Friday, June 13, 2008

The Cuisine of California: Calzones & Chocolate

A classic 5th-grade girl expression -- amused, skeptical, about to be extremely sarcastic. But I think they were in earnest when they said they liked the dinner, prepared, of course, from Diane Rossen Worthington's Cuisine of California.

Worthington's calzones with prosciutto and Sonoma goat cheese were a modest hit. Owen shaped them, some of us ate them, others picked at them, but we were are all more or less enthusiastic, which is unusual. The crust was a lovely, oily, toasty brown. The filling had chevre tang, mozzarella stretchiness, and a little salty meat. (I bought the less-expensive domestic prosciutto, and even buried deep inside a calzone, it tastes like less-expensive domestic prosciutto.)

I love how random it is that I'm cooking out of this 1983 book. I think it would have mouldered on the shelf untouched forever if Isabel hadn't pulled it out the other day. All the recipes call for a few too many ingredients, the culinary equivalent of putting giant shoulder pads in an otherwise elegant blazer. But I'm holding out for one vintage gem I can add to my repertoire. A delicious pasta salad. A kiwi dessert.

To end the meal, I made Worthington's chocolate hazelnut ice cream. Overwhelmingly chocolatey -- superrich chocolate ice cream studded with chunks of cold chocolate. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate doing its overbearing chocolate thing. What a diva. Honestly, I'd rather have Hunanese lotus seeds. 

But then I have never appreciated chocolate. Everyone else thought it was great.

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