Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine's Day Menu- Stromboli By Candlelight

About 10 years ago my brother-in-law told me about a study that researched the effects of various genres of movies on the romantic inclinations of couples who were on dates. To do this, they simply observed the body language of the pairs as they left the theater, noting the differences between couples that just watched a romantic comedy, for example, versus a horror film. You may be surprised that those leaving romantic movies were not touching as much or walking as closely together as those leaving films of most of the other genres. Why? Well, I'm not an expert, but I did study family sciences with an emphasis in marriage, (and have been in a few long-term relationships,) so I have my ideas. I suspect that a lot of it comes down to expectations and pressure. Remember when I explained the reason I chose a more down-to-earth collection of songs for my Valentine's/Anniversary playlist? Guitars over violins, and Mat Kearney over Celine Dion? Well, there's more than just one reason, but mainly it's because most relationships aren't made of silk and champagne, and if your V-Day plans are made of silk and champagne, it could could make you or your partner feel like you have too much to live up to, especially if your relationship has yet to get serious. To me, it's a day to celebrate what you have in whatever way feels authentic. If that means dinner at a fancy restaurant, because you're fancy, because you're a foodie, or because that's fun to you, that's awesome! We really enjoy fine dining sometimes. All I'm saying is that less, in my experience, often results in more.
Chipotle by candlelight. Spring, 2008.

It is Valentine's Day, for goodness' sake, so we're not going to eat sandwiches in front of the t.v. We're going to make it special, the table will be dressed, and, though the food will be slightly understated, it will still be great, dang it!
Salad: Italian Wedge Salad
Main Dish: Ham & Pepperoni Stromboli
Beverage: Villa Italia Grapefruit Soda
Dessert: Fruit Tart
The main dish is a stromboli, because we had stromboli the night we got engaged, and because the first time I made this for Shawn (just a few weeks ago) he looked at me as if he was going to propose again, he loved it that much. In fact, he said it was his favorite thing I've ever made for him.
Ham & Pepperoni Stromboli adapted from a recipe by Lindsey of "Burn Me Not"
Serves 4

1 ball of good pizza dough
Flour, for dusting
2 cups quality pizza sauce
1/4 pound smoked ham, sliced
1/4 pound good, deli pepperoni, from the deli
Dried basil
Dried Oregano
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
Extra-virgin olive oil
Good parmesan cheese, finely shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet, or preheat a pizza stone, if you have one.

Lay your dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 15"x12" rectangle.

Spread only some of the pizza sauce onto half of the dough, (dividing the longer portion of the dough in half,) maybe 1/8"-1/4" thick. Reserve the rest of the sauce for dipping.
The only difference between a stromboli and a calzone is where the sauce is. With a stromboli, it's inside the pouch. With a calzone, it's used as a dipping sauce.

Arrange the ham slices overtop the sauce.

Top the ham with the pepperoni.
Look at those beauties...

Sprinkle the 'roni with basil and oregano.

Top with the mozzarella, and then sprinkle more basil and oregano.

Fold the plain half of the dough over the filling and seal the ends well.
You can use two hands, because you won't be taking photos of yourself doing each step. :)

Sleep tight, yummy filling!

I roll the bottom edge over the top one and pinch to achieve a secure seal.

Brush with oil. Top with freshly shredded parmesan and a little more oregano.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Even though it's a stromboli recipe, I like some of the sauce to be saved for dipping. So I guess this is a strombozone.. or a calzoli.


  1. That looks delish! I may have to make this one tomorrow! -(Min G)

  2. That looks so good. I had to laugh when you suggested using two hands because we won't be photographing ourselves. lol. Good one :D

  3. Yummy! And you are so right it's not about the pomp and circumstance on V-day it's about spending it together. We'll be going for sushi and a hockey game but will definitely make this very soon.

  4. LifeSheWrote2/09/2012 12:52 PM

    Delicious looking post - I love how clear all the pictures are! Makes me want to go eat this right now. Getting motivated to shop for the ingredients and cook is another story....

    I also love what you said about how important it is to be authentic to your relationship ESPECIALLY on those days that have extra social pressure like Valentine's Day.

    Great post, thanks for sharing!

  5. Definitely trying this- my favorite recipes are the ones with very few ingredients! Sounds excellent! Any recommendations for the pizza sauce? Thanks for all your great tunes and ideas.