meatless monday: heirloom tomato, arugula, and mozzarella stromboli

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I’ll be doubling up on Meatless Monday and Tasty Tuesday this week because I won’t be in my own kitchen for four and a half weeks–can you believe it?  I’ll be spending my third summer in Valdosta, Georgia as an instructor for the Governor’s Honors Program.  If you know me well, you know that I’m obsessed with how awesome this program is for gifted and talented students and that I tend to go on and on when I talk about it.  For the blog’s purposes, I’ll keep it short: it’s an absolutely life-changing program for high school students, and the only drawback is that I have to eat in a college cafeteria for over four weeks.

Don’t get me wrong–the Palms cafeteria at VSU has improved significantly since I was a GHP student ten years ago, but anything for four weeks straight can become a little monotonous.  Alex agreed to let me take over the kitchen this week to stretch my culinary muscle a little bit before I’m bound by the chains of cafeteria luck, so I hope you enjoy tonight and tomorrow night’s meals!

Back to the reason you’re probably reading: stromboli.  I first fell in love with this tasty not-quite-calzone, not-quite-sandwich at my childhood BFF Bethany’s house.  Her mom, Mrs. Janet, made the most delicious stromboli with ham, mozzarella, and Italian seasoning, and I remember going home to my house and proclaiming that my mom had to learn how to make it.  I’ve since made it with salami and ham and different cheeses, but since it’s meatless monday, I knew I had to get creative.  You can go in many directions with this dish: Italian meats and cheese, spinach and artichoke, mushroom and gruyere, marinated antipasto veggies, this list goes on and on.  I wanted to lighten it up with a summer twist, and I am so happy with how this turned out!  It also reminds me of a different way of making one of my mom’s favorites: tomato pie.  If you’re a southerner and haven’t had a pie with sliced farm stand tomatoes and Vidalia onions, you are missing out, my friend!

A word on heirloom tomatoes: I got two cartons at the Fresh Market that were filled with different sizes of green, yellow, dark red, and orange tomatoes.  They’re slightly sweeter than a regular tomato, plus the varied colors are appealing to the eye.

Heirloom Tomato, Arugula, and Mozzarella Stromboli

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)

1/2 warm water

1 pkg. dry active yeast

`1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. olive oil (one for pizza dough, one for prepping the stromboli for the oven)

2 quarts heirloom tomatoes, sliced

2 lbs. fresh mozzarella, sliced

2 cups arugula leaves

2 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, thyme)

2 Tbsp. ground Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal

To make the pizza dough, you can either buy a ready-made dough or make this simple version: Turn the oven to about 225 degrees for about five minutes, then turn oven off.  In a stand mixer, combine warm water and dry active yeast and let sit for five minutes.  Next, add flour and salt and, using the dough hook, mix on moderate speed until the dough combines into one mass.  Next, turn the speed to low and let dough mix for five minutes.  Remove dough from the mixing bowl, add 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil, add back the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and place dough in the warm oven for 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising, slice your tomatoes and mozzarella to similar sizes–I sliced them about 1/4-inch thick.  When the 30 minutes is up, turn the oven to 375 degrees, sprinkle a counter top with some flour, and roll the dough out to a rough 12 inch x 12 inch square.  Sprinkle the dough with about 1 Tbsp. ground parmesan and arrange half of the gorgeous tomatoes on the dough:

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Next, add half the mozzarella:

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Sprinkle some Italian seasoning on top of the cheese, then add all of the arugula:

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Add the rest of the tomatoes on top of the arugula, then the rest of the mozzarella on top of that.  Add a little bit more of the Italian seasoning, then fold the stromboli right to left, then left to right, then tuck the top and bottom sides.  Take a cookie sheet and sprinkle half the cornmeal on the bottom of the sheet.  Carefully flip the stromboli to fold side down on the cookie sheet.  Brush 1 Tbsp. of olive oil on the top and sprinkle with the remaining cornmeal.  Bake for about 30 minutes, let cool for 10 minutes, and cut on the diagonal.

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