October 14, 2013 was a public holiday in Hong Kong. It is known as the Chung Yeung Festival which is grave sweeping day. People in Hong Kong are supposed to be engaging in age-old practices of ancestor worship. However, we all really know that everyone just takes the day to catch up on sleep.
This morning my hubby, puppy and I went for a little walk in the Cyberport Dog Park while my teenagers were enjoying their slumber. We enjoyed the kite flying festivities and the cool and comfortable breezes.
According the to HK Tourist Board, during the Chung Yeung Festival, it is popular to hike to the city’s high points on this day, as it’s believed this will bring good luck. This custom is rooted in a Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) legend in which a soothsayer advised a man to take his family to high ground for the ninth day of the ninth moon. The man complied and the next day discovered that all the inhabitants of his village had been slaughtered, while he and his family had been spared by leaving for the hills.
In Hong Kong, people go to the great outdoors for a picnic on this day, with many people eating special cakes called ‘ko’. The name sounds similar to ‘high’ or ‘top’ in Chinese and people eat them in the hope of being promoted to high positions. I guess my teenagers had other plans other than eating Ko cakes.
While we were off walking the dog, my teenage boys had invaded Bam’s Kitchen and it looked like a tornado blew through it.
They have not even started cooking yet and we have a mess. They have torn up the kitchen upside down looking for something fun and filing to eat. They have slept through breakfast so want lunch instead. Ayahhhh Teenagers!!!
Some of the most interesting things can be made when you don’t have alot in your refrigerator or pantry. Creative solutions come alive. We made hearty grilled chicken and parley pesto calzones topped with green bell peppers, onions, mozzarella cheese, salami pepperoni and spices.
You can fill your calzones with whatever your little heart desires but this just happens to be what was available on our pantry shelves and refrigerator today. We made parsley pesto instead of basil pesto as that is just what we happened to have on hand and it was fresh and delightful. Parsley is such and under used herb, don’t you agree? Parsley has a fresh delicious flavor and is perfect in this calzone.
Making homemade pizza over the weekend is the perfect way to celebrate any holiday or festival. Homemade calzones filled with every “Italian” delights might not exactly be traditional “Chinese” food but they sure are tasty and I am sure way more satisfying than a couple of little tiny fluffy “Ko cakes”.
I love watching my boys think creatively in the kitchen. They really have a sense of flavors and what goes well together and they both are quite competent in the kitchen. However, they just are under the impression that there is some kind of secret fairy that cleans up after them. Today, the secret fairy shared her thoughts with her clueless teenagers and just like magic Bam’s Kitchen is spotless and clean.
Happy Chung Yeung Festival from our family to yours.
Hearty grilled chicken and parley pesto calzones topped with green bell peppers, onions, mozzarella cheese, salami pepperoni and spices.
- Pizza Dough
- flour - 2.5 cups bread flour but can use all purpose flour as well
- sugar - 1 teaspoon granulated
- yeast - 1 package dry
- salt - 2 teaspoons
- water - 3/4 cups (about 105F-110F)
- olive oil - 2 tablespoons and a little more for the bowl while resting
- Pizza Toppings
- chicken breasts - 1/2 pound pre-grilled (marinated in olive oil, basil, garlic, onion and salt and pepper)
- pepperoni-salami - 1/4 pound thinly sliced
- green bell pepper - 1/2 chopped
- onion - 1/2 small chopped
- mozzarella cheese - 1 cup grated
- dried chili peppers - to taste- optional
- jalapeño peppers - 1 tablespoon chopped-optional
- tomatoes - 1 tablespoon ultra thin sliced Malaysian cherry tomatoes-optional
- Tuscan seasoning - 1 teaspoon (basil, oregano, garlic, onion and dried sweet bell pepper)
- salt and pepper - to taste
- Parsley Pesto
- parsley - 1.5 cups or very large handful (you can use flat leaf or curly)
- garlic - 1 chopped
- olive oil - 3/4 cup
- parmesean cheese - 1/2 cup grated
- basil - 1 teaspoon dried
- egg - 1 beaten
- olive oil - 1 teaspoon to place on top of calzone
- hot pepper flakes - to taste- optional
Step 1: Make the Pizza Dough: In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt and then add the warm water and olive oil. Mix well and then knead for about 5 minutes until soft and pliable. Place dough bowl in a oiled bowl and cover for about 1/2 hour or until doubled in size. (I also do not own one of those fancy kitchen aids with the dough hooks. So if you are like me, a fork works just fine and you can get a great finished product with a bit of kneading)
Step 2: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F or 232 degrees Celsius. (If you happen to have a pizza stone, heat it up in the oven but if you are like me and do not have one this recipe works just fine on a cookie sheet)
Step 3: Gather up and prepare the calzone fillings. I sliced chicken breast, pepperoni-salami, chopped up green pepper and onions.
Step 4: Make your parsley pesto: In a blender add your parsley, garlic, olive oil, parmesean cheese, basil, hot pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until a nice bright green thin sauce. Set aside.
Step 5: Take your risen pizza dough and punch down until flat to get the bubbles out. Place your pizza dough on a greased cookie sheet. Spread the dough out into a 12 inch circle.
Step 6: On one half of the calzone pizza, spread a thin layer of the parsley pesto, all of your toppings like your chicken breasts, peppers, onions, pepperoni-salami, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and spices. Do not overload as you will have difficulty folding over and sealing your calzone. Leave at least one inch empty around the sides of the calzone to allow for sealing.
Step 7: Brush around the edges of the pizza with your egg wash. Pull over the empty side of the calzone over the side with all of the fillings and press down and around. I used the fold over technique to seal my calzone. You fold over the edge while holding on to the edge and then move along and fold over and new portion of the edge until it is sealed. You could also use a fork to seal the edges or whatever way works best for you.
Step 8: Brush the calzone with a little olive oil and seasonings of choice. My boys wanted dried red peppers but maybe you would like a little garlic salt or oregano.
Step 9: Bake calzone for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and it sounds like a thud when you tap it with your fork. (I know that sounds like odd advise but it really does make a thud sound when you tap it when it is perfectly cooked. )