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Fall is a boo-tiful time

October 20, 2016

Cathie Campbell/For The Madera Tribune
Pretzels, cheese and a snip of chives is all you need to make these broom snacks.

October signals the approach of the Halloween holiday, which I admit to enjoying very much. Plus, I love pumpkins and gourds and have a collection of them for decoration. I have started focusing on the glass pumpkins, but I don’t get a lot of those because they are on the costly side.


Even if you don’t celebrate Halloween, and many people do not, the recipes this week can just be used for the simple pleasure of eating good food. Well, except for the witch broom snacks! Maybe call them Cinderella’s broom snacks, since that poor gal seemed to spend all her time cleaning house!


As this is being typed, I have not yet had any breakfast, so that calzone sounds pretty tasty. I have always liked dinner-type stuff for breakfast, rather than the typical bacon and eggs, etc. I know there are a few others who are the same. Breakfast or any time, I hope you are all enjoying the crisp fall weather and prepared for whatever winter brings us this season.

Snake calzone
Don’t worry, it’s just in the shape of a snake. No snake meat involved! I like to add onions to this. The recipe says many things are optional, but to me, what’s the point of making it if you leave so many ingredients out?

Dough:
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 package (.25-oz.) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups flour, divided

Filling:
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
1 package (4-oz.) sliced pepperoni
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup sliced black olives, optional
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped or cut into strips, optional
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, optional
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

  1. For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with a dough hook), dissolve the sugar in the warm water. (Of course, this can be made without a mixer.) Sprinkle yeast over the water, and let stand about 5 minutes or until the yeast softens and begins to foam. Stir in the olive oil, salt and 2 cups of flour, and mix on low until the mixture forms a wet dough. With the machine running, add 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup at a time, and knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl into a ball. Knead for 3 to 5 more minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  2. Lightly coat a large bowl with some oil, then place the dough in the bowl and turn to evenly coat it. Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

  3. For the filling: Combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses, pepperoni, parsley, Italian seasoning, olives (save two slices for eyes), green pepper (and onions if you are using) and mushrooms in a large bowl, and set aside.

  4. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough, and roll it out into a long, flat piece about 9 inches wide by 30 inches long. Arrange the filling mixture down the center of the dough strip, leaving about 1 inch on all sides for sealing. Pull edges of the dough together; pinch to seal and form a long, filled roll. Place the roll, seam side down, onto the parchment paper in an”S” shape that resembles a snake, and tuck the ends underneath to seal. Beat the egg in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush the egg wash over the calzone. You can use two olive slices for eyes, with a dab of pepperoni in the centers. A forked tongue can be added after baking, by using pepperoni. If you add it before baking, it might burn.

  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the calzone is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into individual slices. Serve with a good pasta sauce for dipping.


Toothy apple bites
The apple slices can be dipped in a lemon-juice and water mixture to prevent them from browning.

3 apples, such as Granny Smith, cored and cut into quarters
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Seedless raspberry preserves, optional

  1. Cut a wedge in the apples on the skin side. Make sure not to cut all the way through. This makes the mouth.

  2. If you need to, cut almonds into different-sized teeth; otherwise the slivered almonds nay be suitable just the way they are from the package.

  3. Fill the apple mouths with peanut butter.

  4. Use the almond slivers along the cut edges for placing the rows of teeth.

  5. If desired, use a little bit of preserves to add a little blood color. Makes 12 servings.


Pretzel and cheese broom snacks
Mozzarella cheese sticks
Small rod pretzels
Fresh chives or green onion tops

  1. Cut each cheese stick in half. With knife, cut the bottom part of each half into strips or shreds.

  2. Insert a pretzel stick into the uncut half of each piece of cheese.

  3. As a finishing touch, wrap each broom’s cheese chunk with a chive or strip of green onion top, tying a knot to secure.


Orange-pineapple punch
1 gallon orange sherbet, softened
1 quart pineapple juice, chilled
1 liter lemon-lime carbonated soda, chilled
Assorted gummy worms

  1. In a large clear glass punch bowl, combine the softened orange sherbet and pineapple juice; stir well.

  2. Add soda; stir until sherbet is almost dissolved. Decorate bowl with gummy worms. Serve immediately. Makes about 20 1-cup servings.

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