Aug 17, 2010

Hannah Likes Eggplant; Or Playing with Calzone

Do you know the difference between calzone and stromboli? I don't either, except calzone is more likely to contain ricotta, and tends to be half-moon shaped instead of oblong.

Whatever it is, it's good. On Saturday I was looking for something celebratory to make for dinner. We had not had our Friday pizza so I made a batch of dough and thought I could feed more people with the same amount of dough if I made calzone.I looked at a calzone recipe in Biba Caggiano's Trattoria Cooking to get some ideas, and fancied an eggplant and radiccio recipe. Our local co-op had no radiccio so instead I got spring onions, and substituted ricotta for mozzarella (Are you sick of mozzarella or is it just me?) The filling was eggplant, green onion, quartered Calamata olives, capers, and garlic, along with some parmesan. I had made pizza dough a couple hours ahead of time and cut it with my bench knife into five pieces, one for each person. Our summer houseguest Hannah helped me spread some ricotta onto each circle and then heap the eggplant mixture on top,then sealing each calzone carefully closed.

They all fit on the pizza stone just dandy. We baked them at 450 for 20 minutes and they turned out golden. And no leakage! High praise. The ricotta and eggplant complemented each other and the calzones were light and not greasy like they can be. And no sodden wodge of mozzarella!

Because this was Hannah's last official dinner at our house (I explained Hannah earlier but I'll do so again), John made another of his mindblowing ice creams from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. This time he made plum ice cream, because we had plums from the CSA. It turned out satisfyingly plummy in taste and color, light and creamy. Last month John made Lebovitz's fresh mint ice cream and it made us want to see all other "mint" ice creams as impostors.

So. Hannah. She lived with our family for the summer while she served as our church's youth intern. This job seemed to involve lack of sleep and pizza, also four road trips with middle schoolers and high schoolers. They did service projects in Atlanta and Appalachia and went on retreats and other mysterious outings. Through it all, Hannah bonded really well with the youth and also with our family.That is, when she wasn't on a road trip. I'm not sure she enjoyed the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episode she was forced to watch, but we loved hanging out with her. She introduced us to her native North Carolina's cherry soda Cheerwine, and Atlanta's Sweetwater beer. We introduced her to Washington Square, Elfreth's Alley, Franklin Fountain, beets, dandelion greens, and radishes.

And in June she was my kitchen assistant when another food blogger, Amy Leis of Amiable Life, had dinner with us and interviewed me about my family recipes. (It will be published next week and I'll include the link.) I miss you already, Hannah. You are the only household member who ever wanted to go to Target with me.