The Stromboli

Pizza Dough RecipeGrowing up, there was a food item that my parents always wanted when they visited my grandparents in Monticello, Indiana. It was the stromboli. This thing was beautiful. It was an italian sub sandwich of sorts, which had that tiny italian ground sausage, cheese, and sauce, however was in a french bread of sorts. This was not like a french bread pizza though, it was uniquely different. I miss that stromboli, or maybe it was the laked that I fished on in the early mornings, or possibly my grandparents and the table we ate it at. I even remember the packaging and the smell of the stromboli. I want to say it was from Abe’s Pizza in Monticello. I could be wrong. It was a long time ago.
Enough said. Twenty-five years later, I decided to make the stromboli. I am not going with the french bread route, however I am beginning to explore baking my own breads and could possibly stuff a bread with a mixture. Moving on. I have made the stromboli six times or so, and every time, literally, every time, both my wife and I (and now our daughter) cannot stop eating it. This is a lovely combination of ingredients that place a warm sensation in our body, and you crave for more. Bring on the stromboli.

As stated, I will explore this with a homemade bread, however I used the pizza crust recipe and performed a double rise on the dough.

Dough:

1 package active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 TB Sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 TB olive oil
3 cups all purpose flour

Here’s the deal on the dough.

Add the water, yeast, sugar and stir to combine. You will notice after 5-8 minutes that it begins to grow and become frothy. Yum. Smell it. It’s yummy. Add the salt, oil, and begin adding the flour. I use a Kitchen-Aid mixer with a dough hook for this process. I know nothing else as my parents purchased this when I was eighteen years old. It was a graduation gift from high school, I think. 🙂 I love it to this day. Anyway, mix until the dough begins to form. You will know when the dough begins to come off the edges of the bowl.

I tend to have a small bowl of flour near me as it prevents the stickiness from removing the dough, as well as allows me to work with it quite nicely. Remove the dough from the hook/bowl and knead it slightly. Form it into a ball, and place it into a medium bowl so it can rise. I place a bit of olive oil on the bottom (1/2 tsp) and drizzle more on top. Olive oil rocks, so I have no problem with the drizzle or the tsp. I dampen a large cloth and cover the bowl, and forget about it until I get hungry.

Once the dough rises (this is an exciting process), I flour my hands, punch down the dough, fiddle with it a bit, and place it back in the bowl, cover it, and let it rise again. An hour later, if that, I do the same thing, however this is when I roll the dough out.
Stromboli ingredients (what I use):

Thinly sliced ham
Italian sausage out of the casing and cooked
Pepperoni
Cheese
Onion
Sauce

– Add what you would want in a pizza, this is what makes it fun.

Once the dough is rolled out, add sauce, cheese, meats, and other ingredients.
Remember, this is a stuffed pizza log! Make room. Roll over and crimp the edges with a fork. I use egg wash to make it golden.

Cook in over at 425 degrees for nearly 45 minutes. Remove, let cool and slice into portions.

Roasted Corn

If there is one thing about Summer time, it is about grilling and corn on the cob. You know how it works. In the early stages of the corn season it goes 4 ears for $2.00 then progress to 10 ears for $1.00. Well, it is that time of year. Festivals have corn roasts and the smell and taste is something of the amazing. While living in Dallas, Texas, there would be corn stands, typically outside of a supermercado, that would sell an ear for $1.00. The beauty about spending that dollar on one ear was the fact that they dipped in warm butter and topped it with your liking (I always got Parmesan cheese). Other condiments included chili, and mayonnaise.

In the past, I typically removed the husk from the corn, and boiled in water for 20 minutes or so. I always thought this was great, until last week when I approached a new method of cooking corn, on the grill.

There isn’t much of a trick here (well, I guess you could burn the corn), however there is one important step that you should never forget. If you want corn that is intense in flavor, tender, and absolutely delicious, then try this one out.

Ingredients: (could not be easier)

  • Ears of Corn
  • Water
  • Grill

Clip the loose ends of the corn husks off as they will burn pretty easily on the grill. Submerge the ears of corn in a deep pan of water for 30-60 minutes. Heat the grill to medium. Once the grill is ready in temperature, place the ears of corn on the grill (husks in tact), and begin cooking. Cook for nearly 30 minutes, rotating each ear, every 5 minutes. You know the corn is ready when the husks begin to turn a very dark brown. Remove them from the grill and let cool.

The best thing here is simply pulling down the husks and using that as your handle. Lather in butter, salt, pepper, etc. This last batch I made a butter with lime zest and course salt. It rocked in flavor. Try different combinations in your butter using chipolte peppers, Parmesan cheese, or any other flavors you are looking for in a good piece of corn.

Deep Dish Pizza

This dish is my wife’s favorite. I have made several attempts to master the pie since my wife would like to call an order into Pizzeria Uno’s, nearly 30 minutes away. My ingredients (store bought, and garden) cost under $7 and made one large and one small pie. This is also served great as left overs. 🙂

Great Deep Dish Pizza Recipe

Dough:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 Cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of fine ground yellow cornmeal
  • 5-6 cups of flour

Add the water into a mixing bowl with the yeast and let it begin to bubble for nearly 8 minutes. Then add the oils, cornmeal, and begin to mix in the flour slowly. Mix and scrape down the sides for nearly another 8 minutes until the dough comes together.

Take the dough out (I flour my hands to prevent any stickiness) and punch the dough down. Oil (1-2 Tablespoons) the bottom of a large bowl, add the dough, add a bit more olive oil to the top, and cover with a dampened warm towl. The trick to this dough is a double rise. After an hour, check the dough. If it has risen, punch it down, and let it rise again. This will then double to triple in size.

Once you are ready to make the pie, you will need some deep cake tins. We so happened to have these from my wife’s grandmother’s house and they have came in handy for the deep dish pizza. Lightly oil the bottom of the pan(s). I split have of the dough and begin to mold it into the bottom of the pans, then working it up the sides. Once you have molded the dough, begin my adding your ingredients.

Pie Ingredients:

Sauce, I made homemade (roma tomatoes, garlic, basil, onion)

  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh, chopped basil
  • Mozzarella Cheese (I buy the squares and layer them in the bottom)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Italian Sausage or Pepperoni
    (You can add whatever you like in the pizza)

Here is how I made mine, and highly recommend it:

The trick is to add the mozzarella cheese on the bottom. Then add the cooked sausage or pepperoni (or whatever you want), chopped basil and garlic, then the sauce. Sprinkle generously with the parmesan cheese and cook in a preheated 475 degree oven for 40 minutes. Let cool, slice, and enjoy.

Sticky Rice with Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce

If you like something that is truly spicy, tangy, and packed with flavor, you must try this sauce. It is so easy to make and is compatible with barbecue and rice. This recipe takes very little time to make, so lets get started.

Ingredients:

1-2 cups Thai Sticky Rice
1-6 Thai Peppers (depends on how hot you want it)
4 TB Sugar
1 Lime
3 cloves of garlic
3-6 TB Fish Sauce
Soak the rice overnight in a bowl of water. This softens the rice and shortens the time to steam. When the rice is ready, rinse the rice and place in a bamboo steamer. The steamer can be found at your local asian market for under eight dollars. Cover and let steam for nearly 10-15 minutes per side. I say side because you will want to remove the bamboo steamer and knock it against the counter as to loosen the rice. Then you can toss it so it flips over. Sounds difficult, it is not. Continue steaming the other side for ten minutes.

During the time the rice is cooking, chop your other ingredients and place in a serving bowl and mix well. Feel free to taste as you go along. If it is too salty, add more sugar or lime juice.

When the rice is ready. Take the ball out and place it on a cutting board as you will want to flatten it out a bit and begin to fan it, as to cool the rice. I purchased a bamboo container that I can cover the rice for four dollars.

Keep in mind that the rice should be served warm and cannot be saved for leftovers. 🙁

Our kids love rolling the rice into little balls, (we do not let them eat the sauce), making shapes, and then eating.

Enjoy.