Sunday, June 28, 2009

low lighting to set the mood

IMG_3379The main reason I wanted to get a new and better camera was because my other one just really stunk when it came to low-light settings, and low-light settings are the story of my life!  Our little condo didn’t have good light at all, and our new house has ok lighting if you can take pictures during the day.  I usually have to take my pictures around dusk time, which has proven to be a frustrating challenge.  I need to experiment with lighting boxes in the future.

For dinner I decided on using up our never ending leftovers again and made calzones!  Home made dough is so easy and cheap!  I encourage anyone to give it a try.  All you need is a little time to let the dough rise.  Even if you don’t have a stand mixer you can use the best tool in the kitchen . . . your hands!  It may take a little elbow grease, but it is well worth it.

Whole Wheat Pizza & Calzone Dough

Yield:  Approximately 10 calzones or 5 medium pizzas

  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 cups lukewarm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • good sprinkling of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasonings
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  IMG_3304Dissolve the honey into the lukewarm water (make sure you get the water no hotter than about 115 degrees because this will kill the little yeasties).  Add the packet of yeast and stir gently.  Watch the bubbles begin!  This should take about 5 minutes.

While the yeast are getting happy, place the rest of the ingredients into a stand mixing bowl with a paddle attachment; mix.  Add the bubbly yeast to the flour mixture.  Mix with the paddle attachment IMG_3312 until everything is incorporated.  Switch to a dough hook attachment.  Mix for approximately 20 minutes on speed 2.  Watch the dough and make sure it forms a nice ball; add additional flour if needed.  I had to add about 1/4 cup, but it depends on your climate.

Once it’s done mixing, remove the dough hook and place a damp towel over the bowl.  Place in a warm, draft free place and let the dough rise for about 1 hour (you can also let the dough rise in the fridge overnight and take out about an hour before to let it warm up).  Punch dough down and let rise again for about 1/2 hour.  This step is optional, but gives a really tender dough.

Once you make the calzones, make sure to cut a few slits on top and spray lightly with olive oil (I use a misto).  I like to bake them at at least 450 degrees on a pizza stone because it gives an optimal texture. 

I stuffed them with roasted veggies, chicken sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, part-skim ricotta, mozzarella, herbed brie and some fresh basil.  Oh my goodness, this dough is sooo good and tender.

Nothing like some candlelight to set the mood . . .

I’d say it’s not too bad for low lighting?  I had it in Tv mode with the iso at 1600 (let’s in a lot of light) and 1/5 shutter speed, which seemed to work well.  I’m still trying to master all these terms and settings.


A little marinara on the side for dipping . . .


We had TJ’s Petite Verdot along with it.  It was pretty good and only about 9 bucks which was an added plus.  It is very fruit forward, but does need to breathe a bit to open up.   



As the candles continued to burn, the wax overflowed onto the table . . . whoops!  I just let it dry and harden and it came up pretty well later.  For dessert we had some strawberry-rhubarb pie we got at a neat little bakery called Layers, along with some frozen yogurt . . . yum!  I just love pie with something cold and melty.  It reminds me of Thanksgiving.


I am making granola and granola bars at the moment, and will post about them soon!  Yum!  Hope you are having a wonderful weekend, of course it is flying by too fast.  I just want to cook, bake and blog all day :) 





Peanut Butter Swirl said...

my camera is horrible with the low light settings too! its so annoying.
thanks for the recipe - the meal sounds delicious :)

Gina said...

How romantic!! Those calzones look delicious too, and with some Trader Joe's wine? Can't beat it!

I need to get a new camera, or figure out how to use my own at least. I use Nick's camera and he doesn't have the instructions, so I'm usually left trying to figure it out on my own. That means taking a million pictures and figuring out which one I like best :)

Emily said...

Oooh, those calzones look great. The candlelight is really a nice touch, too. Strawberry rhubard pie sounds so good. My mom just made us rhubarb sauce the other night, and now I really want to make a pie!

I think you're doing a great job figuring out those camera setttings; the photos look great. :-)

kristen :) said...

Peanut butter swirl - thanks!

gina - oh man, I have to take a lot of pictures too and I only have a 1 GB card so it fills up really quick now.

Emily - thanks! that rhubarb sauce looks like liquid gold :)

bHealthier said...

Wow! those calzone do look amazing! nice work !

I am glad the wax did not cause a problem! Yikes!