Calzone and BBQ Caesar Salad

The thing I like the most about New Food Tuesdayz is not the good food, the learning, or the ton of wine people bring over, although, the wine is almost my favorite. My favorite thing about NFT’z are all the people it inspires to cook. In the last week alone, my friend Megan cooked a fancy meal for her boyfriend Paul, my mom tried her favorite dish herself and I got my brother and his four roommates to help me cook in the kitchen.

Josh and his roommates, Scotty, Chris, Bret and Sticks, are frequent NFT visitors. I love having them over because they are energetic, happy to be there and make me feel like I’m in college again.

Since they are so good about driving the treacherous 405 freeway to come see me every couple of weeks, I like to go to them every once in a while. So last night, Eric and I rounded up some kitchen must haves and headed to UCLA for calzones, white bean and garlic soup, and barbecued Caesar salad.

The best part about cooking with the boys is that each of them had a distinct cooking personality. Surprisingly, they weren’t too far off of their actual personalities.

Joshua’s calzones were big, bold and over stuffed.

Bret’s calzone had a ton of effort and heart, but lacked finesse.

Chris’s calzones were a little whimsical.

Scotty’s calzones were very precise and focused.

And Stick’s calzones were, well, non-existent. Sticks spent almost the entire time on two math problems.

The only downfall to the whole calzone extravaganza was that Josh purposely emitted a key ingredient. When I was getting ready to make the salad dressing and asked Josh where the anchovies were, he proudly told me he wasn’t eating that s#!@ and that he didn’t buy them. When I explained to him that Caesar dressing usually had anchovies in it, and with out those anchovies we would have no Caesar, he immediately sprung into action.

By spring into action, I mean he made a bet with Bret, that if Bret could complete 20 pull-ups he wouldn’t have to go to the store to get the anchovies. Watch the video to see if we had anchovies or not…

I’m not sure how I would have improvised without the anchovies, but I’m really glad I didn’t have to find out.

Love and Beer Floats

P.S. I would like you to know that I 100% cheated this week. I used store bought pizza dough and store bought pizza sauce. I know, I know, that is super lame, but I didn’t want to eat at ten. But, surprise surprise, we ate at ten anyway because I am poor with time management.

1 pack store bough pizza dough (I like the garlic and herb from Trader Joes)
1 pack store bough pizza sauce
3 of your favorite pizza toppings (sausage, pepperoni, pineapple, olives, mushrooms, if you don’t get the point by now I’m worried about you)
1 pack shredded mozzarella cheese
Flour for dusting

Start by taking your dough out of the package and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees or turn on your grill. Dust your surface with flour and divide the dough into three or four even parts. One at a time, roll out and stuff the dough. To create the calzone, fold the dough in half. Then, about ½ inch from the edge of the dough, fold the edges towards the center of the calzone. Roll until the edges are secure and nothing will leak out. You can either put the calzone and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, or put on tin foil and cook on the grill for about 30 minutes.

Barbecued Caesar Salad
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice combined with 1 tablespoon orange juice)
4 cloves roasted garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
3 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for shaving
1 red onion
2 heads of romaine lettuce
favorite croutons (I like small ones for this salad)

Place lemon juice, garlic, mustard, mayonnaise, anchovies, red wine vinegar, salt, and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified. Add the grated cheese and blend for a few seconds to incorporate.
Clean and slice the ends off the lettuce. VERY lightly coat the leaves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Slice the red onions very thin. Throw the lettuce on the grill for thirty seconds and remove. Add onion, croutons and dressing. Freshly ground pepper if desired.