Stromboli- Dinner in 30! 

Unlike a calzone, a stromboli does not contain sauce. Invented in the 1950’s on the east coast in Pennsylvania.

An Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria claims to be the first to have used the name, Stromboli. Rumor has it the pizzeria owner had experimented with “pizza imbottito”, or “stuffed pizza”, and added ham, salami, cheese and peppers into a pocket of raw bread dough. A family member suggested he name it after the recently released movie Stromboli, which, at the time was notorious for an off-screen affair between married actress, Ingrid Bergman, and married director, Roberto Rossellini that resulted in a love child. Remember, it was early in the 1950’s. Can you imagine how scandalous this must have been back then?

Traditionally, Stromboli’s are filed with layers of thinly sliced salami, pepperoni and smoked Provolone cheese then baked in a flaky crust that was rolled into a log. Often referred to as a turnover. Serve with additional sauce on the side for dipping. Today- you can use any filling imaginable.

Personalize your Stromboli !

Ingredients:

1 pound ready made pizza dough

1 cup spicy pizza sauce

1 cup grated smoked provolone or substitute with mozzarella cheese

2 dozen slices of good quality salami

20 slices thin cut pepperoni substitute with deli ham

1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Additional pizza sauce for dipping, warmed.

Method:

Preheat oven to 375’F. Prepare a high sided baking sheet with parchment and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the dough on a clean lightly floured work surface roll out to approximately 10×16 inch rectangle. Roll up onto the rolling pin and transfer the dough into the parchment- lay flat.

Spread pizza sauce over 2/3’s of the dough lengthwise, leaving a 3×16 rectangle of plain dough along one of the edges.

Top the sauce with half the grated cheese, salami and ham. Top with remaining cheese.

Brush the blank strip of dough with the egg wash. Fold in the ends ( sorta like rolling a burrito ) about an inch, and brush them with egg wash as well. This will assist with the Stromboli from oozing out all its goodness in the oven.

Roll up like a jelly roll lengthwise starting along the long edge of dough topped with all the fillings and ending with the plain strip of dough on the bottom of the roll. Bake seam side down to keep closed.

Brush the entire Stromboli with the additional egg-wash and gently cut thin slits on the top of the dough every 1-2 inches.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake 8-10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

Remove from oven, cool 5-8 minutes and slice into pieces. Serve with additional pizza sauce for dipping or drizzling.

Flatbread Made Three ways. Grilled, Baked or on the Stove Top

I love making fresh Flatbread, from Fry Bread, Naan, and Pitas. The list goes on. Just about every country has a type of prized flatbread recipe. 

I can’t decide if I like it made better in my cast iron pan on the stovetop, or my pizza stone baked in the oven, or my outdoor grill, which gives significant additional flavor. You decide. Regardless of how you make it — the key to making delicious flatbreads is keeping the dough wet, soft, and spongy throughout the mixing and kneading process. Unlike making any other bread type products– if you begin with a damp and sticky sponge and progress slowly adding flour, you will have beautiful results.

You’ll Need

1 (.25 ounce) package rapid-acting dry yeast

1 cup warm water 90 to 100’F

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

1 additional teaspoon olive oil, divided or good quality cooking oil spray

Here’s How

Place the yeast into the work bowl of your stand mixer and add 1 cup warm water. Make a slurry. Add 1 cup of the flour. Whisk together with a hand whisk and let stand 15 to 20 minutes. Wait for the mixture to create air bubbles and form a loose looking foamy starter sponge. The mixture will resemble wet like a slurry, and nothing like you would expect to begin a bread dough. Your baking instincts will tell you to add additional flour- but resist the urge.

Once the dough is spongey and full of foam and bubbles, add 2 Tablespoons olive oil, and the salt. Stir, and second addition of flour in small increments string in between each addition. The dough should continue to look spongy and sticky. With the kneading attachment, combine at low speed until ingredients mix well, but remember to keep the starter dough slightly sticky.

If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl and not mix into a ball, add a little additional flour–a little at a time, not to exceed a 1/4 cup.

Start to time your kneading about to 5-6 minutes on very low speed until the dough springs back to the touch, and is very soft.

Remove the dough to a work surface and form into a large ball.

Wipe inside of the bowl with 1/4 teaspoon of the additional olive oil, or a quick spray. Place dough ball back into the mixing bowl and give it a light coating of oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest until it has doubled in volume—approximately 2 hours.

After the dough has doubled in size, remove from the bowl and place it onto a floured work surface. Gently shape about 1-inch thick log. Use kitchen scissors or a knife- cut dough into eight pieces.

Form each piece into a smaller round ball, carefully pulling dough from the top center of each piece, tearing down and tucking under to form a ball. 

Do not work the dough any more than necessary. Place each ball on a gently on a silicon mat or parchment or plastic-lined baking sheet and allow to rest covered for an additional 30 minutes until they have doubled in size.

Once the dough has completed its second rising- dust a clean work surface with a small amount of flour and top of the balls and your hands with a little meal, gently pat dough ball flat with your fingers, forming a flat, round discs 1/4 inch thick and using a rolling pin form a 6-inch disc.

Rest an additional 5- 8 minutes. Then continue to your preferred method of baking.

 

On the Stove:

Lightly coat a large cast-iron skillet with remaining olive oil or spray and place over medium-high heat. Make sure the pan is to temperature before adding the dough disc.

Lay flattened discs into a hot skillet and cook until bread begins to puff up, and the bottom is browning well about 3-4 minutes. Some might not puff, don’t worry; they will still be wide enough to cut open for filling. Turn the pita over and cook two an additional 2-3 minutes until browned and puffy. They will naturally deflate, causing the center to be hallowed enough to fill as pitas.

 

In the Oven: 

Place a large pizza stone on the lower oven rack, preheat the oven, and the gravel to 500 F. Degrees Place two bread discs at a time on the hot pizza stone and bake for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the bread puffs up like a balloon and is pale golden. Observe; they will bake quickly.

When browned and puffy, remove the bread from the oven and place it on a rack to cool for about 5 minutes; they will naturally deflate, leaving a pocket in the center.

Stack pitas on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy Pitas as is, or stuff with your favorite fillings. I love the oven method because my pitas don’t get too many brown spots, and they are soft inside and out.

 

On the Grill: 

When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the cooking grate. Let the charcoal sit until it drops in temperature to medium heat.

Right before placing the dough on the grill, give each disc a few veils of mist of water from a spray bottle on both sides. Place the dough on an oiled grill and cook until it starts to bubble about 1 minute. Flip the dough and cook until it puffs and is cooked through, but not browned, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the grill and let cool. Reheat quickly on the grill before serving. You can also use a gas grill using indirect heat. Keep pitas warm until service.

I love cooking Pitas on the grill because they inherit a mild smokey flavor. 

Serve with skewered grilled meats, Tahini, my buttered Babaganoush recipe, or fresh Falafel with Tzatziki and goes well with any Eastern Indian dishes.

Loaded – Jalapeno Popper Potato Skins!

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Ingredients:

3-4 jalapeños

2 pounds small round baby potatoes, about 2 inches in size.

2 Tablespoons organic canola or vegetable oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 pound pancetta or center cut strip bacon, cooked crisp, drained of excess fat, and crumbled

Garnish Toppings

1 cup sour cream

1 bunch chives, chopped fine

1 tomato, small diced

10 black olives, chopped fine

Lime wedges

Method:

1-Place oven rack to top position and preheat your broiler to high.

2-Place the jalapeños onto a foil-lined baking sheet and broil,turning occasionally. Broil until skins are black and blistered on all sides. Or place on your outdoor grill for the same affect. Once skins are blisters and blackened,remove peppers to a brown paper lunch bag, or a plastic gallon- sized food storage bag. Seal.

3-When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel away skin with the sharp part of a paring knife scraping away from you onto a paper towel. Slice open and remove seeds. Discard skin and seeds. ( I wear gloves when handling peppers and seeds- do not touch your face. If you get caption on your skin and it is burning, wash with whole milk or anything high in fat. )

4-Dice peppers fine, and add to a small mixing bowl. Add cream cheese and mix well. Set aside at room temperature.

5-Place an oven rack to center portion of your oven. Adjust temperature to 400′ F degrees.

6-While oven is warming. Wash and dry potatoes. Place into a large food storage bag or bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the garlic salt. Toss to coat all sides.

7-Place potatoes on a foil lined, high-sided baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center goes in easily. Remove from the oven and set to cool.Turn oven heat up to 450’F degrees.

8-When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise. With a teaspoon gently scoop out warm potato flesh, leaving 1/8″ potato inside the skin — ( save potato flesh, and use for mashed potatoes  during another mealtime)

9-Brush the inside of each halved potato with remaining oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper and place facing up on the foiled lined high sided baking sheet again and place back into the hot over for an additional 10 minutes until dry and edges are getting crispy. Remove and cool slightly.

10- Fill each potato skin with 1 teaspoon roasted jalapeño cream cheese mixture, top with pancetta or bacon and grated cheddar cheese.

11-Broil for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

12-Remove from oven, and serve with sides of sour cream, chopped chives, diced tomatoes, black olives and lime wedges

Serve warm and crispy!

*Make variations by adding grilled and finely chopped, Carne Asade steak or ground taco seasoned cooked ground hamburger to the bottom of the potato skin before filing with cream cheese mixture.