Sausage & Cheese Calzones

I called the groomer Wednesday to make an appointment for Lola.  As the day wore on and I didn’t receive a callback, I thought to myself…”I wonder if I left that message with the groomer”.  The thing is, the message wasn’t like a business greeting – just “you have reached 508-xxx-xxxx” (beeeeep).  I thought that was a little strange, being a business and all but still, I left my name and number with the message to please call me back about ‘doing’ Lola, the Bernese Mountain Dog.  So, yesterday I called back and sure enough got a professional message “hello, you’ve reached FurrEssentials.  If we’re not answering, it’s because we’re with the dogs, please leave your name and number and we’ll get back to you”.

Oh boy…I’m sitting here wondering who has my name and number and is waiting for a crazy lady to show up on their doorstep with a Bernese Mountain dog.  In any case I guess they’re not interested since I haven’t heard back from them.  But I wonder, am I becoming that befuddled elderly lady who calls me at 7:30am asking for Helen?  And, every time that I tell her that she has the wrong number, she calls back and asked for Helen again.  Sometimes we go through that routine a few times with me asking her what Helen’s number is and explaining that she misdialed the area code until I guess she either gets through to Helen or forgets what it was she wanted to talk to Helen about in the first place.

I’m usually pretty good with the home phone and have gotten used to the violence of calling someone by  “punching” of numbers vs. the more genteel “dialing” although sometimes after punching in a bunch of numbers and sitting waiting for my call to go through I realize that I haven’t “hit” send.

How many of you remember rotary phones?  Now here’s where some of you will give your age away – how many of you remember party lines?  I think if I were to tell a young person that our first phone was a party line that they’d think my family was a fun but weird family.  It’s just recently that I’ve felt comfortable being able to have a long conversation with my daughter without having to worry about toll charges per minute or Mrs. Smith from next door click, clicking to let me know that she wanted to make a phone call herself.  And these long string of numbers to remember, except that you don’t have to remember them anymore because you can store them.  We did store them in the ‘olden days’ but it was in a little address/telephone book kept by the phone.  If you wanted to call someone in your town, you only needed to dial the last 4 digits; out of town you had to add the exchange.  So I guess it’s a good thing to be able to store phone numbers on your cell phone.  Except that you have to make sure that you’re communicating with the right person.

There are plenty of hilarious stories out there about auto correct which can be frustrating when you just have a simple question.  I was out shopping and saw the cutest baby socks.  I wanted to buy them for a couple about to have their first and texted my daughter asking her if it was a boy or girl…
Me:  “Nik, do you know what Matt & Colleen are having- boy or girl
Niki:  Boy
Me:  Ok, saw the cutest things & they’re Izods
Autocorrect:  Uzis
Me:  NO!  Izods
Autocorrect:  IPods
Me:  Damnit!  i-z-o-d-s!
Niki:  LOL.  it’s ok Mom I figured it out
Me:  Just didn’t want u to think I was buying weapons

And then there’s this problem with sending texts to the wrong people.  Usually I text my daughter and I guess I just assume that when I go into the list that hers will be the first one up or default.

Me to Niki:  What time are you coming by to pick up the air conditioner?
My friend Nancy:  ? Diane – thanks but I have central air

Me to Niki:  Are you at Wegman’s? If u r could you buy me those almond croissants? And what is the brand name of the mattress we bought you
Niki’s friend:   No response from her, but a text from her to my daughter:  why does your mom want to know if I’m at Wegmans & why is she asking about my mattress?  (This girl is such a sweetheart though that I’m sure if I really wanted those croissants that she’d go get some for me)

But my best was when my husband and I were out shopping and went separate ways in Macy’s…
Me:  Meet me in the sheets
My friend Richie:  ?Huh?

Now here’s a visual before I give you the recipe for these amazing calzones.  This is a normal brain:

This is my brain:

I need to explain all of that because if you read my last post, you may recall (I think I do) that I took a camera class.  In the class the instructor said to not delete photo’s individually from your camera – either delete all after downloading them from your computer or after downloading, reformatting  the memory stick.  If you delete individual photos, you end up with a badly fragmented memory stick. So thinking of all the practice photos in my class of fellow classmates, I reformatted my camera’s stick forgetting that I had a whole bunch of great shots of these calzones in various stages – beautifully colored mixture, dough rolled and lined up, heaped with filling, and even a shot of a freshly cut calzone which actually showed the steam drifting out.  They’re all gone and alas, but I had to show you something and all I can show you is this half calzone straight from the freezer and hard as a rock.  Trust me though, these calzones have a tasty meat mixture and ooze with melted cheese.

CALZONES WITH CHEESE, SAUSAGE, AND BELL PEPPER

IMG_1476

For the dough:
1 1/2 Cups warm water
1 Package dry yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 Teaspoon salt
4 Cups all purpose flour

– Sprinkle yeast over the warm water in a large bowl & let sit for a few minutes. Stir to blend.
– Add olive oil & salt
– Add flour in 1/2 cups, blending after each addition up about 3 1/2 cups. Knead on floured surface adding last 1/2 cup only until dough isn’t sticky
– Smack ball of dough into an oiled bowl, turn & smack it to the other side to coat. Let dough rise until about doubled in size.

For the Mixture:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Small red bell pepper
1 Large sweet onion
4 Large sausage with casing removed – sweet or spicy to your liking
12 Oz About 3 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
12 Oz 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
4 Teaspoons oregano

– Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and bell pepper until softened, set aside
– Cook sausage meat, adding a little oil if necessary, breaking meat up with a fork until cooked
– Mix mozzarella & ricotta cheeses in bowl with oregano

Preheat oven to 400 °.  Punch down dough, cut into 8 equal portions for a generously sized calzone.  Roll each out into a circle and drop equal amounts of meat filling, then cheese mixture into the center of each.  Fold each in half and pinch the edges firmly.  Sprinkle corn meal on 2 cookie sheets and divide calzones onto.  Pierce the tops with either a fork or knife to let steam escape.

Position 1 oven rack on top level and 1 rack on bottom.  Place one cookie sheet on each level for 15 minutes.  Reverse cookie sheets and cookie for another 15 minutes. until golden brown.

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Egg Salad Sandwiches & Dogs

What a sad start to my day when John called me from work to say that he saw a dead dog on the side of the road just down the street.  He was on his way to work and stopped by the police station to tell them about it so they could have the terrible task of notifying the owners.  At first they said it was probably a coyote but John told them no, no, he didn’t think so because it had curly hair like a poodle.  So he was bummed out all day and I was bummed out all day thinking about the poor people who would be getting bad news.

Then he got home and told me it was still there!  You’ve got to be kidding me, how could they leave someone’s pet on the side of the road?  Well, funny thing… as it turns out, it was a log.  Yes, a dead log.  I guess coming at it from the other direction made it a little more clear.  Now listen, you people in town please let’s not pass this around okay? I’d like to think that if I have to call 911 that the police will take me seriously and show up.  And I can picture how the police blotter’s going to look for this week:
Man reports dead log on Lyman Rd.  Responding officer reports that log is still dead. 

I guess we can forgive John for this mistake since he ran over his glasses Sunday with the lawn mower.  Not the blade part, just the tires which made them a little bent not completely chewed up.  Of course he’s blaming the trees with the branches that are too low that knocked his glasses off.  I’m guessing he’s going to take revenge on the trees so I’ll have to remove some part from the chainsaw.

Now, getting back to egg salad sandwiches and dogs, this isn’t really a recipe but a lunch idea when you have next to nothing in the refrigerator.  It was too hot to mosey out to the market and I was down to bare bones for food.  Always have eggs & as luck would have it, also some bacon.  Rather than just a boring egg salad sandwich, I cooked up a pile of bacon, crumbled it, mixed it in with the eggs, and crammed it into a hot dog roll.

This is a picture of my SECOND egg salad with bacon sandwich because when I went to get my camera (just in case you can’t picture what an egg salad sandwich looks like), I came back to an empty plate.  Am I ever going to learn?  And talk about attitude!  I asked Lola “did you eat my sandwich?” and got this…

She couldn’t even look me in the eyes.  Did she eat the sandwich…geesh, did it have bacon in it?  Is she a food thief?  Yes, yes, and yes.  Guilty as charged!

Mozzarella/Tomato/Basil Melt

We still have about 6″ of snow on the ground and there’s only one in this house who is enjoying it.

Perfect day for my absolute favorite lunch – a grilled sandwich of fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil on whole wheat bread.  I’m embarrassed  to even put this under recipes since there’s really nothing to it but it’s definitely one of my cold day favorites.    Easy & quick to put together and doesn’t really need explaining but my steps are:

– Whole wheat bread
– Thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
– Chopped fresh basil (it’s so easy to grow inside & I have pots of basil growing year round)
– Slices of tomato (Beefsteak tomatoes in the summer of course is best, but there’s still some very good tomatoes around this time of year)
– Another layer of sliced mozzarella cheese
– One more layer of fresh basil

Grilled until mozzarella is all melted and bread is golden brown, grab a book, and snuggle up in front of the fireplace.