolved in the water, stir, and pour into the bowl of flour. Using a wooden spoon, mix the flour and water/yeast mixture together until they are fully combined.

Mixing with your hands, add the remaining flour in half-cup increments, until the dough holds together and isn’t sticking to your fingers.

Begin kneading, either in the bowl (for less mess) or on a lightly floured, clean surface. Knead for 8-10 minutes, until the texture becomes smooth and elastic.

Form the dough into a ball, place in a clean, lightly greased bowl (plastic or wood only) and cover with a slightly damp cloth or piece of saran wrap. Let it rise for at least an hour, or until you’re about ready to turn on the oven.

Once it’s risen, punch the dough down and break it into 5-10 equal-sized pieces, depending on how big your appetite is or how many people you’re feeding.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Roll out each piece as thinly as possible without making holes or being able to see through it. Brush the dough with olive oil and crushed garlic on one side. Layer the cheese and vegetables on half, and sprinkle oregano over top of the other half of the dough. Fold. Press the edges down with a fork and poke a few small holes in the top with the fork.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Tips and Tricks:

Calzones are a bit like fancy pizzas. Put whatever you want inside. Go for the cheese and tomato, maybe some pepperoni and olives, or go all out with all-dressed.

You can also use this dough recipe to make pizzas too; the assembly process is just a little different. (Check out our blog for more details on assembling your pizza and making a basic pizza tomato sauce.)

Kneading: once you’ve gathered the dough into a ball, it’s time to start releasing pent-up energy or anger. Kneading isn’t mixing; it’s more like massaging – hard. We personally like to continually turn the dough over after pressing it with our whole hands, palm and fingers. You can also fold the dough on itself and then press it down to re-form it into a ball. It’s up to you to find a rhythm, because you need to do it for long enough to change the texture.