Hand Sewing and Hefty Calzones

I love light bulb moments. I know it’s such an overused image, but really, we all know this feeling:

And this week, I had one of those oh-so-good light bulb moments that didn’t disappear the next morning (those what-was-I-thinking moments happen quite a bit, too). Sometimes, I’m such a fabric junky that I end up with a whole lot of fabric… and no real idea of what I’m going to do with it. For instance, the colorful napkins I bought in Mexico. Hmm…

Fortunately, it didn’t take too long for my moment of inspiration to arrive. Despite being rather flustered by the whole bartering-in-a-Mexican-marketplace situation, I made the wise decision of buying nine napkins (you know how I feel about nine patches) so the patchworking portion of this endeavor was pretty straightforward. But then I decided to spice things up.

For some reason, I’ve been very drawn to hand stitching these days. (I’m enchanted by The Silly BooDilly and her gorgeous work quilts.) Don’t get me wrong, I love my sewing machine; it’s efficient, (mostly) reliable, and quick—like me and most of my daily endeavors. On the other hand, I could benefit from slowing things down a bit more, immersing myself in my craft and using it as an opportunity to not be super efficient and productive.

I’ve also come to the realization that thread has been a seriously neglected material in my quilting repertoire. It’s not just a functional, hold-it-together device, but an added element of color and texture in its own right! Long story short (well, maybe it’s already long), I’ve been using the basic Mexican napkin nine-patch to have fun with hand stitching:

And, yes, this really is fun. My stitching lines aren’t straight and my stitches aren’t even—I love that. It’s wonky and whimsical, and absolutely addictive.

A part of me wishes I’d bought a lot more of these napkins since I love the colors and feel of the cloth, and the current size of this piece (about 60″ square) is an odd in between size. But I came up with a solution that I’m pretty psyched about, so stay tuned…

Last week was my soup week, which was lovely and restorative—but sometimes you need something a little heartier. Last weekend, after taking my first spinning class (Saturday) and returning to hot yoga (Sunday), I was ready for a sizeable meal (sizable but healthy, of course ;)).  So last Sunday night, I made calzones. Basically, this means making a pizza that you fold in half, creating a sort of pizza-sandwich crossbreed that can be easily eaten without utensils (well, maybe not in public). I made two; one for myself and one for my boyfriend, who filled his with spicy cheese and pepperoni.

Here’s my version. I’m giving the recipe for one since it’s really hard to find recipes that don’t make eight calzones, and I didn’t want all those leftovers. This way, you can just make one for yourself, multiply the recipe as needed, or, since this is a pretty generously sized calzone, you could split one and serve it with a side. And, of course, have fun coming up with your own calzone stuffings.

Hefty Healthy Calzone

(Pardon the blurry picture, my camera was not cooperating)

The Dough

  • 1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (or ½ a .25 oz. packet—this doesn’t have to be too precise)
  • ¾ cups warm water (100-110 degrees F)
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (approximately)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

The Insides

  • 1/3 cup canned pizza sauce
  • ½ cup butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½” cubes
  • ½ cup broccoli, steamed
  • 4 oz. canned tuna (drained)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon raisins
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon herbes de provence (or thyme)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Make the Dough

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and allow to proof until foamy; 5-10 minutes. Add the honey and olive oil. In a separate bowl, combine the salt and 1 ½ cups of the whole wheat flour. Pour the yeast mixture  over the whole wheat flour. Continue to add flour until the dough is firm enough to knead by hand.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until it has an elastic texture, about 10-15 minutes. Lightly oil the inside of a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Make the Insides

While the dough is rising, steam the broccoli (you can let it get nice and soft for this recipe, or keep it crunchy if you prefer) and roast the butternut squash.

To roast the squash, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay the squash cubes across a roasting pan, add the olive oil, herbes de provence, and sprinkle salt across the surface. Toss the squash and bake for about half an hour at 350 degrees F. Taste test as you go to see if more salt is needed.

Put it all Together

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (be sure to remove the squash first!). Once the dough has risen, punch it down and spread it into a 12″ circle on a greased baking sheet.

Coat one half of the circle with the sauce, then broccoli, squash, tuna, raisins, and both cheeses. Leave a ½ inch rim for closing the calzone.

Fold the dough in half and press together along the rim so it is sealed.

Bake at 450 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.



Filed under cooking, quilting, sewing

3 responses to “Hand Sewing and Hefty Calzones

  1. Those fabric mexican napkins are pretty cool, and your hand stitching looks great!

    As for the calzone… my mouth is watering!

  2. What do you do on the backside of your handstitching? I don’t know how to hide my knots when using floss.

    • pippapatchwork

      I actually find that I can hide my knots the same way that I do with regular quilting (pulling them through the top and batting). Perhaps it’s because the fabric is a slightly looser weave.

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