Saturday, December 02, 2006

meet me at the café

Someday, long after I've left the shallowness of the institutional money management business forever, you'll find me wiping down the counters at the starfish and waffles café, my very own seaside, hole-in-the-wall, coffeeshop and bistro.

My Café Calzones with Pepperoni, Peppers and Olives can defeat any case of the afternoon munchies. Yes, it's another recipe brought to you by the dingobear kitchen.

The starfish and waffles café would be a comfortable kind of place, where I'd never chide you for putting your feet up on the modular, Scandinavian furniture. There would be yellow ochre walls, green-leafed ficus in red terra cotta pots, and expansive picture windows with views of the azure, sweeping Pacific. Overhead, ceiling fans would perpetually spin between the open skylights because, at the starfish and waffles café, it would be forever summer.

And you - you would be one of my regulars. Maybe you'd drop by early in the morning for a plate of waffles and the chance to read your Sunday paper in silence. Or maybe you'd come visit on Monday night and, over a few rounds of Shamrockhoppers, together we'd watch the Saints pummel the Seahawks on ESPN. Or, just maybe, you'd come by on a Saturday afternoon not much unlike this one, so you could type out your next blog post on your Apple Macintosh laptop while satisfying a mean case of the munchies.

"I want a hot dog and a Diet Coke," you would say.

"I don't serve filth like hot dogs and Diet Coke tastes like cancer. I'll make you a calzone and bring you a beer," I would reply, while scribbling your order on a plain, white notepad.

"But I want a hot dog!" you would protest.

"One calzone and one beer, comin' right up! Don't forget to tip your server," I would say with a smile, while walking away to get your order.

You would mutter something unpleasant under your breath and I would pretend not to hear you. But you would stay anyway because, as a longtime starfish and waffles regular, you'd know that I would never charge you for your calzone and, more importantly, you'd know that this was the best coffeeshop in world.

Someday, one way or another, all of this is going to happen. But for now, the only part I have figured out is the calzones. Here's the recipe.

Café Calzones with Pepperoni, Peppers and Olives
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 grams quick-rise dry yeast
several dashes dried oregano
several dashes dried basil
several dashes dried red pepper flakes
3/4 cups hot water
125 grams smoked mozzarella, cubed
125 grams jalapeño Monterrey jack, cubed
1/4 sweet red bell pepper, diced
1 small Roma tomato, diced
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon black olives, sliced
3 to 4 crimini mushrooms, sliced
6 to 9 slices pepperoni

In a large mixing bowl, add together, in order, the olive oil, flour, salt, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. Let stand for the time being. In a separate measuring cup, dissolve the yeast and sugar with the hot water. Make sure the water is very hot, almost scalding. Once dissloved, pour the yeast-and-sugar mixture into the mixing bowl with the flour mixture.

With your bare hands, diligently work the mixture so all of the ingredients are blended together. If you find the dough very sticky, dust in some additional flour. Working and kneading the dough shouldn't take too long - 5 to 10 minutes should be sufficient.

Cover the mixing bowl to allow the dough to rise, for 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover and form the dough into a ball. On a non-stick, 12-inch round pizza pan, flatten out your dough ball such that you make a 10-inch circle, about a quarter- to half-an-inch thick. I never do, but you can use a rolling pin if you wish.

What one of my calzones looks like, before it goes into the oven.

Evenly cover half of the dough circle with the smoked mozzarella, jalapeño Monterrey jack, red bell pepper, Roma tomato, chopped garlic, black olives, crimini mushrooms, and pepperoni slices. Fold over the uncovered half of the dough circle and press together the edge such that it is tightly sealed. Brush the unbaked calzone with olive oil. Also, poke several holes in the top of calzone with a fork before baking.

Preheat your oven to 400F. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until golden brown. Once done, cut the calzone into the slices and serve on platters garnished with baby basil. Serves anywhere between 2 to 4, depending on hunger levels. Eat and enjoy!

For more original dingobear kitchen recipes, look down the left sidebar on the main page of felix's daily starfish and waffles.


  1. Starbucks girl update: she already has a boyfriend! So much for that ...

  2. aww... Sorry to hear about the Starbucks girl.
    Fortunately, I have such faith in the chick magnetude of the Starfish and Waffles cafe, that I know you will feel no emptiness. and, yes, I will certainly be a regular, and, damn, does that calzone look delicious, and , yes, I'll take the beer, and yeah, I'll bring my mac, and yeah, I might even bring a few books and a newspaper too.
    Seriously, though, you should open a cafe!!You would be great at running all facets of it (especially the cooking, I'm sure)!

  3. Oh yes, you can be sure that the Starfish and Waffles Café will have extreme chick magnetude - this is not going to be even a question.

    And -c, I'm glad you're going to be a regular because just like online starfish and waffles, the Starfish and Waffles Café just wouldn't work without you being a part of it.

  4. aww...jee wiz... shucks... don't make me blush...

  5. Looks fabulous! Yummy!

  6. Sorry about the Starbucks girl. But at least now you know so you don't have to waste your time making eyes at her. now you can pick someone new. with prettier eyes.

    Looking forward to the Cafe. It sounds like it will be a wonderful place. and the calzone looks and sounds fantastic. I'll have to try it. :)