Molly MacRae Monday: Erupting Into the New Year

Molly MacRae and I are living in what the news is calling the “polar vortex” today with -45 wind chill. These photos and recipes look wonderful, though!-AA

 January 5, 2014 – A winter storm is howling through central Illinois, dropping not just a blanket of snow, but blankets, extra thick coverlets, and entire mattresses. The winds are expected to drop temperature to lows not seen around here in forty years. This is all thanks, we’re told, to a polar vortex. Cool name. So how do you counteract a polar vortex? How about with a volcanic eruption?

That’s why I’m making Stromboli for supper – a rolled pizza sort of thing named after a volcano in Italy. Mt. Stromboli is one of three active volcanos in Italy and it’s been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000 years. That really is cool. My Stromboli doesn’t erupt so much as it oozes – but doesn’t melting, oozy cheese sound good when a polar vortex is swirling overhead? Here’s the recipe. I make my own dough, but you can certainly substitute frozen bread dough from the store.

 Stromboli (adapted from Bread by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno)

Ingredients for dough:

2 tsp dry yeast

1 ¼ cups water – divided

3 ¾ cups bread flour

1 ½ tsp salt

3 tbsp olive oil

Ingredients for filling:

3 cups chopped mozzarella and/or smoked mozzarella

2 or 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 handful fresh basil leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp coarse salt

3 sprigs rosemary, stems removed

1 tsp pepper

1.      Sprinkle yeast into 1 cup of water in a bowl. Let stand 5 minutes; stir to dissolve.

2.      Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in dissolved yeast and olive oil. Stir in the reserved water as needed to form a soft, sticky dough.

3.      Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth, silky, and elastic, about 10 minutes.

4.      Put dough in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Punch down and let rest 10 minutes.

5.      Shape dough into a 14-inch by 8-inch rectangle. Cover with dish towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

6.      Spread cheeses, garlic, and basil evenly over dough. Roll dough like a Swiss roll, starting at a short side and without rolling too tightly. Seal ends.

7.      Place on an oiled baking sheet. Use a skewer or a carving fork to pierce a dozen or so holes through the dough to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, rosemary leaves, and pepper.

8.      Bake in 400º F oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

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