Using up that CSA produce (or clearing out the fridge)

One of the interesting side effects of cheffing is that you sometimes end up with all sorts of odds and ends and little bits of things in your fridge (at least, you do if you’re like me and can’t let anything go unused…I would SO have rocked the pioneer days).   Half a zucchini, quarter cup of mushrooms, smidgen of parmesan…my fridge is always a jumble of Ziplocs and green produce bags (which do work, btw) and folded-up paper towels hiding little bits just too good to throw away.  When the Boston Glove recently ran some recipes for using up all the produce from your CSA box, I realized I had enough stuff on hand to make the Vegetable Calzones included in the article, with a few substitutions.  I used the recipe as a jumping off point and just roughly estimated  equivalent amounts –  i.e. I didn’t have cauliflower, but I had tons of Cousa squash from the farm (Siena Farms in Sudbury, where I have my buy-what-you-want CSA membership).  The recipe calls for using purchased pizza dough to make it easy on you, which I wholeheartedly support, but I had time and decided to make the whole wheat pizza dough recommended by my friend Chef Patti Anastasia – I like the tanginess of a WW dough next to the sweetness of veggies.    They were delicious, and I was able to tuck a half-dozen into the freezer for later, when ChefBaby comes and I will be insane and thus even more grateful for healthy homemade food already at my disposal…  These were delicious, and though I often like sauce on the side with calzones, I found these juicy and flavorful and they didn’t need a thing.  Enjoy –

Fridge-Clearing Vegetable Calzones

Makes 8 large calzones

2 pounds pizza dough (I used whole wheat – try this one if you want to make your own)

3 cups grated provolone cheese (I used Parmesan)

3 cups grated mozzarella cheese

¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 red bell peppers, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

Salt and black pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium zucchini, chopped

3 cups cauliflower florets, chopped roughly (I used Cousa squash cubes)

4 ears of corn, cooked (I used 8 oz or so of sliced mushrooms)

½ cup basil leaves, sliced in thin ribbons

1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Cornmeal, for dusting

(And I added a healthy shake of Penzey’s Pizza Seasoning)

Have dough at room temperature. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place oven rack in lowest position (position a pizza stone, if using, on rack). In a large bowl, combine the cheeses and toss with the flour. Set aside. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the bell peppers and onions. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn up heat to medium-high and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add zucchini and cauliflower. (Cook in batches if your pan isn’t big enough to fit vegetables in a shallow layer.) Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 or 5 minutes or until vegetables are just cooked through. Meanwhile, cut corn kernels from the cob. Cool vegetables for 10 minutes. Stir in corn and basil. Add to the grated-cheese mixture and season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Punch down the dough and divide into 8 balls. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll each dough ball into a round, ¼ inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Place a heaping cup of filling on half of each round, leaving a ½-inch border of dough. Fold dough over the filling, making a half-moon shape. Pinch around edge to seal. With a sharp paring knife, cut 3 small parallel slashes on top for steam to vent. Using a pastry brush, coat the top lightly with egg wash.

Dust a sheet tray with cornmeal and transfer the calzones to the tray. (Or dust pizza stone with cornmeal and place calzones directly on top of the stone.) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until calzones are deep golden brown and crisp. Serve hot.

To store unused servings, cool completely at room temperature, then wrap calzones individually in aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag and freeze. To reheat, place unwrapped frozen calzones in a 350-degree oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until hot throughout.

Chefchick Says: Those green produce bags do work!  I picked up a box at a dollar store (don’t pay $10 or more in the grocery store – they’re in every dollar/bargain/job lot store I’ve been in).  Keep a set in your kit or your car for taking home extra produce or herbs that your clients don’t want.  They’ll last for several weeks until you figure out what to do with them…like make calzones?)

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