Friday, April 23, 2010

Turnip Green and Shiitake Mushroom Calzone with 'Smoked Cheddar'

In truth, my calzones tonight were made of beet greens and shiitake mushrooms. I couldn't find turnip greens no matter how many grocery stores I checked, but beet greens are a close cousin and make a fine substitute. You could also use kale or spinach for the filling, though be aware that cooking time will vary (longer for kale, shorter for spinach).

On the other hand, thanks to the British company Sheese, I can now get vegan smoked cheddar! Buy yours online at

For this recipe, start by making the dough. Combine 1 cup boiling water with 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal; let stand for 20 minutes. Towards the end of that time, dissolve 1 packet yeast (about 2 and 1/4 teaspoons) in 1/4 cup warm water (check that the temperature is between 100 and 110 degrees with a thermometer); let stand for 5 minutes.

Lightly spoon 2 cups all-purpose flour into measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour in a food processor with the cornmeal mixture, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. dried thyme; pulse about 4 times, until combined.

Add the yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon agave nectar (in place of honey), and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil; process until smooth, and then continue to process for about another minute.

Note: I made the dough in a blender instead, since my food processor wasn't large enough; however, I don't recommend it in retrospect, since the ingredients couldn't blend all that well, and the dough was quite sticky and hard to get out of the blender. If you don't have a food processor that's big enough, I would suggest just stirring everything together in a bowl the old-fashioned way.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead lightly about 4 or 5 times. Place in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning so the top of the dough is coated as well; cover and let rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size. A good tip I recently learned is to place the bowl in a closed, unheated oven, since that way you come close to ideal rising conditions - about 85 degrees and free from drafts.

While the dough rises, make the filling: bring 4 cups water to a boil in a Dutch oven, and add 3/4 pound coarsely chopped turnip greens (or beet greens: of which I only had 10 ounces, not the full 12 ounces, alas); cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the greens with a slotted spoon and transfer to ice water, then drain. Squeeze out any excess liquid; set aside.

Heat a medium skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add 3 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms caps and 2 minced garlic cloves; saute for 5 minutes. Add the greens, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar; cook for a final minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and let it rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Sprinkle a baking sheet with 2 teaspoons cornmeal, and set aside near at hand.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (while you keep the others covered in the bowl), shape it into a ball, and then roll out into a 7-inch circle. The original recipe did not say to do this step on a floured surface, but I highly recommend it - and coating the rolling pin with flour too! - because the dough is very sticky. Place the circle on the baking sheet with cornmeal. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Place 1/2 cup of the mushroom mixture on half of each circle. Sprinkle each half with 1/4 cup shredded vegan smoked cheddar. Fold the dough over so the edges almost meet but not quite, then bring the bottom edge up over the top edge; crimp the edges with your fingers to form a rim. Place the calzones on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (I assumed a different one than the one sprinkled with cornmeal, although I could have been wrong about that...)

Make the equivalent of 1 egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G) and brush over the top of the calzones, then bake them at 450 degrees for 12 minutes.

Each calzone is 470 calories.

yeast packets $2.69
beet greens $3.49
shiitake mushrooms $7.98
vegan smoked cheddar $7.49

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance