Tag Archives: roasted red peppers

Turkey & Roasted Red Pepper Calzones

photo 5-15

Turkey leftovers…….after a big Thanksgiving dinner, they seem to haunt you for days on end.  In the immediate aftermath of the turkey coma sandwiches filled with turkey, stuffing, and gravy are on the menu.  Next you might simply reheat the original meal but after that what do you do with your mounds of turkey?  In reality, the possibilities are endless.

Right about now, after four full turkey dinners plus an assortment of leftovers, I’m just plain tired of turkey.  But I still have a lot of turkey in the refrigerator that needs to be eaten.  Last night’s solution was to use the turkey in a way that is decidedly un-Thanksgiving like. There wasn’t any mashed potatoes, bread stuffing, or Brussels spouts on the dinner table. Instead, I put a Mediterranean twist on the turkey and made calzones stuffed with red peppers, lots of gooey cheese, and yes, turkey.  The calzone crust is a Williams Sonoma flat bread recipe but the filling is all pantry and refrigerator leftovers.  I served it with a marinara dipping sauce but I think the calzones would be especially good accompanied by a roasted red pepper and eggplant avjar.

TURKEY & ROASTED RED PEPPER CALZONES

For the pastry:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon salt

3/4 cup warm water

1 tablespoon olive oil

  • In a food processor, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt and pulse to blend.  Add the warm water and the olive oil and pulse until the dough comes together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes to form a smooth ball.
  • Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk and is very spongy, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down, and knead it into a smooth cylinder.  Reshape the dough into a smooth ball and allow it to sit, covered with a dry kitchen towel, for 10 minutes.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough ball into a cylinder that is 10 inches long.  Cut into 10 even pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

For the filling:

1 cup diced cooked turkey

1/3 cup ricotta cheese

2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup minced green onion

3/4 cup diced roasted red peppers

1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme

Salt & pepper to taste

1 egg, slightly beaten

  • Combine the turkey, cheese, green onion, red peppers and thyme in a small bowl and toss well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough ball into a round that is 5 to 6 inches in diameter and 1/8 of an inch thick.
  • Divide the calzone filling evenly on the center of each round and brush the edges of the dough with water.
  • Life the edges, stretching and adjusting the dough and compacting the filling, so the edges meet in the center.  Firmly crimps the edges and transfer each calzone, seam side down, to the prepared baking sheet.
  • Cut a small steam vent into the top of each calzone.
  • Place the egg in a small bowl and add 2 teaspoons of water.  Brush the egg wash over the top of each calzone.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

Yields: 10 calzones

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Roasted Red Pepper Bread

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The dough for this bread comes from the Noblepig.com blog.  I first made this recipe with a gouda and prosciutto version of a bread I found on their website.   I loved how easy and quickly the bread dough came together with my only utensil being a wooden spoon to mix the dough.  (No Kitchen Aid stand mixer required).  Loving the texture and flavor of the bread I decided to experiment with other fillings.  After trying several options, roasted red peppers, with their sweet but slightly smoky flavor, is my favorite. The bread is great warm on its own or makes a great accompaniment for a hearty soup.

The recipe produces two good sized loafs.  Because the dough can be refrigerated, you can save half of the dough for a later use. Simply cover tightly and refrigerate for up to four days until ready to use.  If you do this you can have a mid-week loaf of fresh bread without the work.

ROASTED RED PEPPER BREAD
 
2 tablespoons granulated yeast
3 cups lukewarm water
5 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 large red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
 
  • Add the yeast to a large ceramic bowl.  Pour in the warm water and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.  Add the flour and salt.
  • Mix with the wooden spoon until the flour and salt are fully wet.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise for at least 3 hours.  After 3 hours place the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
  • To roast the peppers:  Preheat a grill to high and place the peppers directly on the grill.  Rotate them as they char until all of their surfaces are blackened.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  When they are cool enough to handle, slice them open, remove the seeds, and cut into thin strips.
  • When ready to bake the bread, place a metal baking pan on the bottom rack of the oven.  Fill it with water.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Meanwhile, butter the bottom of an 11 x 17 inch baking tray and sprinkle the cornmeal over the butter to prevent the break from sticking.
  • Divide the dough into two even loaves, shaping each into a ball then flattening with your hands to form discs.
  • Brush each dish with the olive oil then evenly sprinkle the roasted peppers over the flat surface of each piece of dough.
  • Bring the sides of each disc together enveloping the peppers into the center of the ball.  Pinch the edges together to form a seam and prevent the peppers from escaping their envelope.
  • Place on the baking tray, seam side down, several inches apart.  Sprinkle the dough generously with flour.
  • Let rest on the baking tray for 30 minutes.  Right before placing in the oven, score the top of the
  • bread with an “x” or other decorative mark, cutting right through the dough.9)  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool 15 minutes before slicing.
Yields 2 loaves

Mexican Salad

photo 2-85

This super easy side dish is the perfect accompaniment to everything from enchiladas to grilled meats.  The ingredient list is more of a suggestion rather than a hard and fast rule.  Add or subtract other vegetables, or even fruits, as you like.  And because the salad truly takes only minutes to make, it is the perfect side dish for any of my grilled Fast Friday meals.  Enjoy……and let me know what you pair it with.

MEXICAN SALAD

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

1- 15 ounce can corn

4 roasted red peppers, diced

1/4 cup minced green onions

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

Juice of 1 lime

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Place all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and toss well to combine.
  • Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes then adjust seasonings and serve.

Serves 4

Turkey & Roasted Red Pepper Calzones

photo 5-15

Turkey leftovers…….after a big Thanksgiving dinner, they seem to haunt you for days on end.  In the immediate aftermath of the turkey coma sandwiches filled with turkey, stuffing, and gravy are on the menu.  Next you might simply reheat the original meal but after that what do you do with your mounds of turkey?  In reality, the possibilities are endless.

Right about now, after four full turkey dinners plus an assortment of leftovers, I’m just plain tired of turkey.  But I still have a lot of turkey in the refrigerator that needs to be eaten.  Last night’s solution was to use the turkey in a way that is decidedly un-Thanksgiving like. There wasn’t any mashed potatoes, bread stuffing, or Brussels spouts on the dinner table. Instead, I put a Mediterranean twist on the turkey and made calzones stuffed with red peppers, lots of gooey cheese, and yes, turkey.  The calzone crust is a Williams Sonoma flat bread recipe but the filling is all pantry and refrigerator leftovers.  I served it with a marinara dipping sauce but I think the calzones would be especially good accompanied by a roasted red pepper and eggplant avjar.

TURKEY & ROASTED RED PEPPER CALZONES

For the pastry:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon salt

3/4 cup warm water

1 tablespoon olive oil

  • In a food processor, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt and pulse to blend.  Add the warm water and the olive oil and pulse until the dough comes together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes to form a smooth ball.
  • Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk and is very spongy, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down, and knead it into a smooth cylinder.  Reshape the dough into a smooth ball and allow it to sit, covered with a dry kitchen towel, for 10 minutes.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough ball into a cylinder that is 10 inches long.  Cut into 10 even pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

For the filling:

1 cup diced cooked turkey

1/3 cup ricotta cheese

2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup minced green onion

3/4 cup diced roasted red peppers

1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme

Salt & pepper to taste

1 egg, slightly beaten

  • Combine the turkey, cheese, green onion, red peppers and thyme in a small bowl and toss well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough ball into a round that is 5 to 6 inches in diameter and 1/8 of an inch thick.
  • Divide the calzone filling evenly on the center of each round and brush the edges of the dough with water.
  • Life the edges, stretching and adjusting the dough and compacting the filling, so the edges meet in the center.  Firmly crimps the edges and transfer each calzone, seam side down, to the prepared baking sheet.
  • Cut a small steam vent into the top of each calzone.
  • Place the egg in a small bowl and add 2 teaspoons of water.  Brush the egg wash over the top of each calzone.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

Yields: 10 calzones

Red Pepper & Eggplant Spread (Avjar)

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I first discovered avjar in Ljubjlana, Slovenia.  Vendors at the Christmas markets slathered sausages with this spicy red pepper sauce and from the first bite, I was in love.  We all loved it so much that we visited the market day for lunch and huddled at a cold table eating sausages and avjar washed down with hot cups of mulled wine.  Perhaps it was because that holiday season was our first one overseas but it was by far our most memorable one to date and I chalk it up to the food (and wine).  My son thought it was ketchup and as I later found out, avjar is to the Balkans what ketchup is in America.  Whereas the American sauce is ketchup based, the Balkan version is a combination of roasted red peppers and roasted eggplant.  Each Balkan country puts their own twist on this traditional condiment and I have yet to taste one I didn’t adore.

This recipe is adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s Mediterranean Harvest and tastes just like the avjar I ate in Ljubjlana.  I prefer mine to be on the spicy side but feel free to add more of less chili peppers depending upon your preferences.  You can serve the dip with sausages or roasted meat, as a dip with vegetables or my favorite way, on a slice of French bread accompanied by a milk sheep’s milk cheese.  Yum!

ROASTED RED PEPPER & EGGPLANT SPREAD

1 pound red bell peppers, roasted

1 pound purple eggplant, roasted

3 hot chili peppers

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 /4 cup water

3 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tablespoons olive oil

  • Preheat a grill to high heat.  When the grill is hot place the red peppers and chili peppers over the direct heat.  Turning occasionally, grill until the outside of the peppers are charred and smoky smelling.  Remove from the heat and set aside until they are cooled.
  • Preheat an oven to 450 degrees.  Oil a large rimmed baking sheet.  Trim the eggplant and slice in half lengthwise.  Score the skin side of the eggplant and place cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Peel and seed the roasted peppers and chili peppers.  (You may need to wear protective gloves if the chili peppers are especially hot).  Transfer the peppers and any reserved juices to the bowl of a large food processor.
  • Remove the seeds and skin from the eggplants and coarsely chop.  Add to the pepper mixture.
  • Add the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon of the salt to the peppers and eggplant.  Process until finely chopped.
  • With the machine running, add the vinegar and water to the mixture and puree until smooth.
  • Place the garlic and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pestle along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Mash the mixture until you have a smooth puree.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat.  Add the garlic puree.  Cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Stir in the pepper and eggplant puree and stirring constantly, bring to a simmer.  Continue to cook until the mixture is thick.  Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and adjust the salt if necessary.
  • Remove from the heat, cool and transfer to a jar.  Place a thin film of olive oil over the top of the mixture.

The puree can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Yields:  1 cup

Mediterranean Vegetable Bread

Like so many cooks I find recipes that inspire me and then tweak them to my own liking.  I’m also an avid reader of cooking blogs and my favorite, Adventures of the Yankee Kitchen Ninja, regularly posts recipes that intrigue and inspire me.  (It doesn’t hurt that this blog is also written by a fellow Mount Holyoke alum).

The Kitchen Ninja posted this recipe as a savory olive bread after having tweaked it herself from Susan Hermann Loomis, author of On Rue Tatin.  See, this is how recipes evolve!  The Kitchen Ninja’s recipe called for 3 1/2 cups of fresh spinach.  Try as I might, I could not find any fresh spinach, or any suitable substitute in Albania in November.  I used a small amount of frozen spinach instead and added in shredded carrots for bulk.  I also added fresh chopped basil.  The only jarred roasted red peppers I had in my pantry were marinated so I used those instead of the plain variety.  The result?  A tangy vegetable infused bread the blended together my favorite flavors of the Mediterranean.

MEDITERRANEAN VEGETABLE BREAD
 
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves,  minced
1 cup frozen spinach, chopped and squeezed dry with leaves separated
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
1 cup marinated roasted red peppers, chopped
1 heaping cup black olives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C.  Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
2)  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
3)  In another large bowl, beat the eggs; whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the garlic, spinach, carrots,
      and basil.

4)  Add the flour  mixture and stir until well combined.  Fold in the red peppers, olives,

      black pepper, and cheese.

 

4)  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes, until the bread is browned and a
     skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then
     continue cooling on a wire rack.

 

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