Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Calzones & Mahshy Kromb

I had a very big cooking day today, in several respects.
I used yeast for the first time. Yeast is what they put in (most) bread to make it rise and get puffy, I'm not really sure how it's different to baking soda and baking powder, which do the same thing. One difference: yeast takes a lot longer so you need to wait about an hour for the yeast to work its magic in the middle, and you also need to knead it to make your dough stretchy.

It was very fun making the Calzones - sounds like an Italian-American family name, right?) because of the dough. All the kneading and stretching and watching the dough grow big and even at one point punching it.

The filling I used was: mashed white beans, jarred tomato sauce (need to use it up), shittake mushrooms, caremlized onions and some really good sweet vegan sausage (made from apples). I sprinkled the "cover" which I folded over with a little bit of oregano, thyme, and chili pepper.

The basic pizza dough recipe was from Vegan with a Vengeance, but I was inspired by this and consulted again with the Life, Love, and Food blog here to calzone-ify the dough at the end.

The other thing I made was cabbage rolls (mahshy kromb). I really wanted something close to an authentic Egyptian recipe, but I didn't find one / I didn't have necessary ingredients (like parsley), so I made a bastardized version. The filling I used was a mixture of cooked white rice, a pinch of thyme, soy sauce (!), lemon juice, caramalized onions, garlic & an ill-advised teaspoon of fennel leaves (which taste, of all things, very much like liquorice.) The rolling itself was very funny - funny because it was hard and so what are supposed to be the size of a thick marker ended up stodgy and stout instead. The picture is misleading because there is no reference scale. Oh well. The recipe was based loosely on one I found in Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. Another bastardization: baked in the oven, not on the stove.

My inspiration came from Vegan Dad. But as for making them Egyptian style, for those of you in Cairo, I would suggest finding a mahshy kromb mentor to show you.

As for how the calzones & cabbage rolls turned out, you'll have to tune in tomorrow - we're going to eat them now.


Post-dinner update: The calzones turned out really good! The mr. (literally) gave an enthusiastic two thumbs up. The dough seemed just perfect, but I really want to try them again with either vegan mozzarella or tofu ricotta and see how they turn out.

Sadly the cabbage rolls didn't fare so well. I think part of it was that I used (I discovered when eating) Chinese cabbage, which, while interesting and explains something I could never figure out in Chinese restaurants (namely, what is this?), creates a very different (thicker, more gelatanious-seeming) texture different to the one I'm used to. Of course, the different filling/cooking/rolling were also factors.


Jeni Treehugger said...

The Calzones look YUM!
Sorry about the Cabbage rolls.

Bethany said...

those calzones look fantastic. thanks for the review of the pizza dough, I think I will try it (for calzones of course).

I really appreciate reviews. it helps me try more recipes that I might otherwise ignore.

Occasional art, comics, food, and other things of less interest to the general public.