Tag Archives: olives

Creamy Italian Sandwich

The first couple bites of this sandwich were absolutely amazing and then as I started eating more if it I started feeling overwhelmed by the richness of it. The idea was a good one, but I think to get to a perfect finished product it definitely needs some tweaking.

Yesterday our class had an end of the year party. Most of the parents brought the typical ham and cheese/turkey and cheese sandwiches, but one mother (who is a champion against school lunches and an amazing artist) brought quesadillas. These quesadillas were bomb (yes, I grew up in the mid-nineties). They were whole wheat tortillas with ricotta, mozzarella, and spinach. I ate two of them. I wanted to go back for more.

I was thinking about the different kinds of things that I could do to quesadillas and sanwiches. I was thinking hmm…I have pizza sauce in the freezer, I have olives, I want greens on it: a pizza salad sandwich. I want something creamy, but ricotta can be expensive…cream cheese!

Here it is folks, The Creamy Italian Sandwich.

Ingredients

  • One Francese Roll (you could use whatever kind of roll you like)
  • 2 tbsp. marinara/pizza sauce (I had some in the freezer, you could use jarred or your homemade kind)
  • 2 tbsp. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp. pesto sauce
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarrella cheese
  • 1 cup or more of mixed salad greens (you could also use spinach)
  • 4 pitted kalamata olives

1. Gut your bread. This means tear out all the soft insides of the bread leaving mostly crust behind. This is to your sandwich isn’t too bready. I know, this may make you sad. I love bread too, but there is a lot of other stuff going on in this sandwich to make up for it.

2. Put cream cheese in a bowl. Add pesto, sliced olives, and black pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined. Now, after eating the sandwich I think two tablespoons of cream cheese was overkill and the pesto unecessary.  Next time I would reduce it to one tablespoon of cream cheese or go with ricotta.

3. Spray olive oil into pan. Spread one tablespoon of marinara/pizza sauce on bread. Spread half of cream cheese/olive mixture on bread. Place in pan. Sprinkle half of cheese on top. Add all your greens. Spread marinara sauce and cream cheese mixture on the other slice of bread. Sprinkle cheese on top of the greens. Add the other slice of bread. Squish down.

4. Put pan on burner and heat to medium. Place a cast iron skillet on top of the sandwich and press down. I suppose you could do this in a panini press or even a waffle iron, if you’ve got fancy stuff like that. I have a cast iron skillet so that’s what I used. Check every couple minutes to make sure the sandwich isn’t burning. Use this time to clean up. Once you smell toastiness, remove the cast iron skillet and check the bottom of your sandwich. If it’s golden flip it and then replace the skillet for another minute or two until the other side of golden. Then dig in and enjoy.

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Two Kinds of Pizza

Andrew wanted to make pizza today, so we made two different kinds of pizza: one with sausage, pineapple, kalamata olives, garlic, and mozzarella rice cheese and the other with bbq “chicken”, pineapple, garlic, and mozzarella rice cheese  (seitan marinated in bbq sauce). I really liked the way the whole wheat crust turned out. I have to get used to the texture of the seitan, but it actually worked very well on the pizza with the cheese.  The rice cheese melted very well. It was missing that nice, greasy cheese component that is what makes pizza so divine, but at least it wasn’t clogging my arteries. Andrew said he really liked the way his came out, but he wouldn’t use olives the next time.

Pizza Crust Recipe

Ingredients (Crust)

Adapted from The Martha Stewar Living Cookbook

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sunflower oil

1. Pour the warm water into a small bowl. Note: It’s very important your water is the right temperature. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast; if it is too cold the yeast will not be activated. Add the sugar, and sprinkle in the yeast. Stir the mixture until the yeast is dissolved and water has turned tan. Let yeast stand until foamy, about ten minutes. In a bowl, combine flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture and oil. Stir until dough comes together, adding more flour as needed until dough is smooth, not tacky, when squeezed. Transfer to clean surface; knead four or five until it turns into a ball.

2. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, smooth side up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about forty minutes. Note: Our dough did not rise. I think our water was too hot or we kneaded it too much. It did not make that much difference. Our crust was a little thin and chewy. Remove the plastic wrap, and place your fist in the center of the dough to punch it down. Fold the dough back onto itself four or five times. Turn the dough over, folded side down, cover with the plastic wrap, and let rise again in a warm place until the dough ahs doubed in size, about thirty minutes. Top with whatever you like and cook in a 400º F. oven for 17 minutes.

Pizza Sauce Recipe

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 14 oz. can peeled, stewed tomatoes
  • dried oregano (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato paste

1. Pour peeled, stewed tomatoes into food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add tomato paste and sunflower oil. Pulse until mixed. Pour into bowl. Add spices.

Andrew’s Pizza

Ingredients

  • one whole wheat pizza crust
  • 1/2 recipe of tomato sauce
  • pineapple slices
  • mozzarella rice cheese
  • 1/4 pound of bulk pork sausage
  • kalamata olives
  • garlic cloves

1. Assemble pizza then cook in oven for seventeen minutes at 400º F.

Hayley’s Pizza

Ingredients

  • nuggets of pre-cooked seitan marinated for an hour in homemade bbq sauce
  • rice mozzarella cheese
  • tomato sauce
  • sliced pineapple
  • garlic

1. Heat nuggets of pre-cooked seitan on low heat until heated through. Cut into smaller, bite sized pieces.

2. Assemble pizza: sauce, cheese, seitan, sliced garlic, and sliced pineapple. Cook in oven for seventeen minutes at 400º F.

Polenta Pizza with Hummus and Olives

This week I made a polenta pizza with hummus, olives, salad greens, sprouts, and seaweed. It was pretty tasty and filled with yummy, healthy things.

Recipe:

Adapted from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup polenta (cornmeal)
  • 4 cups water
  • hummus (I made homemade hummus earlier in the week, you can use store bought or make your own)
  • kalamata olives, sliced
  • salad greens
  • clover sprouts
  • dried seaweed (nori, mine was green tea flavor)
  • carrots, peeled and julienned

1. Bring 4 cups of water or vegetable stock to the boil. Reduce the heat and whisk in 1 cup coarse polenta (cornmeal). Continue whisking 5 minutes. Replace whisk with a wooden soon and stir until spoon can stand and polenta comes away from sides of pan. Stir in two tablespoons of softened Earth Balance and season with salt and pepper.

2. Spread the mixture over the base of a deep pizza tray (I used a spring form pan because I don’t own a pizza pan). Set aside to cool (this step is essential, I forgot to do this and I think it messed things up a little). Brush the polenta with oil and bake in a preheated oven 400º for ten minutes.

3. Remove the polenta from the oven and spread hummus on top (now, I would suggest cooking the polenta for a little longer and making sure your hummus is room temperature, I had some difficulty spreading it).  Top with olives and carrots. Bake for another twenty minutes. Then add salad greens, sprouts, and seaweed.

I had a really difficult time removing mine from the pan. I think this was because I didn’t let my polenta cool down before putting it in the oven again.