Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-My-Pants Calzones 
(in other words, I threw this together speedy fast)

I am headed off to the Supply Side West Show in Las Vegas, Nevada tomorrow. It is a big show for food and cosmetic formulators. I will be looking for unique and HEALTHY food ingredients, as well as a few cosmetic ingredients. I had a bunch of errands to run before I left for Nevada, so this was dinner tonight. I already had pizza dough and pizza sauce pre-made. The ricotta cheese mixture is easy to throw together. Just make sure to season the cheese mixture well so the calzones are not bland. I taste the cheese mixture and adjust the seasonings BEFORE I add the raw eggs. This meal is easily made vegetarian by just omitting the pepperoni.

Feeds 4 easily.

The ricotta cheese mixture.

I rolled out 3 small orange-sized portions of olive oil dough, on a floured surface.

I spread on some of my home made pizza sauce, leaving the edges bare.

 I next put on the ricotta cheese mixture.

 I topped with pepperoni, optional

 I then folded the dough circle in half, on top of itself and rolled and sealed the edges. It was then transferred with 2 dough scrapers, to a silicone lined baking sheet.

 Calzone #1 made it into the pan...whew!

 I lightly oiled the surface of the calzones with rice bran oil.

 Next, I pricked the calzones with a fork.

 These baked in a preheated 400 degree oven for 50 minutes, until the tops were a nice golden brown.

 These were very tasty.

I just made this up to taste - you can do the same...

Ricotta cheese Filled Calzones:


5 Minute Olive Oil Dough (see my post about this dough:  http://artfulcheesewiz.blogspot.com/2013/10/menu-and-recipes-for-my-13-year-old.html)

Pepperoni, quartered, optional

Ricotta Cheese Filling (see recipe below)

Ricotta Cheese Filling:
about 22 ounces Ricotta cheese (low-fat or regular)
3 large handfuls raw organic baby spinach leaves, pre-washed and dried, minced fine
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1 c. shredded Colby Jack cheese blend
2 cloves garlic, smashed well in a mortar & pestle
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. onion salt, or more to taste
1/2 t. dried crumbled rosemary, to taste
1/2 t. Italian seasoning, to taste
20 grinds of fresh black pepper, to taste
2 large organic eggs

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix up the ricotta cheese filling ingredients, to taste.
3. On a floured surface, roll out portions of dough into a desired circular shape.
4. Slather on pizza sauce.
5. Spread some of the ricotta cheese mixture onto one half of the sauced-up dough.
6. Top with pepperoni, as desired.
7. Fold the dough in half, encasing all of the filling.
8. Turn and fold dough edges, sealing the filling inside tightly.
9. Transfer calzones with 2 dough scrapers, to a silicone or parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
10. Oil (with rice bran oil, coconut oil, or butter) and prick the dough with a fork.
11. Place in the preheated oven and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes.


Author: Leila Wood.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Leila's Coconut Rice with Black Beans & Caramelized bananas (vegetarian or vegan, and gluten-free)

This is a quick and tasty dinner to make. We love it at our house. My daughter will even eat the leftovers cold in her school lunch (her doing, not mine). It is a nice family meal for when you don't feel like eating meat. You can easily make it vegan by using all coconut oil instead of butter. This meal is also naturally gluten-free (just check your salsa ingredients).

I adore caramelized bananas! My mom would make them for me as I was growing up. At the time, she always used real butter, and we ALWAYS salted them. They are like nature's version of salted caramels. The trick with the bananas is not to use too high of heat, or you will scorch them instead of caramelize them. Being patient is worth it. Make the bananas as the rice is cooking. Also prepare all the garnishes as the rice and beans finish up.

Bananas this ripe and even riper, are used.

Lay the bananas cut side down in the prepared pan.

They are looking caramely on the edges and are ready to turn.

Leila's Coconut Rice with Black Beans & Caramelized bananas
Serves 4.


The Rice:
2 c. basmati rice (white or brown) with 1/2 t. sea salt or Leila's BioSalt, cooked in a rice cooker according to rice cooker directions
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (can use 2 cans to up the protein and fiber)
2 T. raw agave nectar, optional

The Caramelized Bananas:
1 T. coconut oil (deodorized or virgin)
1 T. real butter, or ghee (clarified butter)
4 to 6 very ripe bananas (or as many bananas as you can cram in the pan!)
Sea salt, or Leila's BioSalt, to taste (my BioSalt recipe is in my first blog post)

Garnish with:
the Caramelized Bananas (above)
raw baby spinach leaves
diced pineapple, fresh or canned
golden raisins, optional (or chopped dates)
scallions, minced
shredded jicama
red bell pepper, chopped, optional
sugar snap pea pods, optional
fruit salsa (like peach-mango salsa)
cilantro leaves, roughly chopped


The Rice: 
Cook the rice, 1/2 t. salt and water amount called for in your rice cooker until done.
Leave the rice cooker on the keep warm setting.
Fluff the rice and stir in the can of coconut milk. Toss gently to blend.
After the coconut milk has been absorbed by the rice, add the canned black beans and toss.
Let the rice cooker's keep warm feature warm the beans and rice mixture.

The Caramelized Bananas:
Melt the butter and coconut oil in a large non-stick frying pan, over med-high heat.
Peel and cut in half lengthwise 4 to 6 very ripe bananas.
Place banana halves, cut side down into the melted fats in the pan.
Let the bananas start sizzling before you turn the heat down to medium heat.
When the underneath sides look golden brown and caramelized, sprinkle salt over them and turn them over. Caramelize the other side and lightly salt. Turn heat to very low to keep warm, until use.

Putting it all together:
On individual serving plates, first put a bed of baby spinach, then portion the rice & bean mixture over top. Top with caramelized bananas, pineapple, and other desired fruit and vegetable garnishes.
Finish off by topping with the fruit salsa and cilantro.

At our house we load up on the fruit and vegetable toppings and we like a generous amount of fruit salsa.


Author: Leila Wood.