Posted on | August 29, 2010 | 9 Comments
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that summer is on its way out and autumn is on its way in. There are days when the wind makes it too cold to swim, and it seems as though the leaves will start to fall any minute. And every once in a while you think you catch the smell of autumn air pushing its way back into our lives once more. I never noticed how easy it is to feel the change. Even without looking out the window, the looming semester brings on such feelings of anxious, restless excitement that you can’t mistake the feeling for anything but change itself. For me, I now have two other events that suggest the anticipated switching of seasons and they both occurred this week.
On Tuesday, I turned twenty-one years old. All grown up, right? You bet. I can now officially purchase and consume alcohol (as long as it’s gluten free!) and I’ll be graduating college in two semesters. What a year this is going to be! But it also reminds me that this is my very last summer break. Ideally, after graduation, I’ll be working in good ole’ NYC as an editor in a publishing company (please, want me Random House!). Despite my excitement at the thought of starting my life, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. Looking back on this summer, which has been a great summer, and looking back on my life here in Jersey, which has been a great life…it’s a bittersweet feeling that overwhelms me when turning to the next phase in my life.
And then yesterday was my third Gluten Free Anniversary. Three years ago, I was pandering in the pantry, examining ingredients for what was probably the first time. Three years ago, I was piling everything I was going to bring with me to college. I can still remember the half-dread, half-excitement I felt when thinking about going away to school for the first time. And I can see how much I’ve grown since then. Academically, socially and personally, I feel like such a stronger person. Though still introverted, I’ve become far more confident than I’ve ever been and it was the past three years that made that happen for me. And as anxious as I might be about graduation and what comes after, I feel like the past three years have brought me to a place where I can look on the day I leave Rider University with a bit of sadness, pride and optimism.
In the spirit of my third Gluten Free Anniversary, I decided it was time to try another recipe from another one of my favorite gluten free bloggers. Linda, also known as the Gluten-Free Homemaker, writes, not only gluten free recipes, but shares resourceful links about Celiac Disease and the gluten free diet. Linda very quickly became one of my favorite bloggers because she’s about cooking for a family. When I think optimistically about the future, I see myself with a family of my own. I see myself coming home from work and making dinner and sitting at the table with a husband and children. I want to be a gluten-free homemaker too!
I also love Linda’s blog because she hosts Gluten Free Wednesdays, a gluten free blog carnival, every week. The idea is that whatever gluten-free bloggers would like to participate, suggest ideas for what to eat and Linda links to their blog posts. It’s a fantastic way to share recipes, find new bloggers to follow and make friends.
Looking through Linda’s recipes, her calzones were the first to catch my eye. I’m half Italian and I haven’t had a calzone in…well…three years. Isn’t part of that just a little perturbing? I thought so. I wanted to bite into that warm dough so that the filling would ooze out and make a sticky, delicious mess.
Linda’s calzones need:
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1 1/2 cup potato starch
1 Tb. instant yeast (I used regular yeast, but it ended up being pretty useless. I’ll explain shortly.)
1 Tb. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 Tb. olive oil
1 1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
Whatever you want for filling
Your first step is to put all the dry ingredients minus the sugar together in a bowl. While I was doing this, my mother was putting the warm water, yeast, olive oil and sugar in another bowl. Then we added the wet to the dry and started to mix. Again, we don’t have a mixer, which makes this process a little difficult because it’s such a dry dough. At least, mine was. We couldn’t get the whole thing into a cohesive ball so what we ended up doing was splitting it by four. It was still difficult to keep together.
Now’s as good a time as any to explain what happened with our yeast. Well, Linda’s recipe calls for Instant Yeast and we didn’t have any. So our idea was to use regular yeast and let the dough rise for a while. But then the dough was so heavy that we didn’t think it actually would rise. So we decided to go forth and see what happened.
What Linda does is roll the entire thing of dough out and use an upside down bowl to make perfect circles. She suggests that the circles be 1/8 inch thick. Ours were actually a bit thicker. We simply made our four lumps of dough into circles. Either way you do it, once you have the circles, you want to fill them. Our filling consisted of ham, ricotta and shredded mozzarella cheese. Put your filling on one side of the circle so that you can fold the other half over. When you feel ready to fold, Linda suggests you dip your fingers in water and run them around the outside of the circle so the dough will stick a little better. That seemed to really help. When our calzones were folded over, we used the edge of a fork to press down along the edges.
After putting the calzones on a baking sheet, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle some salt on top. You’ll want your oven set at 400 degrees. When the oven is ready, pop them in and keep an eye on them! We got slightly distracted watching My Ghost Story on Bio (We love anything about ghosts!). It takes approximately 20-25 minutes for these babies to finish. Be careful when you cut the first one open. The ricotta gets so hot! And you’re going to want to bite into it immediately, but trust me. You’ll enjoy it more when your tongue isn’t burnt to a crisp.
When I brought my calzone outside to take a picture (we don’t have nice lighting in our house in the evening), I was again reminded that summer is coming to a close. It was so early, but the sun was already setting. Soon enough it’ll be dark by seven instead of being light until nine.
I forgot my bittersweet sorrows and brought the calzone back inside to eat. There’s nothing like sitting on the couch, eating a calzone and watching ghosts stories. What? Not a normal favorite pastime? It should be. The first bite I took of the calzone was perhaps a little overzealous, burning myself a bit, but I got what I wanted. I had that oozing calzone with the yummy ricotta, mozzarella and ham. The crust was crispy and warm and happy, and it had a really pleasing taste. My kitchen smelled like an Italian bakery. Mmmm….What a perfect way to spend my Gluten Free Anniversary!
I want to thank Linda of The Gluten Free Homemaker for allowing me to use her recipe and showcase it here.
Now, I know I’ve been whining about how summer is ending, but it’s not over just yet! One more recipe to go for my Summer Blog Project and it’s going to be a big job. It’ll be the coup d’état (ideally) of the entire project! So wish me luck!