Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sandwich With Provolone, Olives and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I haven't done much with sandwiches since going veg. But last fall, I stumbled upon this combination, which I love. I now put these sandwiches on the menu at least once a month. Assembly is easy, especially if you prepare the roasted red pepper sauce in advance.

If you run out of ciabatta rolls but have leftover toppings, you can make quesadillas using whole wheat tortillas, provolone, olives, diced pepper and roasted red pepper sauce.

Ingredients for Four Sandwiches:

Four ciabatta rolls
1/2 pound provolone, sliced
5 ounces kalamata olives, pitted and seeded
one yellow (or orange) pepper, seeded and diced
one batch roasted red pepper sauce
dried basil

Slice the ciabatta rolls length-wise. One one half, spread two tablespoons of roasted red pepper sauce, then top with two slices of provolone cheese and sprinkled basil. On the other half, layer kalamata olives, then two slices of provolone, then 1/4 of the diced pepper. Place open-faced on a baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes at 250, then broil one minute, watching to be sure it does not burn. Remove from oven when cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown. Combine the two halves to make one sandwich.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

2 red peppers
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil

Place washed, whole red peppers on a baking sheet and broil approximately 10 minutes, watching closely. When dark splotches appear on the peppers, remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully turn the pepper with tongs (the peppers will be HOT). Return baking sheet to the oven and repeat the process until each side is (significantly) blackened. Place the blackened peppers in a paper bag, roll to seal, and let sit at least 15 minutes.

Once the peppers have cooled, remove the skins, stem and seeds with your hands while holding each pepper under running water. Place the peppers in a food processor, and combine with salt and olive oil, pureeing until smooth.

Refrigerate: keeps about one week.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Protect Your Table and the Planet

An pretty and practical use for recycled paper.

Veg for the Holidays

I've decided that it's time to re-train my family when it comes to holiday dinners. I'm tired of trying to make a meal out of their side dishes, or having to prepare a completely different dinner for myself. But what can we make that I can eat and we will all enjoy?

Our new Easter dinner is pizza. Ours was made from scratch, although you can buy fresh or frozen dough if you don't want to bother coaxing the yeast, kneading the floury paste and waiting for the resulting mass to rise. I had margarita pizza, topped with lovely tomato, basil and mozzarella. The carnivores had something similar, but with a little meat added. And then a salad on the side, with romaine, mushrooms, carrots, green peppers, diced egg and a creamy dressing (also homemade).

We use this dough recipe:

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (115 F)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal

Soften yeast in warm water. Stir in salt and olive oil.
Gradually mix in cornmeal and 3 cups of flour to form a soft dough.
Knead until smooth (about 5 minutes) on a mat* coated with about 1/2 cup four.
Cover and let rise about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
Punch down dough. Divide into two balls and roll out about 3/4 inch thick.
Place each oval of dough on a greased baking sheet.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil.
Top with your choice of ingredients.
Place one baking sheet at a time on the lowest rack of a preheated 500 degree oven for approximately 10 to 12 minutes (we baked ours for 9 minutes and it was perfect, so keep an eye on your pie while it is baking).

*We used a non-stick silicone baking mat, which makes it much easier to work with dough, and also helps increase the surface areas you can use to work with dough when you have a tiny little kitchen like mine.