December 9, 2011

Yes, it is as good as it looks. Yum.

I’ve been jonesing for calzone for a while. You will remember that I learned to make calzone from another blog, a few months back, made two or three, and promptly got out of the habit. Decided it was time to get back IN the habit.

I went all out on this one. The sauce is Marcella Hazen’s tomato-butter sauce, with the addition of a few cloves of garlic, some basil and some oregano. And I used supermarket canned tomatos, as I had no San Marzanos. Don’t tell the Italians, but I can’t make a whole helluva lot of difference, particularly when Kroger diced tomatos are about two bucks for two 15-ounce cans, and a 28-oz can of San Marzanos is barely south of five dollars.

I came in from work, after entertaining the folks at the butcher shop with my requests for the meats that will go in cassoulet later this weekend. I have scored everything I need except fresh pork skin, and my fresh hocks have skin on ’em, so that’ll work. I’ll just skin them before I cook them. Stashed the cassoulet stuff in the fridge (six separate meat items? Seriously? This stuff had BETTER be good!) and went to work whirling up a Mark Bittman Pizza Crust. Had a moment or two of anxiety as the dough did not seem to wish to rise, but I encouraged it by warming it in the oven and all was well.

Bottom crust, with ricotta-sausage filling. And alien claw hands.

House-made Italian sausage from the meat market, taken out of the casings and browned; ricotta in the carton from Kroger; Marcella’s sauce. Some grated pecorino romano. A little basil, a little oregano, a couple of eggs, and there’s your filling.

Served it with a little extra Marcella sauce on the side. Hard to beat.

Favorite guinea pig, who arrived this evening, allowed it was quite excellent. He took the pictures, by the way, while I assembled the calzone. So you have the alien crab claw hands and everything.

Adding the Marcella sauce, which had been pureed with the immersion blender.

Meanwhile, after we make a farmers’ market trip tomorrow, we’ll commence the cassoulet. The beans are soaking. I need to blanch the salt pork and the skin off the ham hocks. Tomorrow, it’s time to cook the beans with the following:

  1. Pork shoulder cubes
  2. Pancetta, diced
  3. Proscuitto, diced
  4. Pork skin, blanched, cut in strips and rolled into little bundles and tied (seriously?)

Sunday, after it sits in the fridge overnight and gets the fat removed, we add the duck confit and the sausages. It called for saucisses de Toulouse; the Culinary District let me down and did not have same, so I got saucisses de canard (or duck sausages) instead. If one duck is good, two is better, no?

All I got to say is, this stuff better be good.

Also on tap tomorrow — a big batch of bacon jam, some homemade crackers, some bran bread with chocolate stout, some pumpkin bread, and maybe pralines if I get ambitious. Of course, then I’ll have to hide them until gift-giving time. Oh, and some cranberry salad. And maybe a cranberry upside-down cake, because I saw the recipe and it looked awfully dang good. Some macaroons, also for gift-giving. I might break down and make fudge, or I might not.

Favorite guinea pig is sous-cheffing, though he may not realize this at this moment. You and y’mama ‘n ’em don’t tell him, and we’ll surprise him with it tomorrow.


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